Sunday Things - demoscene edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday March 17 2013

Never excuse 'programmer art'. Witness the demoscene - hackers making hardware do audiovisual things it wasn't supposed to.

Like a tiny tiny Skyrim.

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elevated by Rgba and TBC - fantastic 4kB demo. As in, it's a four kilobyte Windows executable. Essentially just some fancy shaders running on the GPU and a tiny software synthesiser, it's bloody amazing what it manages to produce. pouet.net page with download links etc.

Go away, triangles - the particles are here!

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Agenda Circling Forth by Fairlight and Carillon & Cyberiad - so what happens when demo coders have somewhat more than 4kB to play with? Frequently, they escape the tedious world of polygons and investigate the land of particles. Nifty. pouet.net page

Vector displays break down in splendid ways.

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Where Have All The Pixels Gone? by cmucc - but what do they do when pixels themselves seem needlessly futuristic? Get hacking on a Vectrex from the early 1980s. pouet.net page

Attribute Clash sounds like a great band name.

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Pimp My Spectrum by ate bit - but there's no risk of getting stuck in the past. Take some simulated '80s Sinclair hardware and launch yourself into a glorious alternate future - this demo is absolutely a tricked-out Sinclair Spectrum emulator... pouet.net page

Platform wars will never end.

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Starstruck by The Black Lotus - it's not just virtual hardware being upgraded. This is a demo built for a souped-up Commodore Amiga, but true to the spirit of the platform wars which epitomised the demoscene, here it's running much better on an accelerated Atari Falcon. Never forget which side I'm on. pouet.net page

Bonus No Hardware Available! corner:

Sunday Things - early flight edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday March 10 2013

Go read about aviation history on Wikipedia. A few brief highlights:

Like a bat out of ... France?
Ader Avion III - primitive, steam-powered, ineffective - but looking like an escapee from an alternate, steampunk universe. Clément Ader's earlier Éole did make a brief, low powered flight in October 1890, albeit in a completely uncontrollled manner.
The Red Baron would have a conniption if he saw this.
Horatio Frederick Phillips - forget the monoplanes, biplanes, triplanes and other near-wingless attempts at flight. Mr. Phillips' multiplanes eventually made decent powered flights in 1907, long after simpler designs proved adequate...
Standard component of a parallel universe.
Zeppelins! - from experimental beasts to explosive monsters via dropping bombs on Birmingham, these things grew to be huge.
Biggest Meccano set ever.
R101 - the Germans certainly weren't alone in developing airships. Part of a British government programme "to develop civil airships capable of service on long-distance routes within the British Empire", this home-grown hydrogen-filled leviathan crashed and burned on its first flight to India... The enormous airship sheds at Cardington still stand - you've probably (not) seen them in the recent Batman films, being ideal cover for film sets.

Bonus Random Pavarotti Disease corner:

Sunday Things - Weekend edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday March 3 2013

Multiple links from readers this week! Cheers muchly.

BORING PHOTOS
Railway tunnel construction beneath Grand Central Terminal, New York - New York has extended upwards, and downwards. Now they're extending it more. via phuzz
SPACE FUNGUS
Preventing "Sick" Spaceships - humans are disgusting. So human spaceflight has to deal with mould, dust mites and grapefruit-sized blobs of dirty condensed water floating behind instrument panels. Erk.
GNORTS MR. ALIEN
Russian jellyfish of the White Sea - just one of Earth's branches of alien-lookalike lifeforms, here find the jellyfish.
GET OUT OF HERE, STALKER
Bikers visit Kadykchan, Siberia - are there any post-Soviet exploration games with motorbikes in? Seems like a gap in the market. More photos of the place here and here. via elel

Bonus Who-Invented-The-Tablet-Computer-Anyway corner:

  • Atari ST Pad - prototype 'pentop computer', with the wholly-unsuited-for-mobile-usage TOS/GEM as the operating system. BUT AT LEAST IT'S A REAL COMPUTER.

Sunday Things - Sunday Things edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday February 24 2013

More links! You get the idea.

Robot wondering when it's time to come home.
360º Curiosity self-portrait panorama - this clever blend of MAHLI and Mastcam imagery gives a full 360º view of everything. Check out the incredible interactive version for more. In other Mars news, the space-robot is slowly readying rock samples from holes it has drilled. Any moment now, it'll ingest this new rock dust and analyse it deep within its scientific bowels...

Sinclair C5 - THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION

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Sinclair C5 infomercial - the video could well be a masterfully deadpan work of satire. Sir Clive Sinclair's electrified lump of plastic surprisingly didn't lead to a transportation revolution.
Pixel-peeping MTF-charting spy-satellite operators?
There Are Giant Camera Resolution Test Charts Scattered Across the US - so, you've got yourself a chunky big aerial camera or spy satellite. How to determine quite how fancy it is? There are test charts embedded into the United States itself. Handy.
Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep
SR 99 tunnel boring machine - under construction in Japan, this mechanical monster (affectionately named 'Bertha') is due to munch its way underneath Seattle this summer as part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel. Photos of the aptly-named 'launch pit' are here...

Bonus Icy Architecture corner:

Sunday Things - brief edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday February 17 2013

Sundays are for waking up, jet-lagged, with an hour to spare until the Sunday Things must be posted. (Go see the recent photos for a clue to where I've been.) So here, a thumbnail-free edition of this weekly service: