Macular Degeneration and Ereaders

For those elderly folk who suffer from one form of macular degeneration or another, it seems that ereaders offer an ideal solution to their problems with reading.

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For those elderly folk who suffer from one form of macular degeneration or another, it seems that ereaders offer an ideal solution to their problems with reading.

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Macular degeneration is defined as follows:-

Macular degeneration is a silent and painless loss of central vision due to the degeneration or dying of cells in the retina, called the macula.

What is lost is the central portion of your sight – what you see right in front of you like the face of a person or the words in a book.

Obviously this will give tremendous problems when trying to read, as we use the centre of our field of vision to see the letters on the page – try to read a book only looking at the page from the edge of your field of vision – sort of looking off to the left or right and see how easy it is to read the page whilst not actually looking at it properly and you will see what I mean.

In fact there are a whole load of different versions of this particular eye problem, but they all entail the loss of centre field vision to one degree or another, and all, obviously effect how easy and pleasurable it is to read a book.

And this is where ereaders come into their own as opposed to regular printed paper books, which unless you buy yourself large print versions of whatever book you wish to read, the letters (fonts) are way too small for someone with this particular eye problem to see to any degree.

Added to which is the sad fact that not all books are published in a large font version, and generally they also cost more than their standard versions as well.   So paper books are really not much use to those suffering from this particular form of eye problem – which is a quite large proportion of people over 65 years of age, sadly. Continue reading “Macular Degeneration and Ereaders”

High Five Machine – Totally Silly Gadget

The other day, whilst hunting for some Steam Punk stuff I came across this absolutely silly and pointless machine.

The idea seems to be to have a machine that gives itself endless high fives, which I suppose it actually achieves quite well.  This of course begs the obvious question, namely, why on earth would anyone want such a machine?  And even weirder, why would anyone go to the considerable troubles that the good soul who created this thing did?

As you will see, what he (or perhaps, she) has created here is a machine that very slowly and ponderously gives a series of high five salutes.  It is about as basic a machine as you can imagine, there has been no attempt to give it any sort of “finish”, which in fairness I suspect is simply because this is an early stage in the making of a properly finished bit of kinetic art.  So you will see a machine which is held in place with clamps with rubber arms that still have their sprue along the edges of the mould that was used to make them.

In many ways this machine is in the same area of philosophy as the “Ultimate Machine” which was invented by a bloke by the name of Marvin Minsky and actually built by another odd ball called Claude Shannon.  This was a machine that had as its only purpose the function of switching itself off.   So as you will see in the video below, when you push the switch on the outside of the box (the only control it has by the way), the lid slowly opens, and a hand comes out, and pushes the switch to the off position, and then flips back into its box again.

Continue reading “High Five Machine – Totally Silly Gadget”

Some More Useful But Silly Inventions

Occasionally I come across inventions which strike me as both sensible and useful, but also a wee bit on the silly side as well, and these appeal to my sense of humour, so on occasions I like to share them with you.

So here are a couple more for your amusement.

The first is a very ingenious modification to a pair of scissors which definitely appeals to me, as it solves a real problem I often experience, namely cutting fabric or paper in a straight line.

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Sadly I have not been able to track down who makes these extremely useful scissors, but I am reasonably sure it would be easy enough to modify any scissors you happened to have with a simple laser light.

My only reservation is would it work as the image suggests.   As you can see, the laser seems to bend when it hits the paper, which I know to be impossible, so I can only assume that the laser beam is not a narrow line type, but a sort of wide (in the vertical direction) type.

Interested?

Next I have another device that would make my life sooooo much better, a toaster that lets you see the toast as it toasts.   No more over or underdone toast for breakfast with this wonderful device.

In our family we make our own bread, so each loaf is different, which we enjoy, but it means that when toasting it, every time we have to keep stopping the toaster and getting the toast out to check that it is not under, or over toasted.  A laborious and unsatisfactory process, which this gadget would obviate totally.   I want one!!!

Sadly with this all I have managed to find so far is this picture……..

Continue reading “Some More Useful But Silly Inventions”

Strange, But Useful Inventions

People are amazing is something I have always believed, and one way in which this is demonstrated is in the incredibly ingenious ways in which various problems are solved.

The almost insane inventiveness of us humans is something that needs to be celebrated more often.     So to this end, I plan to write occasional posts in which I will have a look at some more or less apparently idiotic but in reality, very useful inventions.

So without more ado, here we go with the first of these.

So, what do you imagine this curious object might be?

table set

You would be forgiven if you hadn’t the faintest idea what this might be, should you be confronted with it in the hallway of a friend’s house one day – a model rocket? An incredibly complicated hat stand?, A piece of sculpture?  Hmmm…

Well in fact you would be totally wrong in any of those suppositions, and the actual nature of this object is not something you would work out for yourself in a month of Sundays I suspect.

Continue reading “Strange, But Useful Inventions”

The Isolator – The Ultimate Helmet For Students

Here is a truly curious bit of arcana, the Isolator Helmet, the dream child of a rather odd man by the name of Hugo Gernsback who “invented” this weird device in 1925 as an aid to concentration.   He reasoned as follows :  When working, the main problem is distraction, so if you can isolate the individual 100% from all possible surrounding influences, then he or she will be able to give their full attention to the task on hand.

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Continue reading “The Isolator – The Ultimate Helmet For Students”

Smart Phones Going Back………

I was amused by a headline I saw just now on a website about ereaders and other electronic devices, called PDF Devices (link below).

This headline was as follows……

Top 5 Smartphones with a QWERTY keypad

Now isn’t that an idea?

To begin with our mobile phones got smaller and smaller, and stuffed more and more of life’s seriously important requirements into them – so we became able to tell the world were we were at any moment, or quickly check online to find out what the heck the capital of Honduras is called (it is Tegucigalpa  by the way).

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One of the odder developments in all of this is that our mobile phones have started to get bigger and bigger again, as we attempt to cram more and more possibilities into a touch screen.

Continue reading “Smart Phones Going Back………”

Nook Ereader Chased Out Of England

Once again Mighty Amazon beats one of its competitors.  Great news for the Amazon share holders, lousy news for the rest of us.   Whilst the Kindle is a perfectly reasonable ereader, it is definitely not the best, but owing to the enormous power of Amazon, it is steadily killing off all its competitors.

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The most recent being Barnes and Noble’s Nook ereader in the UK.   This ereader, which is a perfectly reasonable device, but which suffers from being an arm of a far from successful book seller (Barnes and Noble) is now pulled from the UK market.   Not only the hardware (the ereader itself), but Barnes and Noble have also abandoned their various ereader apps that are made for the UK market, and what is worse, have also stopped supporting their customers to the extent of selling their entire customer support system to Sainsburys ( a large supermarket chain in the UK), which means, and I quote from a release from Barnes and Noble:-

Continue reading “Nook Ereader Chased Out Of England”