Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fragment of text

Text file found in an olde archive (28 Jan 1992):

Curiosity has killed many a cat, but I was killed by rationality - a less rational man would have given in to the urge to flee, to run blindly into the night - and would have been spared the horror that is contained in this house (only a small fraction of which I can report here). The light is fading and before it fails completely I will take my last chance on the stairs, though I can feel them waiting below in the hall, and the effort is futile.

It started in the last weeks of 19--, when Rodway claimed that he had discovered hidden

I wonder who the hell Rodway was going to be? And what had he found? Some game idea long forgotten...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Olde games

Quite possibly the best version of Space Invaders so far...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A whale of a time?

People on TV and in films never talk during sex, which has occasionally struck me as odd. Mind you, I suppose that most of the things said during passionate moments don't bear repeating... "Lie back and think of Wales" a girlfriend once said to me in jest; I suspect she meant "You lie back - I'll think of Whales"...

Random Thought

Will mankind end its reliance on technology before technology ends its reliance on mankind?

Don't ask me, I just think these aphorisms up. Some other bugger can answer them...

(That one makes me sound like a bit of a carbon chauvinist, but I'm not. As long as something is looking at the universe with wonder and understanding I don't care if it's an over-educated monkey or a piece of technology.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Quantum mice - a watched mouse never gets caught...

About a week ago we discovered we have mice in the eaves, a situation SWMBO asked me to remedy in my own time, or at least that's how I chose to interpret her hour of screaming hysterics...

So, following on from a design for a mouse trap Ste and I made about twenty years ago, which caught a dozen mice in its first four hours of operation, I hacked together a transparent box with some bait, an infra-red beam to detect the mouse and a solenoid operated trap door to catch it. This was then placed in a likely spot and an infra-red video camera rigged up to watch the mice being caught.

About an hour later the first customer turns up. After a cautious sniff around the outside it stuck its head and shoulders into the box and rooted about, not going far enough in to break the beam. Fair enough, perhaps mice have grown more cunning in the last twenty years... Nil desperandum - give them a chance to get used to it.

A bit later another mouse appears and goes through the same process... Perhaps they don't like plastic boxes?

Then one turns up and gets inside the box - I sit poised - surely this is it? But no, somehow the bloody thing doesn't trip the trap, and leaves. Bastard, I'll get it next time... But no, it's back, and this time it brings a friend. To cut a long story short they explore the box, they party on down on the bait, they jump about, have sex, snooze a little, and at no point does the bloody trap door close. After a bit they get bored waiting for something to happen and wander off, presumably giving the place a bad review.

Only then does it occur to me that a mouse trap that relies on the mice breaking an infra-red beak in a transparent box is probably not the best thing to watch using an infra-red camera that has about a dozen high-intensity infra-red LEDs built in as illumination... Doh!

Got 'em when they came back an while later - amazing the difference a bit of cardboard around the camera makes...