It lets you shoot stuff. And it helps you type faster.

Type words. Shoot aliens. That’s the premise of Z-Type, an awesome little HTML5 shmup game I found out about yesterday (hat tip: Matt Mullenweg).

I can’t help but smile a little at the name; doubtless it’s a play on R-Type, one of my favorite old games. The gameplay here is very unlike R-Type—actually it’s extremely simplistic—but it’s oddly entrancing. My first time, I scored 2649 points with 88.3% accuracy (hey, I never said I was a good typist!) before dying in a hail of words. Can you do better than that? Try it out and leave a comment with your best score!

P.S. If you like typing games, but want something a bit more competitive, I encourage you to check out TypeRacer, an online multiplayer typing contest drawing source texts from a wide range of songs, novels, non-fiction books, etc.

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Mortality, digital content, and future-safe archives

People die. People are born into this world, they do things, and then they die. It’s been true throughout the course of history, and there’s a reasonably high probability that it will hold true for me, and for everyone reading this blog.

Sound morbid? Well, it is (my next post will be more cheerful, I promise!), but it also raises several interesting questions. What happens to our online lives when we die? Should our digital selves expire when our bodies do, or should they be preserved for future generations? If they should be preserved, should it be in their entirety, or should only our most useful and/or artistic contributions be retained?

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Rascher on Blood on Schneier on Security

[This is a response to Prof. Macek’s first blog prompt.]

Hey y’all. My apologies for the delay in posting this. I meant to get it online over the weekend, but I’ve been fighting off a sinus infection since Sunday morning, and today is the first day since then that I really feel up to writing coherently.

I recently read Rebecca Blood’s interview with security researcher Bruce Schneier. His blog, appropriately titled Schneier on Security, features posts on cryptography and computer security (Bruce’s primary areas of research), as well as what he calls “real-world security” issues such as electronic voting, national ID programs, and counter-terrorism. While I don’t follow Bruce’s blog regularly, I often find myself reading one of his posts after being linked there from another blog, or from Digg or reddit or another tech news site. I was not, however, very familiar with the history of Bruce’s online writing. Reading Rebecca’s interview, one thing jumped out at me that I had not previously considered: blogging radically alters the writing style of blog authors.

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“Good Code”

xkcd is spot-on, as usual:

xkcd comic #844---"Good Code"

Posted in Coding, Geek, Intro to New Media, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Hello, world!

I’ve been meaning to set up a blog at this domain for several months, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Why start now? Necessity, of course—the miracle cure for procrastination.

I’m taking Prof. Stephen Macek’s Introduction to New Media class at North Central College, and part of our coursework is to blog on a regular basis. My previous, short-lived foray into blogging notwithstanding, this will be my first attempt at producing written content fit for public consumption. Can a comp-sci/math nerd like me manage to write interesting posts on schedule? I don’t know; let’s find out. :D

P.S. Please excuse the unoriginal (and rather bland) design. I do plan to replace it with a custom theme, but that might have to wait until after this term at school is finished. In the meantime, a custom header image should suffice.

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