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Bouncy ball-droppy soundy pingy thing

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Scott introduced me to a nifty software toy: BallDroppings, available for Mac, Windows, and mobile phones, plus a Java version. All free.

The idea is that a series of small balls drops from the top of the screen, and you draw lines on the screen for the balls to bounce off of. Each bounce makes a sound (with pitch affected by various factors). The balls are influenced by gravity and air friction, which you can adjust. The result is a pretty, entertaining, noisy piece of art/music/fun.

There are more instructions on the BallDroppings page. Note that when you launch the app, your screen will go black; to draw lines, just click and drag. You can also drag the endpoints of lines you've already drawn, and you can delete existing lines. You can even save a configuration and restore it later, though there's only one save file and getting to it on the Mac (to make a copy of, or to share with others) is a little tricky.

Anyway, it's cool, it's fun, it's pretty, and if you're really good/careful it may even be musical.

One thing I don't understand about it is the bounce algorithm--it's not the usual "angle of incidence equals angle of reflection" thing, so it can be a little hard to predict which way a ball will bounce. But that doesn't really detract from the fun.

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Wow, that is highly dangerous to.... um, me. And my spare time. Thank you for the pointer, I've already become utterly addicted to it!
Now to infect many science museum employee friends of mine....

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