social bookmarking idea of the day – I’d Buy That!

Monday, November 5th, 2007

so lots of people do what i just did (and am doing now… MY META FRIES YOUR BRAIN!!) and say “hey it’d be cool if blah” and then nothing happens because making ideas happen is a skill that is much rarer than just making ideas up.

but the complexities of actual production and distribution aside, one of the things that keeps people from feeling compelled to invest much energy in their ideas is the fact that it’s hard to really gauge how ridiculous something is, and it’s hard to know how much things should cost.

i therefore present a fun web 2.0 challenge:
a website and associated blog-ready button a la rss, digg,, or technorati with interaction as follows:
P “the Rock” Rastinator is reading blogs at work and happens over kynthia’s sweet idea about a daylight schmavings time alarm clock. he clicks on the button below the post that says “I’d Buy That!” and a little box comes up that says:
Good Idea! I’d buy that for [dropdown menu – “actually, you’d have to pay me”, “less than $10”, “$10 – $25”, “$25 – $50”, “$50 – $100”, “lots!”].

maybe then there’s a follow up that says “Seriously?” and gives choices like – “i mean, maybe, if i already bought new outfits in secondlife that month”, “as long as i don’t get fired for reading your blog first, beeyotch”, “really truly”, and “if i’m lying you can have my firstborn child”.

it would also be fun to have sister services to handle responses like: “that already exists, dumbass” and “hey, that’s my idea!”
because those would undoubtedly crop up, and it would be sweet to start linking related ideas together because folks could join forces and/or throw themselves off of buildings because their life’s work has already been accomplished.

i’m not saying market research would be totally replaced, but it would give people some fun data to start with and i bet we’d see some really interesting stuff happening as a result.

and like all things intarwebbian, it would only get more interesting when other people made the next thing better.

apparently when i procrastinate when i know i should writing, i come up with ideas!
either i should stick with being a designer, or my entire graduate education has just been revealed as a huge diversionary plot by my subconscious…

i pick both!

idea of the day for the freelance market – daylight schmavings time

Monday, November 5th, 2007

a personalized alarm clock that asks the user to answer two questions:

  • 1. Sunrise should occur at: _______
  • 2. I want to wake up __________ (hours/minutes) after sunrise.

so for example, one might answer:

  • 1. Sunrise should occur at: 6:30 am
  • 2. I want to wake up 1.5 hours after sunrise.

and then the alarm would go off based on whenever sunrise was set to happen each day, but it would always tell you it was 8:00.

the sun would therefore set at different times throughout the year (silly sun), but you would always wake up at the same time lightwise, and probably automatically get more sleep in the winter, which you arguably need.

the clock would probably need another feature where it automatically translates for you between your time and “sucker” time. so you can go: “jim wants to meet for drinks at what he says is 7:00 pm. what time is that for sane people?”
it says: about 5:45. (today in portland, sunrise was 7:51, so the offset for my example would be -1:21. i think the clock should round a bit to avoid making people think of time as complex math, but there could be an anal adjustment setting.)
you go: ok, i guess i can be there by 6 or so. set an alarm for 5.
and then you call jim like “hey, i’ll be there, but i might be 15 or 20 minutes late, k? see you then.”

i think that would be hella fun.

yesterday tif and i were talking about how the bitch of DST is adjusting to a new schedule, but then this morning i was like “yeah, but at least it reminds me that time is totally arbitrary so i should just decide on my OWN when i think the day starts and be like ‘ok! it’s 9 now! go to work!’ ”

and that’s oneathose things that makes you go “hmmm….”

i also recently had an idea for an alarm clock that is just a timer.
like, you set it for 8 hours, and when you go to bed, you hit it to start the countdown.
this allows you to self-enforce “enough sleep”, and creates an incentive to go to bed on time if you want to get up on time that isn’t there otherwise.

so maybe i’m going into the alarm clock business. :)

note to self and all those who are so far able to interpret such babble: clocks are pockets for time.

why doesn’t this exist?

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

so i do a lot of thinking about sleep and the arising therefrom, and this morning after i got myself up and was sipping some tea i started on the track of “all i really need is to start my metabolism going, but the problem is that i’m so cozy and groggy that it is difficult to get myself to move my arms from underneath the blanket to ingest anything, even water that is sitting right beside my bed.”

this family of thought trains has brought us such ideas as: start breathing deeply as soon as i capture enough consciousness to remember to do so, because air, at least, can be consumed in any position, and is the foundation of the rest. this does a lot, but then i still need to keep stepping up the intake ladder, and so today i started musing on how it would be helpful if i could just have someone drop one of those gross jellified energy paks into my mouth, or maybe if i strapped a camelbak full of coffee to the ceiling and then just had to slide underneath the straw. thinking of silly ideas like that made me happy, but then i was like, wait… why don’t they make time-release caffeine pills that you take before bed and then kick in after 8 hours? that’s like setting the coffee machine to make the world smell good in the morning but without the step of actually having to go get the coffee. that would be brilliant!!

i asked google and found some interesting stuff. they DO make time-release caffeine pills but not in the don’t-release-anything-for-a-while style, rather in the release-this-slowly-so-i-can-code-all-night-without-buying-more-mountain-dew style, which is useful in it’s own right, but quite different.

i also learned that green tea acts as time-release caffeine because the tea is encased in tannins, which is part of why the high from green tea is mellower. that’s nice. i’ve been enjoying toasted green tea quite a bit lately. it’s good. i like to do this walkup to caffeine thing where i drink green tea early, black tea late, and coffee after lunch. but that’s not this post, i guess.

perhaps most enlightening, however, was the discovery that one can purchase time-release caffeinated tights. snake oil man sez they get rid of cellulite. methinks they get rid of pesky extra dollars.

someone else did already have my idea, but he just mentioned it in this mefi thread two years ago and everyone else ignored him.

their loss, yo. srsly.

my first thought was that it must be hard to make something time-release after multiple hours. but we make birth control that releases itself for months at a stretch. so what gives? i’m half sarcastic and half serious. do people feel more like addicts when they pop pills instead of drinking their drugs with cream and sugar? is getting up on our own a source of emotional victory such that getting help from a pill would make people depressed? does time-release feel too sci-fi for daily use? would it be possible but expensive? did i just not look far enough into my google results to find the winner? it seems like the idea crosses some sort of line, and i’m curious about what it is.

things i think about instead of working

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

how much would it rock if there were status message madlibs? like it could prompt you to enter what you’re doing with a certain syntax: “verb, adjective, noun, adverb” and you put in something predictable like “drinking, cinnamon, tea, slowly” and it spits out “While drinking through the cinnamon forest, Kynthia threw some tea out the window and nearly had her arm bitten off… slowly.

the words you put in could even be a different color or something, so the actual information remains, but the nonsense adds value.

and that right there shall be my new status message in the meantime.

onward now to other business.

a disadvantage of traveling is that it’s hard to have a garden

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

i had the idea the other day of several people pitching in and buying or renting property in a range of locations, and then sharing them all.
so everyone can broaden their sense of home without needing to afford/support (you pick your politics) a model wherein a person has more than one residence.
and someone is always there to water the plants.

who’s in?

the first test of the questions on coasters/personal discovery idea?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

at CHI next year:
is this design?
is this HCI?
is design…?

very short list, that.
those questions are too generic.
just getting the idea out.

partially a response to erik the elder talking about the lack of debate in the literature on hci and design

and partly an extension of my own desire to write about the different kinds of designers and where they overlap with hci. it seems a potentially good project to work on in a participatory way.

a challenge

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

so i had an idea a couple of weeks ago, and it goes like this:

what if i ask everyone that i know who has seen hotel rwanda to donate an amount equivalent to the cost of their ticket to humanitarian relief agencies working in darfur?

it’s kind of like those empty plate dinners that raise money for hunger… have you ever seen one of those? you pay for a dinner, but then you don’t actually go, so all the money goes to the cause without anyone having to spend anything on your spaghetti.

this is like buying a seat for a movie and then not going, so all the money goes to whatever the movie would have been about, and you don’t even have to turn off your cell phone!


we could squabble about whether such small amounts will really make a difference, who we should donate to in order to maximize our impact, whether green is really the new black…

but in the time it takes to have such squabbles, we could each earn the amount in question by flipping burgers at mcdonalds, so i’m going with… not worth it.

at worst, we send $9 in movie money to unicef, and they scratch their heads and go on with their day.

and at best?

let’s just say the potential is hard to ignore.

so let’s try it, shall we?

consider this an official request, from me to you, for you to spend the next 5 minutes of your life clicking on one of the links below and then donating the price of a movie ticket in your hometown.

i’ll do it myself right after i hit “Publish”, and i’ll write another post soon about where the idea came from, for those of you with interest in such things.

give a shout out in the comments if you play along, eh? (but if you’re considering making comparisons to any haley joel osment movies, comment that one forward instead, will ya? ;)

i do appreciate it.

challenge on.

should there be a way to keep track of tinyurls?

Monday, July 10th, 2006

i love, love, LOVE

if you don’t know what it is, you should go there, and if you use firefox, you should grab this extension so that it’s even easier to make use of its brilliance every day.

the basic idea, for the uninitiated, is that they take a really really long url like:

and associates it with a really tiny url like this:

and then when you put in the tiny one, it looks up the long one for you, and sends you there.

so you don’t have to cut, paste, type, or otherwise associate with the long one.

which is very convenient, and makes you look magnum when you use it in emails and stuff because you don’t piss people off by pasting in things that break lines and get screwed up.

the only question that occurs to me about the whole business is that it seems like there are a lot of duplicates being made, because i’m pretty sure it generates a new tinyurl every time you tell it to, even if there’s already one out there, because it’s easier to do so than to look through all the existing ones to see if there’s a match.

that makes sense, really, and after all, they are TINY, so i don’t think there is really any reason to worry about taking up disk space.

but it still does make me wonder… at the very least about keeping track of the ones that i make myself, because i know for a fact that i have made more than one for the same url. it’s just impossible to remember something like, and it would be silly to try, but i still feel a little… decadent, or something, when i know that i am populating their database with 14 links to a book on amazon or directions on google maps.

it doesn’t bother me that much, but it also makes me say, well, if there WAS an easy way to reduce the duplicates, there wouldn’t really be anything BAD about that, right?
and who knows?

does the fact that they’ve made one before dissuade Anyone from making a tinyurl again? because they have some idea that they should have kept track of the old one?

that would suck.

and DO they have any problems with disk space or clutter?  how many duplicates are there, really?
would there be peripheral benefits of a way to keep at least a personal history, if not a communal history?

like what if it was built into something like

for the record

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

i hate it when i type a lot of stuff into a web form and then click submit and then it says that my password has expired and then i enter the password and then everything is lost.


and it just happened to me, while i was filling out profile stuff at, which is a brilliant idea for a website, and i might just have more to say about it as a travel planning tool before too long, if i ever forgive it for eating my story about snow on red square and my summary of the importance of IT and my reading list and my desire to learn to sail better and my link to the new best way to fold a t-shirt (thanks to erik for that particular addition to my corpus of knowledge).

we just need some time apart first.
i’m sure we will be able to work it out if it’s really meant to be.

in the meantime, though, what are people’s thoughts on the best ways to deal with the form-clearing problem, both from the developer side and the user side?

i always feel relieved when i hit back and then the text is all still there, but from the security standpoint, this seems less than optimal.
it would be nice if it checked to see if you were logged in when you hit submit and then warned you before it left the page forever.
or, of course, it could just do a good job of saving the data and redirecting you to the right page.
but in the meantime, while the world is still imperfect, what should we do?
a browser extension that temporarily saves the data for you?
does that already exist? like that time i invented the thermos?

i guess i could just do a better job of keeping all of the things i could ever want anyone to know updated here, and then give links.
because entering that shiznit in a bajillion times is what i Really hate.
this is why all of my profiles everywhere are boring as sin.
but that’s another problem.
it will have to wait until after dinner.

the explorerizer

Friday, April 21st, 2006

maybe a good first ruby project – i want to write a script to go through html and css that i write and make the little hacking tweaks that are needed to make it viewable in ie. i don’t want to spend time kowtowing to microsoft as they drag their feet in supporting wc3 standards, but i also don’t want to cut off internet explorer users before they could ever have a chance to allow me to convince them to switch to mozilla. :)

anyway, it seems pretty possible.
i bet it’s even been done already.
but it would be a good project, anyway.