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This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

approximate notifier puck


This project requires building some simple hardware. It might require a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection or WiFi (Wireless Fidelity). It looks like a hockey puck. It has some bright red and green LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) on it. It can flash these LEDs to get your attention. It can also play various sounds to get your attention.


How would you use it? Let’s say you had a long-running computer program. You want to leave your computer, but be notified when the program either completes (flashing green) or fails (flashing red). If you are doing a backup to DVD (Digital Video Disc), you want to be notified when the disk is burned or when the burn fails. You might monitor a network of computers with Montastic. The notifier might flash red if any of them have failed. Let’s say you use one of your computers as a server, as long all is running fine, you want the notifier to do nothing. If the OS (Operating System) freezes, reboots, or turns itself off, you want to be notified. This means the notifier needs is own small power source and local intelligence so it could work even when the computer it was attached to was powered off.

It could also function as an electronic alarm clock. The problem with existing ones is the screen is often blank so you can’t see the alarm and the alarm plays only into headphones, which you may not have on. It would periodically bleat at you until you disabled it.

It needs a way to rapidly engage and disable it just by touching the puck. The puck should respond by changing a clear indicator on the puck.

If the notifier worked with USB, it would have to sit on your desk. If it worked with WiFi, you could carry it around your home with you.


You might fund the project with Kickstarter or similar. When you are done, you might mass produce these.


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