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The Most Compelling Reason So Far For Me To Get An iPad

If you were lucky enough to hang around the Dumbrella booth at San Diego Comic Con last month, scrollsaw-wielding madman Chris Yates might have shown you something very interesting indeed — a prerelease version of the new Baffler! for iPad app, which released today. Developer Twenty Sided Planet’s been at work for a year on this, and having played with it some, I can say it was time well spent. The grab-a-piece-and-spin-it-around functionality is crisp and smooth, and the timer counting up how long it takes you to solve a puzzle is maddening in its insistence at ticking along at a rate of one second per second.

Best of all, consider what you get — fifteen Chris Yates original puzzles, the digital versions scanned from actual physical puzzles, the prices of which would range from the dozens of American Cash Dollars to multiple hundreds. To obtain fifteen Baffler! originals would be out of the reach of all but the most devoted (and wealthy) collector, but Yates and Twenty Sided Planet are letting you have this for a measly three bucks (with future expansion packs undoubtedly at a similar pricepoint). Take a look at the launch video (there’s some nice quick shots of multi-level Baffler!s around the 1:10 mark) and then we can all sit here and wait to see how long it takes Apple to make The Baffler! for iPad an official demo app in their stores. ‘Cause man, this thing is addictive.

  • With the country going all excited for Bobak Ferdowsi¹, would this be a good time to point out that Jorge Cham’s new video series, Ph.Detours, talked to him last week? Yes, yes it would. Ferdowsi’s about halfway through the video (with mohawk but without coloration), but the real stars of the show are JPL program engineer Chaz Morantz and the full-size Curiosity test model.

    As long as we’re talking PhD Comics, we should also mention that their Two Minute Thesis Contest is up to the voting stage — grad students give a brief pitch about what they’re working on, you can listen in and get smarter in your spare time, and the thesis with the most votes will be the first to be illustrated for a new web series, along with other fabulous prizes.

    Me, I’m leaning towards Rescue Times Need[ed] By Fire Services At The Critical Structure Fire by Thomas Lindemann, Rescue Engineering, Cologne University of Applied Sciences because come on — how many other candidates have to do their research inside burning buildings?

  • Called it: Khoo putting together Strip Search entry guidelines based on Penny Arcade hiring practice.
  • Okay, we all knew that B9.5 was going to crush its goal, we just didn’t know the final number. As it turns out, the final number was slightly over US$140,000, meaning that the Benign Kingdom project as a whole has taken in just over 200 grand. On behalf of everybody that pledged early and kept seeing new stuff added to our rewards packages, I’d like to thank the incredible upsurge in backers that brought in more than US$50K in the last six days of the campaign. Seriously, you just don’t see the curve of the projected total go up all that often on Kickstarts. Now the only question is what the Benign Ones do to top this.

¹ I’ve mentioned previously that despite my childhood daydreams, I know I never could make it as an astronaut, but if I had been born 20 or 25 years earlier, I would have fought like hell to earn a chair in NASA mission control, so indulge me as I take a moment to recognize that not only has Bobak Ferdowsi got great hair and style out the wazoo, he’s a Flight Director.

Less than ten years out of college, and he’s calling the shots for all the flight controllers in that mission control center. That’s how it works when you’ve got the headsets on — a year or two out of school you’re saving an Apollo mission from an unnecessary abort, and if you stick with it by the time you’re 30 you’re very possibly sitting in Gene Kranz’s chair.

Think I exaggerate? John Aaron (EECOM) and Steve Bales (GUIDO) were twenty four years old when they called (respectively) “SCE to Aux”, and “We’re Go on that program alarm”. Every single person that’s ever plugged into a flight controller’s loop and called, “Go, Flight” is a goddamn hero and if you don’t know their names and stories, shame on you.

Thanks for the kind words re: The Baffler! iPad app – I’m mighty proud of it (especially some of the crazy puzzles we have coming later).

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