Friday, August 31, 2007

No. 0031 - Grocery Cart Static Generator

Some of you that has been my friends for awhile, might know very well of my problem with static electricity shock. It doesn't kill me or anything but it hurts and it is very annoying. For some reason, I seem to get it worse than anyone I know. I can get shock at just about anywhere, anytime. For example, one time I got out of my car, walked inside a building, drank from the water fountain and I got shock at my tongue (clarification, I got shocked from the stream of water and not from the metal faucet. It is not like I licked water fountain. . .that's sick!). In another occasion, I was driving with my flip-flops and as I stepped out of my car, my pinky toe touched the asphalt and established an arc. I have attempted and tried many different ways to avoid being shocked. Some of you might remember that in my collection of keys, included this funny electrical looking key chain. Well, my friend, that key chain wasn't any ordinary key chain but a static discharger. Inside it consisted of a LED or a buzzer, used to dissipate the electrical charge. I was so charged up from time to time that I burnt out two of those things. I've tried discharging the static on metal doors with other parts of my body that is less sensitive such as my shoulders, legs, even my butt. (FYI, if you ever see my pant leg dirty, that's because I sometimes press my leg against the bottom part of my car door before I get out in order to establish electrical ground with the car, in avoiding the shock). As you can imagine how sometimes you might catch me brushing the metal door first with my shoulders. Now you know that I'm not so stupid that I'm trying to ram the door down but instead discharging the shock. My current method is to tap the metal door firmly holding my key. This way, I would still get a slight jolt, but at least the arc won't be on my skin.

Now not all of my methods mentioned above can entirely prevent me from getting shocked. On one particular instance, I was at Costco grocery shopping with a metal cart. I was holding the metal handle bar as I was maneuvering the cart around the store until I felt a slight but sharp poke at my palm. That occurred 2-3 more times afterwards so I thought I was grabbing a sharp corner of the metal weld. Then I started to push the cart with my hands gripping the side of the cart. Same thing! After feeling being pricked several times, I started to inspect the welds of the shopping cart and it looked smooth and fine. It was then I realized it was the cart that was shocking me repeatedly as the plastic wheel was generating the charge as it is rubbing with the floor. Out of this experience came an idea. What if each shopper that shops at a grocery store is asked to connect themselves to a store central battery of sort via a cable. As the shopper moves about the store with their cart, he or she will generate the charge and the cable will take that charge towards the storage (i.e. battery). Now I can assure you the charges and current from only one shopper might not be very significant, but imagine how many grocery stores are out there in this nation? Imagine how many people travel in and out of those stores everyday? With this type of masses, I would have to say that this stored up electricity might be able to add up to something. Now it would be pretty ridiculous to see millions of shopper all connected at the wrist to the building because eventually all will get tangled up pretty easily. But considering the energy crunch that we are all experiencing as a country today, should a few knots or trip and tumble really matter?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No. 0030 - Mood Baby

Even though I haven't yet been married or made a child of my own, I can sometimes see the frustration that some of my somewhat newly wed friends with their babies. Let's take my friends Tyler and Amanda for instant, they wish to make Lillian a mood chameleon. Here is an excerpt of what they have to say.

"Often, Amanda and I find it difficult to figure out what exactly is wrong with Lillian. We end up running through the list of usual suspects: is she hungry? is she tired? is she thirsty? does she just want to be held? is she bored? The list can go on and on and usually does until we finally give up and give her some children's tylenol. My idea would be to genetically engineer a baby so that they would change colors according to their mood. That way, there is no guessing game and possibly fewer visits to Rite Aid to get more tylenol."

SO, if you don't mind your baby turning into a Smurf, then you really ought to consider this. But then again, there are only a few distinctive colors so moods availability are pretty limited and would get kinda difficult to determine once it gets into the many different shades of color. However, this problem can easily be solved by creating some sort of color spectrum detector. These kind of things are actually quick possible to make and maybe it could be sensitive enough to pick up the specific shade that would generate some code that you can look up in a hand book somewhere. For example, Code # 348A-2 (Grey-asparagus): I totally don't like it when you scoop a spoon across my mouth as you are feeding me because that simply makes a bigger mess around my lips. Wow, imagine the possibility, it is endless!

My friends even extended this invention to teenage years and adulthood. They said "this mood baby, if female, could also prove to be the most desirable girlfriend ever when she grew up. When the potential suitor asks her out, he could see how excited she is by whether or not she was a pretty pink or a nice shade of puke. Although this mood girl may end up backfiring in the teenage years since her emotions would be fluctuating so much that either she would look like a psychedelic strobe light or the color frosting gets when you keep adding all of the different food coloring".

Now how much more effective can you get in a church dance situation than this?! Just put yourself in the middle of the crowd and walk around all the boys and girls you are interested in. When the color is right then make a move! (if such a thing does exist, I would love to be at the ceiling looking down at the dance floor and just pick out all the party poopers). And if the color didn't turn the way you wish to after a run or two, you can might as well go home and play video games. You know, one of the greatest battle for singles to face is trying to figure out what your interest think of you. Well, cut the crap and start learning your primary colors!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No. 0029 - Google Chorus

Most typical way to search for a song that you don't know: remember one line of the song (ideally the chorus) and then Google it. The chances are you will find it. However, tonight as Roseanne and I were pulling up to TGIFridays, we came across a song on the radio that has caught my attention for the last few weeks. It was a punk song with a girl lead singer. The beat is pretty rocking but I have no clue or way to find out who that was or what the song's name was. I tried to listen for a phrase or something in the chorus but it was already towards the end of the song. All I have left in my head is the tune of the chorus. It goes a little something like this "do do . . .do do do do do . . . .dodo . . .do do do do dodo". That's all I got. So now I'm got a song in my head (more or less just the chorus line) stuck on replay. I may or may not ever will find out who this band was or the name of the song. In fact, I'm pretty much at the mercy of the radio station to play that song again. Now I'm a major advocate of Google; you can Google just about everything. But how about this, a Google Chorus search. All you need is a microphone and the search engine. So in my situation, I would go to Google Chorus, hook up my mic and "do do do" away. Now I must admit all my other invention ideas are often time stupid and impossible, but this one you must agree might actually be doable.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

No. 0028 - Excel Battleship

8 to 5 schedule is a lot harder than what most would think. As for me and my work, we do 9-hour days and on certain days, that extra hour is like pulling hair. And today is no different, just like any other day as a hard day of work is about to wind down with less than one hour to go, both my cube-mate and my own momentum is just about to stop. Out of the blue, my cube-mate suggested to play battleship, then I said "we can use Excel!"

The setup is quite easy. Change the cell width to 2.5, draw two big borders as boundaries, add a few borders here and there as battleships and let the war begin! At first we would call out the coordinates out loud but that quickly drew some attentions from our cube neighbors as we were giggling like some 6 grader boys that just got off school. Luckily, our email service provides us with chat, so our battle immediately relocated to the cyber-space.

Patrick: 6G
Mike: miss, 27K
Patrick: hit, 3I
Mike: SUNK!, 20B

The great thing about Excel Battleship is that the size of the battlefield is endless. You can virtually make the grid as big or as small as you wish. In addition to a vast ocean, your NAVY can also be as big as you want. In fact, have multiple carriers, subs and destroyers. Heck, pepper the board with 40 PT boats, even though a PT boat fleet of this size would honestly drive me crazy. So go ahead, attach your xls file to a mass e-mail, get on chat and let's play Battleship!

P.S.- I'm challenging anyone to a giant game of Excel Battleship. One turn a day over e-mail and have a battlefield that will take up 365 spaces (actually a grid of 20X20) so the game will take one year.