Time Flies: Levitating Nixie Clock

This is an absolutely amazing artifact whose physical existence is difficult to accept. I can barely wrap my head around the fact that this thing is pushing enough electrons through the air that it can not only hold itself up, but also light up a set of Nixie tubes. It's god damned sorcery, is what it is. This is some Tesla HAARP Weapon Planetary Weather Control shit going on here.

It took just about two years since I ordered it from Kickstarter for it to arrive, which is kind of a standard time frame for Kickstarter, but it was long enough that I had completely forgotten about it.

Some minor gripes:

  • I strongly question the design decision of using 5 Nixie tubes instead of 6. That middle one just alternates between plus and minus, so the numbers only change once a minute. If there were 6 tubes we could have had a permanent second display like the NixieChron does.

  • It is fantastically hard to get it to levitate the first time. It takes me about five minutes each time, and that means that every few seconds the floater slams hard into the base. And I don't mean "fall" I mean "powered descent at 4 gravities". This isn't going to end well.

  • It's supposed to stay floating in case of power failure. It does not. Boom.

  • It didn't come with a manual, not even a URL on a post-it note. Since there have been several kit-based iterations of this, it took me a while to find the operating instructions (which are here, by the way.) Apparently some previous version of this was configured by waving your hands around in the air above it. This version is not that version, but I found that manual first, so that led to quite some time of me wildly gesturing at this levitating glowing thing like some Harry Potter cosplaying lunatic.

  • And the way you configure it is... complete lunacy, even compared to the typical UI standards of "how to set the time on a clock or a Microwave", which was already complete lunacy. You're used to "press button A to advance, press button B to configure, hope you can guess what the beeps mean?" Ho ho ho, welcome to the next level: the control here is an invisible capacitive touch button, just one, and to toggle, say, setting 3, you gesture near the button until the audio tone changes frequency 3 times... and then you wait a little bit longer and flee quickly. Oops, you advanced to 4! Try again! It's koo-koo-pants.

Still. It is sorcery. Glorious sorcery.

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Just gonna leave this regexp here

How to handle emoji:

Where other methods are not available, you can use the following regex (for Unicode 11.0 emoji). For clarity, it escapes all characters that can be invisible or are non-spacing -- otherwise you see some odd constructions like ([♀♂])?+ that are really (\\x{200D}[♀♂]\\x{FE0F})?+.

([©®‼⁉™ℹ↔-↙↩-↪⌨⏏⏭-⏯⏱-⏲⏸-⏺Ⓜ▪-▫▶◀◻-◼☀-☄☎☑☘☠☢-☣☦☪☮-☯☸-☺♀♂♟-♠♣♥-♦♨♻♾⚒⚔-⚗⚙⚛-⚜⚠⚰-⚱⛈⛏⛑⛓⛩⛰-⛱⛴⛷-⛸✂✈-✉✏✒✔✖✝✡✳-✴❄❇❣-❤➡⤴-⤵⬅-⬇〰〽㊗㊙🅰-🅱🅾-🅿🈂🈷🌡🌤-🌬🌶🍽🎖-🎗🎙-🎛🎞-🎟🏍-🏎🏔-🏟🏵🏷🐿📽🕉-🕊🕯-🕰🕳🕶-🕹🖇🖊-🖍🖥🖨🖱-🖲🖼🗂-🗄🗑-🗓🗜-🗞🗡🗣🗨🗯🗳🗺🛋🛍-🛏🛠-🛥🛩🛰🛳]\\x{FE0F}|[☝✌-✍🕴🖐][\\x{FE0F}🏻-🏿]|[✊-✋🎅🏂🏇👂-👃👆-👐👦-👧👰👲👴-👶👸👼💃💅💪🕺🖕-🖖🙌🙏🛀🛌🤘-🤜🤞-🤟🤰-🤶🦵-🦶🧑-🧕]([🏻-🏿])?+|🇦[🇨-🇬🇮🇱-🇲🇴🇶-🇺🇼-🇽🇿]|🇧[🇦-🇧🇩-🇯🇱-🇴🇶-🇹🇻-🇼🇾-🇿]|🇨[🇦🇨-🇩🇫-🇮🇰-🇵🇷🇺-🇿]|🇩[🇪🇬🇯-🇰🇲🇴🇿]|🇪[🇦🇨🇪🇬-🇭🇷-🇺]|🇫[🇮-🇰🇲🇴🇷]|🇬[🇦-🇧🇩-🇮🇱-🇳🇵-🇺🇼🇾]|🇭[🇰🇲-🇳🇷🇹-🇺]|🇮[🇨-🇪🇱-🇴🇶-🇹]|🇯[🇪🇲🇴-🇵]|🇰[🇪🇬-🇮🇲-🇳🇵🇷🇼🇾-🇿]|🇱[🇦-🇨🇮🇰🇷-🇻🇾]|🇲[🇦🇨-🇭🇰-🇿]|🇳[🇦🇨🇪-🇬🇮🇱🇴-🇵🇷🇺🇿]|🇴🇲|🇵[🇦🇪-🇭🇰-🇳🇷-🇹🇼🇾]|🇶🇦|🇷[🇪🇴🇸🇺🇼]|🇸[🇦-🇪🇬-🇴🇷-🇹🇻🇽-🇿]|🇹[🇦🇨-🇩🇫-🇭🇯-🇴🇷🇹🇻-🇼🇿]|🇺[🇦🇬🇲-🇳🇸🇾-🇿]|🇻[🇦🇨🇪🇬🇮🇳🇺]|🇼[🇫🇸]|🇽🇰|🇾[🇪🇹]|🇿[🇦🇲🇼]|[\\#\\*0-9]\\x{FE0F}\\x{20E3}|🏳\\x{FE0F}(\\x{200D}🌈)?+|[👯🤼🧞-🧟](\\x{200D}[♀♂]\\x{FE0F})?+|[⛹🏋-🏌🕵][\\x{FE0F}🏻-🏿](\\x{200D}[♀♂]\\x{FE0F})?+|[🏃-🏄🏊👮👱👳👷💁-💂💆-💇🙅-🙇🙋🙍-🙎🚣🚴-🚶🤦🤷-🤹🤽-🤾🦸-🦹🧖-🧝]((\\x{200D}[♀♂]\\x{FE0F}|[🏻-🏿](\\x{200D}[♀♂]\\x{FE0F})?+))?+|👁\\x{FE0F}(\\x{200D}🗨\\x{FE0F})?+|🏴((\\x{200D}☠\\x{FE0F}|\\x{E0067}\\x{E0062}((\\x{E0065}\\x{E006E}\\x{E0067}\\x{E007F}|\\x{E0073}\\x{E0063}\\x{E0074}\\x{E007F}|\\x{E0077}\\x{E006C}\\x{E0073}\\x{E007F}))))?+|👨(([🏻-🏿](\\x{200D}(([⚕-⚖✈]\\x{FE0F}|[🌾🍳🎓🎤🎨🏫🏭💻-💼🔧🔬🚀🚒🦰-🦳])))?+|\\x{200D}(([⚕-⚖✈]\\x{FE0F}|👦(\\x{200D}👦)?+|👧(\\x{200D}[👦-👧])?+|[👨-👩]\\x{200D}((👦(\\x{200D}👦)?+|👧(\\x{200D}[👦-👧])?+))|❤\\x{FE0F}\\x{200D}((💋\\x{200D}👨|👨))|[🌾🍳🎓🎤🎨🏫🏭💻-💼🔧🔬🚀🚒🦰-🦳]))))?+|👩(([🏻-🏿](\\x{200D}(([⚕-⚖✈]\\x{FE0F}|[🌾🍳🎓🎤🎨🏫🏭💻-💼🔧🔬🚀🚒🦰-🦳])))?+|\\x{200D}(([⚕-⚖✈]\\x{FE0F}|👦(\\x{200D}👦)?+|👧(\\x{200D}[👦-👧])?+|👩\\x{200D}((👦(\\x{200D}👦)?+|👧(\\x{200D}[👦-👧])?+))|❤\\x{FE0F}\\x{200D}((💋\\x{200D}[👨-👩]|[👨-👩]))|[🌾🍳🎓🎤🎨🏫🏭💻-💼🔧🔬🚀🚒🦰-🦳]))))?+|[⌚-⌛⏩-⏬⏰⏳◽-◾☔-☕♈-♓♿⚓⚡⚪-⚫⚽-⚾⛄-⛅⛎⛔⛪⛲-⛳⛵⛺⛽✅✨❌❎❓-❕❗➕-➗➰➿⬛-⬜⭐⭕🀄🃏🆎🆑-🆚🈁🈚🈯🈲-🈶🈸-🈺🉐-🉑🌀-🌠🌭-🌵🌷-🍼🍾-🎄🎆-🎓🎠-🏁🏅-🏆🏈-🏉🏏-🏓🏠-🏰🏸-🐾👀👄-👅👑-👥👪-👭👹-👻👽-💀💄💈-💩💫-📼📿-🔽🕋-🕎🕐-🕧🖤🗻-🙄🙈-🙊🚀-🚢🚤-🚳🚷-🚿🛁-🛅🛐-🛒🛫-🛬🛴-🛹🤐-🤗🤝🤠-🤥🤧-🤯🤺🥀-🥅🥇-🥰🥳-🥶🥺🥼-🦢🦰-🦴🦷🧀-🧂🧐🧠-🧿])

Dooming us all to inhuman toil for the One whose Name cannot be expressed in the Basic Multilingual Plane:

Different programs may not identify emoji as being the same, which can clearly cause problems. For example, hashtags are commonly treated as identical even if they differ by case (#foo = #FOO = #Foo = #fOO). But hashtags #🎅🏿 and #🎅🏻 and #🎅 may be treated the same on some systems (≅ #santa, but language-neutral), but treated differently on others.

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