There are some crazy things out there, such as a mechanical oscilloscope, home-made "antique" calculators, and an automatic "wake-n-bacon" machine!
I just realized that I have a huge backlog of uber-cool websites I haven't had the time to tell you about. There's so much to do, and so little time to do it all in ... so let me briefly introduce you to a few that caught my interest ...
#1 Rock-playing Organ: Did you ever see one of those stately old Dutch street organs? Well, it seems that someone decided to take one and program some rock music into it. Wouldn't you love to own one of these? Unfortunately, since I don't speak Dutch, the text that appears over the video is somewhat enigmatic; for example, I'm going to be pondering the meaning of "hardcore spelen" all day.
#2 Wake-n-Bacon: Now here's a man after my own heart. He's made a machine that wakes him with a couple of rashers of crispy bacon. As we all know, bacon is one of the main food groups, and there are very few dishes that cannot be improved with a few slices of bacon!
#3 Coffee-powered Engine: What is a Stirling engine? I think I once knew the answer to this poser, but the old gray brain cells seem to have miss-filed this vital piece of information. Be that as it may, this site shows one made out of paper/card that is powered by a mug of hot coffee.
#4 Heath Robinson Computer: I'm sure you recall my waffling on about my idea for a Heath Robinson Rube Goldberg computer. Well, you can only imagine my surprise to discover that the lads at the UK code-breaking site at Bletchley Park were working on their own Heath Robinson machine during WW II.
#5 Amusing Calculators: Now this is very interesting. These look like antique electronic calculators, except that they are too antique, if you know what I mean. I'm guessing that the person who owns this site makes these little rascals, in which case my hat is off to him/her because they look GREAT (as always, I want to make one of my own now).
#6 OscylinderScope: Try saying this ten times quickly! This is a mechanical oscilloscope based on a rotating black-and-white striped cylinder. If you pluck some strings mounted in front of the cylinder, you can see the actual waveform on the strings including blips and spikes!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.