Categories
Coding Games

My son stumbled into emacs … to play Tetris

My son is a Tetris fan lately. He’s competing with my friend in South Africa (they’re both playing the same game, and sending boasting screenshots by WhatsApp). He came to me with his laptop (actually mine, I’ve loaned it to him) over the weekend, excited to show me how he’s playing Tetris on the MacBook Air, in emacs

Tetris in emacs

He doesn’t really appreciate quite what emacs is (or Vim, for that matter), but he definitely loved this version.

Categories
Games People

Playful approaches to spam email

Spam email is the scourge of our modern communications infrastructure. We forget how much rubbish we receive because we have pretty good spam filters that hide it all from us. Still, it sits there in the background, accumulating until we take that immensely satisfying step of deleting all of it with a single click. Until next time.

James Veitch has a wonderful approach to spam. He turns dealing with it into a game that winds up tormenting the tormentors. In this first video, he tackles those annoyingly ineffective “unsubscribe” links:

In this next video he revealed what happened when he did that thing people say you should never do: he replied to spam email, with style. Brace yourself!

Awesome, right?

Image credit: Mathyas Kurmann

Categories
Games

Something for my wife and other Pokemon Go fans

My wife sheepishly told me she downloaded Pokemon Go on her phone last night. I didn’t really know what she was talking about so I made some sort of noise that sounded vaguely supportive and understanding.

Today I see reports of people going crazy about this game and I can see why. I’m still debating whether I want to actually install the game and play it but I know that I have temporarily lost my wife to the game for now. It’s probably only a matter of time until our son follows …

In the meantime, I had to share this great xkcd cartoon highlighting a way to have even more fun with fans.

Postscript (2016-07-12):

iMore has published a guide for new Pokémon players titled “Beginner’s guide: How to play Pokémon Go!“. I know this is just feeding the habit (in particular my wife who may be lost to us for a few weeks) but I’m a sharer.

Categories
Events and Life Games Mindsets

My wake-up call to play more with our kids

One of my friends gave me a long overdue wake-up call to play more with our kids recently. I was at a local park with our kids, along with my friend and his boys. We started playing some sort of Israeli version of “Tag” (at least what I understand the game to be) where one person has to touch one of the others playing the game, who then becomes “it”.

It was fun and it was different to what I usually do at the park with our kids. I tend to see an outing to the park as either an opportunity to crash in the open air and relax or follow our kids around on their bikes teaching them to ride. Running around dodging kids trying to grab me was actually a lot of fun, even though it also reminded me that I’m not as agile as I thought I was (I landed on my butt at least once).

As we were about to leave, my friend said to me:

You should play more often with your kids, they love it. I used to do it all the time with my boys.

At first, I was a bit taken aback. For one thing I didn’t think that I was one of those parents who didn’t play with my kids. Of course I did, didn’t I? When I thought about it I realised that I tend to resist playing with them for some or other reason. Usually it is because my idea of park downtime means emulating the trees rather than running, jumping and swinging with seemingly superhuman energy.

I also started to feel more than a little ashamed that I had failed to realise that my role as a Dad is to play with my kids, not just watch them play by themselves. I can be selfish when it comes to my downtime and this experience gave me an “when I am on my deathbed one day I won’t wish I spent less time playing with my kids and more time sitting on my butt on the sidelines” epiphany.

Our kids loved that I played with them, even if it was only for a short time. They really loved seeing their Dad try dodge them and fall down. It also felt pretty good to be more active (also helpful to keep my Diabetes under control too). I started feeling the need to get over my default laziness and play with them, at the very least to face my usual lethargy with some vigour.

I’m fortunate to have a few friends who are great Dads. They always seem to be so actively involved in their kids’ lives, doing stuff with them and making time for them. I have many moments when I feel like I can do so much better at this Dad thing than I have been. Our kids deserve a Dad who will play more with them and finding the balance in my life to give them what they deserve feels pretty challenging at times.

I remember thinking that marrying Gina in my early 30s was a good age because it meant that when we had kids, I’d still be young enough to keep up with them and play with them. Now, at 40, my body protests a bit more than it used to but I was right. I just have to get off my butt and start doing that.

Image credit: Pexels

Categories
Games

Is Scrabulous Going Bye Bye?

Here’s a scary thought for hundreds of thousands of people … including my wife:

Is Scrabulous Going Bye Bye?: “

According to Josh Quittner, Hasbro may actually be shutting down the insanely popular Facebook application, Scrabulous. They must be one of the dumbest companies to make such a horrible decision. I have a better idea: acquire Scrabulous. The developers of the application took the time to build the app and profited a minor amount. Eliminating Scrabulous from the applications will surely cause an overall decrease in the site’s traffic.

Yesterday alone there was a whopping 569,206 users on the application. That ranks it the ninth most popular application yesterday. I am willing to bet that the Scrabulous revolt will go far beyong the Beacon revolt that started in the blogosphere. I have to wonder why it took so long for Hasbro to take any action. The application has been accused of violating copywright law for months but now the developers have officially received a letter from Hasbro.

According to Techcrunch, the discussion is now taking place among the lawyers. Are you one of the many Scrabulous users? Do you think we will see a mass exodus from Facebook if the Scrabulous team can’t defeat Hasbro?

(Via All Facebook.)

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Categories
Games

Duke Nukem taking Forever

I played the original with a set of potent cheat codes mainly because I didn’t have the patience to do it the right way.  It was a lot of fun so I am looking forward to seeing the long awaited sequel, whenever it arrives.  I wonder if there will be a Mac version …

Here is the trailer for Duke Nukem Forever:

Looks like fun!

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Categories
Games People Politics and government

Mondli’s Long Click to Freedom

Move over Madiba, its time for Mondli’s turn in the spotlight:

Brought to you by The Times

(Courtesy of Gregor)

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