An alarm clock that does not wake your spouse

Sep 26 2018

I do not always rise at the same time as my spouse who is sleeping next to me.

I have the idea of an alarm clock that makes you wake but not your spouse.

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Centre punch that does not glide

Aug 24 2018

When using a centre punch in a wood like fir it is very common it slides of the brown line into the lighter brown part. The brown line is winter? wood and harder.

I want a centre punch that doesn’t do this but instead makes the hole exactly where I put it; want it.

One solution can be to have a tube, think drinking straw, but in metal, but sharpened in the business end. Pressing it against wood would make a round mark. Since it is a couple of millimeters in diameter there is a good chance it gets a grip so it doesn’t skid off any brown line. Marking with a centre punch is often done for drilling so marking a 4mm ring does not create any damage if one intends to drill with a +4mm drill; or an even wider mark if a screw head will cover.

Inside this tube is a sharpened rod. So when the tube has a good grip, just press the rod down, and now you have a centred mark.

If it is hard to centre the tube one could start with letting the rod protrude and put where wanted; but without the pressure that will make it skid; and then lower the tube so it grips, and finally press the rod.
Or one could have a template or jig, say a see-through piece of plastic with a hole exactly fitting the tube. Adjust the jig/template by eye, it should be easy with these small distances, insert the tube and press down the rod.
If the precision is not enough, have a see through inset with a cross hair. Adjust the jig/template with the exact crosshaired inset in place. Remove the inset. Place the tube. Press the rod.

I have seen semi automatic spring loaded centre punches but they all lack the sharpened tube.

Another solution, that won’t mark around the single mark we want is to have a see through plastic template with a, say 10mm hole in it. In this hole is placed an inset with a crosshair to align exactly. Then the inset is removed and the punch is inserted and pressed. This solution is very similar to the one above but relies on the template staying in place instead of the sharpened tube doing it.

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Note paper with QR codes for backing up

Aug 21 2018

For taking notes, paper and pen beats any computer. But taking backups of paper notes is a task. Not a difficult task or a task that takes long time but still a task taking long enough to never be done.

So let’s give some incitament.

First let the cellular take care of backing up. Everyone nowadays, at least anyone that should be interested in this idea, has a cellular with a camera good enough for taking a recognisable photo of a sheet of paper.

Ordinary photo copier paper is quite good for writing so let’s use that. It is cheap and the copying machine is already stuffed with it.

Print a paper with a QR code in two corners. Let this QR code have some info in it that is identifiable by an app (or system). Say it contains a consecutive Number for Your id. Print 30 of them the first of the month and stick in your binder. If you are on a note taking spree, print some more. The app just makes up new, recognisable, QR codes. The QR codes also makes it easier for the app to recognise the corners of the paper sheet so you don’t have to be so thorough when photographing the paper.

Take a photograph of it with you cellular and the app and wham bam it gets backuped. The time line is known. If you go back and edit an older paper, take a photo and it is backup’ed in complement to the older backup.

Put in some OCR and maybe maybe your handwriting can be recognised.

Put in some simple boxes to tick the date or some icons to mark for different meanings. “Backup secretly, I will destroy this original paper.”, “Send as email attachment to myself”, “Send as email link to Ms Moneypenny.”, “Store in personal stack”, “Store in office stack.”

While we’re at it. Print your name and number on every sheet. Print some light grey markings so you can draw right angles. Print heavier black lines on the backside. These will shine through when writing but not when photo copying or backing up with the cellular camera.

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Electric bicycle trailer that pushes its own weight but not more

Aug 20 2018

With my electric cargo bike I can carry only so much cargo. I have an idea about an electric trailer that doesn’t push or help with the forward movement in any way but stay totally neutral. This way there is less chance of breaking any bicycling laws. Let it also have a maximum speed of 25 km/h to surely and totally stay inside the frames of law.

In a very simple solution it can be connected like any other bicycle trailer but it is sensitive to push and pull forces on the hitch. It can have a short play and fast reaction or long play an slower reaction. With the latter a normal PDI regulator might work. Or even a P regulator, albeit with a logaritmic curve. When the tow bar gets pulled, longer, the motor accelerates. When the tow bar gets pushed, compressed, the motor breaks.

It is possible it does not work, that it will play the forces in such a way it will try to throw the bicycle of balance; but why should it? An unpowered bicycle trailer will try to tilt the bicycle as soon as a wheel hits a pothole or one has to break downhill; and they seem to be doing alright.

 

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Soap bubble bottle that doesn’t spill

Aug 09 2018

Small children are given soap bubble bottles. Small children involuntarily empties them quite quickly.

The idea is a soap bubble bottle that doesn’t spill its contents when lying flat or turned over.

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Unique/Not unique art

Jul 23 2018

Say you are selling posters.

The first idea is to make them slightly unique by limiting every image to X instances. This is not unusual in printed art.

The next idea is to let the buyer, at a higher price, limit the instance to 1. Then the customer will have a truly unique poster.

Now lots of posters are pebbles or leaves. The third idea is to have lots of such images but only present a fix number, say 10, to choose from. Every customer can choose between a numbered or a unique image. If a unique is chosen, remove it from the store and present a new one for next customers.

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Move the appliances’ intelligence to a phone

Jan 30 2018

My kitchen mixer has 3 buttons, 2 dials and a simple display. It can do some stuff, like cook for a certain number of minutes or beat at a certain speed. Simply put, it can do one thing and then has to be set to do another thing.

Why is it not programmable? Why can’t I set it to kneed and heat the dough 4 hours before I rise in the morning?

To be honest, I would not want it to have a user interface to solve all the situations I would come up with since I have seen how bad it is when hardware people try to solve a programming problem. Just look at your car, how much did you pay for the navigator that is both clunky and out of date compared to the google maps you have on your phone? Or think of the kids’ toy that started as a wifi connected state-of-the-art thing to play with but ended as a hacker’s dream with an attached camera.

So instead let all the motors and servos in the machine have a well known (bluetooth) interface. Then connect your phone or have a cheap android phone attached to the machine with for instance magnets. Cheap. Easy replacable. Updatable.

Now your Kenwood mixer can kneed and let the dough rise and the Siemens oven can be started in time for your Electrolux coffee brewer aroma accelerated wake up. These three slow turning kitchen appliance giants don’t have to learn how to cooperate but you can teach their stuff to do.

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App for making it possible to read recipies without having to unlock the phone

Jan 28 2018

Your phone is typically set to lock its screen after a minute or so of not touching it.
This is really a problem when trying to follow a recipe.

Why not write an app that complements the Flight mode, Movie mode, Meeting mode and Whatnot modes there are, with a Recipe mode.

This Recipe mode, in its simplest solution would just turn of locking and turning off the screen. In a more advanced solution it would lock the screen but let the web page with the recipe still be on and scrollable.

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A simple remote local logger (with a nicer gui)

Oct 17 2017

I have spent way to much time finding logs and then do-someting, refresh-log-viewer, do-something, refresh-log-viewer, … to repeat in absurdum.

The refresh part is solved with tail or Notepad++’s tail or other options
but it doesn’t work over the wire (or at least I didn’t get it to work).

So I suggest having a simple tail implemented as a simple stand alone web server. Start this “tail” on the machine you have log files. Then you can surf to the web server and with some nifty CSS/javascript have a tail traversing your intranet on a port of choice like so: https://MyServerInTheCellar:666

To avoid polling use SignlR or similar.

If you want it to stay active for days a more stable solution should be crafted.

Highlight latest rows

A nice feature would be to highlight the latest rows. There must be a time limit of sorts to figure out what the “latest” means as the computer (yet) cannot read your mind and know what rows you have looked at and considered.

For simplicity say there is a time limit of 0,5 second where everything inside that interval is considered the same burst of log rows. Color this burst differently to distinguish it from earlier ,and later later, rows.
This should make it much easier to read.

Is it already made?

It seems WebTail does approximately what I am writing about but it polls. It is pleasantly GPL and is written in Java.

I have created bits and pieces of this solution but not anything passed alpha.

I have also noted that Notepad touches the file twice; so if you plan to create this solution don’t use Notepad to figure out how to register and read file changes in Windows.

I found a spike of mine called Farmer Charlie Sprouts at Github. Here is another, even older, project Farmer Logan and his cow called Loui at Github, this time solving the problem of showing the latest updated log rows in an easy-to-read manner.

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A set of cameras for levelling stuff when building

Aug 01 2017

Say your are building a simple fence. What is not so simple is that every pillar must be in level and vertical.
The normal way of doing this is to have a spirit level, laser line level, water level or even theodolite.

Why not have a (self levelling) camera or two. or three?

Since the camera knows its orientation and its lenses and in turn optical aberations it can say what is level and in line and not.
Point out the pillar you want vertical and let the software in the camera do some image recognition and tell you when it is. Add another camera looking at the same pillar, but from another angle and the pillar’s angle is shown to you in all directions.

Now each camera has 3, or more, of the pillars in view and can tell you both if the pillars are vertical and if they are aligned and if they are level.

Use the same camera and software to help you with attaching the pickets equidistance.

If you give the camera some clues about distance, for instance by attaching or showing a ruler at some clever positions, it can return measures directly without you having to take out the laser range finder, carpenter’s/folding ruler or tape measure.

If you give the camera(s) more information with calibration points, like balls mounted on a stick stuck steadily into the ground, you can move the cameras around and the system will still know where it is.

Focus and focus point is a problem as optical aberrations might change when refocusing.

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