As always, I am ensconced in the middle of a maelstrom of intelligence and information overload. I’m too young for all of this excitement. Stop the world, I want to get off.
Let’s start with my Rolling Your Own Faux Nixie Displays column from a couple of weeks ago. As you may recall, this involved a clock with what — at first glance — appeared to be six Nixie tubes. On closer examination, however, it turned out that these were just regular glass tubes, each of which contained a small OLED display.
Well, after seeing the aforementioned blog, my chum Steve Manley in the UK decided to splash the case for one of these little beauties. It arrived a few days ago, which really surprised him because he was anticipating delivery in a couple more weeks’ time. Shortly after he’d opened the box and powered the clock up, Steve emailed me to say that this device was “nicely laid out” and “beautifully made.”
Now, as you may recall, one of the features of this clock is that — in addition to the Nixie tube look and feel — you can select from a variety of different display types to be presented on the OLED displays. In fact, you can also create and use your own graphics on the OLED displays.
The reason I mention this here is that Steve and I are working on a project together Resurrecting 21-Segment Victorian Displays using modern tricolored LEDs and microcontrollers. Well, Steve just send me a picture of his new clock into which he has loaded images reflecting our 21-segment Victorian displays. As I told Steve: (a) I think this is brilliant and (b) for some reason, I don’t think I would have thought to do this myself in a million years.
Moving on, my chum Jay Dowling just sent me a link to a fascinating article on Stern-Brocot Trees and Their Applications. This really does make for a fascinating read. I’d never heard about Stern-Brocot Trees before, but I now know that — should I ever trip through a timeslip into the past — this will be an invaluable technique for designing the gears in mechanisms like mechanical calculators and clocks and engines.
The author, Mircea Neacsu, sums things up nicely as follows: “I found it fascinating to trace the structure of the Stern-Brocot tree from Plato’s dialogues to Greek astronomers, 18th century clock makers, and contemporary floating-point approximations.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.