Archive for January, 2012

What is claimed is…

Monday, January 23rd, 2012


that I finally submitted the patent application I’ve been working on for the last year and a half.



This was certainly an education. CAD to slicing to 3d printer prototypes to illustrations to word doc to patent legalese. I’m sure that even now some poor patent clerk (Hi, Dan!) is looking at my application in disgust, what with my insistence on writing almost all of it myself. It’s certainly the most-revised document I’ve ever written, though likely not the most expensive, as I am a “small entity” and so pay reduced patent fees. My senior history thesis probably wins the “most expensive paper” award thus far.

Thanks must go to BPM Legal for far more work than I anticipated for my money. Extremely limited thanks to the Patent Office itself for not updating their new published guidelines until at least two months after they legally took effect.

It’s probably not the only patent application with MSPaint-edited figures, but it’s probably one of the few.

Small things writ large.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

My vehicle had developed the exceedingly irksome habit of failure to start (n.b. – as it is not a Rolls, I can’t use the Rolls euphemism for a breakdown, “failure to proceed”). In a behavior also endemic to my old Buick, the factory Passlock(tm) system often decides that I am an intruder, and should therefore suffer the pangs of a disabled fuel pump. Unlike the Buick, which would lock me out for 3 minutes, the Saturn caused me to remain immobile for 10 minutes before I might try my luck again. As this problem was electrical, it of course manifested primarily in wet weather or (important) cold weather.

After having spent half an hour in the driveway of one of my friends at 2 AM on an exceedingly cold winter morn, the issue finally got above the “put up with it” threshold, migrating to the “deal with the problem” level. With the aid of an extraordinarily accessible tutorial, I replaced the ignition switch in the steering column. The major caution here is to disable the airbag. I have this aversion to exciting azides being “live” near my head.

The culprit, and cause for the immobility of ~2900 lbs:

This rinky-dink circuit board/resistor combo. If it gives the wrong resistance value, the idiot-level computer brain decides that some yobbo with a scarred-up screwdriver and a set of jump wires is trying to make off with my ride. It took 30 minutes to train up the computer to accept the new switch/board. Worth it, though.

Fortunately, none of my neighbors called the constabulary about the guy disassembling the steering column of my car in the parking lot.