Daily Archives:June 10th, 2006

Diet Coke and Mentos

What do Mentos mints do if you mix them with Diet Coke?
THIS. It’s fabulous.

Thanks to James Duncan Davidson for the link.

How to kick Silicon Valley’s butt

Guy Kawasaki has some interesting observations on what makes Silicon Valley work, for those wanting to replicate its success. Some of them are quite unexpected:

High housing prices. If houses are cheap, it means that young people can buy housing sooner and have kids. When they have kids, they can’t take as much risk and don’t have as much energy to start companies. (I have four kids—I barely have the time and energy to blog, much less start a company.) Also, if houses are cheap, it’s easier to “make it big,” and you want it to be hard to make it big.


Vienna is a very nice RSS reader for the Mac. And it’s free.

I used to use a separate RSS reader in the early days of blogging, but stopped when Safari supported all the basic functions I needed, and did so very nicely. I’ve often considered switching to Firefox as my main browser, but I haven’t seen any extension which does RSS as neatly as Safari.

Vienna might just be nice enough to persuade me that a dedicated reader is a good idea again, though, which would free me to consider other browsers. Worth a look, anyway.

One (well-designed, $100) laptop per child?

Like many others, I have a lot of questions about the OLPC project, but they do seem to be working hard and thinking carefully about the design. From the hardware specification page:

The wireless antennae are diversity antennae, and rotate upward using a rugged dual moulded nylon plastic design. When used rotated above the LCD, the antennae work significantly better than conventional built in antennae in existing systems or in Cardbus cards. This significantly increases the area each machine can cover in the mesh, and generally increases network performance. When closed, the antennae cover the audio and USB connectors to help keep dirt out of the connectors…

The machine is rugged. The most common failures of laptops are disk drives, fans, florescent back lights, power connectors, other connectors, and contamination of keyboards. Our machine uses flash, eliminating a disk, has no need for a fan, uses a rugged LED backlight rather than a florescent light, and uses a sealed rubber keyboard. It uses 2mm thick plastic, where a typical system might use 1.3mm. External connectors are carefully molded into the plastic for greater strength. The power connector is carefully chosen to be much more durable than usual, and again, the case is moulded carefully around it for greater strength. There are extremely few connectors in the machine, primarily just connecting the keyboard assembly to the motherboard (which is behind the LCD display). This eliminates most of the cables and connectors you will find in most laptops. We will be testing 500 systems to destruction this fall to identify anything we can do to increase further its ruggedness. There are internal bumpers to protect the display, and we are investigating external bumpers on the outside of the case for additional shock protection….

Novel dual-mode extra-wide touchpad, with dual sensor technology. Supports pointing… plus drawing and writing. Supports fingers, or a pen, pencil, or stylus…
[I’ve ALWAYS wanted one of these – Q]

Ah, to have the resources to do really thorough design…!

Optical illusion

Here’s a very nice one.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser