Aug 05 2015

Rube Goldberg Machine

Category: Humour,PeopleTeknovis @ 17:51

Sometimes I wonder if my colleagues are building Rube Goldberg machines!

Jul 04 2013

Mouse Inventor Dies

Category: Hardware,PeopleTeknovis @ 21:30

This evening I read that Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse, died. See Computer mouse inventor Doug Engelbart dies at 88.

I had never heard of him before today, and it never dawned on me to think about how the mouse that we all use every day came into existence!

So thank you Mr. Engelbart for your invention, and may you rest in peace.

(On a side note, the associated 10 inventors who didn’t get mega-rich from their inventions article is also an interesting read.)


Mar 17 2013

Irish Inventions

Category: Infographic,PeopleTeknovis @ 08:22

I saw this infographic of Irish inventors in Irish inventions that changed the way we live (infographic) a long time ago, and I thought that it would be appropriate to post it today (click to see larger version):

Irish Inventors (Copyright Siliconrepublic)

Irish Inventors (Copyright Siliconrepublic)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!


Aug 12 2012

US 6,283,658 – Chapstick Dispensing Apparatus

Category: Patents,PeopleTeknovis @ 09:33

I came across a very interesting US patent recently – US 6,283,658 – Chapstick Dispensing Apparatus.

Its abstract is as follows:

The chapstick dispensing apparatus provides convenient use and asymmetrical, tactile geometry, aiding manual determination of the disposition of the device. The cap for the chapstick dispensing apparatus is slidably, pivotably, or hingeably attached to a housing so that no separate cap is present with its accompanying risk of loss or of being dropped. The housing is generally asymmetrical and may have an asymmetrical series of tactile protrusions to help determine the disposition or attitude of the chapstick dispensing apparatus, even though manual dexterity is limited as by gloves or mittens. A cover having a cap and finger cradle may slidably engage the housing to open or close the dispensing apparatus. The lip balm product is disposed within the housing and may be ejected or retracted by an ejector such as a threaded rod and turnwheel or an elevator controlling a platform. The housing may form a channel for the lips to facilitate application of the lip balm product. The cover may pivotably or hingeably attach to the housing and form a snap-fit in conjunction with the housing and/or oppositely opposed finger grips present on the housing. A lanyard ring may also provide additional utility by allowing the chapstick dispensing apparatus to be hung around a person’s neck or wrist.

The most representative figure is:

Chapstick Dispensing Apparatus

Chapstick Dispensing Apparatus

So why is this patent so interesting? One of its inventors is well know by another name for other reasons :o

If you need another clue, the inventor is Carlos Irwin Estevez (click the link to reveal his more well known name)!

As somebody pointed-out to me, there is an interesting opinion piece about it in Charlie Sheen’s Patent: Not Winning!.

Apr 29 2012

A Week of Intellectual Property

Category: Patents,PeopleTeknovis @ 18:51

It really was a week celebrating intellectual property!

First, there was the World Book and Copyright Day on the 23rd of April!

Second, there was World Intellectual Property Day on the 26th of April. There were a few events on to celebrate this, and some great Irish science discoverers are featured in World Intellectual Property Day: celebrating Irish innovators.

The scientist that most caught my attention was Kathleen Lonsdale. I must admit that I had not heard of her before this week!

Sep 05 2011

Michael O’Shaughnessy

Category: PeopleTeknovis @ 19:28

I never knew that an Irishman and UCG graduate, Michael O’Shaughnessy, was involved in naming the Golden Gate Bridge! He was the city engineer in San Francisco at the time!

Cool trivia!

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Jun 17 2011

John Wilder Tukey

Category: People,SoftwareTeknovis @ 16:30

Recently I read a fascinating story about the origin of the bit and software:

Tukey is also credited in the “Annals of the History of Computers” as the person who, in 1946, coined the word “bit”, a contraction of “binary digit”, the term describing the 1s and 0s that are the basis of computer programs. Tukey suggested the shorter “bit” to computer experts at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he was a researcher. “Bit” was easier on the tongue than the other possibilities they were considering, such as “binit” and “bigit”, so it stuck. Twelve years later, Tukey came up with the word “software” to describe the programs on which electronic calculators ran, first using it in a 1958 article he wrote for American Mathematical Monthly.

The source of this is Patent Law for Computer Scientists by Closa, D., Gardiner, A., Giemsa, F., Machek, J.

For more information see John Wilder Tukey.

May 18 2011

Tim O’Reilly

Category: Internet,PeopleTeknovis @ 10:28

Wow – I just discovered that Tim O’Reilly, of O’Reilly Media, is Irish!

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Jan 05 2009

Steve Jobs

Category: Business,PeopleTeknovis @ 15:47

I did lots of reading during the Christmas holidays, so I will probably be writing about it here for a while!

During the weekend I read a magazine article about Steve Jobs, who is the CEO of Apple. Actually there were several articles about him in the magazine, and he wilfully collaborated with some of the authors, and refused to comment on the other articles about him.

The most surprising insight that I got from the article was that it does not seem like a lot of fun to work at the top levels in Apple, and this is mostly due to Steve Job’s personality. It seems that most people describe him negatively rather than positively! He really seems to have a strange relationship with his staff. One former Apple executive summarised him by saying

Democracies don’t make great products. You need a competent tyrant.

All of this really amazed me, since I consider that Apple is one of the most creative and innovate large technology companies.

Another interesting thing that I learned was that Steve Jobs was involved in Pixar. He bought it in 1986 for $10 million, and sold it in 2006 while remaining the largest shareholder. His shareholding is worth approximately $4.6 billion. Nice!

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