Links #5

The Curse of Xanadu - The bizarre story of the internet that never was. The article gripped me and I just couldn’t stop reading. “Is this a true story?” “How have I never heard of this before?” This feels like one of those situations where the world could have turned out very differently. Also relevant: Ted Nelson’s response to the article.

Mechanical Mirrors - A video about a guy who builds clever mechanical displays. Somebody shared it after seeing my Checkboxland project and it blew me away. It’s got that perfect blend of creativity + engineering + software that I love. Bonus link in a similar category: Tides

Javascript Function Composition: What’s the Big Deal? - James Sinclair walks through some experiments with JavaScript functions and inadvertently makes a fairly compelling case for functional programming. It ended up being the most approachable post on functional programming I’ve read.

Extreme Ironing - Just people ironing clothes in a variety of strange locations (while parachuting, in the middle of a street, underwater, etc). One for the random category.

Essays on programming I think about a lot - A links list on my links list. Meta! By the time I found this list I had already read four or five of the essays, and those ones were great, so I knew the other ones had to be pretty good as well. If that’s not enough, you can see my own “essays I think a lot about” list here: Landmark Articles

AI Generated Pokemon Sprites with GPT 2 - Matthew Rayfield documents his process generating 3000+ Pokemon character sprites using GPT-2. It’s incredible how well some of these turned out. Again, it’s got that irresistible mix of creativity, engineering, and fun (and nostalgia!) that I love. If you like this, his other projects are equally wonderful and weird.

Puzzlescript - Yet another clever, web-based, online game building environment (like bitsy, scratch, and pico-8-edu). I can’t seem to get enough of these. This one is focused more on puzzle games.