orbiTouch® Keyless Keyboard

OK, so I know what you’re thinking, “How can you have a keyboard that has no keys?”  Well, let me take some time to introduce and explain this puzzling scenario.  Enter orbiTouch®, an innovative device which has the ability to perform all of the functions of a standard QWERTY keyboard by utilizing just two domes on a platform with the basic shape of a regular keyboard.

orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard and Mouse

Those of you who know me will know that this is a product being manufactured and sold by the company I have been working with for the past year, Blue Orb, Inc.  So, before I go into describing how orbiTouch® works, let me delve into its history a bit.

The idea for orbiTouch® was spawned when our founder and CEO, Dr. Peter McAlindon, Ph.D., started to develop pains in his wrists as a result of typing–an activity which has become imperative to functioning within this technologically-based society–and decided there had to be a better, more comfortable, way to type.  Well, Dr. McAlindon turned over two cereal bowls and the idea was born.  Because the inspiration for orbiTouch® was derived from cereal bowls, it was initially named Keybowl and then the real fun of putting ideas into action began.

As any product is prone to do, orbiTouch® has gone through many iterations; various actuating forces and distances were tested for optimal comfort, and the combination with the highest level of comfort is what is used today.  The technology used by orbiTouch® has been integrated to allow for an alternative text entry system in both console and PC gaming worlds.  On the console side was a hardware intermediary between controller and console named Texter, which allowed the user to type using the joysticks of a controller in a way very similar to orbiTouch®.

The company quickly noticed that many Texter units were being sold to PC gamers for use with World of Warcraft.  Because of the movement away from wired technology, and the booming PC gaming environment, Blue Orb decided to create a software version of Texter called SwitchBlade, which allowed PC games to be played using console controllers.  SwitchBlade gave way to SwitchBlade PRO, which still allows PC gamers to play their favorite PC games with their favorite console controllers (e.g. Xbox 360, PS3), but for a nominal subscription cost.

In addition to providing orbiTouch® technology through various additional avenues, the number of people who were thought to be able to benefit from the use of orbiTouch® has grown dramatically.  Initially, it was assumed the primary benefactors of orbiTouch® technology would be people with limited use of their hands and fingers.  People with carpal tunnel syndrome, cerebral palsy, arthritis, etc. were the types of people we thought would have the most to gain from using our product–allowing them to more easily access the most efficient source of communication ever created (i.e. the computer).

Recently, however, research has shown that people with Austism Spectrum Disorders take to using orbiTouch® much more readily than they would a QWERTY keyboard (click the image below to see a full-sized version of the research results).

The average child with autism is not only capable of reaching a higher typing speed with orbiTouch® than a QWERTY keyboard, but they get to those speeds in about 15% of the time!  We are excited about the potential we have to help these very intelligent people gain better access to extremely important modern day communication devices like the PC or Macintosh.

Ok, now, how does that darn thing work?

orbiTouch® has two modes, keyboard or mouse.  In keyboard mode a combination of sliding dome movements performs any of the functions you are able to do with a standard keyboard.

While two domes, each sliding eight directions, would normally only allow for 64 –combinations of functions, shift and alt provide the ability to accomplish 118 functions as shown by the slide guide below (click the image to see the full-sized version):


If you move the left dome down twice in a row you are now in mouse mode, using the right dome to control the location of the cursor and the left dome as your right and left clicks.

My intention here is not to act as a salesman, but I figure it would make sense to provide links for more information; so here is a link to the Blue Orb YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/blueorbdev

And the orbiTouch®:

http://www.orbitouch.com/

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The Law of the Garbage Truck

I tend to let the negative externalities (psychonomics?) produced by other people affect me in ways that are strong enough to impact the way I live my life.  Because of this, I’m always searching for new, interesting, GOOD things upon which I may focus my attention.  My sister sent me this essay by David J. Pollay (who I believe has a book with the title scheduled for publication in September), and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

The Law of the Garbage Truck™

by David J. Pollay
How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood?  Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day?  Unless you’re the Terminator, you’re probably set back on your heels.  However, the mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important in your life. Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson.  And I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.
I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station.  We were driving in the right lane when all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.  My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, the car skidded, the tires squealed, and at the very last moment our car stopped just one inch from the other car’s back-end.
I couldn’t believe it.  But then I couldn’t believe what happened next.  The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us.  How do I know?  Ask any New Yorker, some words in New York come with a special face.  And for emphasis, he threw in a one finger salute, as if his words were not enough.But then here’s what really blew me away.  My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy.  And I mean, he was friendly.  So, I said, “Why did you just do that!?  This guy could have killed us!”  And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of theGarbage Truck™.”  He said:
Many people are like garbage trucks.  They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.  As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it.  And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally.  Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.  Believe me.  You’ll be happier.
So I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me?  And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the street?  It was then that I said, “I don’t want their garbage and I’m not going to spread it anymore.”

I began to see Garbage Trucks.  Like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” the little boy said, “I see Dead People.”  Well now “I see GarbageTrucks.”  I see the load they’re carrying.  I see them coming to dump it.  And like my taxi driver, I don’t take it personally; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.
One of my favorite football players of all time is Walter Payton.  Every day on the football field, after being tackled, he would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground.  He never dwelled on a hit.  Payton was ready to make the next play his best.  Over the years the best players from around the world in every sport have played this way:  Nadia Comaneci, Muhammad Ali, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Michael Jordan, and Pele are just some of those players.  And the most inspiring leaders have lived this way:  Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.
See, Roy Baumeister, a psychology researcher from Florida State University, found in his extensive research that you remember bad things more often than good things in your life.  You store the bad memories more easily, and you recall them more frequently.So the odds are against you when a Garbage Truck comes your way.  But when you follow The Law of the Garbage Truck™, you take back control of your life.  You make room for the good by letting go of the bad.
The best leaders know that they have to be ready for their next meeting.  The best sales people know that they have to be ready for their next client.  And the best parents know that they have to be ready to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses, no matter how many garbage trucks they might have faced that day.  All of us know that we have to be fully present, and at our best for the people we care about.
The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their lives.What about you?  What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here’s my bet:  You’ll be happier.

You have a choice.

Make it today.

Have a Garbage Free Day!™

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Composting!

Well, I’m excited to be able to use this blog as a way of cataloging growth; mostly my own, but I’ll throw some posts in here and there about trends I notice or exciting recent announcements like this.

Composting is something that I have messed around with for a little over a year, but now it’s time to get serious.  I started out with a plastic green 18-gallon Sterilite tote box on sale from Walmart after Christmas of 2008.

I drilled holes in the bottom and around the top edge to allow for drainage and circulation; these are out of sight, the holes you see on the top were added for stacking purposes about 4 months ago.  From there I added some newspaper, dried leaves, water, and then began adding compostable materials; this was stuff ranging from the ubiquitous egg shells and coffee grounds to bad produce and random bits of cardboard.  However, I had always heard adding worms to your compost increased both the speed at which compostable materials converts to compost, but also their presence actually enhances the quality of the resulting compost.   So I bought a bunch of red wigglers (funny name, right?  Well they are actually called Eisenia fetida, but that’s not as fun.) and started on my quest for black gold.  After about a year, and a brief scare that I lost all my worms due to an anaerobic environment, I am left with about 14 gallons of some really great compost which you can see below:

I put some palm fronds in there, which I regret because it seems to be taking forever for them to decompose, and they’re a bit unwieldy when I turn the compost over.  Oh well, you live and you learn!

So the main reason I had such a small box was because I was living in a condominium, and just didn’t have much space.  I recently moved into a house, and I decided I needed a bigger compost bin.  This one was going to be big and sturdy, functional, and, best of all, I was going to get to use all my new tools  in order to build the thing.  The tools I got to use included the below pictured circular saw I purchased for $10, thanks Craigslist!

After drawing up a rough blueprint, and consulting someone much more knowledgeable than I about construction, I was off to Lowes!  A bunch of 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards, three 1″ x 4″ x 6′ boards, lots of screws, some U-shaped nails, a roll of galvanized hardware cloth, four gate hinges, and one latch later I had all the materials that would be needed to build my initial vision for this new box.

Here is a picture of the initial frame around which the remainder of the structure was built

Between driving back and forth between Lowe’s and my house a few times for material and time spent on actual construction, I would say I put in around 14 hours, between two days, to this project.  I am extremely happy with the way it has turned out, but as I was building the box I had some ideas for ways to improve it.  Here are the pictures which were taken after most of the construction:

Well, I messed up and didn’t have a concrete vision for the lid when I bought the materials, so I didn’t account for the difference that using 1″x4″ boards would leave me.  I needed the lid to be flush with the rest of the bin so I could attach the latch, so I used the roughly 8″ piece I had cut from the 1″x4″ board as a temporary solution:

There are still a lot of things I want to do with the bin.  I think it needs wheels because it’s entirely too heavy to move, which means I’ll have to put a floor on it so I don’t lose the compost.

Oh well, lots to do.  See you next time!

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I guess I should introduce myself, my blog…

Hi,

My name is Clayton Mayo.  I love learning about and trying new things.  I can be quirky, quiet, intelligent, boisterous, detail-oriented, friendly, obnoxious, emotional, caring, insightful, mean, apathetic, happy, sad, and many other commonly and uncommonly claimed contradicting characteristics people use to describe themselves.  I am a human being.  I am curious about that which I do not know, sometimes even more curious about that which I do know.

The purpose of this blog is to deal with one thing with many meanings: growth.  We should all strive for growth; without growth there can be only decay, or at best stagnation.  I want to say that growth is a requirement for survival, that without growth we must die.  But this is not true, people go through their lives every day completely content in not making any effort to improve their place in life.  Mere survival is the antithesis of growth, is it not?

I don’t want to be content with mere survival.  I want to grow.  So, here I will share the activities in my life which foster this growth, and maybe I can inspire others as I inspire myself.

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