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Creating an Inamorata Prognostication Engine, Part 1

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12/25/2013 08:00 AM EST

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Learning all sorts of stuff
12/25/2013 1:51:04 PM
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One thing I really love about having a project like this is that I end up learning lots of "stuff" -- currently I'm looking into algorithms to convert dates between the Gregorian calendar and Julian calendar and vice versa.

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/26/2013 10:55:34 PM
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Max, I'd question whether women are worth all this trouble??   I do like the idea of the "Gruntled-meter", though....

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/28/2013 11:54:01 AM
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@David: I do like the idea of the "Gruntled-meter", though....

I must admit that is one of my favorites -- along with the "Suspicion of Wrongdoing" meter...

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/28/2013 4:20:31 PM
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@Max....along with the "Suspicion of Wrongdoing" meter...

You better get a rugged meter, the needle will be bent around the end stop most of the time..... :-)

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/28/2013 4:28:05 PM
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@David: You better get a rugged meter, the needle will be bent around the end stop most of the time..... :-)

It sounds like you s[peak from experiance. Fortunately I'm including a special damping circuit and an emergancy bypass circuit and -- if all else fails -- a "OMG, did you see what just went past the window?" distraction input LOL

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/28/2013 4:33:25 PM
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@David: What do you think about my proposed layout? I'm not talking about the function of the switches, just the ascthetics of the layout? In the upper area, the column of switches just to the left of the column of three meters, I currently have two horizontal switches on top and two on the bottom with the strip of push buttons in-between -- but I was always told that odd numbers were more interesting (visually) than even ones -- I'm wondering about having three switches at the top, then the vertical push button strip, then one horizontal switch at the bottom. What say you?

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/28/2013 4:58:13 PM
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@Max....   I like Symmetry myself, so I like your bottom layout better than your top.    (That sounds dodgy...... :-)   But I am known far and wide as an old fuddy-duddy so don't listen to me.

BTW have you got enough meters?  I have an old round one which I used on a wall-wart current/voltage meter some time ago, and there have been so many more power plugs brought in since then that it could do with updating...

BTBTW have you cleaned out Mock electronics' stock of antique electronics yet prior to their closing?

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/29/2013 3:01:40 PM
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@David: ...have you got enough meters?

How can anyone ever have enough antique meters? LOL

I have an old round one which I used on a wall-wart current/voltage meter some time ago, and there have been so many more power plugs brought in since then that it could do with updating...

If you want to bring it over to EE Live! with you, I'd be more than happy to take it off your hands. I know that I will be going back to the Hamfest in Huntsville this year -- I also know that I will be much more careful NOT to pick up a bunch of 10A AC meters by mistake (LOL)

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/29/2013 3:09:41 PM
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@Max sorry, I lied, it is a square one, but still antique, it has the old PYE logo on it (remember them?)

10A meters are not necessarily bad but it's important to find out what kind of meter it is.  If they are moving iron types they can't be changed.  You could use them for Battery chargers.....  But if they are moving coil ones (which you can divine by looking for the coil thru the front window) then nine times out of ten they are low current ones with a shunt.  As an example, I recently got a 30A meter out of a power supply and it turned out to be 4mA FSD with a fat bit of wire as a shunt.

Anyway, IF I get to EE Live you have got yourself another antique meter.....

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/29/2013 3:32:09 PM
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@David: 10A meters are not necessarily bad but it's important to find out what kind of meter it is

I know that NOW! LOL

As you say, a high-current meter is very often a low-current meter with a shunt resistor -- remove the shunt and you have a low-current meter.

But the idea thing is to get a 1mA meter (or a 100uA meter), because then you can work with it directly without a lot of messing around.

In fact i'm going to be writing a blog about all of this -- probably thsi coming week.

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/29/2013 3:03:37 PM
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@David: ...have you cleaned out Mock electronics' stock of antique electronics yet prior to their closing?

I'm certainly working on it -- in fact I will be dropping in on my way into work tomorrow morning (a) to pick up five 10K potentiometers for the main bank of rotary switches and (b) to see if anything interesting has walked through the door...

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/29/2013 3:10:49 PM
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@Max have you got that Star Trek teleporter working yet?  I'd love to see that place before it closes.....

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/29/2013 3:33:17 PM
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@David: I'd love to see that place before it closes....

I'll try to remember to take some more pictures when I'm down there tomorrow morning.

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/30/2013 1:25:53 AM
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Max: Glad to see some news on this project! I can't wait to read how it'll turn out! Those Neopixels look really handy... I could have used some of these a few weeks ago when I was wiring the LED's for a "color-organ" into a glass railroad insulator ( with it's 24 wire cable stuffed into a threaded table-lamp conduit ). Thanks for the console project mention... yes, it is still a work-in-progress.

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/30/2013 12:11:34 PM
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@Douglas: Thanks for the console project mention... yes, it is still a work-in-progress.

Douglas -- it's GREAT to hear from you -- also that your Dr Who console is still on the go. I'm afraid that my project fell by the wayside for a while -- but the advent of these NeoPixels and the fact that an Arduino can drive all of my meters (using the PWM digital outputs) has brought it back to full steam, as it were -- to the extent that I may have the whole thing up and running in a coupel of weeks, the way things are going -- watch this space -- Max

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
1/9/2014 6:11:41 PM
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@Max: "-- but the advent of these NeoPixels and the fact that an Arduino can drive all of my meters (using the PWM digital outputs) has brought it back to full steam, as it were -- to the extent that I may have the whole thing up and running in a coupel of weeks, the way things are going -- watch this space --"

That is good news! Will be watching... waiting anxiously, with my shiny and newly purchased Arduino Mega in hand!

Was wondering, though... there's been some discussion about the functioning of the "Woman" portion of this project, but no details about the male counterpart ( other than the obvious toggle switch and pilot lamp ).

Might I suggest that after the switch, there should at least be a brief delay ( accompanied, perhaps, by some low level internal tickity noises ) followed by a single chime from the bell of an old-fashioned telephone ringer?

Surely, such a device cannot be complete unless it goes "ding!"?

>"I'm thinking of writing all of my instructions in Tolkenian Elvish script, so first you have to translate them (using the handy-dandy dictionary provided)"

There are also some free "Gallifreyan" fonts to be found online, as well.

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
1/10/2014 9:49:33 AM
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@Douglas442: There are also some free "Gallifreyan" fonts to be found online, as well.

Really? Tell me more!

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
1/10/2014 9:53:39 AM
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@Douglass: ...there's been some discussion about the functioning of the "Woman" portion of this project, but no details about the male counterpart...

Actually, I just took delivery of the most amazing switch that will be a key feature of the Man portion of this device (the Man part will be implemented in a smaller antique box that sits on top of the "Woman" radio cabinet).

I'll post a seperate blog on thsi next week -- I'm hoping to post Part 2 of the main project sometime today.

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/30/2013 9:57:23 AM
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@Max....   I like Symmetry myself

I totally agree- but then again we're both guys, so considering the intended purpose of this device I'll have to say my vote is for asymmetry.  No-strike that- not asymmetry- randomness might be a better word.

As for the analog meters- an intentionally bent pointer on one of them might be an interesting touch.

Re: The LEDs around the switches and knobs- have you considered light pipes? Digi-key has a nice assortment of them.  Either a short rigid one with the LED mounted right behind it, or you could get flexible ones and put all of the LED's on one board.

How about using LCD's to label the knobs so when you turn one knob the function of the others change?

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Re: Learning all sorts of stuff
12/30/2013 12:14:55 PM
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@Rcurl: How about using LCD's to label the knobs so when you turn one knob the function of the others change?

I was going to include this function, but without the labels LOL

I am toying with having labels lazer etched into the panel .. but I'm not sure yet -- if I do it will be in Tolkenian Elven Script -- the instruction book will be in the same script -- so you have to decode the instruction book to work out how to use the engine ... watch this space :-)

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Trouble...
12/27/2013 9:51:53 AM
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You, my ugly British friend, are going to be in heaps of trouble with the missus.

(But I still like it)

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Re: Trouble...
12/27/2013 11:09:31 AM
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If his good lady has a shread of Lain or Spanish blood then a turbo button should get him out of trouble?

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Re: Trouble...
12/27/2013 11:10:41 AM
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I now seem to be dropping my T's and H's

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 5:11:54 AM
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Hi Crusty and complaints of the season to you... :-)

Are you aware you can correct your own posts?  At the bottom there is an Edit/Delete link which lets you re-edit them.  So now you have no excuse for dropped H's!  I was told about this a few weeks ago and since then have used it a lot - how many times do you post a comment and then see a spelling mistake?

Have a good New Year!

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 7:13:11 AM
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Hi David, Thanks for the pointer to the edit function, I have used it on my last post to Tomii as I needed to change HTML to XML,  the post post Christmas drunk is still with me perhaps?

I always see mistakes when I post, so this is a boon, other sites have a review capability, but this does the trick just as well.

Hope to see you in print over the year, I liked your Captions for this month.

I think I shall be starting a New Year resolution to bring bloated software producers to heal.

It's about time they presented software as selectable modules that you use or drop as you need.

This is the reason I still like Delphi, most of the time I only need the basic software, if I need another function it gets dropped in to the IDE or droped if it is no longer needed.

Well Crusty is British and hardly a looker, nose got broke riding horses over fences, ears got bent boxing, and hair wont stay flat from all the electric shocks working on the Tube (Underground). But I might just have the edge on Max even though he is still a lot younger than me.

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 4:41:54 PM
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HI Crusty....

Hope to see you in print over the year     Sure you will, I am a bit of a windbag (though I'm sure Max would say that's an understatement!).  Ditto yourself.  Love your stories of the underground days.  I was born in London, left when I was 2, but some of it must have rubbed off, I love going on the Tube when I am there.   Might be in London next year, be good to get together for a beer?

I think I shall be starting a New Year resolution to bring bloated software producers to heel.   Good luck with that!

Well Crusty is British and hardly a looker,    Mate, those eyebrows overcome any other disadvantages you may have.  They're even better than our ex-PM John Howard's!

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Re: Trouble...
12/29/2013 5:31:11 AM
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Hi David, Mate, those eyebrows overcome any other disadvantages you may have.

I become a dead ringer for Denis Healey if I do not trim my brows each day click here.

If you get to England next year, do not forget I have retired to the south of England, so I will be happy to guest you at Crusty Mansion, on the coast near Portsmouth (Emsworth). There are a lot of pubs round us for beer.

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Re: Trouble...
12/29/2013 2:48:45 PM
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@Crusty now I know why I keep thinking I've seen you somewhere... :-)

> I have retired to the south of England,

No problem, I'll be down that way too as heaps of rellies down there

(sorry, Ausie slang for Relatives!)

Will make a plan nearer the time

You and Mrs Crusty have a good new year.

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 11:56:54 AM
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Every \$%^ time -- the amazing thing is hw few people notice that "Edit/Delete" link even though they may post a number of comments each day.

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 4:29:33 PM
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@Max....The amazing thing is hw few people notice that "Edit/Delete" link

I had to have it pointed out to me (think it was Rick Merritt did that).

With fingers like mine, it's pretty damn useful though.  I actually have five thumbs on each hand, and I am also ambidextrous - bu##er all use with both hands....

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 4:35:14 PM
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@David: ...and I am also ambidextrous...

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous (and I'll bend over backwards to be flexible :-)

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Re: Trouble...
12/27/2013 11:26:58 AM
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If it's anything like my missus, there ain't no gettin' outta trouble ;)

How ya doin' crusty?  Santa treat you well this year?  How's the project(s) coming along?

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 4:33:07 AM
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Hi tom-ii, Santa shopped early for me at Kickstarter this year but delevery will be New Year plus.

I have got side tracked with most of the projects at the moment, as I decided to make a stand alone front end for programming Atmel chips because Studio 6 is so bloat ware it takes so long to load on my laptop. The need to programme the chip has gone by the time the splash screen loads.

So I have my old Borland Delphi hat on at the moment, I have the Dos based "Atprogram" running on a Delphi front end, but am having difficulty with some dependancies associated with the Atmel device descriptions used in Atmel Studio 6 XML files, Studio 4 XML is a doddle to work with, but as new devices come on line and SAM is supported with Studio 6 version XML device files, I am determined I will get my front end to work with Studio 6 files.

May be there is a big blog waiting to come out of this head bashing session?

Have a good New Year along with all the past associates of last years blogs.

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 5:20:09 AM
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@tom-ii As I am also ugly and British (and your comment was under mine) I thought you might be talking to me.  However I am a detribalised pom, I have Rhodesian, Zimbabwean and Australian influences, whereas Max is definitely British and definitely ugly (magnificently so).  So I assume you were talking to him?

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Re: Trouble...
12/28/2013 8:35:28 AM
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@David:

Max is definitely British and definitely ugly (magnificently so).  So I assume you were talking to him?

You are correct on both counts!  ;)

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Mixed emotions!
12/30/2013 12:42:19 PM
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I am not sure whether I feel impressed or resentful of this new project, Max. Oh what the heck, I choose impressed!!!

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Re: Mixed emotions!
12/30/2013 3:02:43 PM
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@kfield: I am not sure whether I feel impressed or resentful of this new project...

Resentful because you don't have one of your own? LOL

Oh what the heck, I choose impressed!!!

You are wise beyond your years, grasshopper :-)

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Re: Mixed emotions!
12/30/2013 3:38:37 PM
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@Max - I was wondering whether a Sense-of-Humor-meter would be necessary, but Karen can't be the only woman with one - better put one on.

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Re: Mixed emotions!
12/30/2013 3:42:04 PM
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@David: I was wondering whether a Sense-of-Humor-meter would be necessary...

The meters are output devices, its the rotory knobs and the switches that one uses to set up input parameters such as "Having a sense of humor" ....

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Re: Mixed emotions!
12/30/2013 3:52:49 PM
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@Max....Yes, but most women have frequent sense-of-humor failures, so some output as to whether it is still in operation - and possibly at what level -  would be a very useful thing to have?

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Instruction Sheet
1/5/2014 3:47:27 AM
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In Robert Heinlein's 1948 book "Space Cadet" the main character sits an entrance exam. At one stage, he is faced with a machine and a bewildering set of instructions. When he sorts through them and realises there is NO Correct Answer, he calls the instructor - who notes the time he took and sends him to the next test.

A suitably inscribed placard, on the side of your machine, may make an interesting addition. You may also wish to add gate [flag] indicators, and a score...

"If any score from a previous test," Matt read, "appears in the window marked SCORE, return the starting lever to the position marked NEUTRAL  to clear the board for your test."
Matt found the window labeled "SCORE"; it had a score showing in it -"37."
Well, he thought, that gives me a mark to shoot at. He  decided not to clear the board until he had read the instructions.

"After the test starts," he read, "a score of  T will result each time you press the left hand button except as otherwise provided here below."

"Press the left hand button whenever the red light appears provided the green light is not lighted as well except that no button should be pressed when the right hand gate is open unless all lights are out.  If the right-hand gate is open and the left hand gate is closed, no score wi l l result from pressing any button, but the left hand button must nevertheless be pressed under these circumstances if all other conditions permit a button to be pressed before any score may be made in succeeding phases of the test."

"To put out the green light, press the right hand button. If the left hand gate is not closed, no butt on may be pressed. If the left hand gate is closed while the red light is lighted, do not press the left hand button if the green light is out unless the right hand gate is open."

"To start the test move the starting lever from neutral all the way to the right. The test runs for two minutes from the time you move the starting lever to the right. Study these instructions, then select your own time for commencing the test.  You are not permitted to ask questions of the examiner, so be sure that you understand the instructions. Make as high a score as possible."

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Re: Instruction Sheet
1/7/2014 1:18:34 PM
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@sa_penguin: At one stage, he is faced with a machine and a bewildering set of instructions.

I remember that -- I loved all of Heinlein's books for younger readers (I still do). I'm thinking of writing all of my instructions in Tolkenian Elvish script, so first you have to translate them (using the handy-dandy dictionary provided) and only then do you realise that there's no way to "win" LOL

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Re: Instruction Sheet
1/9/2014 10:41:10 AM
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>I'm thinking of writing all of my instructions in Tolkenian Elvish script,

A previous (and now defunct) employer once grew an in-house email app that was a nightmare to use - full of CTRL-x for various functions.  The instructions were written for a particular type of keyboard - for those of us with a different keyboard, instead of providing instructions geared to that keyboard, the morons-that-be provided a "translation sheet" that listed the cross-references from CTRL-x to CTRL-y.

I went back to paper memos with the CC rather than use this botched application.  Everybody hated this new email system, and needless to say I don't think the company ever managed to sell one to a customer.

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ET??
1/9/2014 9:58:57 AM
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Is it just me or does the bottom layout remind you of ET?

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Re: ET??
1/9/2014 10:51:38 AM
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@Monkey Noise: Is it just me or does the bottom layout remind you of ET?

LOL I hadn't thought of that, but I see what you mean...