My threejs implementation of the Excel 97 easter egg is basically done. It could use some music, I dunno.

Come fly with me, come fly, come fly away:

rezmason.github.io/excel_97_eg

Code's here. I'll flesh out the repo soon to be more like my other projects:

github.com/rezmason/excel_97_e

This was an adventure and a hassle.

I've just written a tiny C program for Win32 that reports the current 256-color system palette. This is useful for extracting the color palettes of old palette-based programs.

I'm so far out of my wheelhouse it's eerie. I feel like I'm standing in a bog at midnight with a radio receiver, recording the signal of a numbers station. Real what-the-hell-am-I-doing-out-here energy.

Anyway here's the terrain of the Excel 97 easter egg rendered as a surface chart in Excel for Mac 2011.

This moonscape does not exist.

What? No, of course I'm not done. This is destined for the browser, like every other zombie I resurrect from the nostalgia bin. I'll keep you posted.

What? Yes, I'm still planning on live-streaming the project, it just doesn't make sense to try that until my cold's vanquished and I tackle some work stuff.

I'll keep you posted! I will! Jeez!

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Fun fact: this flight sim was the work of Excel 97's charting team, including the intern Hank Chien, who went on to become a Donkey Kong world champion and also a plastic surgeon.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Chi

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For those who don't know, I grew up with Macs in a very Windows-dominated community who can go to hell. My one concession in the platform wars back then was this flight simulator easter egg hidden in Microsoft Excel 97.

Sick with a cold and hardly able to think, I had enough basal drive to cram Excel 97 into a VirtualBox image, reproduce the easter egg and then start reverse engineering it.

Turns out you can glean a lot from memory dumps!

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"Where's Rez?"

One answer: I had a guest over, and then we got colds, during a pandemic, which in hindsight is so unwise I'm hesitant to mention it in case someone gets the wrong idea.

Another answer: I've been flying over Microsoft Excel 97.

I just tried soba for the first time, pretty tasty! I still prefer warm noodles over cold, but there buckwheat flavor is my kind of yum. I imagine it being very refreshing on s hot day 😋

Step one is admitting you have a problem.

Here are all the CDs I've collected over the years but haven't experienced yet. On the right is music, in the middle is old software, and on the left are three comedy albums I bought at a Todd Barry gig in 2011.

Found a $1 Lego-like construction set. Sydney Opera House, it says! Lego's sells for $190, so this is a massive bargain.

Had to mod one piece, though, otherwise it wouldn't actually fit together right

Another neat aspect of this project is, a ton of its text and information are just crammed into its HTML. The scripts do the bare minimum necessary to get the job done. This means web crawlers and other browserless web systems can glean lots of info from the app, even if it doesn't run.

I just took this a step further and made the Help popup appear when a visitor has scripts disabled, along with a bit of extra info just for them.

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Now, the app isn't as accessible as it could be, and that's just a matter of time, but one thing I tried to do from the outset was to put all its unnecessary bells and whistles behind a root-level CSS class, so folks who prefer standard web components can opt out of the frills.

Making a web app accessible takes more than that, but I intend to do more, down the road. Actually consulting with an a11y expert is something I'm willing to pursue. This is good stuff to know.

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Who's in the mood for some uploaded screen capture?

It's been a busy week of late-night coding, peppered with glances at MDN web docs, and here's what I have to show for it:

- the popups are complete
- I've finished the file loading UI
- there's keyboard shortcuts now
- zoom improvements
- code improvements, for what it's worth

What's obviously missing is the simulation itself, which I want to implement on the live stream!

I just put my secondhand desk on risers, so I could finally stage this uncluttered photo of the setup:

Be-lieve-it-or-not,
IIIII tilt-in-3D,
the early web had aesthetics
that a-ppeal-to-meee

I'm seeing a lot of great designs for webring buttons!

Mine will probably be basic, but the pixel-pushing shout-to-the-world nature of this thing encourages me to play with something I don't often play with,

which is super pretentious and self-aggrandizing taglines for Internet destinations. Like it's 1997.

Come, cringe with me.

Here's the project I"m talking about:

rezmason.github.io/wireworld-p

It's a cellular automata, like Conway's Life, but restricted to wires; someone designed this programmable computer in it; I'm porting my old Flash app to vanilla JS to run it.

The thing is, there's many different ways to program this. So I could make a video or live stream session for each one.

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Merveilles

Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.