Sunday, July 31, 2011

00612 Day 141, the Suggestion Box

the Suggestion Box

From the instruction manual:

An experiment in iterative and evolutionary suggestibility.
Take a slip of paper from the pocket in the front of the box, add your suggestion as to how the box can be improved and post the completed slip through the hole at the top of the box. The box will then be opened (by pulling upwards on the lid until the neodymium magnets release) and then changed in its next iteration to include the enhancements suggested.

Warning: Evolutionary suggestion boxes can be dangerous if left without administration. If you see the box's evolutionary trend moving towards the production of weaponised suggestion boxes, discontinue the process and revert to the original form.

Alternatively, give the box to your PTA and let them use it in the conventional way.

00611 Day 140, Breadboarder


Dear Diary

Being a PICAXE microcontroller chip is all very good and well, but I find it hard sometimes. I know I'm supposed to allow people to make anything electrical turn on an off when pretty much anything happens, but lately it's been a real drag. Basically, every time the guy I work for wants to make something, he sticks me in one of those breadboards with loads of holes in it and then just covers it with wires. It's so confusing. I mean, I know exactly what to do and in what order to do it, but this guy, all he has to do is stick a wire in the wrong hole and, BAM! He has to spend the next two hours tracing all the connections back to their origins to find the problem. But the other day, he got me this slinky new PCB which means that all the gubbins that he usually has to wire up to me is already attached in all the right places. I just slip on this PCB and plug myself into the breadboard. I look so much better without all those unnecessary interconnects.

Man, I hope my bum doesn't look to big in this.

00610 Day 139, the Guy

the Guy

Problem: Need to make a comic book without the ability to draw reproducible characters.

Solution: Egg headed man with kidney bean body.

Next up in comic book creation: Background generation using Sketchup.

00609 Day 138, the IR Sensor

IR Sensor

On your way to making a high speed photography rig? Need to trip the flash when a drop passes through a sensor?

Then you need to learn electronics and pull up your socks if you haven't! You've got some catching up to do, boy/girl/other!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

00608 Day 137, Tiny Gun

Tiny gun

Tiny gun

Pay attention 0.07.

We've had to come up with something special for your latest assignment, so I want you to watch carefully. An ordinary looking twig. But I take this penknife and shave off the bark, carve it along here and here, file down the sides, solder two pieces of wire together bend them to make the trigger and the trigger guard.

There, I think you'll appreciate the scaled down nature of the new weapon, given that you're only three inches high.

On the down side, we've had to compromise on some of the features. For instance, it won't fire anything and is functionally identical to a very small stick. But I don't think this should pose a problem in the field, especially with your skill set.


Damn it, man, where are you?


Oh ... no.


We don't want to be stepping on any more agents this morning.

Monday, July 25, 2011

00607 Day 136, Blog Headers

Blog headers

There once was a man who lived in a world where everyone had awesome headers for their blogs - except for him.
So one day he went off into the woods, because that's how stories that sound like fairy tales go.
Soon he came to a house where an old lady lived, and of course, because it was a story that sounded like a fairy story, the old woman wasn't really an old woman, she was a blog header.
So he took the blog header back to his house and uploaded it and they all lived happily ever after.

(and as a bonus, it turned out that the blog header was made by a powerful witch or something and had magic powers and changed to a different randomly chosen image each time the blog was refreshed).

00606 Day 135, the inflator

the Inflator

So - Mr ....?

I didn't give a name.

Oh ... well, I see that you have a new invention to show us. Let's have a look.

(the invention is placed on the table)

Mmmmmm .... so ... could you talk us through this, um, object.

Well it's simple really, you just cut the valve from a bicycle inner tube and launch it into space and when it has reached geostationary orbit, you can send up the other parts of the tube, followed by the tyres, the wheels and the other parts and voila! You have a fully operational bike.

O ... K ... now, I don't want to piss on your chips, but wouldn't it be better to use it to blow up balloons using a bicycle pump? That way the rubber still adhering to the inner tube could hold the balloons onto the valve, while making a perfect seal.

That's the problem with all you people - YOU HAVE NO VISION! GOOD DAY!



I thought that went quite well, what do you think?

0605 Day 134, iPod charger

iPod charger

Simply divide the regulated voltages for trouble free charging.

or don't - I'm too busy to care.

00604 Day 133, the Mexican

the Mexican

"Just a few words, Sir, if you have the time. We're doing a piece about how the recent upheavals in and around this area have affected the local population and how they are coping with the huge crisis facing what used to be a very prosperous town. What we want to know is, how have the events of the last few weeks affected the way that you've been dealing with everyday life and how do you see the future now that things have changed so dramatically? I mean, how are you coping?"


Thursday, July 21, 2011

00603 A growing list

... of things to make.

I never said all these would be original.

except maybe once.

Wind powered stone polisher
Flying saucer
Sketchup film
The pound note pad
Salt/pepper bowl
Backgammon board
Pocket money display
Camera remote
Ir camera remote
Drill/router bit store
Ice cube tray
DND sign
Crushed hand to put under rock
Hand/head buried in sand
A blackboard
Line follower
Carrom striker
Vu meter
The comic
Papier mâché
Solder timer on a power brick
Breadstick tree from wood or other
Spinning optical illusion
Film scanner light
It's time to blog alert
Oil painting
Matrix led for POV camera shots
Spin the bottle type chooser
Electromagnet ball release
Wind powered generator
Pen cnc
Solar charging iPod amp
Light box
Storage boxes
556 music thing
Wind powered thing for handlebars
Full bridge
Pun street model
Tool roll
Lamps on a mirror
New wallet
Pencil shaving art
Ballon modelling
Bread bin
Smoke bomb
The wire stripper
Sparebot walking stick handle
Bike repair stand
Cell animation
Filming light
Standing table
Steadicam rig
Fountain pen
Rubber band gun
Sailing boat

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

00602 Day 132, Giant Spoons

Giant spoons

Giant spoons Giant spoons

Dear Sir

I am a giant and wish to complain about the lack of silverware available for the voluminously/altitudinally challenged. No point in grinding bones to make my bread if I have no kitchen utensils which are up to the task.

Yours massively

The Giant

Dear Mr Giant

It is with great pleasure that I can bring you the news of our latest product line. Giant spoons are now in stock. Please head over to our website to place your order (
You'll be glad to hear that the spoons come in at £1.50 each despite their size*.

We would also like to point out that spoons are not ideal for eating bread.

Happy meals!

John R. Madeupman
(regional sales director for wemakereallystrangeutensilsforpeoplewhodifferinsizefromthegenerallyacceptednorm)

*shipping costs start at £15,500,000.00

00601 Day 131, the Fridge Magnet

the Fridge Magnet

The FM001 is an advanced neodymium-based information system for use in communications, specifically where consumption of an item has occurred and information about the current physical state of the item must be conveyed to a third party using passive visual stimulation.

Instructions for use of the FM001:

Remove all packaging*

Place on metal surface until needed.

Once an item has been consumed, remove the FM001 from the metal surface and place close to the area previously occupied by the item that has been consumed.

The FM001's passive visual stimulation system will activate automatically.

*please note: this item has no packaging

Sunday, July 17, 2011

00600 Day 130 the River of Sand

River of sand

River of sand River of sand River of sand

"And so it came to pass that on the tenth day of their journey they came to a mighty desert and the people were thirsty, but there was no water and they said, 'We are thirsty but there is no water', and the Lord said 'Do not worry, for water will flow in such abundance as there is faith'. And the skies clouded over and an image of a mighty river appeared before them where before there had been nothing. The flowing waters of the river were drawn as sweeping strokes of the Lord's mighty brush. And the people were amazed. They stared at the image and were still for some time.
Then one man, the eldest among them, said, 'That's very nice, but we were really looking for a real river, with, like, water and everything'. And the Lord looked down on them and said, 'Oh ... sorry about that. Look, why don't I just make a basin over there with a tap and you can all use that instead?' and they all agreed that that would be fine."

Excerpt from the recently discovered Old Testament 'Book of Jam' translated from the Aramaic last night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

00599 Day 129, the Sand Brick

the Sand Brick

the Sand Brick

the Sand Brick

Dear All

Having a really lovely time. This holiday was just what we needed. As you can see we've been at the beach and everything is just lovely, the sand is so soft and the sea is so clear. I'm sitting on a towel in the sun writing this to you and ...

OMFG!!!!! What is that guy doing? JTFC!!!!! he's lifting bricks out of the sand! FMWAT!!!!!! what's going on?!?!?!?

wait ...

There's somebody else coming.

It's the police.

They're taking him away.

Oh, thank God.

What's that officer?

No I've never seen him before.



How many days you say he's been doing this?

Wow. And different everyday?

Yeah, he really sounds like he's come unstuck, if you know what I mean.

Wow, OK. Well, make sure you lock him up good this time.

Yeah, bye.

Man, that was spooky.

129 days. No wonder he lost it.


OK, where was I . Oh, yeah -

lots of love


No ... wait ...


Thursday, July 14, 2011

00598 Day 128, the Ramp

the Ramp

This is a letter that I imagined someone sent to me after Day 128:

Hi Lenny

I'm just writing to say "thanks" for the other day, when you made a car ramp for all the kids at the party on Saturday. I think they really got a kick out of it and the adults sure enjoyed being able to have a drink without the kids bugging them all the time. I think it's fair to say that we were all surprised at how much the kids were into that thing - they literally didn't need any input all afternoon.

I say all that, but what I was really writing to you for was to tell you what happened afterwards.

As soon as you left, the ramp broke. On it's own this probably wouldn't have been too bad, but the kids couldn't stand the disappointment and just went mental. Two of them suffered cranial hematomas as a result of the ensuing fight and little Jimmy will walk with a limp for the foreseeable future. Again, although serious, this would not have been a problem, except that all the adults had been drinking so heavily (the spontaneity with which they were relinquished of their parental duties was so shocking that they pretty much forgot how to moderate their intake) that they were unable to intervene effectively.

In fact, things just escalated from there and pretty soon the adults were at each others throats.

The fallout from this has been nothing short of catastrophic. Two are dead, five seriously injured and one couple are taking legal action against each other.

Although I could probably blame the events of the last week on the drink, I think it's pretty clear that your meddling has directly caused a lot of pain and suffering. So when I say "thanks", what I really mean is screw you and I'll see you in court.

I didn't include the name of the author, just to save them from embarrassment (although I just remembered that I made it all up).

00597 Day 127, the Electromagnet

the Electromagnet

Says Wikipedia:

"An electromagnet is a type of magnet in which the magnetic field is produced by the flow of electric current.

An electric current flowing in a wire creates a magnetic field around the wire (see drawing below). To concentrate the magnetic field, in an electromagnet the wire is wound into a coil, with many turns of wire lying side by side. The magnetic field of all the turns of wire passes through the center of the coil, creating a strong magnetic field there. A coil forming the shape of a straight tube (a helix) is called a solenoid; a solenoid that is bent into a donut shape so that the ends meet is called a toroid. Much stronger magnetic fields can be produced if a "core" of ferromagnetic material, such as soft iron, is placed inside the coil. The ferromagnetic core magnifies the magnetic field to thousands of times the strength of the field of the coil alone, due to the high magnetic permeability μ of the ferromagnetic material. This is called a ferromagnetic-core or iron-core electromagnet."

But what do they know. I have edited it to read:

"An electromagnet is a small member of the rabbit family, with little tiny paws and pink fluffy ears. It eats dandelions and smells of roses."

It's all a matter of perspective and who am I to stand by and just let the world wash over me with its "opinions" and "science".

Now would be the perfect time to use the word "Pah!"

Note: this is the earliest foray into one of the components for a randomised reaction tester and data logger.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

00596 Day 126, Throwup


So here's how it works.

You will need:
The board as you see it, two players (and a referee), two glasses and a bottle of tequila.

Each player places their dice on one of the center two squares with the "1" facing up (he/she can choose where the other faces point).

Throw the white dice to see who goes first.

Player One throws the dice. if he/she throws "2"-"5", they move the dice in the direction that face is pointing. If a "6" is thrown, no move and play passes to Player Two. If a "1" is thrown, Player One can either move his/her opponents die one square in any direction, or move their own, again, one square in any direction.

If any player's die ends up on a black square, that's a drink.

Once a player's die has left the playing area (the bit with the squares), his/her opponent has to take two drinks.

But that's not quite it.

For those of you not conversant with the vodka game, this next part is very similar.

Here's how you decide the winner: divide the remainder of the bottle equally between the two players. Both players drink it down in one. One player leaves the room - the other player must guess who has left the room. Everyone's a winner

00595 Day 125, the Solar Charger

the Solar Charger

800 mAh batterys take a mere 12 hours in full sunlight

I travel to Finland in the Summer for peak effectiveness

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

00594 Day 124, Drawdio 2.0

Drawdio 2.0

Drawdio 2.0 WIP

Love Drawdio?

(Not really, but I'll just smile and play along in case he's the violent type)

Remember the old one?

(No. Who is this guy anyway?)

Tired of wires?

(Just nod, it'll be over soon)

Want to be free of the breadboard?

(probably a good film on tonight, I'll check out film 4 or ITV4)

Still want that great sound?

(shopping tomorrow, mustn't forget the list)

You can't have it! It's mine, all mine, I tell you!

(wow, wasn't expecting that)

I didn't burn the candle at both ends for you to have the power of cutting edge portable custom tunes at your fingertips, you fools! Who's the daddy now, mmmmm?

(well, that got my attention. That, and the gimp costume he's wearing)

00593 Day 123, the Biscuit

the Biscuit

Prepare yourself for the motion picture event of the year*.

Nobody knew what would happen when a man who had barely made a biscuit in his life, met a larder, a bowl a spoon and an oven (co-stars greased baking tray).

He came from a place where there were no biscuits and had to make it all up.

75g Flour
100g Sugar
75g Butter
50g Seed mixture (linseeds, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds)
25g Polenta

Cream butter an sugar, then mix in seeds and flour (sifted).
Break small balls off the dough, flatten and place on baking tray.
Bake in a pre-heated 180 C oven for 15.795 minutes.
Seek help for burns.

Rated 18 (biscuits)

*Does not contain motion picture