Categories
games

The Knight’s Tour

The Knight’s Tour is a sequence of chess moves by a knight on a chessboard such that the piece visits every square only once. How hard could it be?

Animated chess board with a single Knight and no other pieces going to every square on the chess board once

Here’s one possible path that I worked out starting at e1.

e1, g2, h4, f3, e5, g6, h8, f7, d8, b7, a5, c6, d4, b3, a1, c2, b4, a2, c1, d3, c5, a6, b8, d7, f8, h7, g5, e6, f4, h3, g1, e2, g3, h1, f2, e4, c3, d1, b2, a4, b6, a8, c7, b5, a7, c8, d6, e8, f6, g8, e7, d5, e3, c4, a3, b1, d2, f1, h2, g4, h6, f5, g7, h5

The trick is (as far as I can tell) you’ve got to move in a pattern such that at the halfway point your board looks like this:

Chess board with one knight halfway on the Knight's Tour

There might be other ways to complete the tour, but regardless, if you can get sets of two in the block pattern similar to the image above then the rest is just as easy as getting here in the first place. Also, notice that only two corners have been filled at this point, A1 and G8 while at the same time in the centre four squares D4 and E5 are filled while D5 and E4 are not yet taken. The other general idea is to choose the move that has the least options to move to next (beware there are exceptions).

The knight is randomly placed at the outset but this pattern is buildable from any of the start positions I’ve worked on. Give it a try: The Knight’s Tour. The source code is at github if you’d like to build your own — created by Reddit user psrwo.

(via BoingBoing)

Categories
podcasting

YouTube Audio to Overcast

Mike Rockwell on how to convert YouTube videos into audio ready for playback on Overcast. Spoiler: He uses a Shortcut.

There’s just so many videos on YouTube that don’t really need the video component. Whether they be information videos or talk shows, often times you can get by without the visuals. For those videos, the YouTube app is a bit heavier than what is necessary for listening. Something like Overcast with its Smart Speed feature, is a much better solution.

[…]

So I put together a shortcut — Push To Overcast — that lets me download a video from YouTube, convert it to an audio file, and then easily upload it to Overcast.

[…]

The shortcut utilizes UPull.me to download the YouTube videos. I don’t know too much about the site or who built it, but it’s the best method I’ve found for downloading videos from YouTube.

You need to have Overcast Premium in order to upload a file via the website but it’s a well-worthwhile purchase even if you don’t use this shortcut.

(via Michael Tsai)

Categories
parody

Watch the Tesla Cybertruck go… Back to the Future

Worth it for the license plate.

(via BoingBoing)

Update: The video below is actually a little more interesting and came out a few days after the top one. It’s a “deep fake” with Robert Downey Jr. inserted as Doc and Tom Holland playing Marty.

Categories
economics

Pigouvian Horn Tax in Mumbai

A pigovian tax is a tax on any market activity that generates negative externalities. One such negative externality is the noise pollution that happens in Mumbai as drivers continually slam on their horns hoping to help speed up the wait at traffic lights. The Mumbia police have issued such a pigouvian tax on the honkers by setting up noise detectors that automatically reset the red light waiting time if the honking gets too loud.

From the article:

For the Mumbai’s perpetual honkers, who love to blare the horns of their vehicles even when the traffic signal is red, the Mumbai Traffic Police has quietly come up with an unique initiative to discipline them in order to curb the alarming rise in the noise pollution levels in the country’s commercial capital.

From Friday (January 31, 2020), it has installed decibel meters at certain select but heavy traffic signals to deter the habitual honkers through a campaign named ‘The Punishing Signal’.

Joint Police Commissioner (Traffic) Madhukar Pandey said that the decibel monitors are connected to traffic signals around the island city, and when the cacophony exceeds the dangerous 85-decibel mark due to needless honking, the signal timer resets, entailing a double waiting time for all vehicles.

Photo Credit – Adam Cohn CC 2.0
(Via Marginal Revolution)

Categories
entertainment

Star Wars: Underworld Test Footage

A long time ago, (circa 2010), way before The Mandalorian, LucasFilm began working on a TV series called “Star Wars: Underworld”. After the sale to Disney and due to the high cost of production, the series was put on indefinite hold and then cancelled. Here is some test footage from Stargate Studio that appeared online today (followed by the making-of footage).

Released test footage from 2010 of the cancelled Star Wars TV show “Underworld,” which was to take place in the lower levels of Coruscant. The series was set after the events of Order 66. The video game “1313” was to be a tie-in of this series. Due to the immense cost of shooting the series, as well as the selling of Lucasfilm to Disney, “Underworld” was delayed and eventually cancelled.

This footage was produced by Stargate Studios (whose VFX resume includes Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, The Orville) in partnership with Lucasfilm. The VFX technology displayed in the making-of portion is Stargate Studios’ impressive real-time rendering Virtual Backlot Live technology.

For more information about the concept art, stories, and development of “Underworld,” as well as “1313,” check out this Underworld archive.

(via Andy Farrell)

Categories
Apple

Apple Financial Results – Q1 2020

Last October, when Apple released their forth quarter earnings for 2019 expectations were blown away. As a shareholder of Apple Stock, 2019 was a very good year for APPL.

Here is the press release from Apple’s 1st quarterly results for 2020, which includes links to their data summary. Long story short, it’s another incredible quarter for Apple.

The Company posted quarterly revenue of $91.8 billion, an increase of 9 percent from the year-ago quarter and an all-time record, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $4.99, up 19 percent, also an all-time record. International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We are thrilled to report Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, fueled by strong demand for our iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, and all-time records for Services and Wearables,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “During the holiday quarter our active installed base of devices grew in each of our geographic segments and has now reached over 1.5 billion. We see this as a powerful testament to the satisfaction, engagement and loyalty of our customers — and a great driver of our growth across the board.”

In summary:

  • iPad unit sales were down 11%
  • Mac unit sales were down 3.5%
  • iPhone unit sales were up about 8% but revenue was up a whopping 29 percent. The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max continue as unprecedented hits.
  • Services were up 17%.
  • Wearables up an astounding 37%! It’s fairly obvious that AirPods Pro and Apple Watch are growing like crazy. This is anecdotal but when I first bought my watch I very rarely, if ever saw others with them. Now it seems like I see people wearing Apple watches every day.

Most interestingly, Tim Cook finished his introductory speech mentioning the coronavirus and, while being careful to be sensitive to its human cost, touched on how the disease may affect production. Asian suppliers have recently expressed their concerns about keeping up with Apple’s increasing production order while dealing with a disrupted supply chain due to widespread hospitalizations and quarantines.

Jason Snell has posted the complete transcript of the earnings call, as well his always excellent summary and charts.

Categories
technology travel

NeverSSL.com

Here’s a great little travel tip from Marco Arment via his podcast ATP. When you don’t have cellular service but need to connect to Wi-Fi and can’t get your phone to get started, trying to connect to a non secure socket layer site will solve the problem. (This happens to me every time I go grocery shopping in the States and want to check with the better half if we need more milk).

Here’s the relevant ATP clip: overcast.fm/+R7DVAsQuw/12:17

And, as Arment points out, a sure address in which to connect that will always use just plain unencrypted http is Neverssl.com.

Categories
basketball news

Kobe Bryant – Death of a Superstar

While the full details are not yet known, ESPN appears to have an early scoop on what happened in that fatal flight.

The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant that crashed Sunday was in a climbing turn at about 2,400 feet before it turned into a dive, a source told ESPN. According to flight-tracking data, the copter was in a 4,000-feet-per-minute descent when it crashed

Categories
space

The New USA Space Force Logo

In December, the United States announced a new branch of the military, The Space Force. Today they released the logo for the new service and a lot of people are talking about how it looks like the logo from StarFleet.

I did a quick search and as much as it tickles my biases to make fun of the logo, it’s fair to say Star Trek copied real life space organizations rather than the other way around.

This collection of Star Trek logos shows that Trek did a bit of borrowing from NASA and the United Nations.

Categories
bad review revue

The Bad Review Revue

Dolittle: “Dolittle is a not a film. Dolittle is a crime scene in need of forensic analysis. Something happened here. Something terrible. Something inexplicable.” — Scott Tobias, NPR

Like a Boss: “Like a Boss is a truly terrible movie that wastes the talents of a good cast in material that would be beneath everyone with the exception of Rob Schneider.” — Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: “It’s a shell of a film, more machine now than ever. A twisted wreck of fan service, messy assembly of conveniences, lazy echoes and callbacks crashing into an aborted conclusion.” — Blake Howard, Dark Horizons

Cats: “Seeing Jennifer Hudson’s snot continue to glisten over her lips, refusing to be wiped away, made me Google, ‘Can you lose an Oscar?'” — Jordan Calhoun, Black Nerd Problems

Underwater: “By stealing everything from Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic [Alien], this watered down rip-off brings nothing new to the table. In the ocean, no one can hear you sigh.” — Asher Luberto, culturevulture.net