Good Grief – it seems like my Heath Robinson Rube Goldberg mixed-technology computer project has struck a spark (pun intended), because suggestions continue to flood in.
For example, one reader noted that the "beast" will consume a lot of power, so he suggests we use mercury arc rectifiers so as to provide an appropriate "mad scientist" ambience. Also, several readers have suggested using Nixie tubes and Dekatron displays. And, as I mentioned in my previous blog – Arrggh, I almost had a Jacob's Ladder – one of my own ideas is to use a Jacob's Ladder to provide the main system clock.
It's getting so I can’t wait to arrive in my office in the mornings to check my email and discover the new gems that have been winging their way to me through the night. Just this morning, for example, I was delighted to receive a note from Ken in Bloomingdale, IL, telling me about a website called Mike's Electric Stuff. This fantastic site provides a goldmine of information on early display technologies and other stuff. Amongst a positive plethora of other topics, there are some amazingly cool photos of everything mentioned above: Jacob's Ladders, Mercury Arc Rectifiers, Nixie Tubes, and Dekatron displays.
The owner of the site, Mike, appears to be a real interesting character. In addition to participating in events like Dorkfest – which is billed as "A Festival of Dorkness (people doing strange things with electricity)" – Mike also builds custom Nixie displays for use in television and film.
Isn’t this stuff just so cool? And how about you – do you have any suggestions of your own? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, as usual, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.