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Lego Calendar (lego-calendar.com)
204 points by greenburger on Aug 22, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments

For a while LEGO had 'modulex' and 'plancopy', at least one segment of which was targeted at lego based planning boards.


Custom pieces could probably also be 3D printed.

From what I've heard, the tolerances on Lego pieces are very tight. Most commercially available 3D printers can't yet reach those tolerances, so the pieces don't fit together very well. Although I guess having a perfect fit might not matter as much for a project like this vs. a 2 foot wide model of the Death Star!

You will soon get a cease and desist letter from Lawyers of Lego for using their trademark. I am telling from my experience.

They seem to be doing fine. The oldest discussion was 11 months ago.


The difference is that was just a project to show off, but now they have a domain and what seems to be plans to market this.

I think they are just going to offer it as open source software be a use you can get the Lego yourself. The software scans the picture and translates that to calendar input.

the last line on the post says it is an experiment and not a product.

Unfortunately, open source vs. commercial has nothing to do with whether something is a trademark infringement. The countless open-source fanworks taken down by brand-owning companies are a testament to this. As long as lawyers believe that "if you don't defend your trademark with takedowns, you'll lose the ability to defend it in court," then benign derivatives will not be able to use IP without licensing it in the general case.

Can you tell us about your experience?

few years ago, I started a site which had "lego" in its name. Even though it was actually promoting Lego and not at all commercial ( no Ads no fees ). I got a cease and desist letter from Lego Group, and they demanded that I hand over the domain to them. I didn't want the trouble for a site which was not even making money for me, so I just transferred the domain to them.

FWIW, no need to be angry with them. The reason everyone with a trademark would react exactly the same way is because they have to, by law. If they don't, the court will argue that they haven't protected their trademark and they will loose it. Yes, this happens in real life.

Or, you know, they could say, "Hey that trademark belongs to us, but we like what you're doing, so here's a free license to use it."

The requirement to protect your trademark doesn't in any way impede your ability to license it to whomever you wish.


Well, you can't practice "naked licensing".

Thank you very much. Perhaps I was wrong. This requirement seems to present an ongoing responsibility/burden for the trademark holder, so it makes no sense for anyone to do it.


Does that mean places that explicitly allow "fan fiction" derivative works that use the trademark, are placing themselves at risk of losing ownership of that trademark?

If so, that's very disappointing, as it would seem to be suppressing the ability of authors/creators to be generous with their creations.

> Yes, this happens in real life.

Do you have any examples of companies losing their trademark because of things similar to gurvinder's case?

The first example that comes to my mind resulted from the Murphy Folding Bed Co. suing the Original Murphy Bed Co. because it wasn't the original. http://articles.latimes.com/1989-08-17/news/vw-929_1_murphy-...

Cisco nearly lost "Chromium" over the same thing.

"33. Google abandoned any trademark rights in Chromium software by failing to control the nature and quality of the open source software developed by others but at the same time permitting others to distribute the third party software under the Chromium mark".

The case was settled.

It is still a registered trademark, but "Kleenex" has been genericized:


I do not know if that is due to their not defending the trademark or what the precise legal status is, though.

Interesting; even though trademark holders need to enforce their rights, some are a little friendlier to deal with than others (www.ikeahackers.net is the site I have in mind)

[0] http://www.ikeahackers.net/2014/06/big-changes-coming-to-ike...

[1] http://www.ikeahackers.net/2014/06/inter-ikea-systems-bv-cal...

All the Lego blogs just use "brick" in their name instead.

Smallworks builds a "BrickCase" that is LEGO-compatible.

Love the idea, especially it's accessibility. This feels like it would be fast to manage physically, except for the take-photo-and-email component, which could be replaced by a webcam pointed at the board. Then there's also no technical friction fiddling on your phone.

FYI, This was posted 11 months ago too.


Looks pretty cool. Few questions.

1) Do you have to give your calendar login to a 3rd party? 2) What happens I add something to my calendar on my computer, is there some alert sent to someone that they need to add a lego to the board? 3) What I schedule something on the calendar online, but the lego doesn't get added to the board. When someone takes a picture and syncs it, what will happen to my appointment? Will it think it's gone and erase it? Notify of the descrepency, etc....

I'm envisioning in my head some arduino powered lego calendar that automatically puts the blocks in place as appointments are added/moved/deleted from the cloud.

Speculation: It appears they are using this for the overarching structure of projects. Rather than managing individual appointments it manages overall time, e.g. on this day BobbySue should be spending 50% of her time on project A and 50% on project B. Then you can make the calendar read only from the digital side.

That being said, I would still like to see a pick-n-place managed version of this that stays in sync with google calendar.

Although the image recognition software is cool, it's almost surely cheaper to just set up Mechanical Turk HITs, compared to however many programmer-hours were spent on the image recognition.

I'm not sure i agree, I can't imagine it taking more than a solid day of work prototyping this in OpenCV.

Well, I'm not an expert by an means but I think the plumbing would take far more time than the vision itself - hooking up to a calender api, etc. Maybe MT would run into the same issues. But HITs are super cheap, and a single programmer-day in many countries would still buy a ton of HITs at a few cents a pop.

Can the synchronizer differentiate between single block and double block heights?

Also, another cool level of granularity (if needed) could be using 1x2 or 1x1 lego blocks to add more information that's easily seen in the photo. Not only do you have different colors of 1x2 and 1x1 blocks, you can also place them in different positions (left/right vertically, top/bottom horizontally).

All in all, great idea. I'd like to set one of these up myself in the future.

I've been playing around with this same kind of idea.

In my case I was using a cheap Android phone as a camera. Color recognition of 1x1 size Legos start to become problematic from more than 2 meters away, even in good lighting conditions.

Couldn't it be solved by only taking a picture of the changed columns of the calendar instead of the entire three months?

I'm not familiar with how you're processing the picture, but it might be possible to identify the columns by utilizing the empty row at the top of each column. I count 7 positions/bits. You can use 2 bits to mark the month and the remaining 5 bits to mark the day of the month. Using this encoding, you could even add a fourth month without any problems.

Can anyone explain what hiding blocks in a drawer achieves? I can't work it out.

If you remove a blue block of "Blue project" from some day because for some reason you're doing something else, or are sick or whatever, then you need to place it somewhere else on the planning calendar, as the expected amount of work doesn't shrink.

Hiding it in a drawer means that a block of neccesary work has not been scheduled anywhere and will bite you back later (or you'll do it sometime of regular hours).

I could imagine that it keeps resorting to overtime out of sight and out of mind.

I posted this two months ago [0] glad to see it gained traction this time :)

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7914768

This is so 2012.

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