RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling
2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed
formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit
design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at
the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps
while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got
Mail" when a new message arrived...
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and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.
What do you buy the
techie who has everything? How about a wristwatch that has a nixie tube display?
I apologize for not discovering this little gem of Nerdom a couple months earlier
to be in time for Christmas, but nearly everyone has a birthday, anniversary, graduation,
or other special occasion between now and next Christmas* for which the
Old Nixie Watch
can be presented. From the Cathode Corner website: "The Old Cathode Corner Nixie
Watch is the perfect way to show your retro-geek cred. It is a two-digit wristwatch
using Nixie tubes, a forty-year-old display technology that is delightfully easy
to read. The watch requires no button-pushing to operate. Just hold the watch at
your standard viewing angle, and the hours, then the minutes, will appear in perfectly-formed,
14mm tall, glowing orange digits. It is water resistant and rugged. The case is
machined from aircraft
aluminum and hard anodized
to handle years of abuse and still look great."
Be sure to look at the accompanying pages on their website for
development history, and supporting
technical documents (schematic, PIC code, user manual, etc.).
The price is about
what you would pay for a
4th Gen iPad. Apropos accessories to complete your Old Nixie
Watch motif would be a pocket protector with assortment of pencils (chewed) and
pens (leaky), a slide rule with belt-supported leather pouch, a small amount of
masking tape for the nose bridge of glasses, a white shirt with skinny monochrome
tie (preferably black or a color not found in nature), patent leather shoes (scuffed),
and a manicure that makes the fingernails appear chewed. I've got some photos of
myself from the mid 1970s if you need a visual aid ;-)
The video at the bottom shows Apple's
Steve Wozinak ("the Woz") showing off his Nixie Watch and saying how he likes
to watch the reaction of fellow airline passengers when he starts playing with the
watch. It could pass for a bomb detonator timer from a WWII movie.
* The exception is potentially someone whose birthday is December 25th.