The video game logic of pandemic

Bijan Stephen, writing for The Believer:

To put it another way, COVID-19 has gamified my life. Or perhaps video game logic is the only thing that feels like it maps accurately onto the spread of this virus. (I say this, though I am a person with a degree in biology.) 

I thoroughly identified with this, though he clearly plays better video games than me. While he envisions his pandemic life through Last of us and Night in the Woods, I relate my daily walks to a game of Frogger as I dart from sidewalk-to-sidewalk avoiding contact with anything and everything.

Stephen, B. (2020, December 1). Side quest. Believer Magazine. https://believermag.com/side-quest/

Scott Galloway on Robinhood

Discussing the /r/WallStreetBets Gamestop saga, Scott Galloway has this to say about day trading, in general:

When you sit down to day-trade, you’re sitting down at a poker table that doesn’t take advantage of time and two or three people at that table have supercomputers, PhDs, someone whispering in their ear, and they have enough chips to ride out any bad hand. Yeah, so just be sure that just be clear, you are at a poker table with the best players in the world and typically if you looked at Game Stop, I’m sorry, if you looked at Robin Hood, they have this thing with the most popular stocks. If you just invested – if you kept buying the most popular stocks according to [Robinhood] there’s been analysis that said you would have lost 80 to 95% of your capital. Yeah. And here’s the problem: we have these platforms that are just, quite frankly, trying to get you to, to create more activity because they sell your clicks, they sell your information they sell your order flow, then, that, that agency or that company is no longer a fiduciary they no longer have your best interests at heart, they just want you to get to do more and more and more. Yeah, and that’s what Robin Hood is the new in my opinion Robin Hood is the new Facebook, it is the new menace (35:02).

Galloway, S., & Swisher, K. (2021). Pivot: More hearings for big tech, GameStop stock surge (again), and predictions come true on Apple Podcasts (No. 197). Retrieved February 27, 2021, from https://overcast.fm/+OwaJBtDyY/35:03

Page turner

I came across an online manual that we put online to read like a book — you had to turn each page by clicking on an on-screen arrow or pressing the left-arrow and right-arrow keys to navigate.

I wrote this small AppleScript to take over the duty of turning the pages.

repeat 1 times
	tell application "System Events" to key code 26 using {shift down, command down}
	activate application "Snapz Pro X" -- script pressess shift-command-f7 (my hotkey for snapz pro x)
	tell application "System Events" to key code 76 -- script presses enter to use last-used selection
	activate application "Snapz Pro X" 	
	tell application "System Events" to key code 76 -- script presses enter to capture the selected region
	activate application "Firefox"
	tell application "System Events" to key code 48 -- press tab to make the viewport active
	tell application "System Events" to key code 124 -- press right arrow to move to next page
	delay (random number from 7 to 10) -- Delay to let on-screen navigation elements disappear
end repeat

A couple of set-up notes.

  1. Before you start this script you should activate Snapz-Pro X and set the capture region for a selection-capture. Also, go into Snapz-Pro X’s settings and set a save directory and a naming convention to number your saved images
  2. Set the repeat value on the first line to equal the number of pages in the document you are trying to capture.
  3. In its current very simple form, you will need to check-in on it since it doesn’t error-handle anything. Especially captchas. Just stop the script and re-start it.

After the script is done collecting you page images, combine them together in Preview and output as a PDF. Once you have a PDF, use OCR software to make it searchable.

I created this script using advice found using the Complete List of AppleScript Key Codes by eastmanreference and the solution proposed by @daveisgeek on How do I automate a key press in AppleScript?