Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More New Goodies!

Here's another snapshot from our workshop. Stay tuned for exciting new models from North Coast Imports and Sternreiter!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Watch Prototypes

Here's an interesting interface designed by programmer Trammell Hudson of NYC Resistor. He's got all kinds of new designs for his hackable watch on his Flickr feed. It's great to see all of the new ideas for horology coming from such a wide pool of expertise. Conway's Life (Day 24)

Via Makezine:

    Trammell Hudson of NYC Resistor designed an interface a day for his hackable inPulse watch. He has a lot of great ones but I really like his Conway’s Game of Life interface from Day 24.

    Today I had to work late, so the watch is not really finished. It borrows the game of life code from a previous watch and tries to work the time display into the game grid. Perhaps with a better font this would have worked better; maybe make the 7 into a glider and have some other interesting shapes in the characters.

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Exciting Models Are On The Way!

We're busy working on designing and building exciting new clockwork dreams! So much work done and so much still to do. I can hardly take a moment to put out this blog post, but you will be very pleased with the new horological pieces we will be introducing with our new 2012 collection.

As usual, stay tuned, watch this space and check out our website, Twitter feed, and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don’t Mock the Artisanal-Pickle Makers

Great article in The NY Times:
    When it comes to profit and satisfaction, craft business is showing how American manufacturing can compete in the global economy. Many of the manufacturers who are thriving in the United States (they exist, I swear!) have done so by avoiding direct competition with low-cost commodity producers in low-wage nations. Instead, they have scrutinized the market and created customized products for less price-sensitive customers. Facebook and Apple, Starbucks and the Boston Beer Company (which makes Sam Adams lager) show that people who identify and meet untapped needs can create thousands of jobs and billions in wealth. As our economy recovers, there will be nearly infinite ways to meet custom needs at premium prices.

    Meanwhile, the idea (or at least the hope) is that as China and other emerging nations develop, the United States can stay on the profitable forefront, delivering specific high-tech parts to their factories and the latest upmarket foods to their middle class. According to this view, the fracturing of industrial manufacturing, however painful, has helped prepare parts of the economy for this new course.

Check out our Orrery, made entirely in the U.S.A.

[via Adafruit]

Time Crystals

Physicists Frank Wilczek at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology and Al Shapere at the University of Kentucky, theorize on the existence of Time Crystals or a state at which time arranges itself in the same way matter does within a crystal.

From the Technology Review Blog

    One of the most powerful ideas in modern physics is that the Universe is governed by symmetry. This is the idea that certain properties of a system do not change when it undergoes a transformation of some kind. For example, if a system behaves the same way regardless of its orientation or movement in space, it must obey the law of conservation of momentum. If a system produces the same result regardless of when it takes place, it must obey the law of conservation of energy.

From the io9 blog

    Wilczeck, along with collaborator Al Shapere from the University of Kentucky, has just published two papers examining how the mathematics that govern crystal formations in space could also work in time. They argue that time translation symmetry - the notion that a system will maintain the same features over a given interval of time - can be broken in low energy states and then reduced to a smaller part of the system, which they call time crystals.

    The key here is that the system being described is in its lowest energy state, which means that there should be no movement in it at all. But if something inside the system starts moving, then the time translation symmetry has been broken. What Wilczeck and Shapere argue is that these moving objects could simply get stuck in an eternal loop. The periodic movement of the object through time is just like the periodic arrangement of a crystal's internal structure through space, and the end result is the same - symmetry is broken, but it isn't lost.

[via io9 blog]

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Clock is Chiming, Striking, Cuckooing, Whistling, Calling, or Speaking the Wrong Number!

Probably the most common error made during the setting of a clock that makes noise is that of moving the hour hand independently of the minute hand. Remember: when you set a clock, just move the (longer) minute hand and let the hour hand follow along. Many modern clocks allow you to move the minute hand backwards (counter-clockwise) some allow you to shut off the sounds so that you don't have to listen at each interval. Either way, you shouldn't move the hour hand independently of the minute hand - because you will cause your mechanism to become out of sync with your hands.

But, even if your hour hand does get moved, DON'T PANIC. Most modern clocks allow for an easy fix. Simply follow this procedure:

1. Move your (longer) minute hand clockwise to the hour. NOTE: if you have a quarter-hour or half-hour chime clock, you may have to wait at the quarter or half-hours for your clock to finish making its sounds.
2. Count the number of strikes or calls your clock gives at the hour.
3. Move your (shorter) hour hand, just this once, to the number called. This will get your clock back in sync with what the hands say.
4. Once your clock is back in sync, proceed to set your clock to the proper time - but don't move the hour hand this time! Just move the (longer) minute hand to the correct time and the hour hand will follow along. You may have to go around several hours to be in the correct day or night time to align with your calendar or shut-off mechanisms.

Just remember, that your clock mechanism doesn't know or care what the hands say. You will have to align the hands with whatever time the mechanism "thinks" it happens to be. Once you are locked in, you can move the minute hand to the proper time. The hour hand and clock mechanism will dutifully follow along with your direction.

NOTE: the above procedure is virtually universal for all clocks, but there are always exceptions. Ideally, when moving the hour hand, you should be able to slightly loosen the (shorter) hour hand from its shaft. Most are only fit on by friction, so you can press it back on in the correct setting very easily. If you have a clock where it is very difficult to move the hour hand independently, or if you cannot easily loosen it from a friction fitting, STOP. You should have a clock professional look at your clock.

Some antique clocks (like 18th Century tall case clocks, or skeleton clocks) actually have the hour hand screwed directly into the movement. If you force clocks with stiff hour hands you could cause serious damage to the mechanism. The procedure in this article is meant for most modern clocks.

Remember to follow our blog and on Twitter for continuous product updates and troubleshooting tips. We also have many helpful articles on our /instructions page on our main website

How to Set Your Quartz Cuckoo Clock

There have been some changes to the quartz cuckoo clock movements. The new models don't have the cumbersome "eye" or light sensor, but rather a more sophisticated night-off system. The newer clocks also have nicer music!

In order to properly set up your new quartz cuckoo clock, there are a few things to take note of. The proper set-up procedure is already in your printed instructions, and here, but please also reference this article to troubleshoot.

The point of the setup procedure is to FIRST properly align the chiming computer mechanism with the clock hands, and SECOND to set the correct time on your clock hands. In order to do this, you'll need to find out what time your bird thinks it is. Once you have the batteries installed, move the longer minute hand only (don't touch the shorter hour hand) clockwise until the hour is reached. Please make sure you have the cuckoo switched on before taking this step.

Once the hour is reached, count the number of times the cuckoo calls. Keep in mind, that each cuckoo call is followed by an echo - in other words: you should only count the first LOUDER "cuckoo" of each set. The softer echo call is not meant to be counted.

If you did not hear any cuckoo call, you are probably in the nighttime or PM setting. Keep going around with the minute hand until the cuckoo will call again. You need to get back on to the AM setting so that you can hear the bird.

Once you have counted the amount of calls, compare it to what the hands say. If, for example, the clock cuckooed 9 times and the hands show 7:00 you'll need to push the setting button twice to realign the movement with the hands. If your clock is calling 11 times and your hands show 6:00, then press the button once (7:00) twice (8:00) three times (9:00) four times (10:00) and finally five times to reset the computer to synchronize the chime with the hands. In other words you'll have to tell the computer to catch up to the hands.

If your clock calls 6 times, and your hands show 5:00, you'll need to push the button 11 times.

An alternative method of aligning the computer with the hands would be to simply move the hour (shorter) hand independently to match the number of calls counted. This is the same procedure used on mechanical clocks.

Remember, you can only make this synchronization when the clock is in the daytime hours. If, at any time during this phase of the setup your clock does not make any cuckoo calls DON'T PANIC. You are probably in the PM time range, and will simply have to advance the minute hand a few hours so that the clock will cuckoo again.

Once your computer and hands are synced up, you can set the time as usual. Simply move the minute hand around until the correct time is reached. NOTE: You don't have to wait at each hour for the music to finish. Once the bird and hands are synchronized, they will remember where the hands are pointing.

You will probably have to realign using this simple procedure every time you change the batteries.

Troubleshooting FAQ:

Sometimes my cuckoo doesn't cuckoo at all, or at least not when it should.
A: Your clock is probably in the nighttime range. These clocks are meant to be silent between approximately 10pm and 8 or 9am. Simply move your minute hand (so that the hour hand follows) clockwise several hours until your clock starts cuckooing again. Now you are in the daytime range.

My cuckoo clock is cuckooing way too many times. Sometimes it cuckoos 15 times!
A: Remember that your quartz cuckoo has an echo. There are other sounds playing too, for example there is another kind of bird that starts the hour chime, then the cuckoo, his echo, and music. Be sure to only count the louder cuckoo calls - without their echos.

My quartz cuckoo clock isn't cuckooing the correct number of times. How do I sync the bird with the hands?
A: There are two methods for this. You could press the setting button a number of times equaling the difference between what the hands show and what the bird is calling. Count the number of calls first, then push the button to bring it up to what the hands say. You could also move the hour hand (independently of the minute hand) to match the number of calls the bird makes.

Remember to follow our blog and on Twitter for continuous product updates and troubleshooting tips. We also have many helpful articles on our /instructions page on our main website