I may be a teensy bit of a geek, so what of it?

It may be time to call a halt on the Great App Install-fest but before I cease to witter on the subject I thought I might just remark on yesterday’s two discoveries. The first app of note is actually a  paid one, at a whopping £1.65.

Smart Tools

Prepare for your jaw to drop (mine did)

I’m trying to work out if it will measure my DPNs for me.

It is missing one essential tool though – the one that gets little stones out of horses’ hooves. Nor can I find a geiger counter – but, hey! Got to love that plumb bob 🙂

Smart Tools blew me away a bit and really opened my eyes to the facilities built into the Nexus. I never imagined that I might use it as a metal detector!

The second app discovery is really rather lower tech, but it raised my happiness level through the roof. Never again shall I be bored when incarcerated on the ferry. I have a mobile Z-machine interpreter. What’s that, I hear you say? Well, back in the day, we computer geeks used to amuse ourselves by playing text adventure games. You see, PCs didn’t have pictures back then. Just words. Imagine that. Not even pretty colours. Just white text on black, green on black or amber (my fave) on black. To keep yourself amused you could switch things up a bit and have your black on your colour. Or spend hours making ASCII images…

Don't Panic
Don’t Panic

Anyroadup a clever programmer and caver, named Will Crowther, came up with an idea to recreate a cave system in a computer game. It was programmed in Fortran in only 700 lines of code and was called Colossal Cave. Colossal Cave has many versions, some with different names like Adventure, is filled with delights such as axe-throwing dwarves, and gave birth to a whole genre of text Adventure Games. Some of the best known games were written by a delightful chappie called Scott Adams (no, no that Scott Adams) and published by Infocom. My favourite text adventure was/is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I spent a large part of the 1980s playing text adventures. A very large part in fact (I should have been studying for my OU degree.)

When graphics came along I never quite cottoned on to the new games in the same way. Initially I found them cumbersome and slow – why use a mouse to navigate through 20 steps when in the old games you could just type “go (wherever)” – and where was the wit and the story-telling? No, there is nothing quite like a plain text adventure/interactive fiction for simple enjoyment and instant reward. Of course there is always the possibility of Instant Death too, but Instant Reincarnation comes with it, for the same price.

I have a Z-machine interpreter on my PC and am delighted to have found a mobile one. You cannot begin to imagine just how happy it has made me.

In Other News…

I have been setting up my Future Learn course dates in my Google Calendar (ob: so that I can have mobile alerts to my Nexus) and noticed that for two weeks I shall be working on FIVE courses concurrently. No, that is not scary. No much. Not really. HEEEELLLLPPP!!!

I once studied two 60 point OU courses in one year, whilst commuting 60 miles each way daily and running a home with two school age kids. OK, so I ended up half-dead and on my way to the divorce court, but I did pass both courses (Grade 1 and Grade 2). I can do this, although I admit to being a lot younger then. The old grey matter is less agile these days.

I am delighted to hear that two friends will be joining me on the Forensic Science course in January, which means that we have an instant study group. Has anybody else been tempted yet? Which module(s) are you taking – do tell?



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