Dev Notes #1

Welcome to The Vault of Ideas Dev Notes!

This is a place where I offload some production ideas, discuss thoughts, just your general banter.

[12/08/2022 09:56PM GMT-3] 

Website The Vault of Ideas, proudly on the World Wide Web since May 2, 2022.

Well look at that, the Vault has come a long way from a pile of paper inside my drawer. It is now a functional website with more pages than I know how to count.

During these first 100 days or so of existence, we worked a lot to set up the website, learning a lot about how Google Sites works. A lot of time was spent writing/translating the ideas. These ideas were initially organized in an Excel spreadsheet I've made a few years back, when I realized it was much to risky to leave pieces of paper laying around all the time. We had a few breakthroughs as we hooked up Google Analytics, set up DISQUS comment service (that has yet to be used by users, lol) and the painful donations systems.

Then we started illustrating the website, what has showed to be great fun. The best part was discovering a Adobe Illustrator effect called "Stamp" that somehow hides a my utter lack of drawing skills. It all comes out artsy out of it, it is great. I feel as if I can redo them as many times as I like, and even have multiple drawings for a same idea if I want to, no biggies.

Well I mentioned there is Google Analytics now. It is daunting. I have barely scratched the surface of that tool, the learning curve is not easy for someone that isn't so knowledgeable about the Internet as myself. 

So far, we've had 673 visitors. 632 are from the US, and 34 are Brazilian visitors. Our retention is very low, only 18 users have returned after a visit. Oh well. Another meaningful statistic, I think, is the average engagement time. We're at 7min 57s, and it has improved a lot lately. Our most visited page is the main US page, followed by Ideas 1-10 and Thoughts 1. It is weird because I'm always trying to catch a real-time visitor to check him out in Analytics but I never seem to be able to, lol.

In 07/25/2022 we had an event. We had 231 users (34% of total users) in just under the week around the date of 25. The cause for this is unknown, but I've read somewhere being attacked by bot nets or being mentioned by someone prominent can lead to peaks in Analytics. I find the prospect that someone made a comment about my website on some social network to be wicked. 

I could not be happier with the Vault of Ideas! Working here has been so much fun I actually have to stop myself to go get some work done. 


The way to go now, in my opinion, is get more content going so that readers can follow. Illustrating is fun but it doesn't really add that much more anymore to the pages. I'll slow that down a bit. 

There are some paper notes with meaningful Research in my stacks. Not much, truthfully. During this 30-ish years there was very little time for Research, much less than I'd have desired to. Researching also tends to take a very long time to actually produce noticeable results. I need to review my pages here carefully to know what is the best thing to put first in the Vault. The thing is that, for sure, we will be starting something big, passing notes on a more developed project, something like that. And that is it for now, stay sharp, stay safe! Thanks for sticking with us!

After carefully examining the pages, I realized that my Research folder comprises of many small developments. That is the folder I'm willing to share. It should not come as a surprise to you that some Researches I'm going to keep to myself. I do this for a series of reasons, a certain fear of the future and the uncertainty that I'll need to play a card, vanity, oh vanity yes. Certain ideas are evil too, they happen just the same to a creative soul. One idea that was developed for a longer period of time was the idea about the Gravitic Motor. I almost got to build myself one, was very close to that. I don't know why on Earth I didn't see it to the end. Despite a certain design flaw it was a very original idea. 

I feel like confessing something personal. This has already turned into a blog anyway lol. I work on these ideas, they bring me a lot of joy and all that, but there are times when I'm embarrassed by them. I see people on Instagram all day, watching kitten videos or pursuing romantic relationships, and I can't help to notice how distant I am from people around me. How isolated in my parallel universe. I'm perfectly contempt but one in such a position can't help but wonder. It is in these times of doubt that I abandon ideas. I just give them up entirely, to try to "fit in".  

But back to business, I'll be focusing first on the Gravitic Motor. Let's try to give a thorough description of the work produced, the ideas and concepts, so that anyone can pick up this project and carry it on. Whenever I'm about to start something big, I think back on Age of Empires (the game) when you are are just about to start a Wonder. That sound effect then plays in my head, lol.  

Now there is another challenge. I need to find a way to write mathematical equations in Google Sites. I sense this platform isn't really tailored for this. There has got to be a better way than inserting images all the time. Well, it didn't turn out in the first 15min of Google.

Yep, this is going to be a problem in the long run. After trying a few solutions, I coudn't really get a way of getting equations well here. The issue is that even if you place them as images, Google Sites has a weird way of resizing/cropping images that makes them all look in different sizes. Oh, if only there was a LATEX plug-and-play thing to do this. I almost decided against using Google Sites when I found out it had limited ability to run scripts and codes. But I admit, no place would have gotten me results this fast. If I went to code the website from scratch, I'd be looking at a two year minimum with my skills. 

The best solution - the only solution - I found was do mathematical passages by hand and place them in an image carrousel. I still needs to leave some space on the left and right so that the buttons don't hide the text. Oh, and each image must be precisely the same size in order for it to work. I've created a sort of template for handwritten developments. 

It has been a great working day. Now I have the company of the partial full Moon on my window. She shows up late at nights. Just a bit of mist to blur her beautiful sight.

[13/08/2022 08:16AM GMT-3]

I finished exploring the paper notes. All that is left to do is register a variant of the Gravitic Motor that uses magnetism. OK. Now I have computer files to check too, I don't really remember how much of the work is in the PC. 

About three or four years ago, something very important happened in my career as an amateur science, lol. I stopped taking notes on paper and started focusing on leaving digital files. I call this the "Computer Revolution". I still do a lot of work on paper, but I really started to think about when is it better to work on the computer and when paper is more suitable for a work. Before that I didn't really thought about, I just did the work, very poorly. Quick maths, mathematical developments that don't rely extensively on number crunching, all that is best on paper. Mock-ups and early schematics too. But long math sessions, any sort of simulation, logs, documentations, tabular data and spreadsheets, that is where the PC really stands out. 

As a result of this, I've amassed 216,1 GB of Research files to date, that includes a 120GB encrypted secure vault that is filled to around 44GB. This vault holds the most sensitive work, and I'd recommend everyone to take measures to secure their work. Just in case you strike a gold vein at some point during your career. The decision to make an idea public should always belong to the Researcher, you cannot risk it. Once it is out there, there is no putting the genie back in the proverbial bottle. I don't really claim I have adequate means to protect my work, I'm afraid. It is an on-going process of awareness. There is a fine line between being concerned and rampant paranoid and I have lost much time in the past by getting into the paranoid side of things.

Note that just because it is almost a quarter of a terabyte does not mean all the Research is stellar. I do my best and enjoy the process of maintaining files, I guess more than most people. Size is indeed a poor metric. Sometimes spreadsheets had tricks that cost me months to come up with, while Solidworks CAD models took up bytes and bytes to render very little. I keep Research files on portable drives, and only hook them up on occasion, to transfer a Research batch. I feel that this limites exposure.

The Prime Numbers. Aren't they odd?

Sorry I just placed this image because it was starting to become too much written text.

I'm very skeptic about cloud storage, but this is rooted in my own ignorances I'm afraid. I use it just for everyday stuff but not for Research. I don't really get how all that works, your data is on a server somewhere on the globe you don't even know precisely where, surrounded by people you know nothing about. It all sounds so strange. On the other hand I've never known a burglar to go for a databank, unless he knew exactly what to look for. 

I duplicate these Research files in another physical drive, as a redundancy. This is important too. I sleep a lot better doing so. Knowing that all it takes is a creepy virus to erradicate decades of work should get you shivers down the spine. It is a mess to sync the files since I do everything manually but it has to be done. It is good practice to scan for viruses before syncing files, I suppose. Tools like TreeSize File and TeraCopy were really game-changers for me. 

I had a great idea one day, but too difficult to put into practice. I guess this is commonplace for Research facilities, but it would be sort of an intranet to separate the computers that go online for web searching from the ones that store Research files. Careful layers of security would inspect the data flows so that no Research file storage medium got tainted with viruses and malware, and appropriate access were issued. Really sort of Death Star stuff. It would take me about 50 years just to learn the necessary stuff to do it. Lol.

I've made a decision. I was documenting an Experiment, and although it was about one of my ideas, it was really kids stuff. So I thought, why not make it just a little bit more interesting and try to engage this audience into the Vault? After all, we are all kids here. I'm all pro kids learning how to Science. It will take just a bit of tweaking. I thought about making a kids banner, something that will tell parents in a glance if the stuff is meant also for kids. Also, I'll need to be extra careful about safety and disclaimers. 

I've finished the Gravitic Motor's first Experiment, tailored for Kids too! I'm thinking about renumbering the Experiments sequentially, rather than by idea. It makes more sense for someone browsing the page. 

Neat! I actually developed spreadsheets of prototypes for the Gravitic Motor, in prepation for constructing it. I'll format one of them, leave it a bit better for someone else to understand the work, and publish it in the Vault. A side note, place comments on your spreadsheets, trust me. It is a nightmare to remember what you did in a sheet after an year or so, specially if you skipped steps in a calculation. You shoud be able to tell easily what you intended with that spreadsheet, at least, what it was meant to calculate. I still struggle with this.

I've added that prototype, the Phoenix Prototype, on Idea #147. It was very enjoyable to review those files, I had great fun back then. Even though the files were not so complete, I'm proud of the work. 

Whenever I work on a project, I try to envision its weak spots. Every idea has certain vulnerabilities, things that can go wrong. Sometimes these are imagined, sometimes they are very real. A critical vulnerability is what ruins an idea and is the reason why so many attempts at innovation fail. One cannot possibly predict everything, far from it. But it is a fact that the more you try to examine every angle of the idea, the more likely you are to spot a flaw. Getting a second opinion along the process is really helpful too. Sometimes our minds just don't see a flaw that is right in front of us, a bias of vision. 

The most important thing in this world is for an independent Researcher to be honest to himself. If you think a flaw is big, admit it. Work on it, try to find ways around. Never bury the head in the sand. Finally, when all else fail, accept that you will need to let an idea go. But just not too soon that you don't make many stubborn attempts first 😁

Every project of mine has a "Problems" folder where I address these issues. The Gravitic Motor is no different, although I've only made a list of possible problems, didn't actually investigate into them. I'd certainly do it before moving to build any prototype. I'll log these problems too on our pages. Well, we completed the Gravitic Motor idea. There are no more important files to cover. 

I need to do the dreaded translation into Portuguese. It is dull, tedious job, and it does not feel like advancing. The reason why I force myself to translate the Vault is because I really feel as if my Research should benefit my country, before others. If only to bridge the enormous gap I perceive. 

In all honesty, I can't help but feel that Brazil is centuries behind what is done in the Science halls around the World. Truth, there are isolated instances where our work can match international Research, but overall we fall really behind things. Little things hint me that, the way I Google everything in English, for example, simply because there is no quality material in Portuguese, about any subject. Issues that involve a certain inertia in Brazilian educational politics, too. 

I can't help but fell, in bitterness, that there is intent in the gap perceived between nations. An international effort to keep the underdeveloped World well, underdeveloped. It is not because Brazilians are lazy, or because they can't educate themselves. It is simply because the developed countries don't want to lose their grip in Research. Or their edge, really.  He who researches faster, keeps the leading edge in patents, produce goods faster, and hence academic pioneering becomes economical pioneering. It fills the pockets of the multinationals and the general population is left fighting for the scrapes. And this just feeds a system that leaves billions of people around the world without the means to pursue their dreams. Ever. The human existence, reduced to servitude. It is all really sad. I term this "the strategical withhold of nations". It is pretty ancient stuff, been common practice in Geopolitics since the Egyptian empires.

That is why I'm strongly opposed to nationalism. Any form of it, it is just plain wrong to me. It didn't serve us in the past, and it doesn't serve us now. While we concern ourselves with the notion of us versus them, real life-threatening issues such as global warming mount on the World, and I worry if we will come to Unity before passing the tipping point. When will we get into our thick skulls that there are nothing but superficial differences that set apart one human being from another?

Well, that turned into a speech didn't it? But I stand by my words. I'd better get back to my translating. 

[14/08/2022 13:16 GMT-3]

A long and restful nap, in my parents bed. I feel like a new person, ready to charge on these digital notes. 

I have a black and white kitten we rescued from the streets a few years back, he loves company to nap too. As soon as he realized I was there he joined me. These creatures, they make life worth living. His name is Valente, that in Portuguese means "brave". When we found him out in our doorstep, he had been run over by a motorcycle or car, and had broken the hips. After a surgery and some time that he was very suspicious of us, he now runs all around the house, all day long, getting himself in adventures and mischief. I can't imagine today my life without his furry fellow. 

Valente the cat caught on camera.

That translation is complete. My hands are a bit sore now from all the typing. If I really had a lot of money, I'd hire someone to type things by my side. Repetitive strain injure is no fun business. 

The day coudn't be better here in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. The sky is perfectly blue, not a cloud in sight, and the weather is warm. A brilliant Sun warms the roofs and tree tops I see from the window in front of my desk. We've been getting good weather days lately. it is much better to the mind to work on such a day, you can work indoors or spend time outdoors and it is all great. I have issues when I'm forced to be indoors because it is raining, for example. I feel as if everyone should work with a window in front of them, to sort of balance the fact that we must remain indoors and sitting on chairs. 

One of my oldest fantasies is to build a house that has a sort of glass room on top of it where you can see the city in all four directions, with a desk to work. Just some drapes when you want some privacy. The roof would be glass too, so you could stargaze at night, maybe even sleep under a rain feeling almost in the wild. We were robbed of sleeping outdoors daily in this modern existence.  

I have a pretty comfortable work setup in my bedroom. Nothing is really expensive or anything, except perhaps my laptop that back in the days it was brand new was a beast. I use two monitors, a second-hand one my father got me (one of the best presents he ever gave me), a regular office chair (not a PewDiePie one, lol). I alternate using a mouse and a tracking ball to help with my hand injuries. The table is big so there is room for a stack of empty papers. I'm crazy about not having too many things over the table, as it stresses me out. Rather spartan here. A lamp is carefully placed so I can take the photos I use to illustrate this website, and for late nights.

There is always music in my room. I hear music during work all day long, and I place on top of music ambient sounds too. Sometimes a turbulent sea storm, on cold days a fireplace, bubbling sounds. Bubbling makes me feel I'm in a Chemistry Lab, really gets me into Science mode. Behind me every corner is crammed with boxes from older projects. I don't live in a roomy house so it is a struggle. I have a few physical books and textbooks but stopped buying them because I ran out of space. I got forced to read digital files only. It is awful to read literary works that way, humans were meant to feel the texture of paper. 

At some point I'll make a page with my actual PC configuration, I guess. It is important for someone to reproduce the work to know my computing power. It is not anything extraordinary, any run-of-the-mill computer would do what I do here.

Hum, I feel like doing some minor projects now. Maybe give more options to our readers in case they were not interested in the Gravitic Motor. Let's see.

I'm still recovering from COVID-19. Got a nasty cough, worse at nights. I'll have to see a lung doctor in the future. It is mental, I never imagined I would live to see a global pandemic. Until then, it was only something left for the History books. Very sad for the people who lost relatives and loved ones, my thoughts are with you. I'm terrified to get my older parents sick too, but isolating in a small house is difficult. I've had my mother pretty much set up a contactless delivery system for food to my bedroom. I think the worse has passed, in theory I've done the time the doctor prescribed for me to isolate myself. I'm just keeping to myself a while longer, just in case. 

I don't know if is a news media thing, but all of the sudden it seems that new diseases appear every day now. Maybe our experience with COVID-19 has left us collectively to be ultra-sensitive of news about diseases. I'm talking about monkeypox and others. We don't adequately have the means to know if these new diseases actually present risk to became something as serious as COVID was, at least I'm not that well informed on the subject.

Yep. I've got some feedback from my folks and it seems people can't read the text on my photo scans. I'll have to abandon any cursive handwriting. It is a shame, I really like how things look with that writing style. But there is not other way around. Someday, I'll redo the pages on the Gravitic Motor too, just gathering the courage to do so.

Woha, we've got another page, Gold from Seawater. This is a study I don't remember very well when I did it, it was sort of that calculation you just sit in a Sunday afternoon and do it. Just to enjoy the process of crunching numbers. If I didn't like to do math, I would not be an (almost) Engineer. It turns out that I learned a lot in these sessions where I calculated random things just for the sake of things.

Yesterday I saw part of a documentary on Da Vinci. Even though I admire the man a lot, I know very little about his personal history. And yes watching Da Vinci Demon's doesn't tell you much about his presumed history. I had no idea he had only 20 or so paintings. I always assumed it was a lot more. How is it that someone gets to be one the top painters in the History of Man with just 20 surviving paintings? It is extraordinary. I could spend a great deal of time reading his biographies and it would not be lost time. The man is legendary. Imagine if you gave someone like Da Vinci, Newton and Euler a computer and modern high-speed internet?

BANNER IMAGE CREDITS: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)  The image has been cropped.

Want to know more about this image? Follow this external link.