Category Archives: feature

Amstrad BASIC that approximates the tiling schemes that a local council might have used for a municipal building in the 1970s

A post from Rob Manuel:

I like to doodle around with code and I found myself spending two days of my life fiddling with Amstrad BASIC – a platform that’s been obsolete since about 1988, getting it to output stuff that looks like council tiles or bus fabric designs.

There’s something really delightful about returning to a programming language after 30 years and working within the limits of the system and just having fun.

Pretty sure I’ve sat on this

Certain I’ve seen this in the town hall in Wolverhampton

Which tube line is this?

Truth be told I didn’t start from the point of trying to make stuff that looks like bus fabric / council tiles but from thinking about how old computers with limited palettes used to mix colour by placing alternate coloured pixels next to each other.

This was prompted by thinking about Jill Lawson‘s work – a pixel artist who came to minor public fame in the mid 80s where her work was featured in Amstrad Computer User and then she was invited onto Blue Peter.

(If anyone from BBC Archive reads this, please dig out that clip and stick it online.)

BTW: The more I look at this – the more I realise what complete work of art it is. Not just technique but content too. The fine detail, the water, the swans, the plant life contrasted with the teenage boy looking down, absorbed in self. “Look around you! Enjoy the world!” Jill appears to be saying.

Incredibly she only uses four colours, as that’s what the computer could display in 320×200 but her choice of palette and colour mixing gave the illusion of many more.

I had to zoom in on this image to believe there’s only one yellow in it.

So I wrote some code to mix colours and did it on an Amstrad emulator because that had a certain purity about it and this was the result:

But then whilst fiddling I started sending it different characters than simply the hash one and quite liked the results.

It also produces stuff that reminds me of swimming pool tiles:

Anyway – here’s the type-in if you want to have a play. And yeah it’s a type-in because I think offering a type-in is amusing in 2018, and partly because my head has been filled with this stuff through running @yorecomputer.

(And there’s two errors in that listing – line 210 twice and the instructions are wrong about the ‘a’ key – that should be the ‘i’ key.)

And what have I learnt from coding BASIC 30 years later? GOSUBS are just as unreadable as any GOTO. But playing in text modes is just fun, and it has a distinct look to it, or aesthetic as the kids say today.

And then as now I like to just go where the code takes me. I started with wanting to stipple and ended with bus seats.

And finally – let’s just show some more output shall we?

I love generative stuff. Ordered randomness. It’s what the bots are, it’s what this is. I like nothing better than plonking a few rules together and pressing GO and seeing what comes out.

British street signs that have been fantastically improved by vandals removing or adding letters

Your B3ta editor Rob writes…

I was off to the cinema the other night and walked past a local street sign in North London that once again had been vandalised to turn “Raveley Street” into “Rave Street” so I took a snap and tweeted it:

What I didn’t expect was that a load of people would reply with photos of similar comedy desecrations in their areas.

It’s like a folk resistance to boring names – a small bit of British anarchy asserting our right to be puerile – here’s the 12 best examples so far.

1. Apse Heath

2. Dogpool Lane

3. Atherstone Mews

4. Prentis Road

5. Clint Lane

6. Essex Drive

7. Wellingborough

8. Bellenden Road

9. Corn Street

10. Shilbottle

11. Canal Street

12. Bateman Street

Although there’s one way to deal with this kind of tomfoolery – don’t put enough space on the sign for any extra letters

If you have any more then add them to the thread on Twitter.

77 true (but sometimes trivial) reasons YOU have unfriended people on social media

This tweet from @daviandent made us wonder YOUR reasons for unfriending people?

So we made an anon form for you to tell the truth to.

About 250 of you answered and here’s just 77 reasons we enjoyed and thought you might like to read.

  1. “Was using mobile app and pressed the wrong bit of the screen”
  2. “I unfriended someone for publicly spoiling the plot of Terry Pratchett’s last book, and not apologising”
  3. “I unfriended someone for not being able to spell publicly”
  4. “Saying they thought Alien vs Predator was good”
  5. “80% of my friends won’t answer this”
  6. “Kids aren’t perfect, but you’d think theirs were from their bloody feed”
  7. “Repeatedly posting events and asking people if they wanted to go, and then saying they can’t make it on the day. Every single time”
  8. “RTing any slight bit of praise, constantly”
  9. “Because of endless endless endless pictures of their kids/dinner/holiday”
  10. “You don’t need a new profile picture every day. Stop it”
  11. “Continuous canary posts, even the ones that are just obviously horse shit”
  12. “They played all the hashtag games that ever popped up on Twitter”
  13. “Someone kept posting pictures of their rancid, infected foot”
  14. “I unfollow when people whinge about being unfollowed. “That tweet about cats cost me 5 followers from cat-haters.” grow up”
  15. “I don’t care which Pokemon you just caught. And why are you still playing Pokemon go after the first day anyway?”
  16. “Decades long friend shared some Britain First shit. Instant unfollow and haven’t spoken to her since”
  17. “Checking into every bus they’ve ever been on”
  18. “Not recognising the difference between your and you’re. And yore”
  19. “Vegans”
  20. “Former colleagues, or even current colleagues who are just the dullest”
  21. “I mute actors etc when a new project comes out and they tweet about it endlessly. I understand they have to but so boring”
  22. “Never shutting the fuck up about Cross-fit”
  23. “Consistently awful ‘inspirational’ memes”
  24. “Terrible spelling”
  25. “Sly misogyny disguised as ‘banter'”
  26. “They changed their name to something wacky and I forgot who they were”
  27. “He allowed racist dialogue to carry on underneath his posts”
  28. “Auto sharing from Instagram – stop doing it you wankers”
  29. “Every time I put a picture up of a meat-based meal she would send me youtube videos of animals being slaughtered/mistreated. She was an angry vegan. It became a bit much”
  30. “Picture of a pube, presumably theirs”
  31. “They were irrelevant in person, let alone social media”
  32. “Sepia profile picture”
  33. “Those ambiguous pleas for help i.e. ‘Some days those who you thought were real friends show their true colours.’ Bellends”
  34. “Claiming every single item on the news was a false flag conspiracy”
  35. “He constantly posted pictures of his cooking and it looked shit”
  36. “Kept tagging me on dogging pages”
  37. “Moved to Crawley, married a man named Alan Partridge (no, really), and became a racist”
  38. “Constantly telling us she held a sign up saying Trump is a cunt”
  39. “Too many tweets about Porcupine Tree”
  40. “i’m doing a 3km sponsored smugathon round Victoria Park for dog charities. Please find it in your hearts to sponsor me and fluffy”
  41. “An American who filled my timeline with Game of Thrones spoilers before I got to watch it”
  42. “Replying to something I had retweeted, including me in an ill-considered conversation with the original author”
  43. “She became a wedding photographer and posted every job”
  44. “Kept tagging me in unfunny videos/pics from “lad” pages 15+ times a day, many of which weren’t really that funny in 2003 when I first saw them”
  45. “Overly frequent TMI health updates with hashtags ‘oh no, not diarrhoea again #gastro #whyme #nomorekebabs'”
  46. “They simply would not shut up enough”
  47. “Not replying to tweets like they’re some sort of fucking celebrity”
  48. “I know most of you won’t bother sharing this but cancer”
  49. “Having a harry potter themed wedding”
  50. “Kept posting Robbie Williams videos”
  51. “For tweeting every time they cut the lawn.don’t want hear it”
  52. “They leapt on every idiotic viral tweet to insert themselves into the conversation and tell people off that they were bad. Boring”
  53. “They repeatedly invited me to level up a pig or something in a farming game. Like they seemed incensed that I didn’t do it the first time they polluted my feed”
  54. “Connecting Facebook with Spotify and sharing every song ever played”
  55. “They had a smug username”
  56. “Writing loads of shit poetry about how they have been let down by other people”
  57. “They genuinely didn’t know who Leonard Cohen was”
  58. “They had a baby, a new tattoo about the baby and started selling makeup whilst complaining about not having much money on maternity leave. All with horrible spelling”
  59. “Directly after my post, they began a reply to a friend in a 6-way conversation with “what he’s trying to say is.””
  60. “For telling me not to talk about politics”
  61. “A previously anonymous account posted a selfie and I realised I had hooked up with them on Grindr, and it was not a good experience”
  62. “I’ll follow this person as they seem to express right wing opinions without being a dick about it and I should escape the bubble. Oh. they’ve started sharing prison planet memes. Unfollow”
  63. “Too much vaguebooking, e.g. ‘sick of this shit’ or ‘people suck sometimes'”
  64. “Years of filling my timeline with his “just playing devil’s advocate” posts, followed by him making a disparaging comment about pigeons. That was the clincher”
  65. “They criticised the mastering of a tune I released”
  66. “You won’t see this in the MSM, but..”
  67. “He said that the film Gravity was trash. I love that film”
  68. “Wake up sheeple!”
  69. “Sick of seeing photos of their boobs disguised as an interestingly angled selfie”
  70. “He and his wife joined the Conservative Party and wouldn’t stop banging on about them. He shared every campaign post from every awful candidate he had befriended and I couldn’t stand all the smug photos”
  71. “Thought she’d get her tits out more often”
  72. “Parked like an asshat blocking my car in for hours”
  73. “Started out as a yoga account but kept tweeting as a trump supporter”
  74. “Because I found they worked for the DWP”
  75. “Seemed appropriate after the divorce”
  76. “Tagged her sister in dozens of memes every day, and they appeared in my newsfeed for some reason. Couldn’t change settings to stop seeing them”
  77. “Got really into Jesus and started posting about Obama being the Antichrist”