cool programs about a decade latetech

June 19, 2007

Hey kids! Remember the Palm? Would you believe games and utilities are still being made for it?

Alright, I'm a little cynical. But I still think my Palm Z22 has about the best PDA UI out there, so much better designed around the constraints of working with a small screen than the Microsoft Outlook derived crap, or some of the cellphones that don't even pretend to make an effort at usability.

For a long time I've been amusing myself writing things in PocketC, a little computer language that lets you write, compile, and run things on the Palm. Only recently though did I start to notice there's also a Windows-y desktop version that lets you take the same code and make standalone Palm apps, which is a much cooler way to be. So here are two:

bpm -- this is one of the few truly practical Palm programs I've made, despite (or because of) its bare appearance. If you just start tapping in the rhythm of a song or your pulse, it will give you the beats per minute after just a few taps.
5Jive -- I wrote the core of this years ago, on vacation in Florida, based on a Windows game I saw there. Click on a shape, and then to some square it can move to, and when you get five or more in a row they disappear.

I like the winding paths my unoptimized algorithm for 5jive ends up with... I tweaked the timing so it takes about the same amount of time no matter how many steps the shape has to take. Also I'm pleased with the tiny "" I got to fit in a 39x4 grid as a signature.

Links of the Moment
Two neat things on Slate today: 31 photos that changed the world and this link on some UK people enjoying playing with sins against the English language.