Gas station without pumps

2017 June 16

Futuristic Lights new Kickstarter: fidget spinners

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:17
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I just got the following announcement from Futuristic Lights about their newest product: a fidget spinner with three LED lights.  They are doing this one as a Kickstarter, because the market is a bit different from the glover market that they have been selling to so far, and they want to make sure they have a big enough market before incurring tooling costs.  They’re looking for $18,000 to do the tooling and manufacturing run for injection molding the spinners.  As they say on the Kickstarter site, they’ve released electronics products before (3 different microlights: the Kinetic, the Aether, and the Atom), and done a previous injection-molded product (soft cases for the Atom, not available separately), but this is the most complicated mechanical design they have done, and there is a possibility that they will have to get the tooling done twice, which would delay delivery  (but the $18,000 target allows for that possibility).

The $25/spinner price is higher than for spinners that don’t light up (which seem to run around $6–$15), but is fairly low compared to gloving lights (there are three microlights per spinner, comparable to $7 microlights like their competitor’s Chroma lights, so one could view this as only $4 for the spinner, though they don’t plan to sell the spinner without the lights).


The Galaxy LED Spinner!

We are excited to announce the Galaxy LED Fidget Spinner! The Galaxy is the highest quality LED spinner in the world.

Here’s some feature bullet points in no particular order:

  • Three minute plus spin time
  • 3 High-quality micro-lights
  • New Design
  • 14 Different Flashing Patterns
  • 4x Beautiful Color Sets for each Flashing Pattern
  • Demo mode that switches the pattern every 12 seconds
  • Battery lock so you don’t worry about it turning on in your pocket
  • The light is equally visible from both sides
  • High quality hybrid ceramic bearings
  • Easy battery replacement
  • 15 hours of battery life
  • Ability to flip lights in opposite directions for different light trail effects
  • Held together by strong neodymium magnets for easy and repeatable assembly
  • And more…

Learn more on our Kickstarter!

Go To Kickstarter!

Update 2017 July 16:  The Kickstarter campaign did not make its goal, getting only $3,146 pledged of  the $18,000 goal.  I think that they missed the market by about 6 months—a long time for fad products.  Because they did not get sufficient interest, they will not be making and selling the Galaxy fidget spinners, but will move on to other products where they expect a steadier market.

2017 June 15

Petition to ask NIH to limit funds per person

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:35
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I just signed a petition,, that asks that NIH continue with their plan to cap each principal investigator at about three grants.  (Full details at the petition site.)

The idea is that by limiting over-funding for some of the biggest grantees, a lot of money would be opened up for good research that is currently going unfunded—the estimate is that the cap “would affect only 3% of all investigators, and the funds freed up could fund 900 new grants for PIs who did not have other grant funding.”  That sounds to me like a very good idea.  I gave up on writing grants a few years ago, when it became clear that the game had become a stacked lottery, and the expected value of the grant proposal was less than the cost of preparing the proposal (at least for slow writers like me—my salary for the time it took me to write a grant proposal was less than the expected value of the grant, given the very low probability of success).

I’ve blogged before on my dissatisfaction with what has happened to US research funding (see Fellowships, not research grantsSabbatical plans 2, and Sabbatical leave report), but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to add my voice to others in pressing for a change.

I urge others to read the petition, and decide whether you agree with it enough to sign it.

Venmo and Paypal don’t mix

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:10
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I read stuff on Paypal’s web pages that implied that having a Paypal account was enough to be able to accept Venmo payments (perhaps this page?). It turns out that is not true—I misunderstood their claims.

I allowed one of my students to pay for his t-shirt by Venmo, but when I tried to accept the payment (after he had left with the shirt), Venmo set up a new account for me, but insisted on having a phone number. It then wanted to verify the account by texting to that phone number, but I don’t have a phone with text message capability (I use a landline only, no cellphone). Unfortunately, there was no way to undo the partial acceptance of the transaction—I could not login to my Venmo account without the code that they text-messaged to my landline.

I contacted the Venmo support by email, and they were not very helpful. All they could offer was giving the money back to the student and cancelling my account. And they told me that there is no way to transfer money from my Venmo account to my Paypal account anyway.

Sorry, but the “easy-to-use” Venmo system turns out to be unusable by me, and I won’t touch it again. In future, I’ll accept cash, check, or Paypal for transactions, but never Venmo.

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