While searching for some code examples I ran across this inventive hardware expansion. Michel created a ZX81 Nixie Clock and has been kind enough to share his creation with the world through Facebook.
Okay, silly me had no idea what a Nixie was. I headed off to Wikipedia and quickly recognized the vacuüm tube that can display multiple digits. I remember seeing these interesting displays in old movies and pictures. Apparently these vintage tubes are re-surging in popularity, often used by hobbyist to create unique clocks. Here we have not only an interesting application of these Nixie tubes, but Michel has added my favorite computer to run the clock. He has provided schematics and links to the software if you are so inclined to build one yourself.
As a side note, I was both surprised and intrigued by the use of Facebook to document and promote a hardware project. I shouldn’t be. Facebook is becoming ubiquitous for not just sharing, but promoting things with Facebook pages. In a way, Facebook has become the next GeoCities, providing an easy way to create a website or blog. My surprise was predicated by this being the first time I’d run across a Facebook page when searching for content. I seriously doubt it will be my last.