Our Programs Are Fun To Use

I have fond memories of Beagle Bros. software. They were one of the few software programs I actually bought when I was a dirt-poor high school student. They were one of the few companies that didn’t copy protect their software, and I would have felt too guilty. After all, they trusted me not to pirate their software.

Of course, at that age, I was under the delusion that software companies were mega-corporations run by faceless adults instead of real people like me. The BB, on the other hand, were obviously real people and it would be really immoral to steal from them, rather than only sort of immoral to pirate other companies software.

I am utterly amazed that “Parable of the Polygons” isn’t revealed for the unscientific, heartstring-tugging manipulative piece of propaganda that it is.

It is a living contradiction. In the author’s own words, it aims to make a point about biases while not drawing attention any real life issues like racism and sexism. Yet it presents a binary model, with discrete transition states, on a 2d grid, and pretends that this can teach us a valuable lesson. It can’t. Any number of tweaks to the model… changing the action radius, changing the discretization, changing the grid… and it would work differently.

The authors themselves admitted on Gamasutra that they didn’t really understand why their model behaved the way it did. Because it was never about building a decent model, only about getting it to behave the way they wanted it to behave.

For shame.

Emailed the writer, James Warner, and he said he’s “completely unfamiliar with Beagles Bros.”

I remember this quote too, but not the source. Perhaps it’s just zeitgeist. The only time I might have used an Apple ][ was in 1989 on a preschool tour.

Jamis Buck has some interesting slides on Maze generating algorithms.

1 Like

Another cool example in the realm of game graphics:

And another about procedural dungeon generation

The Tour of Ceylon shows code snippets with a button to test them interactively in a window: the changes can be compiled on the fly to JavaScript and run in the browser.

And there was a page about learning functional programming in JavaScript, where you have (optionally) to solve small problems to read the next session. But it seems to be down, now.

http://visualgo.net/ is another place to experiment and visualize a good number of Data Structure (Equivalent of what they teach at my university).

When I did my original search I covered every possible permutation, abbreviation, pluralization and then eventually synonyms I could think of. Each keyword on its own, manually checking all results. It was a fun challenge… but how about one that is beatable? :smiley: (I still have this massive collection of .dsk files ready for an easy search if there are any new revelations, though I can’t imagine I missed it.)

1 Like

Another great example, for Markov chains


Hi Jeff,

Did you take a look at the klipse plugin that brings “code & see” environment to any html page?

1 Like


The world’s first linear algebra book with fully interactive figures.

What’s the current state of this tutorial? Is the one currently on commonmark.org the winner?

I tested it on my wife and two co-workers. The interactivity is great, but, unfortunately, the questions and exercises could be more carefully worded. My wife was so frustrated with it that she got up from the table and left with only the words (“I can’t”).

The current tutorial fails to put the instructive content (i.e., what syntax to use or the concept of a hard break) side-by-side with the exercise. It also introduces three difficult topics (links, images and code) way too early for non-coding users.

Sure can you open that feedback as issues on GitHub? I am open to re-ordering it if you think there is a friendlier easier order.


Another fun one


and this one!

Great graphics drill-down with many flipbook style image progressions

Excellent example


And another!


Another really good one

1 Like

Yet another amazing example! I loooooooove interactive books! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


1 Like

Extremely timely example thanks (?) to coronavirus :microbe:

1 Like