Ur Adhere

Dare to be stupid.

Archive for October, 2008

Lightning made of owls

Thursday, 30 October, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

From lunchtime discussion today: Lightning made of owls.

We have no idea either, but if anyone can implement it, imagine how cool it would be!


Thursday, 30 October, 2008 | Posted in Good Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

At work we’ve been playing the game Bananagrams (see also here and here). It’s a word game with lots of tiles with letters on them, similar to Scrabble tiles. I won’t explain the rules here; you can find them with those links.

After playing several games and having fun (yeah, we recommend it), we decided to implement a version to test our adage that “any game can be improved by drafting”. Drafting is a concept that comes to us from Magic: the Gathering – a card game in which a common competition format is to build your deck of cards by “drafting” them. Drafting involves getting a set of cards, choosing the one you want, passing the rest on to the next player, and repeating the process until you have enough cards to play the game. So at each step you get some choice of the “best” card to suit your deck, restricted by what other players have already taken from the hands of cards that are going around.

Anyway, we decided to draft from sets of 3 letter tiles, and at each stage replenish the set to 3 tiles by taking a new face-down tile at random from the unused pool before passing it to the next player. At each step of the draft, you then have a collection of letters, which grows by one letter each step. And at each step you must arrange (or rearrange) all the letters you have into words. The restriction is that you must have either 1 or 2 words; they must not intersect like a crossword (so they can’t share letters, unlike in canonical Bananagrams); and to prevent players being knocked out too easily, any single letter is considered a valid word. If at any step you can’t make one or two words, you are out for that round. Last player knocked out wins the round, then play again!

We had even more fun with this than the original game. At one stage one set of three drafting letters being passed around had two Qs in it, plus one random tile from the pool, which severely restricted the choice of whoever got that set at each step. (You can certainly take a Q if you can use it in a word, but it’s better strategy to take more easily usable letters for later in the round.)

So there you go, a half-baked idea which was suggested off the cuff, we tried it, and it turned out to actually be good! Oh, and we dubbed our new game “Mangograms”, to keep with the tropical fruit theme.

Content, content, content!

Thursday, 23 October, 2008 | Posted in News by David Morgan-Mar

We’ve been busy adding some new pages to show off some of our latest crazy ideas! Check out Can’t We All Just Get Along? And adding to our earlier web enablement of parallel universe generation, you can now collapse the universe’s wavefunction, or choose your own preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. And hey, we found some cool, but under-appreciated stuff written some time ago by Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics fame, and thought we’d bring it to light with Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained. Oh, and if you have any more reasons why particular people should All Just Get Along, tell us on the forums!

In-car drum kit

Wednesday, 22 October, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Have you ever been sitting in your car, listening to some rockin’ music, waiting at the traffic light, and the beat is just so cool you start tapping your fingers on the steering wheel in time?

What if there were pressure sensitive drum pads on your steering wheel? Turning it into something like a Zendrum? You’d tap away to the beat and produce your own awesome drum rhythms, amplified throughout the car for your creative and listening pleasure! You could even do it while driving*!

* mezzacotta neither recommends nor condones unsafe driving. If you install a system like this in your car and get busted for it, you’re on your own. But think how cool and hip you’ll be.

And while on half-baked ideas, here’s one we spotted doing a web-trawl to see who was talking about us: A web/TV show called BadIdea, in which the host takes bad ideas from the audience and tests them out, Mythbusters style, to see if they really are bad ideas, or if they might actually be any good. Sounds like a winner to us!

Quick Singles

Sunday, 19 October, 2008 | Posted in Ideas, News by David Morgan-Mar

Some of the ideas we come up with can be implemented pretty quickly with only a page or two of content. So we’ve created a new Quick Singles area to index them, and posted the first of these little ideas: Create a Universe.

You’ve been visited by the Internet

Friday, 17 October, 2008 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Here’s a half-baked idea:

  • Pick a random house somewhere in a random suburb/town.
  • Go there and take some photos.
  • Put a note in the letterbox saying, “You’ve been visited by the Internet!” and including a URL.
  • Post the photos at that URL.

This idea is actively bad, because you might upset people and you might get accused of stalking and even end up in trouble with the police. In fact, it’s the sort of prank that you might see over on xkcd. It’s amusing, but it’s not practical, and should not be taken seriously. Don’t do it.

But I’m sharing it because that’s what we do here: share our half-baked ideas, even the actively bad ones. Because someone might figure out how to turn it into a good idea. Maybe. (For an example of an actively bad idea turned good by sharing it, check what I wrote over here about wedding photography. See what I mean?)

Speed 2: Cruise Control

Wednesday, 15 October, 2008 | Posted in Comic, News by The Hyperstig

I’ve done some database and code optimisations. Comics that have been viewed by anyone and the Best Bakes page should now be loading considerably faster. (Comics that nobody has yet looked at still take a little while to get ready.)

Site speed

Wednesday, 15 October, 2008 | Posted in Comic, News by The Hyperstig

We’re aware that the comics and the Best Bakes page are slow to load. I’m looking into optimising bits of code to speed things up. This tweaking and testing process will take a few days, so bear with us. I can see some cruft already. Never give an SQL coding job to amateurs…

Hall of Fame LiveJournal feed

Tuesday, 14 October, 2008 | Posted in Comic, News by The Hyperstig

The daily Hall of Fame inductee is now available as a syndicated account on LiveJournal as well:

New: Hall of Fame and inductee feed

Monday, 13 October, 2008 | Posted in Comic, News by The Hyperstig

I’ve been slaving over a hot keyboard to add some new features:

  • A Hall of Fame for comics that are rated as most baked by lots of voters. Every day we’ll be inducting one of the best comics into the Hall of Fame, and retiring it from the Best Baked list, to make room for newly discovered comics to make their way to the top of the list.
  • To accompany this, a new RSS news feed, giving you the new Hall of Fame inductees. This feed will automatically give you one of the best strips from the archive, every day! Relive some of our greatest hits from the past with this nostalgic new feed.