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Showing posts from June, 2010

Using your LAN/ home WiFi to receive and make normal landline telephone calls

I came across this design when working out another invention involving triggering an automatic Skype video call from a normal landline telephone handset.I’m amazed that it seems no one has designed such a system… its really simple. The idea is that you use your home network to connect standard telephones around your house rather than using a traditional wireless phone system.In this model, the incoming telephone call gets converted to network packets and then is picked up by a de-converter box on the network that sends the traditional analogue signal onto a traditional handset.Why would someone want to do this? Well wifi has a better range than normal telephone wireless and running cap5 through your house just makes more sense than running telephone lines as well.In my case however, I am thinking of another application where the telephone is used as a simple control system for network devices. For example I want to allow my parents to call me using a normal telephone and when they typ…

Ric’s Invention Development Process

Over the years I have developed an invention/ business development process that is the fastest way I know to getting some success and also maximizing momentum where as little energy as possible is needed to keep things moving forward.The process is geared around what I feel is the most important aspect of a projects success… the person driving the project. In my case I as the inventor drive the conception to angel funding cycle and then a proven CEO is chosen to drive from angel funding to market entry. The steps are explained below the pyramid picture.Conception: This is where the initial idea is explored and conceived. This is where I flesh out the idea and see if its worht persuing… it is also where I do research to find out what other people have done in the space and also try to captivate what it means to the end user… who is the end user and why they would want to use this invention? Conception usually ends with me crystallizing the most important parts of the invention down int…

Researching social network flaws and privacy conundrums

While researching social networks to explore ways to build in easy privacy capabilities and protections I ran into some really interesting open source social network projects.I found Diaspora which is a peer-to-peer social network engine at another interesting site called kickstarter.com where the project leads asked for $90k in funding support and got $200k! What a great idea. Another worthy project of mention is OneSocialWeb which also is an attempt to bind multiple soical networks around your own identity.My own research shows that accountability needs to be built into the system for it to work but the trick is to still retain a level of privacy where there is not some arbitrary identity authority riding rough shod over the network.I definitely feel there is a good patent in this approach…

Remotely update song lists in your car MP3 player from your home WiFi

This little project is about having an MP3 player in your car that can be seen on your wireless network so that you can update play lists and mp3s from your home network without having to plug and unplug devices from your car stereo.Well, that’s what this project is about. Just make sure a wireless repeater or your wireless router is near as possible to wherever you park your car.Next, buy an MP3 player that is wireless capable such as the Creative Zen X-fi  that allows your network to find it and update songs and play lists. The final trick is to find a circuit in your car that is always on such as the cars lighting circuit… you want the player to stay on so you can see it on the network from inside your home… the power draw is not that great unless you plan to leave your car in the driveway for a month without using it and you can always just turn the player off when you don’t intend to update the music list for a while. Just permanently attach the player to a good place on your das…

Australia’s NBN (National Broadband Network) – right idea, wrong pitch

When I first came home from the States I was asked by a friend of mine (the famous writer Di Morrisey) what I thought of the NBN. It was news to me at the time being newly repatriated but my first impressions are still valid.A faster connection to the net doesn’t mean much… you need to have a hook, an angle… a killer app that helps everyone just… GET IT. Thru a mutual friend MP Janelle Saffin I was privileged to actually get to meet the Minister for Broadband Stephen  Conroy and give him some feedback from my experiences in the US working on and with some optical fibre installations. When I asked him about what he thought broadband meant for Australia he talked about fast XRAY transmission and new age business practices but none of that really gelled with me as being necessary for optical fibre. In fairness to him, he has to have a pitch that addresses all the special interests that really could benefit from fibre, but in addressing everyone's needs the message often gets diluted.…

Alternatives to Rail Trucking and why they are not as good

Since I started talking about Rail Trucking, a number of helpful souls have suggested that the idea has been done before. These suggestions haver included hi-rail 4WDs and trucks and RoadRailers.Hi-RailThe Hi-Rail concept (see wikipedia) alternatively called the Road Rail Vehicle has been around for some time.This example is from a Tasmanian scenic tour company that uses some rail line is the centrepiece of their tours.Below are some example from the Wikipedia section on Road Rail Vehicles.Why Railtrucking is better: Besides the fact that the design seems to be geared to short distance slow speed rail use, what kills this approach is the fact that the bogey wheels are permanently attached to the vehicle and a considerable amount of weight and inefficiency is wrapped up in the hydraulics that lift the vehicle up once it is over the rails. With Railtrucking the bogey is left trackside for others to use. The weight of the bogey does not effect the fuel efficiency of the vehicle when it i…

Rail Trucking in your own car

The ultimate vision for Rail Trucker is personal rail trucking. You pack to go on your annual holiday and drive a little north of your city to a rail on ramp. You drive across a pit that allows mini rail bogeys to roll up and under your car in one smooth action. The drive wheels of your car are now driving rail wheels.You wait for a little green light to tell you to join the main line north. You gently accelerate to 110kph/ 60mph, set the cruise control and get comfy. Your own engine and brakes control the car.A rail-side wifi system tells your iPhone when there are delays and upcoming level crossings or off-ramps. If you want to watch a DVD just use a mini radar and laser warning system to tell you when animals/ vehicles or any other moving thing is on or near the track.Feel like a break? Book the next off ramp on your iPhone. The tracks are switched to send you off to the side rail. As the rail wheels follow a piece of track that goes down into a little pit, your car tyres again tak…

The day Geoff Eldridge from Australian Dirt Bike died.

I don’t remember what I was doing but I remember the call I got that Geoff had been in an accident. Jumped in my car for a quick drive to the ADB offices in Brookvale. Wayne Brady was there with the crew waiting to hear from Vicki (Geoff's missus). The news came, Geoff was dead… some idiot in a 4wd had got onto the race circuit thinking it was a dirt access rode and Geoff had gone into his bull-bar on a blind corner in the lead at top speed.I’ve never had a wheel detach from its hub, but that’s what it felt like. The hub of ADB had just broken away from every spoke… I felt sooo very sorry for Vicki… got to speak to her on the phone… she seemed so in control, but I knew in my heart she was covering her shock… it must have been horrendous for her to be there without everyone. For me, I wrestled with that feeling of loss that makes you feel like you need to throw up… the ADB magazine crew with Wayne and I just sat in the gutter opposite the ADB office in stunned silence for what seem…

Riding with Geoff Eldridge of Australian Dirt Bike Magazine

So many visitors to this site are here to read about Geoff I decided to add a few stories about Geoff to keep his memory alive. My friendship with Geoff started when I was invited to ADB to do some work on their Mac systems back in the early 80’s. After being razzed for my weight problem, I was quickly invited into the fold. Geoff let me have a loan of his trusty old KDX 250 and quickly after seeing that I actually could ride he let me buy it off him for a bargain. Within a week he had given me boots and gloves and pads.The loop “at the top of the world” near the ADB offices was a 12k testing ground that I was hell bent in getting around faster and faster. The first time around it took 36 minutes. A 4 wheel drive guy I say took over an hour… lots of rocky climbs, ledges and a creek waterfall that you had to get up!After about three weeks of practise it was time for me to ride with the guys from ADB… the fastest lap I had done was 18 minutes by this time.I can still remember the first …

Reposting from the States to Australia

Why is it that if the AU dollar is at 90 cents we pay twice the rate Americans do?I checked FEDEX and UPS for a 7lb 2 terabyte hard drive that cost me $200 US to buy and the shipping quote was $160 USD!Plus Amazon won’t ship computer hardware to Australia probably due to grey marketing rules.. so what are we to do?Well one lurk I have come across is the US Postal service package rate (see the picture) which shows under 20lbs at $40 and under 4lbs at $14.So what can you do? Well ideally Id like to set up an Aussie remail service where you ship your stuff to a US address then it gets repackaged and sent using the US Postal discount rate… Im going to try this out by sending multiple items to one of my US companies and having them put them all in one box to send to me for the <20lb rate of $40. For that I reckon I can get a 2TB network attached storage device, an iPhone 4 and an iPad for less than $40 in shipping… now that sounds a little better.

Rail Trucker – converting trucks into light rail vehicles

This project is really starting to get some legs. I’m still in the process of exploring what to patent but its getting real exciting that something like this could really eventuate. The basic idea is to put light weight rail bogeys under a truck in such a way as to allow the trucks own drive train and brakes to move and stop the truck.The next phase which I’m nearly through is getting the truck on and off the rails without using jacks or lifting systems… I came up with something pretty snazzy and will show you once its locked down and patented.Next after this I have been looking at electronic support systems for such a setup. Things like radar and laser devices for rail level crossings and animals on the track, rubber bogey wheels for quietening down traffic on railway tracks… and traffic management for all the trucks, commercial vehicles and cars that may want to be travelling the rails once this thing gets going… can you imagine it… …get on the rails in Sydney, get off at Port Macqu…

What is newsworthy?

I had an interesting discussion with a leading Australian technology journalist the other day and the subject of news-worthy-ness came up.He made an interesting statement that people don’t want to know what will be coming tomorrow but rather what they can try out, or get today.The subject came up when I quizzed him about how baked a new technology has to be before it can get a decent headline. His answer basically said, if your not ready to sell it then don’t go for publicity… well I for one think there is something wrong with that and yet I find it completely understandable.I think it’s wrong in that newspapers are full of stuff about the future… government tax strategies, market movement, economic predictions and the environment… all about the future. So what is wrong with discussing a technology coming down the pipes for the next 3-5 years?But then again newspapers would be filled if they felt responsible to report every new idea or concept being spouted by the hundreds of new entr…
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