Author: insecure_automaton

Little bit of this, little bit of that.

Rare and valuable Atari 2600 games

Amazing the obscurity of some of these titles and the resultant sales prices: https://www.racketboy.com/retro/rarest-and-most-valuable-atari-2600-games

Sales tax and aircraft registration in Kansas

Back in the summer of 2022, I bought my first personal aircraft, “Artie”, an old 1947 Aeronca Champ L-16 (Air Force version of the 7BCM) taildragger that was decommissioned and given to the Civil Air Patrol in 1956 with several hundred of its brethren. CAP eventually sold Artie to a university in Missouri in the late ’60s/early ’70s who used him for flight training. He changed hands several more times until ending up with me last year.

One of the things that folks may not generally be aware is that there’s a fairly hefty state tax burden on aircraft owners, at least in Kansas. However, the Kansas legislature – in all its enduring, ever-present wisdom – did at least one thing right and ensured that folks who use their antique or homebuilt aircraft for recreational purposes can get an exemption to the tax. However, to do so, you have to apply for the exemption.

To save other Kansas folks the headache of figuring out what to do, here’s the process I went through – your mileage may vary:

  1. Legally acquire the aircraft – should go w/o saying but you never know!
  2. Fill out a Tax Exemption form per K.S.A. 79-213.
  3. Fill out an Addition to Exemption Application (Aircraft) per KSA 79-201k and KSA 79-220.
  4. Attach a copy of your flight logs for the preceding year for the subject aircraft. If you don’t have them – say, you just bought it – reach out to your county appraiser’s office for guidance.
  5. Enclose a copy of your FAA registration certificate or, like I did, a copy of the the FAA application for registration.
  6. Enclose a check for the filing fee – this fee varies by county but you can usually find the filing fees listed somewhere on your County Appraiser’s website. In Sedgwick County where I’m based the fee has been $100 since 2014.
  7. Send all of the above documents to your County Appraiser’s office.
  8. Profit!

On some periodic basis, a Board of Tax Appeals will meet and decide your fate. That’s all there is to it! I just completed step 7 myself so I’ll update this post later if any wrinkles pop up.

In the meantime, check out some Champ pics below! You’ll notice I label it as a 7AC instead of 7BCM – at some point in its history, the larger C85 engine was swapped first for a C90, then down to an A65. So, it’s a 7BCM at this point in name only.

Aeronca Champ 7AC over Kansas before sunset
Aeronca Champ 7AC over Kansas before sunset
Aeronca Champ 7AC at Anthony, KS
Aeronca Champ 7AC at Anthony, KS
Aeronca Champ 7AC at Argonia, KS - got to love grass strips!
Aeronca Champ 7AC at Argonia, KS – got to love grass strips!
Aeronca Champ 7AC at Rose Hill, KS
Aeronca Champ 7AC at Rose Hill, KS

Programming the Atari 2600 VCS

As I wrote previously, I’m considering taking a stab at programming Atari 2600 games for fun and _.  May just update helpful links here:

Twin Galaxies records

One of my 2023 goals is to rank on the Twin Galaxies records boards. I’m likely going to have to do it in what I call the “Tim Ferris way” though – by technicality haha…

Then again, there are a lot of really high scores already, at least for the games I currently own. Maybe I’ll just have to shoot for next-to-last rank for Gopher on the Atari 2600.

Interesting read on the technical aspects…

…of the Galaga no-fire cheat: https://www.computerarcheology.com/Arcade/Galaga/

Pygame, a game dev framework for Python 3

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my goals for 2023 was to program 12 games to help keep my programming brain limber and my skills sharp. I also mentioned that I suspect most of my dev work for that goal will be in Python 3: that’s what my shop mostly uses, it’s flexible, and it’s what I’m comfortable with.

Luckily, Pygame exists and is great for the types of games that I’ll be working on as part of my goal. And…there are plenty of tutorials out there so I won’t struggle too much.

At the beginning of every year, rather than…

…making formal new year resolutions, I set a list of goals. Most I have no intention of fully completing but they allow me to have something to look forward to and structure my “wants” against my “needs” and actual availability haha…

I try not to limit myself and what goes on the list can range from the must-do to the super-superfluous.

One of my goals for 2023 is to improve my programming skills and, really, just keep them sharp since I’m in a leadership position that doesn’t really allow me to dive into the hands-on, individually contributing, technical aspects of the work we do.

What better way to keep programming skills sharp than to program games? So, 2023 goal #3 is to program 12 games. I’m stating at the outset that my intent is to be language-agnostic though I suspect most, if not all, will be in Python 3. May even take a crack at racing the beam with some Atari 2600 assembly programming.

Without further ado, let me introduce game #0, Pong-23.

I had a helluva fun time working on it over Christmas break. It doesn’t really count towards the 12 game goal since I finished it the penultimate day of 2022, but it helped get my brain limber. Let’s figure out what’s next!

Pong gameplay screenshot
Pong gameplay screenshot

ChatGPT’s all the rage now, of course…

Some ideas to run by ChatGPT Assistant for Python automation help: https://medium.com/geekculture/hey-chatgpt-solve-these-coding-tasks-using-python-b2e7482f2c18

To save a link click, basically boils down to:

  1. Ask Assistant to plot a linear regression
  2. Use pywhatkit to send a message on WhatsApp
  3. Use smtplib to send an email
  4. Scrape data from Books to Scrape using Beautiful Soup.
  5. Finally, generate an Excel file use openpyxl.
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