If you’re the kind of geeky person who experienced a little thrill of joy when the hacking scene in Tron:Legacy included realistic use of a genuine command line interface, you (or perhaps your kids) might also enjoy playing with Hacker Typer.
I’ve only seen it as a web toy before, but lo and behold: it’s on the iOS store too, for just a dollar.
What does it do? It lets anyone – absolutely anyone – look like a world-class Hollywood style computer hacker. Type anything you want on the keyboard, and on the screen you’ll see a graceful flow of authentic-looking code appear at lightning speed. Anyone passing by and glancing over your shoulder will think you’re some kind of criminal mastermind.
For best effect, turn up the font size a little and use it in a public place. Wait until you’re sure you’ve been noticed, then hit the key combo that flashes a huge “ACCESS GRANTED” notice on the screen, and zaps even more codestuff past your eyes faster than ever.
OK, so the joke doesn’t last long, but for certain kinds of parents with certain kinds of kids, there’s an easy dollar’s worth of fun to be had with this little app. My 9-year-old (a big Tron fan, I might add) can’t get enough of it.
Of course if you really want to type like a hacker, you’re going to have to learn how to code. And for that, you could do worse than point your kid towards Code Academy. My 9-year-old is pretty keen on that, too.