Category Archives: Inventions

Many ideas just need to be mentioned once in order to become reality.

Influenster Sends ZzzQuil -A Sleep Aid Sample

Unboxing the ZzzQuil
Zzzquil Influenster Free Sample

Arrived this morning as a free sample from Influenster (the consumer product survey and test market company) a little late for the 4th of July fireworks sounding like open warfare all night long, the makers of NyQuil have produced a new version of a gel cap called ZzzQuil (Vicks).

What it is: 25mg of Diphenhydramine HCL – better known as Benadryl (the anti-histamine), the FDA has also qualified this particular pharmaceutical for sleep assistance use in addition to its more conventional use as an anti-histamine.

As a sleep-aid, Diphenydramine is also the key active ingredient in other sleep aid formulations, such as Sominex (Prestige Brands) , Unisom (Chattem), and Nytol (Glaxo Klein Barney.)

Anyone who has taken Benadryl or any other DPH-based anti-histamine has probably experienced the drowsiness that is brought on by the DPH effects.  Some of the formulations used for anti-histamine application include stimulants, such as caffeine, or maca to counteract these effects.  Other forumulations, such as Tylenol PM, or Unisom, actually double the dosage to 50mg to have a “faster” onset effect.

This is simply Vicks introducing, a non-pain relieving formulation of its already popular NyQuil product line, excluding the acetominaphen (pain relief), and dextromethorphan (anti cough/anti mucus) components to bring a Proter & Gamble version of the product to market with a recognizable brand behind it.  We’ll see if the pricing is any more aggressive for the formulation – but bottom-line, DPH makes you sleepy, quite fast.

Nespresso Vertuoline Coffee Capsule Brew Formulas

I like Nespresso’s Vertuoline single brew appliance – not because it’s convenient (which it is), nor because it’s quick (ditto). But because of inventive others like My-Cap.com, the rather otherwise wasteful aluminum capsules can be re-used indefinitely (as long as you’re careful not to pierce or dent them too much through handling.)

My-Cap.com foil kit for Nespresso Vertuoline
My-Cap.com foil kit for Nespresso Vertuoline

My-Cap.com makes foils, replacement capsules, little plastic quick caps, and all sorts of accessories for single-use pod/capsule coffee makers which definitely extends their environmental friendliness geometrically (which otherwise, at 1 plastic or aluminum pod per cup creates a ridiculous amount of landfill over time, if not properly recycled – Nespresso is one of the only company that provides free shipping for recycling capsules.)

My full user review is up at Amazon.com:

Nespresso Vertuoline Finished Lungo Custom Deathwish

https://www.amazon.com/review/R2CA7L5M1YTU1M/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

But this post is about a more in-depth feature about the Vertuoline capsule brewing formulation coded into the barcodes that surround the bottoms of each capsule.

Only recently has Nespresso started revealing the numerous formulas used in each version of the capsules, allowing those of us doing the re-use/re-pack/re-foil thing, to properly select a barcode that will work best with the coffee being refilled.

I’ll try to keep the following table updated as new information arrives on this subject:

Capsule Type Color Prewetting Flow Temperature
Altissio Espresso Dk Purple Short Slow High
Diavolitto Espresso Dk Blue Long Slow High
Voltesso Espresso Bright Gold Short Slow Low
Decaf Intenso Espresso Dk Red Long Fast High
Giornio Lungo Orange Long Slow Low
Solelio Lungo Yellow Short Fast Low
Intensio Lungo Dk Brown Long Med High
Stormio Lungo Dk Green Long Slow High
Odacio Lungo Med Blue Long Med High
Melozio Lungo Dk Gold Short Fast High
Elvazio Lungo Pink Short Slow->Fast Low->High
Decaffeinato Lungo Red Short Med Low
Half Caffeinato Lungo Red/Black Short Med Low
Cafe de Cuba Lungo White/Red script Short Slow Low
Flavored Lungo Various Short Med Low
My-Cap.com custom Deathwish after brewing
My-Cap.com custom Deathwish after brewing

I use #2 espresso grind for the Lungo size capsules (taking 10-12g of coffee grounds), and #1 espresso for the Espresso size (which take from 5-8g by comparison).  I pack each to within 1mm of the top of the flat rim of the capsule, which allows plenty of expansion room during the pre-wetting stage.

To remove the original foil, just hobby knife around the rounded part of the rim inside the flatter portion that the foil is glued to leaving a nice flat foil ring for the reusable foils to adhere to during extraction.

A cardboard my-cap storage sleeve
A cardboard my-cap storage sleeve

I also made up a few cardboard sleeves (ala Pringles style cans) that close-fit to the edges of the capsules to better keep the re-use foils on the capsules (the adhesive works well during extraction, but I disliked all the extra clamping and crimping others were doing to attempt to seal them better.  I find just placing them on top,  and running around the edge with the fan-brush handle is fine, then just gently fold over the edges.  The adhesive is enough to seal against the rim lip during extraction, and as long as you keep the capsules upright, they won’t spill.)

The price for convenience is that these little capsules do use about 200% more coffee per cup in order to reach the strength level of a standard French press style cup of coffee, but produce a good 2cm of crema in the process (more like a Vev-Vigano stove-top pressure coffee extractor.)  The espresso versions are a little lighter,  in that the brewing process is modified and thus consume closer to the “normal” puck’s worth of coffee per espresso (and they can be double-brewed – reset the cycle by turning the lock open, but don’t open it, then re-lock again to allow the 2nd button press, and re-trigger the pre-wetting cycle, if you prefer something like a 1-1/2 Espresso.)

Big Data Cloud Storage Framework Solutions

Based upon a recent meeting of minds at MESS (Media Entertainment & Scientific Systems) http://www.meetup.com/MESS-LA the challenge facing the industries is how to deal with petabyte-sized amassed data that still needs to be accessible in real-time for secured editing purposes by downstream customers and suppliers.
Here’s a multi-phase solution idea:

big_data_arch_model
My idea for a secure big file delivery model. Figured by J. H. Lui (c) 2016

Using torrent technology for access, with authenticated peer-to-peer hosts. private SSL-encrypted trackers/announcers, and encrypted bit streams, this maintains access to the fundamental data source using minimal infrastructure.
Add two-factor authentication to the authentication protocol to allow time- and role-based security to be enforced (so-and-so p2p host is authorized to connect to the torrent during X days/N hours per day/etc.)
Use generic two-factor authentication providers (e.g. Symantec VIP or SAASPass) to allow the small service providers to access data without excessive overhead cost, or dedicated hardware solutions.
Store the data source files using a torrent+sharding+bit-slicing protocol (similar to the Facebook imaging storage model.) Without authenticated access to the cloud torrent, any individual data chunk or shard grabbed by a sniffer becomes useless.
Segregate and divide the data files using a role-based security architecture (e.g. Scene 1 needed by X post-production editor, during N time-period.) Individual torrent participants can select the individual virtual file segments they need for work, without downloading the data chunks unrelated to them. Similarly, the above described time+role based security prevents access to/from data segments that are not authorized for that endpoint. Could even add password-protection to individual sensitive segments to provide one more level of turn-key security.
Use a Google Drive/Dropbox style OS protocol to allow mounting of the torrent sources to the end-user workstations with transparent access.  Whichever mechanism can provide adequate latency for the block replication should be sufficient.  Rather than mounting the same cloud torrent to every local workstation, use local NFS servers to provide local home-basing of the cloud mount (WAN speed), then export that mount locally (LAN speed) to the various workstations that need access to it.  That way, there’s only one penetration point to/from the cloud torrent, which can be adequately firewalled locally by the end-user. This is a solution for the end consumers that need access to the largest portion of the cloud data set.
The source data hives can use multi-path networking protocol ( https://jhlui1.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/multi-path-multiplexed-network-protocol-tcpip-over-mmnp-redundant-connections ) to further split and sub-divide the data streams (which are already encrypted), to maximize performance to bandwidth-limited consumer endpoints.
Media companies have a rather different data value model to deal with because during pre-production the data value is extremely high, but it drops off rapidly post-production release once the market consumes it. But the same model at a lower protection level would work for actual distribution – wherein end subscribers are authenticated for access to a particular resolution or feature set of the original cloud segments (e.g. 8K versus 1K media, or audio-only, or with or without Special Features access.)

Something New from Dove – A Dry Spray?

Courtesy of the try and review site Influenster a couple new interesting ideas showed up in the mail this weekend.

http://www.dove.us/Products/Deodorant/Dry-Spray/dryspray.aspx
Dove Dry Spray anti-perspirant/deodorant trials.

Since these new products do not contain alcohol or water, they spray on but evaporate immediately on-contact.

The 48-hour claim probably was under conditions of not actually washing anything off (regardless of the petroleum distallates used – see the ingredient list below); for practical purposes, this is a non-powder based D/AP product that as long as you shake well before using, doesn’t have a residue, and works relatively invisably (long-term effects of spraying butane on yourself, or the environmental impacts still to be determined.)

The inventors are still at it.

Ingredients as listed:
Butane, Hydrofluorocarbon 152A, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isobutane, Ppg-14 Butyl Ether, Helianthus Annus Seed Oil, Disteardimonium Hectorite, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Fragrance, Propane, Bht, Octyldodecanol, Propylene Carbonate, Dimethiconol, Tocopheryl Acetate

 

Smartphone Tablet Art Controller App – WiFi Digital Photo Frames Managed by Template

Simple concept – we’ve bought those digital photo frames that can take various memory cards and flash drives to display our photos. And some of them have become WiFi enabled so you can load pictures from your favorite online cloud storage (i.e. Photobucket, Flickr, Snapfish, etc.)

But what about an app to manage such frames all around your house (or office, or college, or whereever?)

Start with a basic photo library app that can build normal collections and folders, but extend the functionality to allow multiple digital photo frames (or even Smart TV’s with WiFi photo RSS feed capability) to be loaded on-demand with your choice of photos on-demand.

SDWiFiCardUse WiFi compatible SD cards like these to provide the basic connectivity, but assign each device (which usually end up with a local IP address) as a controllable frame within the collection application (e.g. Frame 1 (living room), Frame 2 (kitchen), Frame 3 through 5 (hallway), etc.) Now assign those IP’s to a template “gallery” for the App to manage the content and placement.

Simple uses might be: changing all the digital frames in your house to display your best children’s photos during Mother or Father’s Day.  Load historical photos during national holidays. Celebrate a big birthday with a rolling series of funny or serious This is Your Life photos, all being loaded and timed automatically to change at pre-determined intervals.

More advanced use might be professional gallery management, so you can provide previews of gallery forthcoming openings by using inexpensive 11×14 digital frames to give guests an idea of what’s coming next.  Or artists might even end up programming the templates as interactive media showcases or exhibitions unto themselves.

The smartphone or tablet component (or any touchscreen capability)

Set of touchscreen smartphones
Set of touchscreen smartphones

makes it easier to drag and drop photos to specific frames in the template – imagine the application having a basic floorplan of your house with the various digital frames in placeholder positions, so you could drag and drop photos into them as collection sets.  And save them.  And load them instantly.

@jhlui1 #DreamBig #ChangeTheWorld

Multi-path Multiplexed Network Protocol (TCP/IP over MMNP) Redundant Connections

Because connectivity is becoming less a convenience and more often a necessity, if not a criticality, there will be a built-in demand for 24×7 connectivity to/from data sources and targets.

In professional audio, wireless mics used to be a particular problematic technology – while allowing free-roaming around the stage, they were subject to drop-outs and interference from multiple sources, causing unacceptable interruptions in the audio signal quality of a performance. The manufacturers got together and created multi-channel multiplexing allowing transmission of the same signal over multiple channels simultaneously, so that if one channel were interrupted, the other(s) could continue unimpeded and guarantee interruption-free signals.

Now we need the same thing applied to network technology – in particular, the ever-expanding Internet.  Conventional Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) addresses single source and single destination routing.  Each packet of data has sender and receiver information with it, plus a few extra bytes for redundancy and integrity checking, so that the receiver is guaranteed that it receives what was originally sent.

The problem occurs when that primary network connection is lost.  The protcol calls for re-transmit requests and allows for re-tries, but effectively once a connection goes down, it is up to the application to decide how to deal with the disconnection.

The answer may be the same as applied to those wireless microphones.  Imagine two router-connected devices, for example a computer and it’s internet DSL box.  Usually only one wire connects the two and if the wire is broken, lost, disconnected, the transmission halts abruptly.

Now imagine having 2 or 4 Cat-5 cables between the devices, along with a network-layer appliance that takes the original TCP/IP packet from the sender and adds rider packets with it to include a path number (i.e. cable-1 to cable-4), plus a timing packet (similar to SMPTE code) that allows the receiver appliance to ensure packets received out-of-order due to latency in different paths, are re-assembled back in the sequential order as they were transmitted.

Then run these time-stamped and route-encoded duplicate packets through a standard compression and encryption algorithm to negate the effects of the added time and channel packet overhead.

[Addendum: 22-MAY-2015] Think of this time+route concept similar to how BitTorrent operates.  There are already companies working on channel aggregation appliances, but usually for combining bandwidth.  This approach is focused on the signal continuity aspect of the channel communication.

Reverse the process at the receiving end, and repeat the algorithm for the reverse-data path.

Transmitter] — [data+time+channelID] — [compression/decompression ] => (multiple connection routes) => [resequencer] — [Receiver

Time for some creative geniuses to make this happen, yesterday.  Banks need it. Companies need it. Even the communication carriers need this.

@jhlui1 #DreamBig #ChangeTheWorld

Hellmann’s Gets The Squeeze on Mayo (aka Best Foods)

Kewpie Mayonnaise
Kewpie mayonnaise with sample squeeze top (image courtesy of Spice-World)

We often use Kewpie around the house, mostly because it happens to come in a non-messy squeeze bottle that is convenient to take on picnics and pass around the table at family gatherings.

Thanks to a free sample from Influenster, the latest forth-coming

Best Foods/Hellmans Squeeze
Hellman’s Mayonnaise new squeezable bottle.

packaging from Hellmann’s (also known on the West coast as Best Foods) has decided to release its quite popular (and lighter than Kewpie) mayonnaise in a new top-down squeeze bottle that comes quite nicely designed to sit upside-down without tipping.  The typical spout that is found on similar ketchup bottles has been made pressure-sensitive allowing a very narrow (2mm) stream of mayo to be sent in a controlled stream accurate enough to write with (or at least make fancy lines and streams) whether decorative, or simply portion-controlling (studies show that using a dab here and there can have just as much taste and schmearing the mayo all over everything, yet saves on serving size big time.)  It’s refillable, and using a smoother plastic interior, is designed to allow most of the mayo to exit the bottle leaving less waste behind (Hellman’s quotes “over 1000 lbs. of mayo are wasted each year just because it’s left behind in bottles and jars)  Look for it coming soon to a grocery shelf near you.

Upgraded Front Brake – Suzuki S40 Boulevard (2013)

DSCF4548Ever search for photos of a Suzuki S40 (nee’ LS650 Savage) and notice everybody shoots from right-side of the bike?SUZUKI-Boulevard-S40-6390_4suzuki205042015553012

I personally think that’s because we’re all painfully aware of how woefully inadequate the 30+ year old solid single front-disc with a single pot caliper has been (especially when freeway speeds started jumping up.) And why would you want to take a photo of something that heats up too fast, feels spongy, even with better brake lines, and isn’t so bad tooling around and cruising at low speeds, but feels like you’re riding a Schwinn Stingray (wherein your rear drum brake locks up, and skids along, while the front is still grabbing air.)

But because of a rather creative genius in the automotive engineering world, he introduces this:

20150320_102028_sm
Suzuki S40 Boulevard 2013 with RycaShawn Front Disc Brake Upgrade – Full Left-side Photo
20150319_165621_sm
Suzuki S40 Boulevard 2013 with RycaShawn Front Disc Brake Upgrade – Front Left-side Photo
20150319_165543_sm
Suzuki S40 Boulevard 2013 with RycaShawn Front Disc Brake Upgrade – Focus Left-side Photo

And now Suzuki S40 and LS 650 (and Ryca conversion) owners can have fully-floating rebuildable discs with dual-pot calipers and bring their bikes into the 21st century (or at least into the last decade of the 20th, if you prefer.)  It’s not ABS (which would cost more than the whole bike) but it’s a welcome upgrade that bolts-on (literally) and is very well-engineered and designed using already proven technology (just assembled in a different way, with an engineer’s eye towards functionality and purpose).

It’s affordable, and just what this little kicker needed among the plethora of engine-specific upgrades that already address more horsepower (web cams, big bore kits, bigger carburetors and jetting, revised exhausts, etc.).

Now you can safely stop this thing.

Sandor (aka Shawn) is one very creative engineer.

Original post (on SuzukiSavage.com): http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1391549028/0

http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1391549028/0
RycaShawn’s original 2014 post on SuzukiSavage.com – with continual development updates on making it affordable and even more practical.

 

Japanese Chicken Ham Recipe (Shizuoka-based) Boiling Water Sous Vide

Yuka's Chicken Ham (Japanese-style)
Sous vide chicken ham ala Yuka

So, the reason for this post is *I* was for one amazed at the results. My wife left a couple of stock pots sitting on the stove close to bed-time. I looked in and noticed each one had a bunch of (after 4 hours) 90 deg F water and a lid, with a plastic-wrap covered sausage-looking roll in each one sitting in the hot water.

So I had to ask, “What are those?”  She says, “It’s chicken ham.”  I think to myself, “Hm… raw chicken stuck in a plastic wrap tube and sitting in some hot water… isn’t this botulism in-the-making?”  So I do the research.

Turns out in Japan, they’ve been making a version of a sous-vide style chicken dish for centuries. You can use white or dark meat, as long as it’s boneless.

And you’ll note the recipe calls for all of 4 ingredients:

  1. Boneless chicken
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper
  4. Sugar

The process is that the chicken is pierced with a fork to allow the seasonings to penetrate.  The salt+pepper+sugar is liberally sprinkled all over the chicken, then placed in a zip-lock bag with the air removed, and left to cure/marinate in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours (depending on how seasoned you prefer your “ham”).  If using the 2-day version, pour off the accumulated liquid after the first day, re-seal and return to the refrigerator.

After the curing, rinse it with cold water.  If you prefer it less-salty, let it soak in cold water for 30 minutes after rinsing it.  Pat the chicken dry with towels to remove excess moisture.

Wrap this in plastic wrap, sausage casing, a silicon tube, or whatever else you have that is boiling-water safe (it’s just to form the shape of the finished meat – if you don’t mind it looking flat and natural, just put it back in a clean ziploc bag and remove the air (using a straw helps get the last bubbles out.)

Bring a pot of water to a boil, large enough to allow immersion of your chicken package.  Turn off the heat once boiling, and place the chicken package into the boiling water, and cover with a lid.  Let it sit and gradually cool for the next 5-7 hours (if you live in a particularly cold climate, you might place the pot into an oven so it’s a little more insulated.)

Then you take it out and slice and eat it, or what have you (it’s just like pork ham, without all the nitrates, food coloring, and other additives.) Some people then take the finished chicken and then place it in a smoker to add a smoke flavor, or any other thing you might do with a canned ham.

Food process-wise, the reason this works is the internal temperature of the loaf immersed in boiling water, once covered, will gradually reach the minimum 140 deg. F for sterilization, and then maintain that temperature for over 45-60 minutes as the water finally cools from 212 deg. F back down to 140.  That process usually takes 2-3 hours if covered.  (If left uncovered, it would cool-down too quickly to be safe.)

Pretty much the simplest chicken recipe I’ve ever seen, and the results are fantastically tasty and juicy.

http://shizuokagourmet.com/chicken-ham-recipe/

Note the proportions to this recipe (it scales perfectly well, you just need enough hot water in the pot to keep it from cooling down too fast – approximately 4:1 water to chicken should be enough):

INGREDIENTS:
-One large chicken breast: 250g (1/2 lb)
-Sugar: 1 large tablespoon
Coarse salt-black pepper mixture: 1 large tablespoon (1/2-1/2)

My wife used about 2 lbs. of chicken to a 8 qt. stock pot with about 5 qts. of boiling water and double-layered the plastic wrap.

Other recipes include skipping the wrapping, and tying the bundle like a small roast and poaching it in broth instead. This is not a true sous-vide because you don’t need to vacuum pack the chicken.  The salt/sugar curing is the preservation step that makes this work – you wouldn’t be able to substitute salt replacements, or sugar alternatives and have a safe product for poaching without keeping the temperature higher (about 160 deg. F)

Star Trek Cell Phones

Attention Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola: why have you not taken a simple flip-phone cell design and embellished it just a wee bit to make it into a faux Star Trek ™ communicator?

Doesn’t need the touch-screen, or even a lot of 4G features. Even if it just worked as a cell phone, people would buy them just for the coillectors’ value. Done well, we’d all just like using them because they’d be small and easy to carry, but have a cool factor beyond description.

It’s worth licensing. Even if you never get around to making the bluetooth version chest communicator badge – which is an automatic up-sell.

And no, I wouldn’t consider the Star Trek Communicator iPhone app a substitute for this physical item.

Alternative Stair-climber Design for Elderly/Assistance-needed Persons

A belt-and-track based stairwell lift device that can be embedded into the stairwell wall by notching the studs; constructed of structural material that when attached to the studs will also act as a structural brace; Up/Down step controls on the lift-plate for passenger-controlled ascent/descent; lift-plate folds out-of-way when not in-use; compact motor and belt-width for ease of embedded installation in narrow stairwells.

Since there are many stairwells, in many countries, that are not wide-enough to accommodate a conventional chair-lift systems. And many of these locations are in multi-story businesses, such as hair salons, restaurants, and small service businesses that cannot afford major remodeling to accommodate the growing elderly/assist-required population. A belt-and-track based stairwell lift device that can be embedded into the stairwell wall by notching the studs; constructed of structural material that when attached to the studs will also act as a structural brace; Up/Down step controls on the lift-plate for passenger-controlled ascent/descent; lift-plate folds out-of-way when not in-use; compact motor and belt-width for ease of embedded installation in narrow stairwells.

 

Wanted: A Better Reusable Coffee Pod (K-cup)

K-cup pods – making coffee one cup at a time. So what do you do with yours? Try to recycle? Landfill? Don’t know because you use them at the office and your office doesn’t have a recycle bin?

Keurig itself came up with this idea – main faulty design flaw is the plastic cage. It should be all stainless steel, so people don’t complain about the rims breaking off after a few weeks of use.

Here’s a novel idea as well – a reusable cap that has an improved water injector design used for re-capping existing plastic pods by washing them out and re-using them.

Instead, just put it all together and call it done. All-metal design, with a reusable cap.  If you do it, you could be a bazillionaire!

Myself, I just use a regular espresso hand-pressure machine with a regular old stainless grounds cup and tamp out the puck and rinse it.