The Buggy Racing project is the material (software, materials, documentation) needed for teachers or tutors of Python for running a non-trivial web-development project. I ran this project when I was working at the RHUL CompSci department, and have since made it as re-usable and useful as possible for other teachers. If you've taught your students Python and are looking for a practical task to set them on (we ran it over a six-week term), this is a web-dev based project they can get their teeth into. Released under the GPL license (free as in speech and free as in beer) — see about the project for some of the why and how behind it.
If you know someone who teaches Python, please tell them about the Buggy Racing project!
As an experiment I made a few pages illustrating version control (specifically Git) using a Lego house as the example. This was much more complicated to make than it looks and ended up not being suitable for the target audience. I don't think it works in its own right, but it can be useful as a teaching aid for explaining some of the key concepts.
This was something I made during my recent stint teaching within the Computer Science department at Royal Holloway. It’s a fork of the GitHub-pages site I left running there. The whole thing is MIT-licensed so anyone who wants to develop it to better fit their own course/branding/concerns is free to do so. See the superbasic’s about page for a little more background.
Thanks to the work of native-speaking friends who volunteered their time and effort, translations of Dwindle: a tapir’s tale are now available:
As predicted in January, the things I’m dropping onto Instagram every weekday (currently, but this can’t go on forever) are now being archived in the Beholder “scrapbook” on this site. It’s mainly a retrospective and a place for little things that don’t belong anywhere else on the site.
The Beholder site only materially changes when projects get finished (and these tend to take quite a long time). So I’m going to experiment with dropping some one-off bits and bobs from the past onto Instagram. Everything will probably be archived on the site soon afterwards (because Beholder’s longevity has taught me something about relying on external services in the future), but for now, have a look on Instagram to see some curiosities.
The sortbot demonstrates two popular sorting algorithms (quicksort and insertion sort) by moving cards around. This is another experiment of using HTML canvas to make animated diagrams — read more about the demo).
A little visualisation of a triangle of human life. (Really this was a small project to try some things with HTML canvas.)
Dwindle: a Tapir’s Tale is another example of letting the interface contribute to the storytelling (like I did with La Séptima Bala before it). It’s also a small artistic investigation into what extinction means and the disappointing way a species — especially a species as wonderful as the woolly mountain tapir — may well end.
I thoroughly enjoyed BBC Radio4’s recent series on programming languages, Codes that changed the World (presented by the excellent Aleks Krotoski). Listening to it reminded me of a set of nerdy cartoons I had drawn 25 years ago. So I rummaged in on old portfolio and dug them out. See them here: 13 Programming Languages, from 1990. Nerdy, but nostalgic.
That was a displacement activity from the tapirs that I am supposed to be drawing.
At last — new Beholder project!
La Séptima Bala — an online short story in six pages, told with text, René’s illustrations, and a tiny amount of interaction. We hope you enjoy it.
There's now a blog post about the project over on the Fudebakublog.
In 1992 I was working both as a cartoonist and as a visiting lecturer for the computer science department at Royal Holloway. I’ve just put up an illustration I did for a poster back then. How times have changed... right?
Now and again, ever since the page about the boardgame Caverns was added to the site, someone asks for specific details about it. So, finally and several years later, a few new pages have been added showing components from one particular version of the game. These might be of use to anyone planning to make their own set.
The site’s main pages were getting a little dusty, so some cleaning up was in order. It won’t be happening all at once, but bit by bit things are being updated.
Planetarium and Concuspidor are unaffected (so far) but otherwise if you’re using Internet Explorer 8 or below, things might be ugly or clunky. Upgrade or switch browser.
After over sixteen years online, the The Concuspidor story has, for the first time, been significantly updated: now the words come up in pop-up dialogues instead of full page-loads. This makes the story a little easier to read... but you can switch this new behaviour off, and still see this ground-breaking project just as it looked in 1995. Jump into the story.