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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Tuesday February 01, 2005
08:19 PM

Obliques

[ #22974 ]
Dear Log,

I've been getting over this cold for about a week now. Ugh. In this bleary state, I can't just sit still and read or watch the television-mo-tron; but I don't trust myself to do anything substantive like work on Perl code. So I noodle around with the ultimate harmless no-consequences environment: PostScript.

And I've been thinking: At the abstract level there's no great difference between "hello world!" in Perl, in PostScript, or in HTML. But even with that in mind, I've recently taken a liking to the idea of a PostScript document that is different each time you print it.

Now, in theory, this is not greatly different from just running Unix "fortune", or in hitting a web page that uses JavaScript to throw a random saying at the screen. But fortune and a fortune-JavaScript both have a problem: they're far too fast, so the payoff is too quick, and it's just some little thing on the screen. There's no "reveal".

But send this (PostScript, one page, about 10KB) to a printer, and metal parts heat up, chemicals swirl, there's a distant-sounding muffled "foooeee" sound, and then finally motors slooooowly slide out a PRINTED PAGE. Special. Just for you.

(Yes, you can preview in GhostView or whatever, but you know that's just peeking.)

It does everything short of playing a music sting sound-effect. TADAAAAAAAAA.

PS: I've thought of making a PS file that, when printed, just spits out a page of freshly generated pseudorandom digits, handy in many technical tasks. But I don't trust the pseudorandom generators in PostScript implementations to something as important as technical tasks of unknown importance. For that, it's better to just hardcopy a page of numbers from random.org.