Thursday, August 10th, 2023

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"Braille Is Alive, Well, and Ever-Evolving"

A few times a day, a strange, pulsating sound fills the Boston headquarters of the National Braille Press. Thun-thun. Thun-thun. This is what employees of the nonprofit braille publisher call the office's "braille heartbeat," generated by an assortment of printing presses—50-year-old Heidelbergs and modern big-roll embossers alike—pumping away in the basement, producing books and other reading materials for blind readers.

What a fantastic opening for this article. I have to admit, I conceptually knew how braille was printed, but this makes me realize what it must be like, and that it is small printers who make their things.

Secondly, the mention of 'Heidelbergs' makes me think of Catch Me If You Can and DiCaprio's character working the printing shop in France.

The number of new books varies each year because Wilson, who said she's "deeply connected" to the community NBP serves, commissions titles based on "actual demand." When she has an idea for a book, she speaks with NBP authors and readers to gauge whether it would meet an immediate need. As a result, NBP has become known for its technology books, which include manuals for various software, operating systems, apps, and devices, as well as lifestyle titles on topics including cooking, fitness, and online dating. Recently, NBP published a guide to emoji, reproducing 97 face emoji as tactile graphics to help blind readers identify the differences among them, which "can be as subtle as a lifted eyebrow," Wilson said.

And another fascinating callout:

"To call hard-copy braille bulky is an understatement," he said. "It takes several hulking volumes in braille to reproduce what in print would be an unassuming paperback." For reference, NBP's braille edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comprised 12 volumes, totaled 1,100 pages, and weighed 12 pounds.

Really fascinating article and well worth the read.

8/10/2023 5:19 am | | Tags: books, blindness, visual impairment, publishing

Mentopolis is very much my sort of thing

Yesterday Mentopolis debuted on Dropout and I'm watching it this morning and I need to dive into why this is so very much my shit. I am fucking loving it.

I have a huge obsession with the anthropomorphizing of the brain.

It started when I was a kid in my gifted class in elementary school. I had a teacher who had us do an activity where she turned the lights low and had us all sit quietly while she narrated a story which anthropomorphized how the brain worked, explaining the different parts of the brain and their functions, etc. I was rapt. I loved it so much that a few months later when she apparently didn't have a prepared lesson, she asked the class what we wanted to do, and I suggested her reading that again and the rest of the class was on-board.

Fast forward to 2015 (initially I wrote 'a decade' but I am saddened to realize it was actually two decades) with the release of Pixar's Inside Out.

Inside Out was another example of what I loved. And it is my favorite Pixar movie because of that.

And now we have Mentopolis, which is a TTRPG with the characters in someone's brain done as a very noir mystery. I'm loving the cast and have been a vocal fan of the GM, Brennan Lee Mulligan. He's fantastic. It's my belief he is the most talented GM in the world right now.

8/10/2023 6:44 am | | Tags: ttrpg, dimension 20

"The Tetris Effect"

A blog post delving into the idea of three-dimensional Tetris, the implementation challenges, and ideas about it - including a playable demo on desktop browser.

After viewing the Tetris movie, I found myself lying awake, thoughts racing. It's a common occurrence this time I was fixated on how to create a three-dimensional version of Tetris.

Now, Tetris is notoriously difficult to express in three Dimensions. In two Dimensions the player can clearly see all the pieces. However, extend this into three dimensions and the pieces begin to obscure one another.

There have been various complicated solutions to what I'll call the obscuring problem, involving moving cameras, or partial transparency or even arranging the block in a cylinder, but in my opinion none have successfully cracked the complex simplicity of Tetris.

8/10/2023 6:51 am | | Tags: game design, tetris

Automated Archives for August, 10th 2023

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Chess For the Day

Record: 4-0-8
Net Elo Change: -13

Games Played

Blog Posts On This Day

8/10/2023 10:45 pm | | Tags: automated, chess
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