Friday, January 21, 2005

Patenting the bleedin' obvious

Oh, that's just peachy. In a moment of idle helpfulness I e-mailed those LED alliance people (they're trying to prevent someone from patenting the bleedin' obvious) to point out that several of my olde designs used PWM to control the colour of LED's, and dug out some details of one such product for the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) that dates back to 1989.

So now the buggers want me to fly over, at their expense, to America as a witness in their legal battle. Gah, I hate flying. I hate flying more than I hate greedy American companies, more even than I hate the whole patent system, so I suspect this will not be happening. Grump. Snarl... Anyone want to impersonate me for a few weeks? Free holiday with only a small chance of being immolated by terrorists? Pah...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Urgh, lurgy strikes design skills.

Running up against a deadline, so I had to work today despite still suffering from this rotten virus. It's interesting how it affected my design skills - after five hours of tracking a simple PCB I wound up with the following mess, thank god it's just a first generation prototype. Urgh :(


Which is the ugliest PCB layout I've produced for a long time, though it may not look it to a casual glance. Components with mixed orientations, connectors in silly positions, non-optimal tracking, non-optimal layout especially from an EMI POV, no room for idents, no test points, no pads for possible mods, general overall ugliness and WHAT is going on round those PSU's?, urgh.

I thought having to pull over and throw up on the way home was the lurgy at work, but maybe not... Still, bound to be changes required. No prototype ever survives contact with the customer...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Dance Shoe Mystery

I've been fairly ropey of late, plagued with some sort of lurgy that has left me feeling vague and disoriented. Incapable of doing anything constructive I spent most of Saturday stretched out on a couch, feeling sorry for myself.

At some point I realised I hadn't taken some medication, so I got up and wandered unsteadily out into the hall to get the pills from my jacket. I found it lying across a chair with Gurgle's dance shoes on top of it. Since my head was pounding enough already I didn't bend over to pick it up but reached down rather awkwardly with a straight back, not watching what I was doing, and grabbed the first bit I could reach. Of course the pills were not in the first pocket I tried, so I had to fart about lifting the jacket up and rummaging in several pockets to find them before finally throwing the jacket back down grumpily. As I turned away it struck me - where were the shoes? I'd assumed they'd have fallen onto the chair, but no, they weren't visible. They weren't even under the jacket, and after a head-pounding search under the chair they were still nowhere to be seen... Perhaps caught in the jacket? Shake, shake, nope... After a moment or two of muzzy contemplation I realised I must have hallucinated the damned things, they were the same colour as the inside lining of the jacket pockets so it wasn't entirely out of the question.

I returned to the couch, vaguely disquieted - this was the first time I'd had an hallucination, or at least the first time I'd noticed having one. Urgh.

Several hours later I worked up enough energy to go out, and as I tried to put my jacket on guess what I found lodged in one of the sleeves - two dancing shoes...

Bastard universe. Hasn't it got better things to do than pick on the unwell? Sniff.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Shit happens...

First there was the Disco Dance Floor Mystery ( .

Then there was a off-site visit to a potential customer. We were there to look over a bit of electronic design they want us to copy, ah, "improve upon" and while we were looking at this fearsome unit (Big ozone generator, ~5KV ~1KW) this dirty great big dog they had loose running about their factory unit decided to do a dump, and a dump of quite impressive dimensions it was, I might add. The dog was quite noticeably thinner afterwards...

Anyway, being true to canine ethics the beast didn't do this in some quiet secluded corner, no, it did it right in front of the exit doorway, and the first we knew of it was when one of the guys stood in it and tramped it about...

Bloody Herve was running true to form too - "Oh yes, I saw ze shit, but I didn't say anyzing because I thought they must be used to eet"