as-seen-on

Jack Wyndham invented the Goggle Chrome Appliance and founded the Milton Beekeeping Society. He talks with zef[a]media.


You invented the Goggle Chrome Type Appliance?

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Jack Wyndham – inventor and beekeeper from atop his Milton cottage. Photo by Brooklyn Hilary.

I came up with the idea of a quick-search sheet for cataloguing honey varieties (and bees) down copper telephone lines in 1957 when I was 39, and patented it in 1971. I had developed a working prototype in 1959. We had orders worth £199 from some Dunedin librarians for our modified Imperial typewriter when we lost control of the patent. There was a raid attempt by the Muldoon government in 1975 and we couldn’t raise enough money to pay the patent fees in time. So the patent was voided.


Do you have the virtual-appliance replica of your invention, the Google Chrome browser?

No. I like Google Chrome, but it feels a bit unfair to have to download one. I could show you my prototype from 1959 and there is the search cataloguing template – same layout, underlines. It feels like mine.


What gadgets and technology do you use?

I’m a bit of a bee nut. I am always fiddling with bits of wax and wire. I use a carrier pigeon as my phone so my mail is permanently in transit. I was the only one able to send messages during the floods last year. I spend a lot of time watching bumble bees. I find it hard to imagine a world without bees.


1971_bct_wyndham_googletypeDoes the Milton Beekeeping Society (MBS) rely on your Goggle Chrome Type Appliance?

Not very much. It’s a bit outdated to tell the truth so they all use unlocked first generation iPhones. We have four members and nine affiliated clubs around the country who can freely access the Goggle but they prefer Yahoo and Twitter. Beekeepers have always worked in isolation and we’re used to being stung by big business. MBS is bringing everyone together and it is starting to make a difference.


What is your latest invention?

Beedriod (Bee for “Beeline” and driod from “Android”) is an open-source system for making a beeline to relevant search results from anywhere. The problem with Google (the search engine) is that you always get results, but how do you know it’s the right result? I liken it to a stack of needles inside a haystack. All they’re giving you is the most magnetic needle. But what about the sharpest needle in the needle stack? I think this will eventually be bigger than the Goggle Chrome Appliance and perhaps even Google itself.


Anything else up your sleeve?

In the past 11 days, I have come up with the antidote to mash-ups. I call it the monster-mash and it’s the ultimate mash-up to end all mash-ups. Only one person knows the technical details and the plans were in transit but the pigeon went missing somewhere in the vicinity of Mountain View.

The Milton Beekeeping Society, which Wyndham founded, will be selling raw propolis this Saturday morning at the Otago Farmers Market. See www.otagofarmersmarket.org.nz or ask for Toki.

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