Cool Stuff I Found This Week: 2022-WN05

Last Updated: 2022-01-31 09:00:00 -0600

As something sort of new, and since a busy work life has made it harder to work on PETI (which has made it harder to grab lab notes), I’ve taken the time to collate a list of the cool things I found this week. I want to make this a regular feature going forward; maybe weekly might not hold the water, but that’s the idea for now.

Esolang of the Week: Piet

I love me a good Esolang. If you aren’t familiar, Esoteric Languages are computer programming languages developed for exotic reasons - exploring unconventional theories of computing, being deliberately obscure or diffuclt to program in, or to satisfy the whims of your muse. I quite enjoy them; I’m not fluent in any, but I enjoy browsing lists of them from time to time and sticking them in my back pocket for later.

This week, I wanted to introduce a graphical programming language called Piet. Piet was created to answer an unusual question: what if you took fundamental concepts of stack-based computer architecture and handed them to pioneering abstract artist Piet Mondrian? David Morgan-Mar, a frequent flier in the Esolang community (creator of the more famous examples of Esolangs, Ook! and Chef), asked himself this question and came out immediately with this language.

The result is an imaginative stack-based, two-dimensional language that uses shift in size, hue, and brightness of colored regions known as codels to tell an invisible pair of pointers how to interact with the stack. It’s quite innovative, and fully turing complete. I like this language both for its conceptual creativity and the creativity it affords the user. This example below is only one of the many valid ways you can express a hello world statement in Piet:

Creative-Commons Image of the Source Code for "Hello World" in Piet

A Short History Lesson About the Russian Navy.

Have you heard of SS Kamchatka? I found a very interesting retelling of its hilarious history.

Toy of the Week: Sarcasm Automation

Expressing sarcasm through text is one of the harder unsolved problems in computing, one that wE hAvE AttEmpTeD tO sOlVe via memes. Yes, memes.

Typing like that is hard. Typing into a tool somewhere and copying the output into the actual place you wanted it sucks too. Enter twitter user @BenSommerf, who decided to solve that problem the fun way. His solution is novel - it’s effectively a keylogger with MITM functionality. Keystrokes go into one raspberry pi, and go out to the intended target computer via a second one. Simply flip the switch on the box to activate or deactivate sarcasm mode.

a MoRe UsEfUl DeVeLoPmEnT iN cOmPuTiNg HaS nEvEr BeEn AcHiEvEd

Quit Stalling, Patch. Where’s the next PETI update?

Tonight!. It might not end in a release but it should end in some working audio code.

PETI is a major project intended to design and construct a virtual pet from Open Source Hardware and Software, and to encourage others to modify and tinker with similar projects. If you would like to support the development of this, or any of the other projects I’m working on for Arcana Labs, and you wanted to show your support financially, your best avenue is via my Github Sponsors account or by making a one-time donation to Arcana Labs via or through other avenues detailed here. Github Sponsors also get access to a special patrons-only section of the Arcana Labs Discord Server, where we talk about the ongoing super-secret project.