Beholder news

This page just shows project updates. Sometimes there’s also a post on the Fudebakublog. Or — in 2018 and 2020 — something on Instagram.

September 2023

Buggy Racing

The Buggy Racing project is the material (software, materials, documentation) needed for teachers or tutors of Python for running a non-trivial web-development project. I ran this project when I was working at the RHUL CompSci department, and have since made it as re-usable and useful as possible for other teachers. If you've taught your students Python and are looking for a practical task to set them on (we ran it over a six-week term), this is a web-dev based project they can get their teeth into. Released under the GPL license (free as in speech and free as in beer) — see about the project for some of the why and how behind it.

If you know someone who teaches Python, please tell them about the Buggy Racing project!

May 2022

Git with Lego

As an experiment I made a few pages illustrating version control (specifically Git) using a Lego house as the example. This was much more complicated to make than it looks and ended up not being suitable for the target audience. I don't think it works in its own right, but it can be useful as a teaching aid for explaining some of the key concepts.

October 2021

CompSci superbasics

This was something I made during my recent stint teaching within the Computer Science department at Royal Holloway. It’s a fork of the GitHub-pages site I left running there. The whole thing is MIT-licensed so anyone who wants to develop it to better fit their own course/branding/concerns is free to do so. See the superbasic’s about page for a little more background.

April 2020

Dwindle translations

More lovely volunteer effort means that on World Tapir Day two new translations of Dwindle: a tapir’s tale went live:

April 2019

Dwindle translations

Thanks to ロンドン在住の日本バク, on World Tapir Day the Japanese translation of Dwindle: a tapir’s tale went live:

April 2018

Dwindle translations

Thanks to the work of native-speaking friends who volunteered their time and effort, translations of Dwindle: a tapir’s tale are now available:

April 2018

Beholder scrapbook

As predicted in January, the things I’m dropping onto Instagram every weekday (currently, but this can’t go on forever) are now being archived in the Beholder “scrapbook” on this site. It’s mainly a retrospective and a place for little things that don’t belong anywhere else on the site.

January 2018

@beholderstories on Instagram

The Beholder site only materially changes when projects get finished (and these tend to take quite a long time). So I’m going to experiment with dropping some one-off bits and bobs from the past onto Instagram. Everything will probably be archived on the site soon afterwards (because Beholder’s longevity has taught me something about relying on external services in the future), but for now, have a look on Instagram to see some curiosities.

September 2017

Sortbot demonstrates sorting

The sortbot demonstrates two popular sorting algorithms (quicksort and insertion sort) by moving cards around. This is another experiment of using HTML canvas to make animated diagrams — read more about the demo).

July 2017

Be equilateral

A little visualisation of a triangle of human life. (Really this was a small project to try some things with HTML canvas.)

April 2017

Dwindle: a Tapir’s Tale

On World Tapir Day 2017 (27 April), Dwindle the tapir went online. It’s actually a project with a long history, which you can read about in the Dwindle FAQ.

Dwindle: a Tapir’s Tale is another example of letting the interface contribute to the storytelling (like I did with La Séptima Bala before it). It’s also a small artistic investigation into what extinction means and the disappointing way a species — especially a species as wonderful as the woolly mountain tapir — may well end.

May 2015

13 vintage illustrations: “Programming Languages”

I thoroughly enjoyed BBC Radio4’s recent series on programming languages, Codes that changed the World (presented by the excellent Aleks Krotoski). Listening to it reminded me of a set of nerdy cartoons I had drawn 25 years ago. So I rummaged in on old portfolio and dug them out. See them here: 13 Programming Languages, from 1990. Nerdy, but nostalgic.

That was a displacement activity from the tapirs that I am supposed to be drawing.

February 2015

La Séptima Bala

At last — new Beholder project!

La Séptima Bala — an online short story in six pages, told with text, René’s illustrations, and a tiny amount of interaction. We hope you enjoy it.

There's now a blog post about the project over on the Fudebakublog.

January 2015

Planetarium updated

I re-rendered all the Planetarium images — using the original scans and the same POV-Ray source code from 1996 — with a higher ambient setting on the drawings so they’re not so dark, and increased the dimensions so they’re bigger on your screen. They’re also now in the main Beholder site layout, which means Planetarium now works nicely on mobile devices too (if you’ve got JavaScript enabled — that’s so the image maps work responsively... it will still work on mobile without JavaScript, but less beautifully).

February 2014

Vintage illustration added

In 1992 I was working both as a cartoonist and as a visiting lecturer for the computer science department at Royal Holloway. I’ve just put up an illustration I did for a poster back then. How times have changed... right?

January 2014

Caverns pages added

Now and again, ever since the page about the boardgame Caverns was added to the site, someone asks for specific details about it. So, finally and several years later, a few new pages have been added showing components from one particular version of the game. These might be of use to anyone planning to make their own set.

September 2013

Beholder website update

The site’s main pages were getting a little dusty, so some cleaning up was in order. It won’t be happening all at once, but bit by bit things are being updated.

Planetarium and Concuspidor are unaffected (so far) but otherwise if you’re using Internet Explorer 8 or below, things might be ugly or clunky. Upgrade or switch browser.

January 2012

The Concuspidor updated

After over sixteen years online, the The Concuspidor story has, for the first time, been significantly updated: now the words come up in pop-up dialogues instead of full page-loads. This makes the story a little easier to read... but you can switch this new behaviour off, and still see this ground-breaking project just as it looked in 1995. Jump into the story.