The underside of the tablet

What I want to see on all next-gen tablets: a backside panel covered with solar cells under a Gorilla Glass surface. Corning also has bendable Willow Glass for curved surfaces or for scooped edges, so I could see printed cells working too. It kills me that I can’t just lay my Android tablet face-down in the sun and have it trickle charge. It wouldn’t take more than a handful of milliwatts to keep the battery topped up.

Think about it: you can run a 3rd generation Apple TV unit, decoding Full HD video, with less than a watt of power. Most of the tablets and smart phones on the market can pull off the same trick.

With the whole solar industry getting killed by overproduction, why not move to soak up that capacity? If the price per watt is something like 90 cents, and the surface area required is about the size the size of a tablet-back, then in my mind there’s no sense in not engineering something useful like this into your products. Especially since all of these devices are struggling to differentiate themselves in the market anyway. Sustainable tech strikes me as a nice angle to play.

Update: Of course, on second thought, the bigger question is whether the upfront costs in energy and raw materials of producing additional solar panels to power/charge a tablet would be made up during the lifecycle of the average tablet. On that point, the answer is probably no, which indicates bigger problems in consumption anyway.

Symmetric Earbuds

If you’re going to build earbuds that are symmetric, please be bothered enough to mark the right-side bud with red somewhere, or make them slightly asymmetric and put a little raised bump in the plastic so I can tell without even looking which side is which. Having to inspect the labels on the underside of the earbuds every time I want to put them in properly is just stupid and a bad user experience.

Update: Shoot, I checked the broken earbuds I just replaced. Indeed, there is a small plastic bump on the right-side earbud, so you could figure out which side was which in the dark. And those earbuds were even asymmetric, so the bump wasn’t strictly necessary.

Const Syntax

The omission of const correctness in code is a big pet peeve of mine.

Quick, what’s the difference between:



Unfortunately, the former lets you modify the strings in the CONST_STRING_TABLE:

while the latter doesn’t (which is probably what you wanted), generating a compiler error instead. But I know I’ve seen the former plenty of times when reading through peoples’ code. That, along with the following, drive me up the wall whenever I run into them.