Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ambient light

Have you ever noticed how many of toddler toys have a high and low sound switch on it, but rarely an off switch. The high/low switch was added after parents complained about ever increasing sound levels from toys, trying to get your attention in the toy store.
It is time that electronic gadgets come with an light off switch. Let me make an inventory of some of the devices lighting up my bedroom.
First of all, because the phone line ends in my bedroom, I have a DSL modem. In steady state, three LEDs are lid up. The wireless access router next to it has an equal amount of LEDs.
Normally we charge our cellphones on our side table : two more LEDs. And what's worse is that the new Nexus One phone has an LED trackball which glows when there is a message. As if someone is shining a light in your eye all night.
Add to that two charging Apple laptops with a glowing Apple sign, a cordless phone and naturally a digital alarm clock, and you can imagine how much ambient light there is in the bedroom. (Other rooms are not much different.)
And yes I have covered the devices, or moved them to other rooms. I have even pulled out the airline eye cover for a pitch dark night of sleep. But it is about time there is a simple way to turn of all ambient light of a consumer device (and dishwasher, and microwave, and Wii and cable box).

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Fixed Gear

The bicycle culture in the Bay Area has been heating up. Or more likely: where was I? Last fall, I came across the San Jose Bike Party. It started as a couple of hundred cyclists getting together on a Friday night in San Jose and going for a 20 mile ride. Last time I joined (when the weather was still warm), there must have been several thousand riders. It was a crazy experience.

Another sign of the times are Fixies: Fixed gear cycles are very much in fashion ( You see them everywhere and often with very narrow handle bars, making it even more dangerous to ride them. I haven't understood the attraction of a fixed gear cycle. They are cool looking but why would you not want breaks on your bike on public roads, or why only one gear. I guess I'll have to try one.

Today I came across a great video of a bunch of friends on fixed gear bikes traveling to Japan to ride from Tokyo to Osaka. Looks fantastic.

Tokyo to Osaka Teaser from John Murillo on Vimeo.

Picture and video from