Hexadecimalised, Metric-aligned Imperial Measures

Despite enduring optimism from the USA and defiance from quaint, antiquated Britain, it seems inevitable that American standard and British imperial measurements will eventually die. As I see it, imperial and standard measures have two problems; firstly that they are bizarre; the following diagram of relationships between imperial units demonstrates this with stark, bewildering clarity:

Secondly, it is not easy to convert between imperial and metric units; conversion factors need memorising, and tables consulting when going between one and the other. Nobody likes this.

However, there is an awesome, cosmic coincidence which exists at a pivotal point between the two systems which, if exploited through a slight tweaking and reform of imperial measures, could not only save these units from fading into insignificance, but could even turn the tables with this neo-imperial system becoming the preferred system of scientists, engineers, merchants and laymen alike, with the comparatively inelegant metric system being consigned to the history books.


Embedded Brainfuck Canvas

Brainfuck is a turing-complete programming language and abstract machine which has only eight operators.

I’ve written a greasemonkey script which searches webpages for specially formatted brainfuck programs, and turns them into graphics by running a brainfuck interpreter and piping the output of the program to an HTML 5 canvas element.

Full details of the implementation are available on my website, where the embedded brainfuck canvas greasemonkey script can also be downloaded.

Here is an example program:


And here is what it looks like when it runs: Brainfuck Spectrum program


Unicode Fancy Font Converter

Ⓣⓗⓔⓢⓔ 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝔸𝕣𝕖 𝓐𝓵𝓵 𝕴𝖓 𝖳𝗁𝖾 𝚂𝚊𝚖𝚎 ⒣⒯⒨⒧ 𝓕𝓸𝓷𝓽-𝓕𝓪𝓬𝓮

Invisible in most major operating systems until recently, the unicode specification defines a bunch of weird tables which are intended to be used as mathematical variables, for people who are not satisfied with good old a to z, a′ to z′, a′′ to z′′, etc.

Many of these are composed of the full roman alphabet, meaning a fun hack is possible which allows you to type with a weird font in places where you cannot normally use formatting – such as a filename, facebook status, or anywhere you can type unicode text.

I’ve made a little script which allows you to enter some text and have it transformed into the silly font of your choosing.

Weird Unicode Font Converter – just copy and paste the outputted red text into somewhere inappropriate.



I’ve just made a little php script which renders an image as braille, using the unicode characters 0×2800 – 0×28FF. Here’s some sample output:



Console image viewer: pbmtoascii

Here’s a neat one-liner I just came up with for those times that you’re stuck at the unix/linux console and really need to peek at an image file but cannot use X11.


Animal Disco

Another silly Java3D app, this time some wolves and rhinos (with Parkinson’s) dancing at a disco in a grassy plain.

Rhinos and wolves gyrating in a field

The movement simply rotates and displaces each animal by a small random amount each frame, so it’s totally unrealistic but I think that makes it funny.


Arduino Etch-a-scope

Over the xmas break I bought myself an Arduino Mini, which was a wonderful distraction from all of the revision I was supposed to be doing.

One of the things I did with it was to hook it up to an oscilloscope, in order to draw stuff on the screen.

Someone’s just asked me how I did it, so I figure now’s as good a time as any to write it up.

I rendered my face as a raster image on the oscilloscope


Mplayer video wall script

So anyway, the thing that prompted me to set up this online journal was my recurring desire to share things that I create with the world. In this instance; the thing that pushed me to actually do something about it, was a perl script I had just written which creates a wall of videos. I created it to optimise my porn viewing, and because I couldn’t find anything to play multiple video files side by side, in a grid.

A 5x5 video wall of old American anti-drug propaganda


Pivot at sdf

So after an evening of not too painful bash scripting, pivot is now1 available as an auto-install tool on SDF.

See http://motd.org/ for more details about SDF’s web tools collection.

1 Once I’ve squashed whatever bug is causing the dubious file permissions.

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