What Makes A Hacker

I think I can sum up the difference between those of us who regularly visit Hackaday and the world of non-hackers. As a case study, here is a story about how necessity is the mother of invention and the people who invent.

Hackaday has overlap with sites like Pinterest and Instructables but there is one vital difference, we choose to create something new and beautiful with the materials at hand. Often these tools and techniques are very simple. We look to make things elegant by reducing the unnecessary clutter, not adding glitter. If something could be built with a 555 timer we will let you know. If there is a better choice for a processor, we will tell you.

My first real work commute was a forty-minute eastward drive every morning and a forty-minute westward drive every evening. This route pointed my car directly into the sun twice a day. Staring into a miasma of incandescent plasma for an hour and a half a day isn’t fun, and probably isn’t safe, but we can fix that.

Monday, the Day I was Annoyed

The first Monday, I was annoyed by the sun hovering over the road. To and from work, I squinted and used the visor as best I could, but it was a losing battle. The visor made it difficult to see cars in my lane even when the sun was off to one side.

We have all been here, metaphorically. We encounter a problem and at first, it is just a thing that is. Our brains register this as a new event and file it under something which annoys us.

Tuesday, the Day I Made the Easy Choice

On Tuesday, I bought sunglasses, but they were not enough. When the sun was right on the horizon I could not lower the visor far enough and sunglasses did not help while staring directly into that distant nuclear reactor.

At this point, regular problem-solving skills start to kick in. The standard solutions, like sunglasses, are tried and maybe we get a little upset that things are not going our way. Our brains start to see a pattern after four commutes full of looking at a burning ball of hydrogen.

Wednesday, the Day I Did Something

On Wednesday, I diverged from the path of a non-hacker. The non-hackers would go on to complain about the layout of the roads. They would whine about how the roads should not run east-west and how their tax dollars were paying for roads that weren’t usable during rush hour. They would spend all their energies coming up with new ways to gripe.

Not me. I grabbed a couple of magnets from the refrigerator and a 3×5 note card before I left for work that morning. I put one magnet on the outside of my windshield and I placed the other magnet and the note card on the inside. The magnets held the note card in place and allowed me to position it anywhere on the windshield. Unfortunately, the flimsy note card did not do a good enough job of blocking light. That space orb was more powerful than thinly pressed dead trees.

Thursday, the Day I Did Something Better

On Thursday, the design was revised. The magnets did a good job of moving across the windshield so I did not change them. The size of the note card seemed a bit larger than necessary and I needed something which could block light more effectively. A poker playing card was swapped into the design. Playing cards are designed to keep light from passing through so no one can read your card from the backside. A fortunate side-effect was that the low-friction finish on the card helped it shuttle around the windshield.

Most of my problems were solved except the low-friction finish allowed the magnet to slip off the card. The card was small enough to block the sun itself but light still spilled around it and I had to keep my head in exactly the right spot. It turns out that the size of the notecard was better than I had thought.

One of the caveats of engineering is that it leads to over-engineering. My mind started swimming with ways to use a third magnet or a carefully crafted shuttle that could hold the magnet while hugging the windshield.

Friday, the Day I Had Something New and Beautiful

On Friday, the final tweaks were made. Tape held the magnet to the playing card and more tape held the playing card to the notecard. I had no problems. As I drove, I simply positioned my magnet-card on the windshield every time the sun was shining in my face. When I did not need it, I moved it off to the side so the windshield wipers could not touch it. It is a functional product but maybe it will get some finish so it looks like it belongs in the car. Faux carbon fiber?

This investment of time was a risk, a time-gamble, but the rewards were worth it. Not every creation improves life more than it costs to make it, but being willing to look down that path, instead of just resorting to constant complaining, is what separates us. We are the ones who use our energy to make our lives better and share it with the world in the hope that someone else can benefit from our experience.

Legal Note

I should warn you that this was technically illegal in my state since there is a law about placing anything between the driver and the windshield. Fuzzy dice, parking permits, and radar detectors are all illegal to display while driving. Check your own area’s laws before performing this hack on your own. Another thing that separates us from them, is that I will tell you the law and what I did then let you decide what you do with that information.

Expanding Upon a Simple Idea

If you are like me, coming up with a simple and effective idea does not mean sitting back and just using it, it has to be improved beyond the initial hack. A good idea can become a great idea. A great idea can become an awesome idea. An awesome idea, with a product to back it up, can make money or make your life significantly better.

This is also a symptom of scope-creep but that is not what this article is addressing.

Hand-operated-window-mounted-solar-blocking-apparatus, HOWMSBA, did not receive any more modifications because it suited my needs but, while my brain was set to overdrive in invention-mode, more ideas popped up. Adjusting the card by hand worked fine for a proof-of-concept but anytime the car followed a curve in the road, it had to be adjusted. Connecting strings and motors seemed like a reasonable course of action. Four motors could be attached with suction cups at the corners of the windshield to pull the shuttle around. Adjusting pulleys could be powered with some stepper motors or simple continuous rotation servos with tensioner feedback.

An X-Y table would work but it would be hard to fit the curve of the windshield without obstructing the view significantly. It would also require a lot of tension to account for hysteresis. Whichever motor was selected, a little analog joystick, the $1 variety, could control the motors like a video game. Maybe the joystick could be mounted on the steering wheel and talk to a controller wirelessly. It could have a solar-powered battery pack too. Better yet, it could all be made automatic with a sun tracker mounted on a headrest which would automatically track the brightest point and position the card for me with a short offset to account for the mounting position.


That is what a mental dump looks like. Some of you readers undoubtedly had better ideas for ways to improve upon such a simple hack. Maybe one of those ideas will end up on Hackaday because we are not the people who just follow the recipes, we are the people who add our own ingredients.

114 thoughts on “What Makes A Hacker

  1. When I accepted my current job, one of the factors that I considered was that my commute is opposite of sunrise/sunset.
    As my commute is 55 minutes each way, it was a necessary criterion.

    1. I used to live west of my work location, and moved to place east of the (same) work location. The sunlight wasn’t a factor at the time, but once I realized the benefit, I appreciate it a lot, both on bicycle and by car.

    2. When I accepted my current job, I never considered the direction of the commute with regard to the sun. This was not a problem however as I live in the England where the vast majority of our days are overcast.

    1. Don’t need sun tracking. Clock makers solved sun tracking long before optical tracking was even an amusing thought. You can with remarkably accuracy calculate the position of the sun in the sky from date, time, lat and lon. Used such equations in my game engine for a long time now, much more interesting than a sun that always rises and sets in the same place.

      Relevant information from the NOAA: https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/calcdetails.html

      1. You can probably find programs for those little 1980s pocket computers. Tandy/Sharp etc.

        (Stuff like that was amazingly popular with sailors and glider pilots, there’s still a company in business providing custom ROMs for stuff like that.)

    2. Nope, to many unnecessary problems with the parallax.
      SHADOW-on-the-face tracking through camera.

      Plus the robot shouldn’t ride around the windshield, as it would be probably impossible to prefent it from falling off without a ridiculously strong magnet on the outside, which would block the wiper’s movement; a non-flexing arm positionable with with the sunblock would IMO be better; probably something like a drawing board ruler pantograph to ensure necessary stiffness. It could also carry the tracking cam.

  2. with money there is even a better solution: hire a professional driver and just close your eyes, joke apart, for me it was socking to see this kind of problem, because i never encountered it myself, in this full annoying form, but if i think about it, i can understand and for the fix, is very clever

  3. I see that TMBG reference. For the updated version, even.

    A similar solution I used when motorcycling was a strip of electrical tape along the bottom edge of the clear visor part of my full-face helmet. Then I could simply adjust the tilt of the visor to block the sun when it was low in the sky.

  4. “To and from work, I squinted and used the visor as best I could, but it was a losing battle.”

    The visor works better for a tall person, or someone sitting higher in the seat and still able to reach the pedals. It can still be a problem when the sun appears next to a stop light for the driver in the front of a long line of rush-hour cars.

  5. Monochrome LCD panel (no back light, should be transparent when off).
    Mount LCD to windshield.
    Mount webcam to track the drivers eyes.
    Mount webcam to track the Sun.
    Single board computer to calculate a vector between the two.
    Turn on (darken) only the pixels in your line of site to the sun.

    Or just move East of where you work. ;)

  6. “The first Monday, I was annoyed by the sun hovering over the road. To and from work, I squinted and used the visor as best I could, but it was a losing battle. The visor made it difficult to see cars in my lane even when the sun was off to one side.”

    Simplest solution was me adjusting my arrival/departure times. Although one can certainly argue this problem will be solved by autonomous cars to begin with.

    1. There is not a hole lot I say I hate but false dichotomies is one of the things I do hate Even though the post’s author does places himself in some ivory tower above others in the DIY sector (respectfully Brian IMO you did that) the entirety of the post wasn’t what I expected, given the title of the post. Personally I file this as a useful trick rather Anyone who thinks they have come up with a use hack or trick they would want to share, they most likely will reach the maximum audience by using sites like Indestructible and Pinterest. Intractables has projects that recycle, and I have feel that pinterest has as well “hack” had negative connotations long before computer hacking or hackaday came along. The sun shines most day on the Kansas High Plains so I keep a ball cap in my vehicles.

      1. The hack in this article was a throwaway. It wasn’t some ground-breaking revelation but that was the point. The example was something we’ve all experienced and we can easily relate to the situation. I think that hacking is the mindset of “I’ll do it with what’s around me because whining won’t solve it.”
        Are you saying that hacker/non-hacker is a false dichotomy? I’ve met folks who absolutely refuse to change anything to help themselves and they would rather wallow in their own pity party than help themselves. You saw something on the internet that you didn’t agree with so you wrote an intelligent response rather than just crapping all over it or huffing and telling your friends that the internet is full of pretentious-ivory-tower-assholes. I’m sorry I took three days to respond.

      1. Ostracus – Been 2-years now and my sidereal clock is still phuq’d up! But night shift is good for running stop signs and all around gold bricking hiding from your team leader and or boss. Things sure look different on night shift. No traffic, no morons bothering you… except 7/11 (American) convenience store cashiers get real paranoid when you walk in at midnight for some good ol’ java. And never ask to use the loo… :-D

      2. I did night shift for about 2 years and, I loved going to the grocery on my way home…no one in there…go in, get what you need, check out and go home. It took my friends a long time to adjust…they would still call in the middle of the day thinking I should be up. It does indeed take a while to adjust, at least it did for me but, once adjusted, I thought it was great.

      1. AndyPanda – Here in USA we are preparing to pass legislation to force auto manufacturers to put in directional headlights which focus ONLY on the road directly in front of them. There is NO NEED for side scatter lighting that temporarily blinds people. I feel your pain on that! And here in my state (Connecticut) the morons REFUSE to adjust for headlight etiquette after you flash the peaceful preamble hi/lo flash. What follows is a HAVE SOME MORE OF YOUR OWN MEDICINE? That usually never works..

        A trick our DMV says to do to avoid temporary blindness is to either close one eye, or look at the white line on the right (if its there). That usually works. But never do the courtesy hi/lo flash for a LEO traffic stop (speed trap?) warning. That’s illegal and I got caught once doing it. Truckers do it all the time.

        I wonder how illegal this would be to use on super-bright hi beam jerks (sans gun)? Too much? :-)


          1. Affects me also…
            I think the soft light-scatter effect around the light source tells the eyes there is too much light causing image distortion… the eyes try to adjust until they realize the image is static and at usual brightness.

            Does anyone know the name of the effect that causes this illusion and/or if it has ever been documented?

        1. There is NO NEED for side scatter lighting that temporarily blinds people.
          But your headlights need to illuminate roadside traffic signs, so light has to scatter at least towards your side of the road, and up in the air to reach the tables overhanging the road.
          And here in my state (Connecticut) the morons REFUSE to adjust for headlight etiquette after you flash the peaceful preamble hi/lo flash.
          Once I did that because I was being blinded by the headlights from up front, and then that car turned on the LONG lights straight through my pupils, brain, and the back of my head, to show me that those previous biters were the lowered ones … sigh. Some people are premeditated, carefully prepared jerks, I guess.

          1. salec – I really enjoyed your last paragraph – I had to give you a ++1 belly LOL! That was a good line Salec.

            Re: the seeing tables, signs on other side of road, etc. In a perfect world that is the overall responsibility of the municipality, state, or federal government of your country. How so? They are supposed to install plenty of street lights to illuminate our night-time world on the highways and roads so we can see that stuff. Some don’t do that. They let bulbs burn out, fail to perform preventive maintenance, not replace ruined poles, or are just too lazy or stupid to light up rural roads at all. So our personal HIGH BEAMS are supposed to fix that. OK I’ll buy that. Just turned the damn things down to LOW BEAM when we approach you. I should not have to flip them with my highway etiquette method.

            Some jerks think we are playing a game with them as they failed to read their DMV Manuals were it says turn your low beams on for ALL approaching cars. It’s the law here in Connecticut, however, we have people here who refuse to yield to first responders. Imagine a moron driving along side or in front of a Fire Engine, Ambulance, etc. and the poor emergency vehicle is blaring, flashing and roaring his klaxon. Yes I’ve eye-witnessed it in Hartford, it happens all the time. But notice they NEVER do it for a LEO (police officer) I wonder why? :-/

            What is this coming around the corner? Your blinding headlight moron with super fog-light halogens? Or the friggen’ sun?


          2. “Imagine a moron driving along side or in front of a Fire Engine, Ambulance, etc. and the poor emergency vehicle is blaring, flashing and roaring his klaxon.”

            Heh, I had to drive half a mile like that, narrow, winding lane, dawdling along and an ambulance comes up behind me, pointless stopping, because then I’ve just blocked the road. It was one of those roads that it’s quite possible to be “going too fast” on without breaking the speed limit, because you can only take the corners at 30, so I got into “sporty” driving mode and I don’t think I was holding him up much, but eventually, there was a gateway I could pull into and let him past. You don’t get so that so much now, the first time a highschool kid kills himself in his rich dads luxury car slamming straight into a tree when drunk, they bring the speed limit down to 30 right through.

          3. RW ver 0.0.1 – Well in your case there’s nothing you could do. It turns out (from watching American TV show COPS) there is a subculture here in USA that feels it’s OK to drive sans driver’s license. Usually drug-addicted morons who NEVER read any driver training manual and have absolutely no clue what to do in case of a EV (Emerg Vehicle) coming your way. I mean a moron could be behind me late to his drug dealer meeting and me and other law abiders instinctively pull over into the break down lane to give EVs FULL pass through access. But guess what the moron does? Blasts past us like a bat out of hell and the EV is blaring his klaxon screaming “pull over you idiot!” They do this to poor unsuspecting Yellow School Buses too with the red stop sign poking out.

            Once I was in a traffic jam BOTH ways trying to turn left into a shopping mall driveway. And guess who shows up blaring and flashing like a maniac out of nowhere. An EV fire truck. I didn’t know what to do. So I inched forward a few inches almost missing my opportunity to turn left. He didn’t care. He KLAXXONed the hell of of me over and over like I was a moron. I pulled forward several feet more. Finally he could get through. I did miss the driveway but the kind oncoming traffic gave me an opening but it was a very awkward turn. He was going into the NEXT driveway it turns out.

            In an emergency it is OK to drive faster in front off the EV in a situation like yours. However, what if an animal or kid steps out in front of you? Well I’m sure the cardiac arrest patient or gun shot wound patient in the ambulance appreciates your judgement call. Just hope this does not happen when a cop is abusing his EV privilege trying to bully you out of his way. Pulling over into the gateway was the right move for you I think.

            Here’s 15-minutes of EV’s (USA and UK) flashing and blaring the klaxons (aka air horns) at morons in both countries. REMEMBER these guys are trying to get to your flat or home that probably full engulfed the longer you make them wait for you to MAKE A HOLE for them!!! Pull the frick’ over! :-(

        2. The problem of bright headlights with a dip switch (not) controlled by a dimwit* can easily be solved with headlamps equipped with polarized filters set at a 45 degree angle and windscreens or glasses at the same angle. When two such equipped vehicles approach each other there will be polarization will be crossed polarization that will effectively block the blinding effect of undimmed oncoming headlights and there will be no reason to low beam your lights. A high beam that stays on and a driver that is not blinded spells enhanced safety but without appropriate legislation this solution remains a pipe dream.

          What we need are some hacking law making politicians!

          73 de Pine, ZS6GST

          * New meaning: Someone that does not have the courtesy or wit to dim his bright lights.

          1. Pine Pienaar – That’s genius there Pine! I wished I thought of that. The glasses don’t even need to be tinted either. I do have some tinted shooter glasses that cut down headlight glare and they work. But your idea would work. Someone should tell US Congress to tell GM, Ford, etc.

            That dip switch/dimwit joke was funny too… :-D

    1. I worked a lot of swings and mid-shifts when in the USAF. Most A/C maintenance take place at night anyway. Had the fringe benefit of having less brass-holes during evening shifts.

      However, you still drove to work in the evening (swings) or home in the morning (mid-shift), so the problem was only cut in half compared to a day-sifter who potentially caught it both ways.

  7. Good simple hack!

    Now I’m brainstorming outside the box. Your problem is that you are being reactive versus strategic. The solution? Just not be there at that moment in time. Huh? Well, you know your travel route and commuter timing constraints. You know the time the sun is in just the wrong place for you (or you can figure out where it is at any given time with solar reference guide). Simply program a SMS text generator (or a local beeper) software that KNOWS when the opportune time it is be be on that road when the sun is NOT in worst position to annoy you. Leave earlier or later.

    It would calculate the sun angle over let say Interstate 10 (or any lat/long) at a particular coordinate, time, and direction toward westbounders or eastbounders. When your window of opportunity opens up (best case scenario), it beeps and/or TEXTS you on your cellphone “OP-WINDOW IS OPEN NOW. XX MINUTES TO SUNDOWN.” (That means the sun is behind the horizon now and you have X minutes until darkness where you will need headlights on. Or you can catch the PRE-window period in where you have XX minutes until WORST CASE SCENARIO (WCS) starts. And then WCS lasts xx minutes until sundown. The converse should work for morning transits too.

    You can factor in observed empirical WCS data on traffic patterns (best time to avoid I-10). Leave earlier or leave later. Factor in when you must be at work sitting at your desk, allow for parking too. Also when going home factor in what time you need to be home (or that may be flexible). The program can be ultimately as complex as you desire. It’s almost like programming an A.I. machine to do this and adjusts for coordinates, seasonal sun angle changes, real time vehicle traffic analysis, weather variance, and any other situational awareness an A.I. might have access to.

    You could call it CACA (Computer Assisted Commuter Assistant) or Kah-Kah (pun intended). ;-) Just need someone to code it and market it to commuters world wide. Or just share it on HaD.

  8. The first paragraph says it all for the title… necessity is the mother of all invention/hacks.

    As for the legal… Well if you have a legally placed “dash-cam” (Crash-cam?) and it hears the officer demand you to remove said sun-block device you made despite you explaining it is safer… and a crash occurs because the sunshine white-washed your view of the traffic ahead:
    You can not only hold said officer liable as he ignored your safety assessment and chose his own unsafe assessment to apply/demand (that “right to safety” can vary between countries: i.e. don’t argue with Kim Jong-un if you’re over there!)

    1. Oh… in case someone is wondering:

      I can see in minimal lighting conditions (Night time with some light pollution illumination, can spot a pebble amongst the mud) where most people seem to struggle when only heavy grey clouds have formed.

  9. For the camera guys: why one for the sun?
    Just catch the cast shadow, with some whobbling of the card (or “marching ants” at the border of the dark LCD shape) it’s easy to identify.
    Well, to decide whether the sun shines from back to front or f2b two simple photodiodes do suffice.

  10. When facing a sunrise at work we take an unneeded sheet of paper out of our paperwork, hold it up against the window, and rub it with the back of our hand. Static electricity holds it in place.

    Never tried it in a car, no idea if it would work on an auto window.

      1. Doug – I wish Gibbs (Mark Harmon) would take that out of his “go to” methods of demoralizing a reportee. In any work place, especially in our USN NCIS, that constitutes “work place violence”. Keep your damn hands to yourself! He’d never do that to Abbey. Of course Denoso deserves that due to his constant hubris, but it doesn’t justify violating regs. Did you notice the guy from THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (David Mcallum)? Uber-cool!

        BTW – if it was a “company car” what do you care? Also I’ve never seen standard weight copy paper scratch a windshield. Don’t you remember the good old days when you used newspaper to clear off your windows? I can see you doing a Danny Glover from LETHAL WEAPON newspaper-wiping your windshield blood splatter from a bad guy saying “I’m getting too od for this sh*t!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqBNSMbEzI0– :-D

    1. Google sunrise 90210 (or whatever your zip code is)
    2. Google sunset 90210

    For #1 you now know how much time it is until your WCS (worst case scenario) starts heading easterly. Your BSC or best case scenario then starts about an hour later. The sun moves about 15° per hour.

    For #2 you now know how much time you have to BSC (sundown) heading westerly, but darkness follows quickly. If you do the maths, you can figure out when WCS starts too. If 90° elevation is WCS for you, then figure out what degrees elevation is good for you BCS that is well before WCS. If the sun goes beyond the horizon at X:00 PM and 15° per hour is a standard, then you can compute in reverse what time the beginning of WCS starts. Anytime before that is your departure tim westerly before sundown. You can also figure how much time you have until WCS starts. So now you can leave for home with plenty time to spare before you are blinded by the light. :)


    1. Damn… I only remember this version:

      Also on the subject of being blinded by light… Here are two more relevant videos:

      and the last one may be a bit too modern and tasteless, however:

      Hope that completes the pun-theme :-D) and hope it makes it past staff eyes to complete the theme of this comment-thread.

  12. Not all sunglasses are created equal. I used to think this was a problem, too, until I tried a friend’s Ray-Bans. Wayfarers with G-15 Green lenses tame the sun enough that it just isn’t an issue when it’s low enough in the sky that the visor won’t block it. I’m sure there are cheaper solutions, but some things are classics for a reason.

  13. Tape a couple of the index cards to the bottom of the car’s visor so it is large enough to block the sun. If that doesn’t work, sit on a couple of pillows to raise yourself higher behind it.
    You are needlessly complicating something very simple.

  14. Couple times a year you get this driving to/from Eielson from Fairbanks. Freaking East-West road when the sun is rising on your way to work, and setting on your way home. Bastard ball of fusion will just hang there for the whole damn trip too.

    1. Being up in Ontario here, yah, we don’t have to put up with the sun at the wrong time for a very long period, so much as those further south do. Could drive you crazy if you’re on the equator and in at 6:30, out at 5:30 all the time.

  15. Yeah, that pesky legal thing. I’m amazed at the amount of crap people attach to their windscreens and get away with it. Those stick-on GPS units and crash-cams that probably cause as many crashes as they record. But you’ll be done for your little piece of cardboard! I’m somewhat surprised you admitted to using it! Are you sure you didn’t just trial the idea in your driveway, with the engine switched off……

    1. Wow… taking the book too literally!

      Engine off? but does that mean he forgot the brakes?? or maybe he forgot to leave it in gear/neutral depending on if he’s on a hill or flat???

      Oh and engine being on… On a Freakin’ driveway??? oh he forgets his shadow maker and mistakes it for the end of the world (Or a lorry that is his house ahead) and hits the wrong brake pedal… when he was already still!!!!!!

      Oh, GPS: yeah put that out of the way… it should be a guide only… not an end-all be-all.

      Dash-cameras (Crash-cam): well if you have seen say 4768 YouTube crash footages, for one how many of those were the same year? How many were the same country that year?
      Also does that mean those 4768 crash-causers represent the remaining 2 to 9 BILLION PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T CRASHED WITH ONE INSTALLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      It is like how the UK government are/were trying to pass new pushbike laws all because of a handful of idiots (Who I have confrontation with every so often, BTW): The laws are gonna be ignored by idiots anyway… and those who know to be safe will ignore the laws that’ll cause more accidents trying to obey them… and as for licensing push-bikes: Well if that happens then I’m out of a job as it is the opposite side of the town, cycle-ways or not people in this town will resort to crime, result: higher crime rate and the government asking “how’s that happened?” (and I was called narrow minded when I was a kid, yet the government are allowed to be so narrow and shallow???)

        1. Yeah, we in the UK call them:
          Push bike (Pushbike),
          pedal bike,

          some people go as far as calling them:
          mobility aid,
          2 wheeled Prosthetics,

          Yeah, if the UK government were to essentially ban them, it’ll be like cutting off several million legs!!!
          Especially since many people who rely on such contraptions would essentially be crippled from going to work where: low wages, long distances, public transport/taxi costs, currency inflation, BREXIT is what is stopping them from upgrading to a motorbike or car… Unless they resort to something like drug-dealing, scams, starting a tax-evaded side business or otherwise live homelessly (To evade rent and council-tax).

  16. Well, that’s the basic difference; here people want to tell others they’re different; here people are from the same range of backgrounds as other places, but here the editorial agenda is to attempt to foster tribalism. It isn’t very effective, of course; there just ends up being a lot of tribes that each have one person in them.

    Which is why they want to tell you you’re using the wrong microcontroller, why they want you to know you’re different than them, and why they end up wishing they were part of a group. Only, tribalism doesn’t actually foster community. You’re not better or of a different nature than other people simply because you have a hobby that you value. Indeed, others whose hobby you don’t value might indeed value their own hobby, and not yours. And you might not be any more _____ or _____ or _____ than them at all, it might just be some pseudo-macho BS.

  17. I haven’t seen a reputable source for this, but apparently pilots use static to stick vinyl sheets to the windshield, which seems like a simpler solution as long as the inside of your windshield is relatively clean. While it is best for fixed headings, it seems adequate and doesn’t interfere with wipers.

    Lesson two: hackers are good at generating fun solutions to problems that have already been solved more elegantly, but fortunately the internet helps propogate those solutions.

  18. The point of the article has only been reinforced by the multitude of responses to what must be one of the most simplistic issues ever face on hack a day: “I hate the sun in my eyes”. The community still rallies as to solve this issue with everything from computer driven sun blocking mechanical arms to pillows and index cards. You have the love the way we hackers think. Very cool.

  19. What you need is a headset that shows a view of what you would see looking out of the windscreen, but have it filter out really large, yellow blobs in the sky at a position where the sun is expected to be; Use sensors to understand your direction of travel, elevation, tilt and so on, so you don’t blot out traffic signals, cops etc.

    You might call it a diminished reality headset.

  20. Here’s an idea that’s automatic. It uses a black card stock stiff piece of paper hinged on two free floating hinge joints. The release mechanism is gravity based and uses some sort of electromagnet release latch (that may kill battery(s)). You must manually reset it. The width and height of the card is based on empirical measurements for you sitting in the driver seat during full-on sunset/sunrise in your face sun. The system has an alarm clock function which remembers TWO set times to deploy (AM and PM). It can be an Arduino that computes the sunrise and sunset for your coordinates for any given date or you can use GOOGLE to input a table daily/weekly/monthly or something. It doesn’t know which way your pointing without a Hall Effect compass so it will deploy at the same time everyday even if your pointing SOUTH or NORTH at that time that day. Maybe someone could figure that out (i.e. solar cell detector)?

    The card does not need to be adjusted for height as that’s already compensated for at the paper cutter bar tool at Kinkos (Fedex). It will wiggle a bit if the hinges are too loose. It has a manual over-ride button just in case the timing is off. It can serve as an auxiliary car clock too. Some sort of reversible stepper motor could make the whole process automatic with no user interaction needed. The length of deployment is based on when the sun passes 15 degrees more or less. That’s about one hour worldwide.


    1. Hehe, I actually wanted to comment that I always had chauffeurs. Yesterday I was thinking I only sat in limo’s till I was 15 or so. Now here comes the catch… I’m not a little rich kid we simply didn’t have a car at home. So those limo’s were the occasional funeral car or taxi to a venue. Still made me laugh about the limo part which is true but in real not glamorous at all :D

      1. Come to think of it, I took a “limo” to school… well it was the large black car of the day, full size, that the local taxi co would call their limo… and they used it for the school run because they could fit the most kids across the benches…. But when two more kids moved into the area served we got a boring minibus.

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