Tag: tv

Inventions, should we even try?

Inventions, should we even try?

Inventions, should we even try?

inventions-ipad-660

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention.  Having been down that road so many times in my life, I would have to say that is one of the truest statements ever said.

The problem with this is that the system is rigged against you (the inventor.)

Back during the days of VCR’s I was one of those that went to school to learn how they worked, and how to repair them.  Back in the day they were $1,200 for the cheapest, and it went up from there.

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End of tape sensors back in the early day were accomplished with visible light. Tape makers would have some clear leader spliced on to the tape so when light was visible the machine would know to stop, “whatever function it was doing.”

Later in the years infrared light was used instead of visible, which made troubleshooting much more difficult.  As the light was 950nm instead of the 850nm currently used in night vision cameras, there was not even the slight red glow.

950nm led
As seen through a CCD camera sensitive to 950nm light

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850nm infrared LED visible glow to naked eye

Infrared light as soon through camera with no IR CUT function
Infrared light as soon through camera with no IR CUT function
I devised a portable infrared detector.  When the test button was pushed with the sensor in the path of the infrared light a green LED would illuminate thus telling me that the emitter was not the issue.  If no light was visible a red LED would illuminate thus telling me to check the voltages on the emitter “which was a job” and if present, replace the emitter, which was also a job as it was soldered in unlike the bulb which was plugged in.

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This was also handy for testing remote controls as they too were using, and still do use 950nm infrared LED’s so you would get a pulsing green LED if the batteries and or remote was functioning.

In short, this was the “cat’s ass” and it was my invention.

So, now that it was built I needed to downsize it into a more portable device, like a pen.

I started the process of downsizing the electronics and was trying to figure out how to get a “housing” created for it when a family member came to visit who is “was” handy and knew certain things that I did not.

Long story short I called it the B.I.R.D.  Battery operated Infrared Detector.

Before my “family member came for a visit” I wrote a letter to Sencor, which was a test instrument maker in the day.  I did not divulge anything of my idea other than I had one and a working prototype that I would like to discuss with them.

The response went something like this:

Dear Mr. Taylor,

I work in the mail room and it is my job to look for and intercept letters like this and send them back to the sender. 

We hire the brightest and best here at Sencor and therefor do not need input from the public as we have the best.  If it is a new device that is needed, our engineers will think of it and create it and we will market it. If we don’t create it, it is not needed.  “Damn what hubris!”

Thank you for your time, good day!

It was about this time my “family member came” and I shared my frustration with him.  He was very interested and sympathetic.  Looked over my invention as well as the schematics etc. and told me he knew some folks and would get back with me.

Of course you know the rest of the story without me typing it but….

Two months to the date of his visit in the back of one of my electronic magazines that I took, was the BIRD complete in a pen enclosure with my wording verbatim!

This family member came into copious amounts of money, and never spoke to me about the invention.  Because I could not prove what happened, I did nothing but learned, never share any more inventions with even family as when money is concerned; blood means nothing. 

Some of my ideas over the years were too grandiose for me to create a prototype of, and some are as simple as the following:

I am a technician by trade, but an engineer at heart.  While working at many companies in my life, I have re-engineered their inventions. Many of those modifications have been incorporated into their products making them better.  Working for them however; you get your paycheck, and maybe a pat on the back, and maybe a $200 American Express Check thank you check!  Don’t spend it all at one place….

Dyson Vacuums’ is another company that I contacted because their product lacks in certain design areas, and I really thought that they could benefit from my ideas.  I am a nice guy, had they treated me with any respect I might have given them the damned ideas.

I wrote them a letter regarding some ideas I had for their product and not unlike the letter from Sencor, they too were rather insulting with their response.  They too hire the brightest and best and they certainly don’t need the input from someone who actually bought one and uses it!  Yes, they were about that truculent.

While I will not give the ideas for free, if at all, I would tell them that they should have their engineers and or technicians actually use their vacuums, and pay attention to all of the ways that it works.  I don’t mean throw some dust on the floor and suck it up, they all do that, actually take the damned thing home and use it!  I think I know the secret to why their product “sucks so well,” It starts with management…

The simple fact is that I have several ideas which some I can create myself, and some like the BIRD, I need others to add to the collective, to make it the best.

The problems with inventing are many and they start with “protecting your idea.”  You can see that if a family member that you trust will screw you and then pretend that they don’t know you when the money comes in, what would others do?

A couple of years ago I wrote Apple because they needed to re-design their app so one could re-design the app layout on your phone through the Itunes app on your computer.  I wrote them a nice long letter telling them what I needed, why, how it would benefit their customers and ask them to do it. Three months to the date it was done.  Do you think I even got a thank you from them?  Some employee at apple I am certain read the letter and said, wow, what a great idea and submitted it from him or herself.

I needed it done so it was the most expedient way to get it done. I have written them since on this blog with ideas because let’s face it, they hire the brightest and best and don’t need you or I telling them anything…..  Did I mention that I actually met Steve Jobs years ago when I was working on NEXT computers, I wonder if he was British at heart?

Now, let’s revisit the BIRD and let’s say, I wanted to protect the idea.

You go downtown wherever and find a patent attorney, have them sign a non-disclosure so you can talk with him or her and then basically tell them what you are up to.

They either listen intently or they pretend to listen waiting to see if you can fork over a check to retain them.  Back when I first checked on this for an idea I had for a security device for all of the world’s airports and government buildings, this is the way it went down.

“I will need a check for $10,000 to start the process.”  For any country that you want it protected in other than the US; that is another $3,000. For arguments sake that is 196 countries. So for another $588,000 we stand a pretty good chance of protecting your idea but, we have to catch them stealing your idea and then we have to take them to court and with luck before they saturate the place with a knock off of your idea, maybe we can get the courts to get an injunction and stop them from creating any more widgets (in that country) while they drag it through the courts for years all the while selling the widgets that they have already created or are having created in other countries that you have not caught them doing so yet.  You might be able to do your own patent search these days but I would suspect that the attorney will have to do it officially via some flunky intern and charge you as if they personally did it.

Now, maybe you have some appreciation why I have been known to give ideas away, just to get the damned thing out there as the world needs it.  I have actually tweeted ideas to the whole Effing world just to get the thing done!

Much like the artist that creates a masterpiece does not get the accolades or the dollars that it is worth, I think the same is true of the inventors.  Someone somewhere at some time in the future may benefit from it, but not you, so the question that has to be asked, why?

Farnsworth was screwed by RCA on the Television / video camera and while he had an ok life, RCA got the patent and profited through licensing such inventions.  Tesla was a genius but had no business acumen; he too was screwed by the greedy bastards of the world including Edison, and died poor and somewhat nuts!

Philo Farnsworth
Farnsworth the guy who invented TV

TeslaPortrait
This out of the box thinker is a personal hero of mine…
I hesitate to even mention the vultures that want you to buy their easy patent guide.  The simple facts are that a lot of inventions go nowhere.  Some might end up on those late night commercials with “but wait” as the tag line but, some people just need to be told the truth.  The folks that will take your money to “help you” are in business to “take your money.”  Much like the companies that are in business for those that want to write a book.  No publisher will touch them “because they suck, or are too much of a risk, or an unknown,” so people spend thousands to self-publish!  Some actually promote their books through enough different outlets to break even; but not really.  They have failed to include their time and efforts into selling the 500 copies that they had to buy in the first place.  The simple facts are inventors, artist and authors are seldom objective when it comes to their project.  Much like a mother with the ugliest hair covered baby you ever saw.. She will think how great the baby looks, and the husband and family will cringe and say oh yes, that is the best looking one around.   (PS one of the few times it is OK to lie, not only OK but advised! another is “does this dress make me look fat!?  Oh Hell No! )

Am I telling you all this to quash your dreams?  Hell no!  I am telling you this to give you the reader, a dose of reality,the naked truth! 

Guess what, this is at no charge!

If you truly want to write there are some great books at Barns and Nobles that walk you through the process.  Bottom line, start with short stories and submit them to magazines.  After you get paid your $500 per story, and get published a dozen times or so; on your cover page of your manuscript you simply say published in …….

If you get that far by all means purchase the book and follow all of the guidelines including how the manuscript should look. Different publishers have different ideas of how the manuscript should look and how it should be submitted so do your research and edit edit edit…..

Does that guarantee you will get published, shit no.  What it does; if the person who opens your manuscript sees “published in and the format looks acceptable…. they might read more than the cover page.   Much like writing a good resume or CV, you got about 15 seconds to grab their attention and that includes the time it takes to get it out of the envelope!

-Best

© All rights Reserved 2015

www.timedok.com

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An Open letter to those that can make a change, “You.”

Today I want to talk about the uber poor.

 Currently there exist three classes of folks; The Rich, the middle class and the poor.  I would argue that there are more than this.  I would argue that there are five classes, the Uber rich, Rich, middle class, poor and very poor.

 Anyone with over a Billion dollars is Uber rich.  When you get into this club you have enough “gold” to make the rules.

 The rich are really just upper middle class as they cannot make the rules and must live by the ones created by the uber rich however; since they are in the upper middle class they know some of the folks who make the rules and can have influence.

Before you write me and tell me uber rich don’t make the rules, I know congress makes the laws / rules but I am also savvy to Avenue K and lobbyist and who hires them…

 I am skipping the middle class at the moment to jump to the poor. 

The poor have apartments, houses, cable TV, one or more televisions, at least one computer and have most likely figured out how to get enough government assistance or other “invisible income” to make up the difference between being poor instead of very poor.  I would argue that these folks are really middle class; they for a large part just pay taxes as if they were poor or living in poverty.

Then there are the very poor, they are street folks who live under bridges and basically exist on the benevolence of others, charitable organizations or what they can find on their own.

 Now we have the middle class.  These are the folks that strive to be upper middle class or rich and really have too much pride to be anything else.  These are the people that get up every day and go to work whether they feel good or not.  These are the folks that take two jobs, take their kids to soccer, and do all of the other stuff that most do but they are driven to press on, to get ahead, to give their kids a “chance” at something better than what they have.

 Some would argue that their eye might not be on giving their kids something better but on having more “do dads, or gadgets” or trying to keep up with the millionaires.

These are also the folks who have little to no control over the rules.  These are the folks that try to vote for the right person, do the PTA thing, and use whatever influence they have to make a difference.

 These are also the folks who are most taken advantage of, not only by the rich and uber rich, but the poor as well. These are the folks who the 9000 pages of tax code screw the most because they don’t have enough power to anything about it!

 These are the folks who get the Cable, satellite radio, cell phones with data plans and other do dads to fill voids in their lives that life quite frankly is not fulfilling.  These are the folks who have the “universal fees” taken out of their ass-pocket, not knowing that they are one of the government’s ways of redistributing wealth!

 I was in a park not long ago.  While there, a guy, “street person” walked by me.  He smelled bad and was a good distance from me.  That is not however what got my attention.  He was talking on a cell phone.  He was in fact calling 911 because one of his fellow street people had taken his trash bag full of stuff or so he alleged.  I am certain that the local police were really happy that this gentleman was able to call 911 with his “emergency.”

This is the uber poor or poorest of the poor.  Not only is he relegated to living on the street, carrying his stuff in a trash bag but, he has no support system.  Even though this is Texas it still gets cold in the winter.  Instead of getting these people phones, would they not be better served with some other assistance?  Let’s start with clean dry clothes and a warm place to sleep and some warm food.  Let’s get them some medical care, including mental health.  Let’s teach them what constitutes and emergency.  While I am certain that was an emergency to him, that call could very well take away from a real life and death situation. There are other numbers for non emergency stuff and that should be the number he used. Truth be told if he had called sanitation he most probably would have learned that they pick up and discard full trash bags left alone.

Some folks are there on the street because that is where they want to be, I get that.  Some are there because of mental illness.  Some are there because they have no training to get a job or are wrapped up in some sort of substance abuse problem and waiting to hit “true bottom.” Some are undoubtedly there because of “shit happens.

These folks don’t need a cell phone or internet, they need help!  There is no money to be made in helping these folks however; giving them something tangible like a cell phone and allowing them to vote without a picture ID makes perfect sense to the government, and creates “more useful idiots.”

 The purpose of this diatribe is to offer a solution to the problem.  Unlike Washington and the uber greedy, I think outside the box.  So, take that cell phone money and cable TV money and all of those other “universal fees” that Carter started, Clinton pushed through and Obama expanded upon and do this.

 Set aside government land outside of large cities that is “farm worthy.”  Enlist faith based groups, and other groups like habitat for humanity and set these folks up farms. 

I am not talking about buying $150K tractors, just land and some modest accommodations and some hand tools while they make it a working business.  A mule pulling a plow worked for our forefathers, maybe that could be located until they could earn their own stuff.  Using the habitat for humanity model, they must put in sweat equity…  I would say they must stay clean, pass drug test etc but that is just common sense, isn’t it?

 Farming is not rocket science but, it is becoming a lost art.  Kids today who grow up on the farm are leaving it at alarming rates.  Involve the Aggies in teaching these folks the principles of farming.  As the population continues to grow, does it not make sense that we could use some more farmers?

 Offer this to the street people that don’t want to be on the street.

Offer this to the poor and downtrodden trapped in desperate situations; in neighborhoods that are virtual war zones with drug and gang activity.  Offer them a way out, a hand up.

 Find leaders among these people to self police themselves. Assist these folks to regain some sense of self worth. 

 First, get them medical help including mental and drug rehab.  Part of that is learning how to farm.  They can learn to farm, run a business and sell their product on the markets.  Subsequently they can make profits and purchase tractors and what have you.  If they could just feed themselves, that would be a huge win! It would be a “shot!”

I would also offer these types of programs to the 75 thousand currently in prison for non-violent drug offenses. Put ankle monitors on them and give them a chance to re-deem themselves.  Prison is no place to “rehabilitate oneself.”  Prison is a good place to learn how to be a smarter criminal. What if we had them help the others to become something more than a lost soul.

 If we could get 75 thousand out of prison which the American people are currently paying to house,feed and manage, as well as help the poor to re-gain their lives and self worth, would this not be “giving them a shot” Mr. President?  Would this not be “spreading the wealth,” in a way that makes sense?  

Wealth is not just money Mr. President, it is knowledge.  If I give poor people money and phones and other stuff I am enabling the poor to stay poor and in effect, I am crippling them.  I am giving them a handout, instead of a hand up!  All they learn is how to take.. Kennedy said, “ask what you can do” (paraphrased) Should we not teach them to fish?

 If I take currently non-productive people and give them a sense of purpose; is that not giving them a shot?  

Instead of kicking this can down the road people, we need to take ownership of it and make it our problem; instead of our grandchildren’s’.  We need more givers than takers and it starts now.

There are smarter people out there than I, and possibly with enough “think tank” collective from the American people, maybe something good can happen.  We have enough bad things on the news each and every day, it is time for something good, don’t you think?

Here is the challenge to you the readers.  I am not trying to get anything out of this.  This is my way of giving back. Writing a letter to the white house would end up in file 13…the bin.  One voice in the wind is one voice.  I need millions of voices.  The only way that this has a chance is to re-blog, re-post, re-tweet and make it as viral as possible.  If enough read it, someone with some “influence” will get this to the right person or people. Maybe some Hollywood type that is tired of his or her tax dollars going to keep non-violent drug offenders locked up might think outside the box as well.

Let’s give this administration a positive way that they can “fundamentally transform this country in a good way” by teaching those that need help, how to help themselves.

Yes there are details that need sorting out and I would offer that private citizens do it.  Maybe, just maybe some benevolent Capitalist might have some good ideas or contacts, or a way to help.  If the government gets involved too heavily with the details, we will have another 9000 pages of tax code, 60 thousand earmarks, amendments creating turtle tunnels in the tundra, and nothing will ever happen to help these people.  This process needs to be streamlined and someplace like Detroit might make a good pilot as that place “like Chicago” is a war-zone.

These kids need an out and learning how to take from the government is not it.  Learning how to not get shot walking to school, or how to look innocent in a lineup is not what they need to be learning.

This would also work at the state level.  How about it Mr. Perry, can you make this work and show the Country /World how Texans take care of things?

 

Some prisons have farms already, are some of those inmates candidates to teach others?

 

-Best to you and those that you care about, now get reposting… Thanks!