All the best people, all the way up to our Poser-in-Chief, are very impressed with young Ahmed's homemade alarm clock. The White House, Google and Twitter headed the roll of the trolled, inviting him to visit. MIT called (well, tweeted). But, despite the president asking for him to "bring his clock" to the White House, no one seems much interested in this evidence of the young man's genius, which must be rescued from the inherent bigotry of Texas school-teachers.
Well, here an electronics hobbyist has analyzed the clock that stopped time and, quelle surprise, it's less an impressive piece of work than it is, yes, a suspicious device:
I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this – there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who’s already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don’t want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we’re all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not – prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)
For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you’ve seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider’s web. You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed’s clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That’s because it probably was.
Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance – in fact they’ll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn’t be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There’s also silk screening on the board. An “M” logo, “C-94” (probably, a part number – C might even stand for “clock”), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn’t silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It’s pretty safe to say already we’re looking at ’70s tech, mass produced in a factory.
So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed’s clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed’s clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.Ahmed's clock may be junk, but the Narrate-o-Matic is working fine; bullshit goes in, narrative honey comes out. So yes Ahmed, do bring your clock when you report to the White House; it doesn't matter if it's any good, it needn't actually tell time even (the President knows what time it is, I assure you). But after you, it's the second most important prop for this presidential photo-op.