Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Browser Notepad

Go here, tap or mouse click in the middle of the page, and start typing. It's a browser notepad. So cool!

This isn't actually a web page. It's just a bit of code instructing your browser to open an editable text window with certain characteristics. While most of us prefer to enter text into word processors or text editors, there are moments when it's handy to do so right in the browser. The downside is that when you close the window (or tab), all text is lost.

The gist of this is surprisingly unsurprising in and of itself. You've encountered countless thousands of text fields. But in this context, where the functionality is unexpected, it feels magical, kooky, even subversive. The mind starts eagerly cooking up possibilities.

Check out what this browser notepad thingee has fostered. Delighted coders and tinkerers (I want to say "hackers", but, like "southern heritage" or "Louis CK", the term's been removed from polite usage by our social overseers) have cooked up a profusion of improvements, modifying every element, and even adding auto-save routines to overcome the lost data issue (there's no reason why one couldn't, with sufficient determination, recreate most of the functionality of a full-fledged word processor...which would be, of course, laughably beside the point). See the comments here and here.

That outpouring illustrates why early web sites like Chowhound fostered a sense of wonder and unleashed such unexpected generosity. We'd all swapped food tips in various contexts; it wasn't so fresh a notion, really. But doing so online felt utterly new, and the shiny newness gave the proceedings an aura of kooky subversive magic.

And, like Chowhound, whoever first brewed up this little trick invested great care in configuring the parameters...which only seem inevitable.


Display Name said...

I remember when the net was young. Me and sara had so much fun. I know you have managed to thus far escape the evil clutches of Games but oh my goodness. I avoided the crack that was ultima online but I was witness to the first day that everquest opened to the public. That awe and joy was present and lasted for a very long time. One of my favorite bloggers, the ferrett once wrote about how the world was a bit more magical during the reign of arcade games. So many quarters, such a sense of discovery. You could walk into a seven eleven and find a brand new machine to conquer. My golden age was the game Dark Age of Camelot. My friend sara and I managed to set up side by side computers. I've never known me a better time and I guess I never will

Jim Leff said...

I was a gamer before all that. Zork, Advent, DECWAR (a command line Star Trek game on a DEC-10 mainframe), and, of course, beloved Asteroids. Nothing after came close, so I mostly dropped out. I do like Wordament, Alto's Odyssey, anything from Pangea. Am considering a Nintendo Switch so I can play Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda, and Firewatch. As for the massively complex ones you're into, I'm uncomfortable devoting that degree of time to learning curve and development. I have too many non-game activities queued that require that degree of commitment.

The Pinball Arcade app is awesome emulation, see http://jimleff.blogspot.com/2018/02/pinball-nirvana-funhouse.html

I also need to finally run Cosmology of Kyoto now that I've got successful emulation.

Display Name said...

I'm excited that you might try Zelda. A little jealous too. Dude who designed that game and also Mario is a genius. If you dare to try Zelda the sound bites will stick in your head forever. You have been warned. A few summers ago I was having trouble opening a door stuck because of heat and humidity outside and freezing a/c inside. When I prevailed and the door opened I hear the sound the game makes when you open a dungeon door. Joyous and triumphant. My man the ferrett says he needs a game with an ending screen. Or he will be peeing into a coke bottle. Speaking of endings if you ever fire up a gameboy and try Final Fantasy Adventure best cultural shock ending evah!

Blog Archive