How exciting! I just heard that there is to be a Geek Hat Competition at the Design West 2013 Conference and Exhibition, which is to be held 22 – 25 April 2013 at the McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California. In addition to the world-famous Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), Design West will also feature a veritable cornucopia of other design summits.
VIP! Remember that close of business (COB) today is the deadline for submitting abstracts if you wish to present a paper (Click Here for more details). Having said this, if you were to sneak an abstract in over the weekend, I bet no one would notice you were late (grin).
But let's not become distracted by nitty-gritty details. The really important thing (obviously) is the Geek Hat Competition. As far as I know this news is "Hot Off The Press" – I don’t think it's even been posted on the Design West website yet, so remember that you heard it here first.
What? Of course I'm going to be entering. Do I look like the sort of man who would miss out on a Geek Hat Competition? Of course, since I'm an editor at UBM/EE Times, I won’t be eligible for any prizes (of which I am assured there will be a cornucopia), but the knowledge that I have the best hat will more than compensate for that.
As a starting point, consider this little beauty that I found on the Internet as shown below modeled by Steve Carell. You must admit that this looks rather debonair, and I certainly wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen wearing it in public, but … having said this … the LEDs look a tad too modern for my taste and there are no sparks. Call me "old fashioned" if you will, but I really think you need sparks (and associated sound effects) for this sort of thing.
And then there's the aluminum … is this the most appropriate? Will it go with my shorts and Hawaiian shirts? Or would a Steampunk brass look (with rivets ... I like rivets) be more the order of the day? The next step, of course, will be to create the formal specification and then actually build my hat. I mentioned this to my inventor friend Brian LaGrave, who made a lot of very useful suggestions. Unfortunately, Brian is busy inventing things, as is his wont, and is not available to help on this project.
Happily, my engineering hero chum Rick Curl (the guy who gave me the antique spool of wire for a magnetic wire recorder – Click Here to see that blog) is very enthused by this idea. Rick is already talking about using the inner workings of a stun gun to make the sparks. He says not to worry because "we can easily make this perfectly safe." Of course that's easy for him to say – he's not the one who is going to be placing this little scamp on his head (grin).
In the meantime, Rick also found the following video on YouTube. I have to admit that this is rather cool, and I certainly wouldn’t mind having one hanging in my wardrobe, but it's not the look I was going at the moment.
So, what say you? Are you planning on attending Design West? And, if so, will you be entering yourself and your "topper"?
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Re-viewing the episode (a friend has all the episodes of the original series), the Time Helmet has a small 'box' on each side from which extend backward three slender rods which seem to burn somewhat like sparklers (though they are larger than the fireworks I encountered as a child). It also had a barber pole that rotated, a dial to set the destination, two rods that extended upward (each having a short cross bar near the top) and were connected by a couple of wires, and a helical wire that formed a tall arch above the helmet (but below the two rods).
(http://www.twilightzonemuseum.com/show/images/3onceupon.jpg shows it [inactive] in the lower right corner of the picture.)
The episode is perhaps most distinctive in starring Buster Keaton and having the 1890s sections shown as silent film (with intertitles).
Yes, activating a Time Helmet indoors would be frowned upon.
I think I remember that episode! Didn't it have sparklers on top?
The pyrotechnics were very effective, but I think these days it would bring the wrath of the Fire Marshall down upon you if used in a public place.
Max, if you want sparks, nothing says sparks better than Jacob's ladder. That is, if you are comfortable having a few kV's that close to your brain. You could end up like the guy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!
My ultimate geek hat would be this one:
(Or, you can just search for Johnny Mnemonic's helmet.)
I suppose it's useful to wear a hat that makes your competitors die laughing. I have two hats I use when faced with particularly difficult technical challenges. If the challenge involves detective work, I put on an authentic deerstalker, which makes its wearer feel like Sherlock Holmes. If the challenge involves exploration, it's time for the pith helmet.
Traditional, yes, but effective.
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