The Planets

2020-09-15 — Greg Gaughan

While scanning a Solar System poster and comparing the planets' distances from the sun I noticed a pattern I'd not seen before. I've been fascinated by space since I was a young child and have been studying astronomy in one form or another all my life but I'd never heard anything like this pattern mentioned.

OU Solar System poster

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Skyfall

2020-09-10 — Greg Gaughan

The last James Bond film I watched was Moonraker, but I recently caught the ending of Skyfall on TV and realised why I don't watch them anymore.

According to wikipedia, the section I saw was when Bond took M to his Skyfall home and with Kincade's help they set up a series of booby traps throughout the house. Silva's men arrived.

Now, these men looked pretty well-trained to me and I'm sure they were fully expecting a booby trapped house. One of the first traps you might expect would be some kind of pressure plate or trip-wire on the entrance to the house grounds.

Yet I watched with disbelief as all Silva's men got out of their jeeps and, when presented with a derelict gateway with waist-high walls either side of it, funnelled through the gate shoulder to shoulder.

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The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Keyboard

2019-05-01 — Greg Gaughan

When I was 12 years old, I got sight of an actual computer. One day at my cousins' house, set on a table and wired up to their TV was a small, black rectangle. They were pressing keys on it to play games (Schizoids and Ant Attack I remember). I was curious - the games looked more interesting than the simple arcade games I played on my Atari console. I got closer and peered over and saw the keyboard and it changed my life. Here's what I saw:

By Bill Bertram - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=170050

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Order Yourselves

2015-09-27 — Greg Gaughan

FuseOrder

Are you going to a festive, company meal this year? Many restaurants want you to pre-order your food. This usually involves a number of frustrating, error-prone steps[1]. And, unlike ordering at the table, guests are in the dark about what everyone else is choosing.

There is a better way: FuseOrder.

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Space Invaders

2015-03-13 — Greg Gaughan

Osaka Invader

We invent games to build worlds, often founded on reality. Chess is an ancient example. The chess pieces represent real-world characters from the time of the game's creation. The medieval world had fighting kings and queens and knights on horseback and... bishops? As a child, I found it strange that there were bishops on the chess battlefield, not realising that the church used to be a more militant power.

Bishop Invader

Games let us replay history and simulate what-ifs and what-might-have-beens.

Computer games also build worlds, in ever more immersive ways. They are simulations of their time. The seminal video game Space Invaders was released by Taito in 1978. A genre-defining shoot 'em up, it introduced the concepts of multiple lives for the player and high scores.

Space Invaders screenshot

The creator of Space Invaders was Tomohiro Nishikado. This guy was driven: for over a year he designed and built every part of the game himself. He built his own hardware and composed the sound effects, programmed the game and designed the artwork.

Space Invaders was released around the time of Star Wars, not long after the race to the moon. People believe the game is about defending Earth from waves of invading alien creatures from another planet. It's not. The game is about an earlier time.

Tomohiro Nishikado was born in the city of Osaka, Japan in March 1944.

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How your bank is tracking your phone

2014-09-03 — Greg Gaughan

I strongly suspect that my credit card company and my bank have access to my mobile phone location. Here's why:

pa-6820617

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Will.i.am®

2014-04-12 — Greg Gaughan

Will.i.am St. John Will.I.AM Coltrane

Tags: Music

"Welcome to InfoLink, the best way to organise your life."

2012-09-18 — Greg Gaughan
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I recently found one of my first shareware programs, InfoLink, tucked away in a BBS (bulletin board system) archive.

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