The Writer Automaton

Truly amazing programmable technology from 240 years ago.


What is this?

Does anyone recognise what this is?


It’s a stylised setup for the first transistor, created by Bell Labs on the afternoon of 23 December 1947.

I admit to not recognising it myself, even though I’ve worked in the industry for 18 years and take it’s invention for granted.   Here is the current record I could find for a single chip – 7.1Bn transistors in a 678mm² form.

IBM z13 Storage Controller Transistor count 7,100,000,000 2015 IBM 22 nm Area 678 mm²

And for FPGAs, Virtex-Ultrascale XCVU440 20Bn+ transistors!

When it comes to RAM, this 128GB DRAM DIMM seems to take the overall record though.   128 Bn Transistors?

Using iControl to turn my lights on/off via my Apple Watch

I’ve used Wise Controls hardware and software ( for many years now to control my lights around my house.  I’m very sure the world has moved on from a technology view point and there are better solutions out there but it works for me.   This is a picture of a 5M long multi-colour LED strip in my kitchen all controlled wirelessly.  LED Lighting

I’ve been able to control my lights from my iPhone for a while using this interface.  It is ok, but can’t do many things and the tooling is not updated by the firm.

Wise Controls

So I could automatically schedule my lights and remotely trigger them I managed to reverse engineer the interface and it is very simple to trigger an already configured signal.

For example:
Turn on :
Turn off :

I started writing an Apple Watch interface to do the same but stumbled upon this great project instead that has a great iOS and WatchOS interface, and is easy configurable.

For a configuration standpoint it is very flexible and easy to insert the URLs as above. For example:

“pageLabel”: “General”,
“timeout”: 2,
“compactHeight”: false,
“controls”: [{
“button1”: “on”,
“button2”: “off”,
“cmd1Id”: “uniqueCmdId1M”,
“cmd2Id”: “uniqueCmdId2M”,
“headline1”: “Stair Lights”,
“sizeType”: “medium”

This is what it looks like in its simplest form on my watch.

Watch Interface