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good ideas

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 5 months ago


Some of the ideas I have had that I would love others to run with. If anyone else thinks they will work of course.


Most good ideas don't work. Ask any successful inventor.


If you do make any of them work after seeing them here I'd like some credit of course. But God is my judge. Mainly I'd just like to see them used.




Management theory



If the rules are too restrictive, that's at least as bad as not restrictive enough. Because they won't be followed, so they will be ineffective.


The difference between a policy and a guideline is that before breaking a policy you need to get approval from your boss, while after breaking a guideline you need to get approval from your boss. There's no other difference. You should otherwise follow both.


Or in other words, to break a policy or guideline or any other valid instruction, you (and your boss) need to appeal to the level of management that issued it. No higher, and no lower. Any instruction can be appealed. And if you know it's wrong, it's your duty to do so. (But it may not get you promoted.)


How not to kill your treasurer





Date format

Alder Date Format (it works for me)


Fallback theory

If you have a big box and a little box, critical production should normally run on the little one. This is the opposite of normal practice. See fallback theory.


WORM drives

They should make a comeback. Should not have been allowed to lapse. See WORM drives.


Compilation etc of code

Storage is cheap. The output of a compiler should have multiple versions of the executable. For the current Intel architecture, for example, there should be eight copies all in the same file. There should be 8, 16, 32 and 64 bit executables, and for each there should be a version with the source code imbedded as comments, and one without.


If the compiler etc is working these should all be logically identical. (That's no guarantee of course that they will run identically. But it's a start.) Load time is the time that you decide which of the eight to load. If you're on a 64 bit machine and performance of this module matters above all else, then the bare 64 bit code is loaded. If you're chasing a very subtle bug, then the 8 bit commented version is loaded. And many other cases in between.



I've had many printers. See here.


But as I also say there, the only real failure has been the colour laser.


One of my bubblejets had three little colour cartridges (well, normal sized ones) and a whopping great one for black. That's more like it. That's what I'd like in a laser. The little, proprietary, non-recyclable colour cartridges are fine. Or at least, usable so long as I have a full-sized one for black. And one available from third-party circles and recyclers.


Give me that and I will happily use the expensive colour ink for spot colour in a short document, perhaps even some colour graphics. And in a longer document, perhaps even a full-colour cover sheet.


But as I'm brainstorming, it could get better. I would like a straight paper path, and two sets of cartridge stations to handle duplex printing. Duplex printing is typically slow and uses complex mechanisms. That's unnecessary. But the printer should still work for one-sided if either set had a cartridge or even all cartridges missing or empty. Just disable printing on that side. That is robust.


And dreaming even more, I'd like this main printer to be part of a system, using the same transport and cartridges in a variety of models, including a scanning cartridge that can be put into one of the printer cartridge stations in need. And a flatbed on which I can put a T-shirt or a piece of plywood or anything that can take the inks and stand the heat of the fusor. The fusor then is a flat plate that is manually lowered onto the printed material after the printing station has passed. A large office all-in-one for a large office. A small all-in-one for the home office. A tiny, quiet, light machine for small volumes while travelling, with the option of its own rechargeable battery (it's not going to be good to try to power a laser printer from a laptop's battery via USB). 


You saw it first here. Or if not, tell me! 




Nuclear reactor efficiency

Why not use a superheater?


Build it underground

Why not build the reactor vessel underground, in its eventual burial vault?


I have suggested this occasionally, and it's been rejected as too expensive. It would add to the initial cost, but not necessarily to the total cost of ownership.


It seems to have been done three times at least, with the Halden_Reactor in Norway, the BORAX-V reactor in the USA, and an underground research reactor in Switzerland which suffered a catastrophic accident but was contained.


It is also proposed that the PRISM_reactor would be built below grade. So maybe it's not as hard or expensive as some people suggest.  


Nuclear reactor load following

Most Hydrogen is currently used as an industrial gas rather than a fuel, and is produced by using fossil fuel, producing CO2 emissions. Most solar and wind power currently needs natural gas capacity to balance the grid, again producing CO2 emissions.


One proposed reactor, the Natrium reactor from TerraPower (one of Bill Gates’ pet projects), has built-in energy storage and so can replace natural gas in the grid balancing role. The reactor runs 24/7 but the turbine, which has a larger capacity than the reactor, runs only as needed.


But another approach would be to run the reactor 24/7 and the turbine only as needed, and to use the heat when the turbine was not running to produce Hydrogen for industrial use, solving not just one CO2 problem but two.


This approach would need to use other than water cooling, probably molten salt or liquid sodium. But either of those can produce process heat of the required temperature for Hydrogen production. Food for thought?





a middle east peace from a logician's perspective


a dream about drugs


birdproof antenna (hey this one does work, see that page for the successful prototype)


T shirts




mobile phones


An ironical thought on the Beatles and especially John and Ringo now this is really out of left field


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