Author Topic: Wizmo is a multi-purpose, miscellaneous Windows function, "catch all" Utility  (Read 2198 times)

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Wizmo is a multi-purpose, miscellaneous Windows function, "catch all" Utility

Steve's Multipurpose Windows Gizmo
with the Graviton screen blanker!

What the heck is Wizmo?

Wizmo is an extremely useful "Windows Gizmo" I created when I could not find anything else on the Net to do similar jobs.

Wizmo is a multi-purpose, miscellaneous Windows function, "catch all" with a growing list of uncommon but useful features and capabilities.

Wizmo is present on every one of my Windows machines. I use it many times per day and I have grown to rely upon it so much that, if it didn't already exist, I would drop everything and write it again. It is that useful.

I will be very pleased if you find Wizmo to be useful to you too.

graviton is the unique Wizmo's animated screen saver!

Back in 1972, the researchers at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) would often unwind at the end of the day by playing the original "Asteroids" game which was first developed there. I worked at SAIL during summers, and part time while attending high school, and spent many enjoyable hours playing the world's first video game.

I always wanted to experiment with computing and displaying the motion of a set of mutually gravitationally attracted objects, where every object was attracted to every other. As you might imagine, the math is complex. Thirty years later, personal computers had become powerful enough to do this on the average desktop. So I finally wrote the code which became Wizmo's unique "Graviton" screen saver.

Graviton Screen Saver Discussion

Matter/Anti-Matter Collision Dynamics

For the most part, Wizmo's Graviton screen saver math faithfully reproduces a simulation of n-body mutually gravitationally attracted particles. However, while one intention was faithful simulation, the overarching goal was the production of an interesting and intriguing display. After experimenting with various screen edge boundary handling approaches, I settled upon the "velocity cancellation" approach. This removes the velocity from the "exiting direction" of the particle, allowing it to keep its other direction of travel. The result is more interesting and varying displays of particle motion.

However, "cancelling" one direction of the particle's motion removes momentum from the system every time a particle hits an edge. So I needed some means for adding energy back into the system in a way that would cause the overall environment to find and reach its own equilibrium, regardless of the user's other parameter settings. I designed a "particle collision model" which meets the requirements perfectly and has the added benefit of making the resulting display more interesting.

Normally, an inelastic particle-particle collision would convert some kinetic energy into heat energy by using the collision to deform and flex the particles. Taking an approach which is presumably similar to Disney's "Flubber", Wizmo's Graviton particles consist of a matter/anti-matter composite that converts matter into energy, releasing mechanical energy in direct proportion and counter-reaction to particle flexure. As a result, colliding particles exit the collision event with substantially more velocity (and negligibly less mass) than when they arrived.

This model results in the overall system obtaining and operating at an energy/momentum equilibrium since the Graviton screen edges remove energy in direct proportion to the particle's arrival velocity.

The "Grid" Option

If you have not experimented with Graviton's "grid" option, I urge you to play around with it. The use of an initial grid particle alignment results in some uniquely interesting patterns and very dynamic presentations because the "mirror particles" from the opposite sides of the grid have a high probability of striking each other head-on.

After I discovered and compensated for a least significant bit error in the Pentium's signed multiply instruction the gravity acceleration calculations became so perfect that the symmetry of the initial grid alignment is never lost.

A Few Of My Favorite Graviton Grid Settings:

Here are some of my favorite uses of the "grid" option. You can, of course, use them as hopping off points for your own experiments:

 Happy Trails:     grid=4,4 trails=50 gravity=1000 graviton
One tenth gravity (default gravity is 10,000) provides a relaxing pace, yet the high probability of head-on particle-particle collisions creates bursts of excitement which are immediately damped by the default energy-absorbing borders. Modest length trails shows particle path history without filling the screen.

 Trail Mix:     grid=4,4 trails=200 gravity=20000 graviton
Double gravity encourages a highly energetic display with especially explosive particle collisions. The combination of long trails and fast-moving particles creates a slowly evolving trail painting. The use of the default energy-absorbent "sliding borders" prevents excessive energy buildup to keep the system's overall energy constant.

 Escalation:     grid=7,7 trails=20 gravity=100 elastic graviton
Let this one run for a while to watch its energy levels slowly increase. One hundredth gravity compensates for the high gravity density created by so many particles and give this a slow start. However, the use of elastic borders prevents energy dissipation, allowing the system's overall energy to build forever. The use of short trails keeps the overall graphic load reasonable and allows the trail lengths to serve as velocity vectors. The odd grid size (7,7) creates strong center-line symmetry.

 Aztecca:     grid=4,4 trails=250 stop graviton
Long trails fills the screen with after-images. The "stop" type borders prevents energy accumulation and keeps the highly energetic particles from sliding into and over-filling the screen corners as they would with the default "sliding borders."

 Flux Percolator:     grid=16,16 gravity=10 stop graviton
Super-low gravity and a large uniform grid creates an initial "fabric collapse". This rapidly evolves into a symmetrical and fluid flow with particles having minimal influence upon each other. The use of "stop" borders kills the initial fabric collapse energy and gives the display a continuously "percolating" feel.

 Nucleotide:     grid=6,6 gravity=5 trails=150 sun=25000 graviton
Strong sun gravitation causes particles to find stable orbits. A weak inter-particle attraction allows particles to influence each other slightly to prevent particles from becoming stuck in "corner-bounce" cycles. The use of the default "slippery border" imparts the required angular momentum to the particles, allowing them to obtain orbits and cancelling excessive velocity. The long trails paint orbital paths of the particles around the sun.

 Vortex:     grid=10,10 gravity=0 trails=10 sun stop graviton
Zero inter-particle gravity and the use of the "stop" screen border prevents particles from acquiring any angular momentum around the screen's central sun. Particles thus fall directly into the sun, experience the energetic matter/anti-matter interaction, and are flung out to hit the screen edge  . . . where they again fall directly into the sun.

 Arabesque:     particles=10 gravity=1 line trails sun graviton
This uses the "line" arrangement option for diagonal symmetry. A modest particle count and slight inter-particle attraction (gravity=1) pulls the particles out of their initial corner alignment. A default trail length of 100 shows the recent particle paths, and a sun with a default (10000) gravity creates a lazy orbital environment. This take a few seconds to stabilize, but the result is gentle and pleasing. 

Categories: What is it? - Windows - Screen Saver - System Shut Down Tool - DRIVE OPEN (EJECT) and CLOSE (LOAD) Utility - Monitor Settings - System Audio Settings