I love this strange and wonderful project on Hackaday.io. It is digital clock which uses a ring of 60 NeoPixels in a 3D printed flying saucer and 12 lights on the inner ring to indicate the hours. It also does backups. And light shows. All it needs is a cow being sucked up into it.
At the end of November 2019 my trusty old iomega StorCenter NAS (Network Attached Storage) started behaving eratically and would keep disappearing from the network and locking up every few hours. I immediately made sure I had several copies of the data and started the search for a replacement. But it dawned on me that whatever I would buy would ultimately go the same way: unsupported and unfixable.
So, with the new Raspberry Pi 4 having USB3 ports and a long running desire to make a circular neopixel clock at some point, it dawned on me that there are two devices that run 24 hours a day: my NAS and my trusty old Tix clock that I bought several years ago.
Why settle for another boring NAS when I can make the ultimate NAS come Clock combination? So began the flying saucer clock project...
So, how does it tell time?
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The inner ring of the saucer contains 12 LEDs behind diffusers made from a ring of transparent PLA with black PLA colour separators, which are lit according to the current hours. The minutes and seconds are shown on the outer 60 LED ring. This also displays the hour as a series of 5 LEDs lit blue and also hour markers shown at spacing of every 5.
My daughter loves the flip sequin shirts that are all the rage for kids these days. Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi's daughter digs them too and she inspired his fantastic Sequino clock that "writes and rewrites" the time by flipping the sequins. Kalsi posted his build notes over at Hackaday.
Sequino: A Clock Which Rewrites Time Again and Again
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Ji Lee's redundant clock tells time telling time. Also, some children no longer learn how to read an analog clock. Also, redundant clock is not to be confused with a recursive clock: Read the rest
Hamish & Andy put three people in separate isolated storage units and asked them to hit a button when they felt like one hour had passed. I would do poorly. Even if I started counting, I'd become too distracted by the noise in my head.
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I've always wanted one of these, and now I can get one pretty cheap! The KABB Modern Digital Flip Clock is $44, comes with black or white number flaps, and runs off a single D battery. It looks a bit cheap in the photos—I certainly don't think it'll pass for a vintage Bomba—but that hardly matters, as it's just another totem of my anxious and obsessive grasping at nostalgia for a technological age I am too young to have experienced, a timeless jumble of false comfort doomed to be discarded in a convulsion of minimalism that is itself merely another manifestation of the deracinating consumer identities to which we are all measured against and fed to like krill.
Nice gift for dad, though! Read the rest
Thirteen years ago, Pittsburgh's Jerry Lynn carefully lowered an alarm clock on a string, lowering it into a wall from the floor above, part of a cunning plan to identify where to drill a hole by waiting for the alarm to go off. Unfortunately, the string snapped, and the clock's been going off daily ever since.
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“As I was laying it down, all of a sudden I heard it go ‘thunk!’ as it came loose,” he said. “I thought, well, that’s not a real problem. You know it’s still going to go off. And it did.”
He couldn’t pull it back up, but figured, “Maybe, three-four months it’ll run out of battery. That was in September of 2004. It is still going off every day. And during daylight savings time it goes off at ten minutes ’til eight. And during standard time it goes off at ten minutes to seven at night.”
MNTNT's Albert Clock is a clock that presents the hours and minutes as simple math problems. Is it annoying or engaging? Or.... both!
In standard mode, the queries change every minute. They are completely random, so even the query for the hours change, even if the result stays the same.
You can speed up this challenge so the queries change in the fastest mode every 10 seconds.
You can also download the Albert Clock as a free mobile app.
(via Uncrate) Read the rest
As with most museums, Pennsylvania's National Watch & Clock Museum has a "no touching" policy. But one couple wanted so badly to see artist James Borden's wooden clock sculpture run that they couldn't help themselves...
Museum director Noel Poirier told NBC Philadelphia that the couple reported the mishap to museum staff. The clock is undergoing repairs and will be on display again in a few months.
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Jack Hughes created The Color Clock, whose background color is always a hexadecimal RGB representation of the current time. You can download screensaver versions too. Read the rest
Once upon a time, clock towers were a sort of public utility, a shared temporal reference point that synchronized communities where personal timepieces were often a rarity. Although we hardly need the reminder in the modern age of smartphones, there's something about these buildings still capture the imagination, not just as striking aesthetic objects, but as physical metaphors for either moving through time, or running out it.
In the game Tick Tock Isle, you play as a "confident young horologist" (read: clock man) who has been summoned to a mysterious island to fix a broken clock tower, which should be your first clue that things are about to get weird. Naturally, you end up traveling back in time to the days when the now empty island was a bustling community, and have to figure out how and why it got abandoned by talking to townspeople and solving puzzles.
If you're a fan of adventure games, it's definitely worth the hour or so it takes to play what developer Squiddershins calls "a very short, very silly adventure."
Tick Tock Isle is also described as a "spiritual successor" to Cat Poke, the developer's earlier puzzle game about a little girl annoying her pets on a rainy day. Although it doesn't have nearly as many cats, Tick Tock Isle manages to pack a lot more story (and mystery and humor) into a game that is just as short, sweet, and charming.
You can download the demo for free, or buy the full game for $2.99 Read the rest
This fantastic sculpture by Clayton Boyer will delight, amaze, hypnotize, and/or induce motion sickness. He's posted the plans for sale and you can see how others have interpreted his basic design in this Flickr pool! Boyer writes:
This is Zinnia, a spring driven kinetic sculpture that will quietly run about 40 minutes on a full wind. Each of the two display wheels is 24" (61cm) in diameter, and as they change rotational speed and direction they create a variety of visually interesting shapes within the sculpture ~ as well as the contrasting shadows it projects against the wall behind. This is a very easy project to build and a great place to begin your kinetic sculpture and clock making journey. Zinnia's included wheel design is only one example of display wheel possiblities; you can create your own designs! The basic motive mechanism of the Zinnia will easily accept a wide variety of other display wheel sizes, shapes and forms. The possibilities for other variations in display wheel shapes is only limited by your imagination!
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At 23:59:59 (UTC), time will "stop" as the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US and other official timekeepers around the world add a second to our clocks. They last did this in 2012. Read the rest
Over at Smithsonian, Jimmy Stamp shares a brief history of the cuckoo clock, likely invented in 17th century Germany.
After a century of development that saw wood replaced with brass and metal, two distinct styles of cuckoo clock emerged from the Black Forest to dominate the market: The ornamented, house-like “Bahnhäusleuhr” or “railroad house” and the Jagdstück” or “Hunt piece” or “traditional style” clock, which features elaborate, decorative hand carved nature scenes adorning a simple encasement…
So why a cuckoo? The common cuckoo, native to Europe, had long served as a natural marker of time, a welcome harbinger of Spring whose familiar calls denoted the coming of the new season and warmer weather.
"The Past, Present, and Future of the Cuckoo Clock" Read the rest
Here's The Atlantic on how New York's busiest train station helps commuters get there in time: by giving them an extra minute: "The idea is that passengers rushing to catch trains they're about to miss can actually be dangerous -- to themselves, and to each other. So conductors will pull out of the station exactly one minute after their trains' posted departure times." Read the rest
William Saturno, a Boston University archeologist, excavates a mural in a house in Xultun. Photo: Tyrone Turner © 2012 National Geographic
An archaeological expedition in the northeastern lowlands of Guatemala yields an amazing discovery: the "9th-century workplace of a city scribe, an unusual dwelling adorned with magnificent pictures of the king and other royals and the oldest known Maya calendar."
From Thomas Maugh's report in the Los Angeles Times, on the dig in the ruins of Xultun led by William Saturno of Boston University:
This year has been particularly controversial among some cultists because of the belief that the Maya calendar predicts a major cataclysm — perhaps the end of the world — on Dec. 21, 2012. Archaeologists know that is not true, but the new find, written on the plaster equivalent of a modern scientist's whiteboard, strongly reinforces the idea that the Maya calendar projects thousands of years into the future.
To paraphrase modern-day Maya priests I've spoken with on past travels in rural Guatemala: "Well, duh."
The findings were first reported Thursday in the journal Science. The full text of the report requires paid subscription, but a recent Science podcast covers the news, and is available here (PDF transcript or MP3 for audio). Read the rest
This short film was produced by the film unit of the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the 1950s, and explains the principles behind the first accurate atomic clock, which was designed by Louis Essen and built at the National Physical Laboratory in 1955. The NPL's YouTube channel has other videos of interest to science geeks. (thanks, obadiahlemon) Read the rest