Tetris A.I.
Demonstration on TechTV's "The Screen Savers"
Colin Fahey

1. Introduction

In the middle of 2003.2, I received an e-mail message inviting me to demonstrate my Tetris A.I. system on a television show: "The Screen Savers", on the TechTV network.
I was really excited by the idea, and I accepted the invitation.
Over the next few weeks I exchanged e-mail messages with the reservation person and the producer who would manage my visit.
TechTV purchased the round-trip plane ticket for approximately $200, and sent me the itinerary via e-mail.
On 2003.3.5, I took an 8:45 A.M. flight from John Wayne airport ( Santa Ana, CA ) that arrived in San Jose at 10:00 A.M.
( Southwest airlines did not have flights from John Wayne airport to the San Francisco airport.
) I took a shuttle van from the San Jose airport directly to the front door of the TechTV studios in the "mission district" of San Francisco.
( The drive took approximately one hour in uncongested traffic. )
TechTV studios; 535 York Street, San Francisco, CA
TechTV studios: control room
TechTV studios: near the control room
TechTV studios: camera
TechTV studios: busy floor
TechTV studios: beam with camera
TechTV studios: crew
TechTV studios: ceiling lights
TechTV studios: Leo Laporte, host of "The Screen Savers", waving
TechTV studios: wires
TechTV studios: Tetris A.I. configuration (wide)
TechTV studios: Tetris A.I. configuration (close)

2. Preparation and interview

I set up all of the equipment and software between 12:00 P.M. (noon) and 2:00 P.M..
The producer of the show took me to a cafe across the street, buying me lunch.
We took the food back to the station.
After eating, I walked around and took a few pictures of the studio.
At approximately 3 P.M., Leo Laporte, a host of "The Screen Savers" show, introduced himself to me.
We talked about my project, and I demonstrated it.
One thing that really impressed me during my conversation with Leo was that he asked insightful questions and instantly comprehended everything I described.
He told me that he thought my project was cool, which pleased me greatly.
Shortly after my initial conversation with Leo, a makeup person applied some flesh-tone pigment all over my face with a small sponge.
After she finished I wondered if she actually applied anything to my face, because I felt nothing extra on my skin.
( After the show I decided to wash my face, but I didn't see anything rinse off.
Whatever it was must have been very subtle. )
Around 3:45 P.M., a small studio audience of exactly ten people filed in to the room and sat in two rows of five chairs.
A TechTV staff person started a conversation with the guests, describing the show and asking where the guests were from.
The show started at 4 P.M., and was broadcast "live" on digital cable systems around the world.
But because the studio was so small, and the number of people in the room was so small, it was easy to forget that there might be thousands of people watching the show at that very instant.
Around 4:30 P.M., during a particular commercial break, I was told to get in to position for my interview.
Leo stood next to me.
After a few countdown announcements, the segment began.
I was completely relaxed.
I knew my project worked, and I was confident that I could answer any question that might be asked.
Also, I trusted that Leo would lead the conversation in a structured and interesting way.
Sure enough, I enjoyed the interview, and the demonstration was a success.
TechTV studios: Interview : Leo introduces me and my project.
TechTV studios: Interview
TechTV studios: Interview
TechTV studios: Interview
TechTV studios: Interview
TechTV studios: Interview

3. Television program description on TectTV Internet site

Program segment description on TechTV Internet site (http://techtv.com)

4. Conclusion

I had a really great time meeting the people at TechTV and demonstrating my Tetris-playing system.
I don't know if the producer was teasing me, but he hinted that I would be welcome to appear on the show some time in the future if I happened to come up with a similarly interesting and fun technology project.
Maybe I will get another chance to share yet another totally useless contraption with the world.
On the evening of my show, 2020 people visited my Internet site, whereas my medium-term daily visitor count was approximately 500.
Therefore, I estimate that approximately 1500 TechTV viewers visited my Internet site that night.
Similarly, I estimate that 700 TechTV viewers visited the following day.
On Friday the effect had almost totally vanished, with perhaps 200 visitors above the medium-term baseline.
I received a few e-mail messages from people who had seen the show, including an e-mail from a friend from my Adrenalin / Sennari days.
A few of my relatives saw the show, too.
I told my friends Sam and Greg that I could no longer afford to be seen with common folk like them due to my celebrity status.
Well, we have an ongoing joke about the basis of our friendship -- and it suddenly became my turn to be told that my "mother was paying them to be my "friends"".
D'oh! :^O
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