Author Archives DougJackson

Christmas Orders for 2017 Are Closed

December 08, 2017

Hi Everybody,

What a whirlwind year – Thank you all so much for your support during the year, it is very much appreciated.

I have had to close off Christmas orders now, as were getting close enough to Christmas that I won’t be able to ensure that you will get your clock in time.

You are still welcome to place orders, I just may not be able to get it to you before the big day.

Doug

Sticky

We’re Back!

January 20, 2017

Hi Everybody – After a fun break, we are back making clocks.  To celebrate, we are offering a 20% discount using a coupon on the checkout page for all products.

Also, this year, we will be trying something slightly different to allow us to create a better work/life balance.  Our plan is to pre-make a specific number of clocks in a given month, and let those be sold.  We will laser cut faces to demand, allowing color and font choice.  This means that delivery will be significantly faster, as you won’t have to wait for us to make your clock – it will be on the shelf, but also there will only be a finite number of clocks available until the next manufacturing day.

If anybody has any alternate ideas on how to achiev better balance, then feel free to email us at  doug@dougswordclocks.com

Have a beautiful weekend 🙂

Sticky

Christmas 2015 Orders are Closed

November 24, 2015

Hi Everybody,

This is an important post!

Unfortunately, the cutoff for Christmas orders was Mid November, and, as every clock is hand made, I need time to get them ready for Christmas. So, Christmas orders are now closed.

Any clocks ordered after today are likely to take slightly more than the normal 4-6 weeks to arrive (Late Jan, early Feb) as my family is dragging me away from the workshop for a short couple of week holiday- They say that they would like to see me just occasionally :-).

Thank you so much for your support over the last year, and I look forward to making more beautiful clocks next year 🙂

Doug

Sticky

Something BIG is on the way

November 12, 2015

WOW – I love meeting the wonderful people who I get to make clocks for.

Sometimes, they convince me to do something i wouldn’t normally do – Like making a clock that is 1400cm x 910cm….

One of my Canberra based clients has me designing and building a clock for his new home, in an alcove that he designed specially for it. tis image is a quick mock up – The parts are on the way, and the frame is coming together, so it is getting closer 🙂

Large custom wall clock

Large custom wall clock

Sticky

Price Increase

August 31, 2015

Hi Everybody,

Increasing prices is a sensitive issue – Everybody wants a bargain, and nobody wants to pay too much. This is completely normal. Pricing within a business has to be set to cover business costs, as well as make a modest return.

One of the luxuries of running a hobby business is that there is not much need to make a return to shareholders. The business is there so I can make beautiful products to send around the world, and any profit is returned to the business, so I can manufacture other things. There is however, one all important caveat, and that is that I not look to the household budget to prop the business up.

Due to a significant number of external factors I have had to raise the price of my clocks.

During the last 5 months, I have been reading many business books looking for ways of improving my business without altering pricing, and everything I have come to read has come to the same conclusion – I have priced my clocks like a techo – not as a businessman, and that is why I have had to make a substantial increase. I have avoided raising my prices for as long as possible, but each month, I have been watching the bank balance drop, and I could no longer delay this change to my business, without asking Megs for money – And that is unacceptable.

My clocks are still significantly less expensive than a Qlock2, which is still important to me.

I would like to thank you for your valued business and know that you will understand the necessity for this price increase, especially for hand made quality, as oppose to cheap Chinese imports.

Doug

Sticky

No Cheap Chinese Components Here

August 07, 2015

Hi Everybody,

Time for another blog post – today it is about quality components.

The quality of an item is completely dependent on the quality of its individual components. We live in a world where there is so much copying, and there are counterfeit components available everywhere, and with counterfeiting comes quality issues.

Take for example, the Real Time Clock (RTC) Integrated circuits that I use. My clock designs use a Dallas Semiconductor DS1302 chip to maintain the time. These components are awesome, I simply provide a quality crystal, and a backup super capacitor, and it keeps track of time to within 20 parts per million forever. No issues at all.

When I was developing the clock, I used eBay as a part supplier for quick samples of components – and I discovered that there was a person selling DS1302 chips for about $1 each, instead of the $7 that Dallas wanted to charge – Needless to say that in my nativity and youthful exuberance, I jumped and purchased 5. That was a complete mistake. It turned out that the components kept awful time The test clock lost seconds every hour. I swapped RTC chips to see if that helped, but it didn’t so I looked at the sofware thinking that I had missed something, rewriting routines carefully, all to no avail. Finally, I did a search of some online forums, and discovered that I had purchased fake components. The chips worked, but not well enough.

So – to save $31 I ended up costing myself time and frustration. But I learnt one of the most valuable lessons available. Don’t scrimp on quality because it bites you back later.

Now, all of my components come from primary source suppliers. The microprocessors are from Atmel, the RTC chips are from Dallas, the driver chips are from Texas Instruments, the super capacitors come from Cornell Dubilier and even the resistors come from KOA Speer. All sourced through reliable, guaranteed supply channels. In exchange for that, I have beautiful reliability figures and happy customers.

Happy customers who keep coming back to buy unique hand made birthday and Christmas presents.

🙂
KOASpeer

Sticky

An update on timekeeping and accuracy

August 04, 2015

Hi everybody!

One of the things I like to do is to validate the quality of my work occasionally. I recently did a long term timing accuracy test of one of my 30cm WordClocks.

The test started on 20 May 2015, and ran through to 2 August 2015 – a total of 75 days (6,480,000 seconds) – I set the clock to the correct time (against a GPS standard), and I measured the time change every couple of days. I am pleased to announce that in those 75 days, the clock maintained the correct time to within 96 seconds (one minute and 36 seconds). That is a wonderful effort from a simple quartz oscillator.

Hang on – Am I saying that not keeping time is a good thing – Isn’t that really a bad thing???

Actually, no – In the clock business accuracy is very important, but that has to be measured against some realistic goals. Time is relative (I have been waiting ages to say that!) There are some beautiful timepieces that maintain accuracy, such as;

  • Citizen Chronomaster with the A660 module which is specified at about 5 seconds p/y accuracy
  • ETA thermoline – 10 seconds per year
  • Seiko 8J/9F  – 10 seconds per year
  • Citizen E510 – 10 seconds per year

These are all beautiful timepieces that are worthy of mention – and they also cost significantly more than my clocks do.

Yes, there are clocks that have GPS receivers installed in them and that allows them to maintain time in the order of 10 seconds per 500 years, but these have to have external antennas and modules to allow the GPS signal to be received.

So… My clocks use a quartz crystal, which is specified at 20 parts per million in accuracy, so 96 seconds over 75 days works out to about 1.28 seconds per day, which I consider to be insignificant. It certainty is not noticeable when the display is updated every 5 minutes 🙂 We have to stay sane when it comes to super accurate timekeeping.

I also know in Europe and the USA, that there are low frequency time standard sources that can be used to automatically set clocks, such as;

  • RTZ in Irkutsk/Russia
  • MSF in Britain
  • WWVB in the USA
  • RBU in Moscow/Russia
  • HBG in Prangins/Switzerland
  • DCF77 in Mainflingen/Germany

Each of these services is able to be received by a $5 module that allows a clock to be automatically set – What an awesome idea!!! Here in Australia we used to have our own time standard station (VNG) located in Victoria, but sadly our sheep farming, coal mining, non technologically focused federal government decided to close that station down, removing the ability to cheaply synchronise clocks within Australia. So all we can use use is GPS technologies to synchronize clocks. – Oh well…

Now – I am not discounting GPS based clocks, I think they are neat. One of the things I would like to do is to look at the feasibility of adding a GPS receiver option to my 30 cm and above wall clocks. It will add a small optional cost to the clocks for the GPS receiver and antenna, but would be a very interesting thought.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Doug

Sticky

We’re Back!!!

January 19, 2015

Hi Everybody.

That was a whirlwind 2014 – Thank you to everybody who made the wonderful year that it was. Christmas was a great break, and my family stole me away to Brisbane for a week, so that was restful.

The year has started with enthusiasm, and I have decided to offer a Free Black DeskDeskclock to one lucky client who makes a purchase during January. That way, you can have a clock for at home and at the office.

We hope everybody had a safe and happy break, and look forward to wonderful things during 2015.

Doug

Sticky

Spam Campaign

December 14, 2014

Dirty Spammers.

Hi everybody. I have been receiving about 30 emails a minute from all over the world for the last couple of days. These have been ‘undeliverable’ emails from a spam campaign that is being sent from a series of Russian IP Addresses, where they have helpfully put my email (doug@dougswordclock.com) as the return address.

To make my position crystal clear, Dougs Word Clocks.com has never, and will never participate in a spam campaign. We make clocks – not fraudulent emails.

I have decided to put this on both my web site as well as Facebook, as there are a number of people who have decided to respond, who are unaware that somebody can put anybody’s return address on an email – Just like you can write anything on a postal mail.

In happier news, Today I have completed the Christmas orders – which is fortunate, as I am now waiting for more circuit boards for my 30cm clocks. WOW – Just WOW.

I think I shall retire with a beer now 🙂

Sticky