When I was in high school, I was often bored. And when I was bored, I often played around with programs on my Texas Instruments TI-82 graphing calculator. Most of the stuff I wrote for the calculator has been lost to history . . . I still have the calculator itself, but its memory has been wiped countless times since the late ’90s, and I didn’t have any mechanism for backing it up.

Well, while I was looking for something completely unrelated in the dark recesses of my hard drive, I stumbled upon some text files with TI-basic source code. Apparently, at some point, I manually transcribed some code over to my PC . . . specifically, the code for two short animations starring an unfortunate stick figure named Bill and his demented, unnamed companion.

Because I’m a nerd, I was able to get these programs/animations into a usable TI-82 format (via a Windows 98 virtual machine and the ancient TI GraphLink software) . . . and then it was quick and easy to transfer them to the TI operating system in an emulator (WabbitEmu) and run them. There were a couple transcription errors, but, after fixing them, they ran perfectly.

So, yeah . . . here are two short animations that I put together on a TI-82 calculator when I was bored in high school. . . . . . . Continued

Hurricane Irma from Space

Randy Bresnik, NASA

Much of Florida has been devastated by Hurricane Irma, the second major hurricane to make landfall in the United States this year (after a twelve year hurricane drought). The state is just beginning to repair the damage; large portions of the state are still without electric power, and some areas remain flooded.

Many people have been displaced, or have had their homes and businesses seriously damaged. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation to a reputable disaster relief charity like Catholic Charities USA or the American Red Cross. Your donation will be used to help provide for the safety and well-being of the victims of this disaster.

Every day is a stupid holiday now. It’s always ‘National Donut Day’ or ‘National Textiles Day’ or something. I think it’s getting pretty silly.

Rather than argue with it, I’ve decided to embrace it with my own set of idiotic “holidays.”

Head over to https://www.this-stupid-day.com/ and see what day it is today, or what day it is/was on any other day.

This is not necessarily the final version (I’ve given it a release number of 0.9, pending finalization). Feedback is welcome, and some of the “holidays” may change in the final version.

Enjoy!

NASA

Southeast Texas has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in twelve years. Though now downgraded to a tropical storm, Harvey continues to hover over Texas and drop record-setting amounts of rain. Widespread flooding is occurring throughout the region, and many thousands of people have been displaced.

My own family in Houston is safe, but many others are not. Please consider making a donation to a reputable disaster relief charity like Catholic Charities USA or the American Red Cross. Your donation will be used to help provide for the safety and well-being of the victims of this disaster.

I have just launched a minor update to Off on a Tangent, which brings the version to 25.1. Minor updates like this are where I launch noticeable (but relatively small) changes to the style and functionality of the site.

This one is fairly minor, even as ‘minor updates’ go. I have made a number of small improvements throughout the site, including some cleanup to the header and menu, improvements to the general user experience on mobile devices, and a new ‘back to top’ button that will jump you to the top of the page. I’ve also improved the ‘featured image’ display on articles that have them and improved code validity and compliance with accessibility standards.

Enjoy!