Build Lamp Observations

One of my most recent projects was to build a lava lamp build status indicator (check out: this page for more details on the project...). After doing some initial testing in my own lab, I decided to bring it into office.   The reactions I got were quite interesting.  

I work with a bunch of developers, engineers, and generally techy people.  So, the initial reaction was that of 'how did you do that?!?", "how does it work?", or my favourite "Awesome."  and I enjoyed explaining the workings of the project to everyone who asked.

The one thing that happened that I wasn't expecting was that after people knew how it works, they started throwing out their own suggestions. My co-workers would throw out how to improve it, or different ways to build it like using sirens or flashing lights, or even holographic images circling around the ceiling.  I find ideas, no matter how crazy and far out there, to be really exciting, and I really liked to see the people I work with get excited by sharing and throwing out their own ideas.  

Another thing I found is that people are finding the project is somewhat useful. What is interesting about the lamps is that it takes the irregular notification by email and replaces, or actually really supplements it, with a persistent, ambient, up to date status of the state of our build. I find it interesting and a little funny when someone will walk by my cube and notice the state of the build, and let out an "Uh oh, who broke the build" or "Oops, I hope it wasn't me..", or just walk my on their way to get a coffee and take a quick glance and which lamp is on...