An Augmented Reality Experience to Complement a Vintage Pinball Machine

My 1948 Gottlieb Cinderella pinball machine won 1st Place Best Antique at Texas Pinball Festival 2024! As one of the earliest games made with powered flippers, I worked tirelessly for weeks before the show to resolve any problems that would spoil the gameplay experience, such as mechanical malfunctioning and leveling inserts on the playfield so the ball doesn’t get stuck in spots. However, such an old game lacks many of the interesting aspects of modern games, so it might be overlooked by casual pinball players without some kind of augmented experience. Enter the Cinderella Augmented Experience! This augmented-reality (AR) app aims to provide its users a glimpse into what goes on inside the game as they play it. Games from the 1940s are much different inside than even other electromechanical machines from the 1960s and 1970s. For instance, before score reels were invented, there was a single score stepper that had rivets representing every possible score in the game. Aspects like this

Less Coding, More Prompt Engineering!

Software developers have taken note of the efficacy of large language models such as ChatGPT towards automating particular development tasks. Depending on the language in use and what is to be accomplished, LLMs can provide a concise answer that circumvents the shortcomings of documentation that is either incomplete or tries to "boil the ocean." LLMs work best at generating code when the problem is well-defined and the language is fairly static and consistent. For instance, I have had a great deal of success when asking for code to perform basic operations on Amazon DynamoDB in the Node.js SDK 3. It was a bit more difficult to have it write infrastructure as code for AWS using the CDK framework in Python 3, but it still produced decent enough code that I at least knew where to start in looking at lengthy documentation. However, writing native mobile code such as Kotlin for Android or Swift for iOS yields some rather incomprehensible and outdated results. Besides ChatGPT, ther

Start Azure Pipeline from another pipeline with ADO CLI & PowerShell

Are you looking to find the one simple command that can kick off a pipeline from another pipeline in Azure DevOps? You may have found a lot of annoying restrictions using straight YAML because so many things have to be known ahead-of-time (i.e. set using compile-time variables). This prevents you from doing such things as conditionally running pipelines, utilizing arrays defined at runtime as parameters into many ADO tasks/commands, or performing manipulations on runtime data for use in subsequent commands. You can't even kick off a pipeline without the previous one finishing (and invoking a pipeline trigger ). Follow along as I explore a scripted solution to solve my problem. My Use Case I want to provide fresh Databricks images on a private Azure Container Registry (ACR). This way, data scientists are not confounded by changes to Databricks runtimes when their clusters start and stop, since changes can prevent their package & library installation scripts from running successf

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Give Myself Any AWS Permissions I Wanted

I'm happy to have some ideas worth blogging about at last!  Here's a really big one I stumbled across if you're in an organization that wants to keep permissions relatively locked down on AWS (in terms of performing actions on resources), but still wants to enable individual users the ability to interact with their own stacks as needed without waiting on admins. The TL/DR Of It Using AWS CloudFormation, you can deploy a stack consisting of a single resource.  This resource is of type AWS::IAM::ManagedPolicy .  Attach all the policy statements you want, then add Users consisting of any IAM users on the AWS account.  Voila, instant permissions to do whatever. More About the Process Let's say you need to tweak various aspects of your AWS setup.  Maybe you have a DynamoDB entry that needs to be manually tweaked, a Lambda function where the concurrency needs to be adjusted, an SQS queue where the maximum age of a message needs to be adjusted, or files sitting around in an S

I/O 2021: New Decade, New Frontiers

 Did you miss any content from Google I/O 2021? If so, then check out the links below to see the sites and videos linked to throughout the entire map above.  (If you missed the roundtables or Meetups hosted on Bevy, then sorry, I think you're out of luck; those are lost to the ether.) But First, a Recap: 2021 is the first year of Google I/O since 2019, since 2020's I/O was scheduled to happen in the midst of many worldwide lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic.  While I'm sure much content was being prepared for 2020, it would take a great deal of logistical shifts to prepare all of it to be delivered virtually.  But it was certainly worth the wait! As you can see from above, besides the usual lists of conference talks and meetups, there was also Google I/O Adventure , an explorable "platformer" where you could wander the map, collect wearables and badges, and meet other I/O attendees and Googlers.  Obviously a lot of thought and creativity went into this, and whil