WATT !?!All ideas have a time. They come, they go. What we do with them while they are around, is up to us. We can even turn them into real things. But I was too stoned at the time.
It must have been about ten years ago, visiting a friend, and pretty baked, discussing, of all things; lighting - this particular friend has a bit of a fetish about indoor lighting; highly underrated subject matter, to be sure. Creating these artificially-lit environments has had a massive impact on our species, I could begin.. But I'm not getting into that right now.
On this occasion, we were talking not about light temperatures or architectural design, nor the confuzled pineal gland, but about Watts; the basic electrical cost of lighting, particularly the newer "energy-efficient" lamps (which I am proud to say have occupied all my home's light fittings for almost a decade - okay, I'm just cheap, but still...), which seem to put out an amazing amount of light for the allegedly minuscule amount of Watts they use, or rather; KiloWattHours. In short, lumens-per-buck.
"It would be good to know exactly", I said, "you know, the actual out-of-the-socket Wattage that is being used.."
"You can measure the Ampage with a multimeter and work it out easily enough", came the reply.
"Yeah man, but what a pain! This thing would just plug in, and boomya! read-out!", you can tell I was minced, using speech like that.
A couple of tokes later I had the whole thing designed; a simple mains plug, with a digital readout, and a socket in it - it looked like one of those 24 hour timers. You plug it into the wall, plug stuff into it, and there displays all the info you need, current, wattage, voltage, etc., and over time, the actual cost of said electrical appliance. We did a sketch, and then skinned up again, using the corner of the sketch as a roach.
But ideas have no loyalty, and are fairly promiscuous, to boot. As I've proven countless times; even the cutest, most original idea is most likely burrowing its way through the imagination of countless other human beings at the very same time, or real soon now. Not just inventions, either. Nothing is sacred; songs, philosophy, you name it! (and then it's yours, I guess, in a weird, unnatural way). Sometimes, your part is to add some spin to it, send it on its way, and be happy with that. Letting go can be tricky, but is always worthwhile.
Some will dismiss "their" idea as fantasy, others as improbable or impossible. Others still will forget it immediately. Mother nature doesn't mess around, though; and spreads her seeds far and wide, knowing that somewhere they will take root. For every idea, there is someone with the talent, opportunity, belief, motivation, and resources to bring the thing to fruition, whatever that might be*. Except the one about stretching all the worms in the world from here to the Moon. Face it buddy, that's not gonna happen.
Of course, There's the other category; too smashed to do anything about it. Replace "smashed" with whatever your poison does to you. Or even, "busy", I guess. I was in there somewhere, elsewhere.
Cut to August 2008; me scrolling the latest Maplin Special Offers Mail, where I discover that not only does this device now exist, but that I can have it right now for knock-down price of £7.99! My face is a grin, and after leaping around for a while shouting "YES!" and words to that effect, I click "Buy It", being fairly sure I have a tenner in my PayPal account, thanks guys!
In fact, I'd almost completed the transaction, and arranged delivery, when I remembered that Maplin is, in fact, just over the road. I look out the window; yup, still there. I check the Aberdeen store's stock level at the maplin site (how handy is that!); eight items in stock. One of those items, it goes without saying, is now mine.
Okay, it's not bungie-jumping, truly pleasing a crowd, or that dream where I wake up flying on a magic carpet surrounded by voluptuous concubines, but still, this thing is fun! I've easily had £7.99's worth of fun out of it already! I mean..
Brewing a cup of coffee only uses 0.025W of electricity, regardless of the fact it's a 1000W machine, so there! - Brewing 40 cups only uses 10p of electricity, that's only £1.40 a week!
I could do with a new PSU for my peecee, cutting it fine, there.
My old P1 Laptop (now silent Linux server) uses under 10W of electricity to do all its magic (20W if you open the lid). It can stay!
My fridge needs to be replaced, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
And the big question.. how many Watts does an 18W lamp use. I mean exactly. Time to find out..