My New Arduino Reminded Me I’m A “High Level” Type

I got myself an Arduino and immediately went on to try the (simplest) “Blink” example. It was very cool to make the LED on the board blink, I admit. But then I went on to find out how to build stuff like a 4x4x4 LED cube or a (relatively) simple universal remote and I realized two things:

  1. Most of the stuff has already been created by others.
  2. They already did it much better than I ever would.

I realized that I’m not really into soldering and connecting wires. I’m more of a “high level” kind of guy – I like taking ready-made parts and creating new things with them, not mess with the low level stuff. It’s also true with software – while I enjoy seeing the possibilities of building useful libraries with a language just like the next guy, I still prefer using them over trying to write them.

So I’m still looking for nice (and hopefully new) things to do with the Arduino that will either be fun or useful for me. I might even try some wiring :)

Deleting Words From The User Dictionary – HTC Hero / Eris

On an Android based phone it happens sometimes that you unintentionally add a word to the dictionary (also called the “user dictionary”) that you didn’t mean to add. On the HTC Hero (or Eris, depends on where you bought it) there isn’t apparently a way to edit this dictionary – only delete it.

I’ll repeat the advice I found here, presumably based on an HTC support request:

Thank you for your questions about how to delete an entry in the dictionary. We are more than happy to help you with this situation. In order to clear out a misspelled word you accidentally saved you must clear out the entire dictionary. To clear the dictionary you press Menu then go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications and find the “Touch Input” program. Tap on the Clear data button.

Shameless plug: If you’re an Android user, check out my app, Dindy.

When I See Toilet Seats Twice A Day, I Must Report It

The old toilet seat “fight between the sexes” will probably always be a mystery to me. While I always return the seat to its previous position when I’m in someone else’s place, I wouldn’t mind lifting it and lowering it back as much as needed in my own home.

Having said that, it turns out that the issue is subject to actual research. Not much research, but who would have thought? And for those of you who really have a hard time doing the seat up-seat down thing, here’s the PeaceMaker Toilet Seat Lifter.

Multi-touch Seems To Be The Next User Interface

I wrote about advances in user interfaces a few times (here and here). Then I wrote about Apple’s iPhone (here), which is coming out in less than a month in the US. All those posts have one thing in common – the user interfaces in them are multi-touch and gesture-based.

The new player in this field is Microsoft, which just introduced Surface, a new multi-touch, interactive tabletop display. It interacts with available media sources and allows users to interact with it using their hands. The demo videos are, of course, amazing. One thing I thought was funny in the videos was when the handsome young man and woman sit in front of each other in a pub and then, naturally, start playing with the computer on both sides of the table.

The Waterfryer – Has Water (and a Fish) Under Your Frying Oil

Finally, another stupid “gadget” that’s worth mentioning here. It’s actually an interesting idea, but the demonstration is horrible. So what is the Waterfryer? It’s a deep fryer that has water under the oil. The result of having the water there is that, since water and oil don’t mix, the oil stays clean because all the food crumbs fall into the water. The water stays clean, and to demonstrate this there’s a fish living there right under the very hot oil. I guess you have to see it to understand. Check out this video. (via Digg)