Heard about the Bats of A Feather contest at MQTC? If so then you knew contestants get 3 minutes each to talk about their best (worst?) IT story vying for awesome prizes. But what you didn’t know – until now – is that it won’t be me or Roger sitting there with a stopwatch informally timing contestants. You deserve some accountability and a fair contest. That’s why I built the Bat-O-Meter which has a countdown clock on either side so the speaker and the audience can see how much time is left. These are premium prizes y’all and we’re not taking any chances on mucking up the timing.
Although I suppose I’ll be taking chances trying to get this thing through the TSA checkpoints at two airports. Ahmed Mohammed built a clock and got suspended from school and arrested but at least it walked like a clock and talked like a clock. This is a countdown timer that chirps on each of the last 10 seconds and then buzzes when it gets to zero to alert the speaker their turn is up. For those who cannot tell the difference between bombs and other stuff, a countdown timer probably looks more dangerous than a clock. It doesn’t help that it has a giant lighted arcade button with which each speaker starts their turn.
After pondering for a while the issues with getting this through the TSA checkpoints, I had one of those ah-ha moments that will, I am completely sure, solve the problem. I programmed it so that on powering up the device it flashes 12:00 like every other digital clock in the history of digital clocks. Nothing says “clock” like that annoying 12:00 flashing at you to indicate power loss. I’m sure I’ll have nothing to worry about.
Unless they want to look inside. It’s like I totally forgot how to solder since I was a kid and the board has lots of burn marks, cold solder joints and sections I screwed up so badly that I just abandoned them and moved to a different part of the board to start over. See that piezo buzzer toward the center left of the board? I fried it and rather than desolder it I abandoned it in place. The gray box at the bottom left of the enclosure is the new buzzer and it is really loud and annoying. Contestants should be glad the judges do not have their own buzzers. (Although that would not be hard to do for next year…)
In any case, wow does that look nasty. But it gets the job done. Will I be able to get it through the TSA checkpoint in Charlotte? You will have your answer a week from tonight when you see me – or not – at the Registration & Welcome social from 5PM to 8PM.