25 April 2006

Juniour reverse-engineering

One of the interesting things which a naif approach to software can do is teach you a lot about how the naïveté sees your results. I haven’t viewed this page in Internet Exploder; characters work perfectly in every browser I have; I’m not going to find a virus-magnet (’Doze) just to test how standard HTML characters [any reported rejects as at posting-time testing appear to be Blogger adjustments simply to flatter Exploder] display in it.

Today, Small Sir showed me a new view of a multi-megabit CPU, display and gigibits of memory and hard disks.

The small-looking computer we keep for children’s games was switched off, but Sir wished to play a favoured game upon it, one which displays golden five-pointed stars when anything significant is achieved. Since the power leads for the computer are (very wisely, in reconsideration) not visible, he simply started with paper/plastic gold stars from his beloved Mum’s excellent literary/art kits.

This was one occasion where I was happy to face a computer sporting a CRT (glass, television-like) monitor, not an LCD (plastic square) display. Wiping off the stars’ glue was simpler — but from the star pattern, I learned two things directly:

  1. which parts of the game were most attractive to Sir (it’s a GPL’ed game — as are very many others on the machine — so it can be and is sceduled to be substantially changed, a difficult ability to find in any closed game)
  2. Sir was not really aware of any input from the machine per se; he regarded the game as a kind of natural or possibly self-aware phenomenon (call based on factors like Sir’s mood and the date/time of discussion)

The computer screen is now shiny and clean, and I’m waiting for my next day home from RPRH’s excellent care so I can test the (scheduled to be edited and tested on my laptop) updated game using my smallish (for now) but highly enthusiastic diagnostician.

No comments: