“Will, get out of bed, for goodness sake”. Repeat every minute for 10 minutes.

On these cold mornings, we need some evil alarm clocks.

Maybe one of these will do the job.

1. Clocky, and his new hi-tech little brother Tocky, jump off the bedside table and run around the floor when they raise the alarm, beeping and generally being a nuisance until you get up and catch the blasted things.

2. Wake up to the smell of animosity. Every time you hit the snooze button on the wifi-enabled SnūzNLūz Alarm Clock, a donation is made from your bank account to an organisation that you can’t stand. Perhaps we could set Will’s SnuzNLuz to donate to the All Blacks retirement fund.


3. I’m sure this next evil alarm clock would work. The Money Shredding Alarm Clock starts to shred your hard-earned notes if you don’t get out of bed in time to turn it off.


OK. Once out of bed, how do you extract victims from the very strong attractive field surrounding the ‘kid magnet’, also known as the gas heater.


What I Learnt On 21st June in other years

Add a comment


How much do you have to carry with you when you go out? Have you got your phone? How many cards have you got in your wallet? Your licence? And cash? Google and Apple want to take care of all that worry for you.

But first, some discussion of ‘contactless smartcards’.

Have you used the new “PayPass” system? New Mastercard and Visacards include a little chip, that let’s you wave your card in front of a special sensor. The purchase price is automatically taken from your account. No signing, no PIN. Ideal for small purchases from, say, the newsagent, or a coffee shop, or on the bus. The current upper transaction limit is $100.

The Japanese are very skilled at moving lots of people around quickly. Ski lift tickets in Japan use a smartcard technology, so that you just need to strap the card in a pouch to your upper arm. It is checked when you bump your arm against a sensor at each lift. No need to fumble with gloves to take the card out of its case.

At our local hospital, I can just  hold my wallet with my hospital ID card up to the boomgate – no need to take the card out.

And many transport systems use contactlesssmartcards so that passengers don’t have to muck around with coins and tickets. London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Melbourne have such systems – Sydney has spent a fortune without being able to achieve it. It was due before the Sydney Olympics- as reported this week in the SMH.

A contactless smartcard contains a coil of wire and a small antenna and a chip – but no battery. The electrical energy to power the chip and to send the signal is supplied by the receiver pad using an ‘Induction Loop’, sending small amounts of electrical charge wirelessly over a short distance (typically about 4-7cm). The coil converts the wireless signal to electricity, which powers the chip to send your details via the little antenna to the receiver.


Google has made some fanfare this week about the trail of an electronic wallet-phone using  ‘Near field communication (NFC)’.

NFC allows the use of contactless technology similar to that on the smartcards we have discussed, but in a mobile phone.

Using NFC, your phone will act as your wallet. Wave it next to the sensor, and your purchases are made. The advantage of a phone over a card is that it is ‘smarter’ – it can transmit more details. Potentially, you could select which credit card you wished to use. You could enter a PIN number so that you could transact more expensive purchases. You could link it with vouchers – say a 2 for 1 pizza offer, or your customer loyalty card. And it could contain your drivers licence, boarding pass, ‘bundy’ card, and car key.

Many predict that Apple will also include NFC in the iPhone 5.

Eventually, all you will need to carry with you when you leave home will be your phone. You will be able to make small and large purchases, and provide identification for all the services you need.

Just make sure you have it charged!

What I Learnt On 2nd June in other years

2nd June 2021 Seth and the Penguin
Add a comment


How’s your backflipping going? 

Looked at the world from upside down lately?

Paddy and Will put the new Oregon Scientific ATC9K HD Action Camera through its paces today.

This little camera is pumping for action – it is shock proof, and water proof to 20m, and can be attached to your helmet, your bike, your hang glider, your parachute, or your head.(?).

Amazingly, it takes High Definition video at 1080p, or you can take stills with its 5 megapixel still camera. It has a LED display so you can watch while you film, a HDMI cord so you can plug it straight into your TV, and a laser pointer so you can see where you are aiming while it is stuck to your head.

It contains a G-force sensor, and a GPS unit is available as a plugin accessory. This allows you to track where you are and how fast you are going while filming. With the included software you can  combine the video action with a map of the course you took.

Using it is very easy.

Paddy and Will think it is sick.

This is their test video in ‘mobile’ quality. The boys will upload a HD version tomorrow.


View or Add Comment