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Flight Control

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In my last post, I explained what I’ve been doing the last twelve days with the time I might otherwise have spent writing blog posts. But what I described there hasn’t been the only distraction. There’s also Flight Control HD. I’ve never been much of a video game player. But three weeks ago I was browsing on-line at MacWorld for any articles about iPad apps when I came upon Essential iPad apps: 10 great games and decided to investigate. I’ve long been fascinated by flight controllers, so it was no surprise that the one game to catch my eye was Flight Control HD. (HD is the standard suffix to indicate that an app has been designed to take advantage of the iPad’s screen. There was a pre-existing version of Flight Control for the iPhone, though I don’t have it and didn’t know about it. Like all iPhone apps, it will work on the iPad, but only in a small space on the screen, or enlarged with poor resolution. The HD version is designed specifically for the iPad.)

In the MacWorld game round-up, James Savage explains:

Flight Control for iPhone is one of the greatest App Store success stories, and Firemint could have easily phoned in the iPad version by just giving us the same game with higher resolution graphics. Fortunately for Flight Control fans everywhere, the developer didn’t—the $5 Flight Control HD takes all the greatness from the original and adds loads more. Gameplay is still just as simple to learn and as addictive as ever—direct planes and helicopters safely to the ground by drawing their flight paths with your finger. With the extra screen real estate, this job is much easier on the eyes and ultimately a better experience. In addition to the four original iPhone airfields, you get four more with three of those in a higher-resolution format. With the bigger screen, there is now room to share control responsibilities with two-player co-op and versus modes.

That pretty well explains it all. I have nothing to add. Except that I’ve been controlling flights lately. Lots of crashes. Watch out.

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Categories: Computing, Games

The Toad

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been pretty quiet the last two weeks. Sorry about that. It’s not for lack of topics to write about. Have I been traveling? Making progress on my backlog of novels? Proving theorems? No. Mostly, in time I might have spent writing posts, I’ve been planning my life. That’s too generous. Really, I’ve been immersed in the inane endeavor of planning how to plan my life.

You know Arnold Lobel’s wonderful children’s book characters Frog and Toad? They are good friends, and their adventures are told in four books published during the 1970’s, each comprising five short, easy-to-read stories. Frog and Toad Together, the second volume, opens with A List. Many years ago, when my old friend Dan had two young boys, he had me read it. Perhaps he arranged for me to read it to one of the boys. I didn’t realize it was a setup, with Dan knowing that I would recognize myself as the living embodiment of Toad.

If you don’t know the story, you can read part of it at Google books here. Or, with more time, you can see an animated version in two parts, starting with the embedded youtube clip at the top and continuing below. Pay special attention to the part in the second and third minutes of part 2.

[Spoiler alert: In this paragraph, I’ll give away some of the plot.] The story opens with Toad waking up and making a list of things to do for the day. He starts with “wake up,” then immediately crosses it off. The climactic moment occurs later, during Toad’s walk with Frog, when a gust of wind blows the list away and Toad is paralyzed. He has no idea what to do next, so he resigns himself to sitting where he is and doing nothing. Hours later, Frog suggests to Toad that they should go to sleep. Toad exclaims, “Go to sleep; that was the last thing on my list!” Calm is restored. He scratches the words on the ground with a stick, crosses them off, and goes to sleep.

What does this have to do with me? I could write pages on the matter, but I don’t want to get too personal. Here are some highlights of my list-making evolution: Read more…

Categories: Computing, Life, Stupidity