Blog Pile

The Power of Goofing Off

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Jenny P.

If we just lived our lives out by setting, pursuing, and meeting objectives, what a sterile world it would be. Here;s to what you learn when you are not expecting too, and for surfing by serendipity.

Serendipity is following the curious post titles in your RSS reader, leading my to Andy Rush sharing his discovery of a utility called Evom (well that was a nice find there— ).

But since Andy played around with the backwards spelling things– I thought it would be fun to write a bit of my comments in reverse text.

Now I thought I did this in BBEdit before, but I think I did something insane like a grep search to put each letter on a separate line, a reverse line sort, and a search and replace on the line return characters.

Surel;y someone has created something like that already– googled a bit on on reverse text generator, and what do you know? The first hit is Lucky-

The Reverse Text Generator does not only backward, but also Flipped, and Upside Down:

So playing with my opening sentence, I can do things like:

.ytipidneres yb gnifrus rof dna ,oot gnitcepxe ton era uoy nehw nrael uoy tahw ot s;ereH .eb dluow ti dlrow elirets a tahw ,sevitcejbo gniteem dna ,gniusrup ,gnittes yb tuo sevil ruo devil tsuj ew fI


Fi ew tsuj devil ruo sevil tuo yb gnittes, gniusrup, dna gniteem sevitcejbo, tahw a elirets dlrow ti dluow eb. Ereh;s ot tahw uoy nrael nehw uoy era ton gnitcepxe oot, dna rof gnifrus yb ytipidneres.

and the ever useful

˙ʎʇıdıpuǝɹǝs ÊŽq ƃuıɟɹns ɹoÉŸ puɐ ‘ooʇ ƃuıʇɔǝdxǝ ʇou ǝɹɐ noÊŽ uǝɥʍ uɹɐǝן noÊŽ ʇɐɥʍ oʇ s؛ǝɹǝɥ ˙ǝq pןnoʍ ʇı pןɹoʍ ǝןıɹǝʇs ɐ ʇɐɥʍ ‘sǝʌıʇɔǝɾqo ƃuıʇǝǝɯ puɐ ‘ƃuınsɹnd ‘ƃuıʇʇǝs ÊŽq ʇno sǝʌıן ɹno pǝʌıן ʇsnɾ ǝʍ ɟı

And this is just one of 20 free tools in the TextMechanic’s toolbox– a lot of them extremely useful.

So a little bit of goofing off, and I find something like this.

As Rick Schwier said…

But more so, it always sends a ripple down the spine, when I stare at this screen and knowing I am looking at a doorway to the infinite– not that the internet is really infinite, but relative to what I can know, see touch of it– it might as well be.

And there is infinitely more to know and find than what I can store in that grey spongy mass upstairs.

Goofing off is part of my method. And blecch to all my grade school teachers who scolded me for that.


I ride the InfiniVerse.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. Google ransom note generator. We were in a meeting and talking about our proposal for an intern position and I said we should send it as a ransom note. Did a Google and sure enough there are a ton. One even said not to use it to generate and actual ransom note.

    Following the little shiny things that catch your minds attention is what I enjoy doing the most.

  2. I wish it had been me saying that, and I definitely endorse it, but it was a much smarter guy.

    But that being admitted, let me say how important — no, vital — no, useful — no, absolutely human is the importance of screwing around. My Dad told me he became the Prince of Puttering when he retired, and I aspire to become the same some day.

    I fear we’re forgetting how to play, in our driven and competitive social environment. Externally defined things, in my mind, keep us from doing the things that matter. They intrude on life.

    For me, life is made up of making worthwhile memories, and making friends. I think I’ll always remember taking a long walk with you when we were both speaking at Ed-Media in Hawaii. I’m not sure I’ll remember my talk or yours in much detail, but I’ll remember how great it was to walk in the general direction of Diamondhead and try to find something worth taking a photo of.

    Puttering. There’s good stuff hiding in it.

  3. Hey…I think you’re on to something. I think another name for this is something I wish more students would come with: ‘intellectual curiosity’….If you don’t come with it, you won’t learn nothin’. Time allowed for ‘goofing off’ just might well be THE one most important prerequisite to discovery. But we in our content-bucket classrooms rarely build in time to teach or nurture this ability to remain receptive vessels. Gardner is chewing on it over here calling it ‘interest’ :

    Christian Long calls it being ‘playful’:

    Whatever ‘IT’ is, wish more folks would understand ‘its’ potential

    Glad you are back. Miss you when you are not in here daily! 🙂

  4. Triple like!! Intellectual curiosity, following a thread of an idea, is THE source of learning as far as I’m concerned.

    And how awesome is that backwards text generator? In work we do to help tutors understand what it is like to work with pre-literate learners and those with learning disabilities or who are literate in a non-Roman alphabet script, we often use backwards text as a empathy building tool. This will make creating that text SOOO much easier!

    Thanks for sharing!

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