Tinkering Day 1

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As I couldn’t go to Dev8D and I probably won’t get to go to the next library mash event 😦 I thought I’d have my own day of tinkering. I probably gave myself a bit of a long list of things to try, but I managed a fair bit.

(1) Made a bit of progress on the Literary Twist project – Scraped a list of commonly used words, worked out phrases to replace them and put them into all into a Yahoo Pipe. Need to tinker with it though, to make sure it comes up with consistent and accurate output all the time, no matter what user puts in. I think I could do a bit more with regex too, but that might be another stage on. Also learnt trick for avoiding problem of pipe not running properly. Also realised on another pipe that Yahoo pipes can be overloaded and might not be great for lots of feeds going into one pipe.

(2) I also tried to work out if you can pass query to flash player. You can, but not with the one I wanted to do it to – might try to find a paste and run script, if such a thing exists.

(3) Basic programming – My first programming language was Basic and I still love it. I know some programmers look down their nose at it, but I don’t care. It’s easy for me to remember. I think my head is still in BASIC mode and that’s why I’ve struggled to suss out Java. I’ve made progress on Java, but it’s taken me a bit of time. Anyway, I got a yearning to tinker with my old MSX (still in cupboard) and decided to download an MSX emulator. I could still program in BASIC on it after so many years of not bothering, but I couldn’t save files on the hard drive. I wiped it of my computer in frustration and looked for a browser based basic instead – just out of curiosity.

I found runbasic 🙂 , which looks straight-forward, but will allow me to develop interactive websites in a language I’m familiar with. So, I’ll be tinkering with that, even though I’ll still be using Java too.

(4) I also tried to get to grips with Gamemaker. I’ve had a bit of success in putting very very simple games together on it in the past. However, even though you don’t need to know how to program to use it, I think if you do know how to program you might as well program, as it’ll be just as quick. It’s not as straightforward as pointing and clicking. So, I think my tinkering time will be better spent somewhere else.

(5) I also had a scout around for free Java and php hosting – just as a way to test out some programming on a live site. I found a couple of sites via Free-web-hosting. They don’t get massively high scores, but I just need somewhere to tinker on a live system, rather than on my home test system (Apache server).

I’m quite pleased with what I achieved in my first full day of tinkering – sorting out some of ‘Literary Twist’, flash player queries and tinkering with runbasic. Even where I didn’t make any progress (MSX emulator, Gamemaker) it meant I could wipe them off my list of things I want to get to grips with and move on.

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