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Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

The other day I came across an interesting Twitter feed, a parody account of sorts that’s all about coming up with sketchy ideas.  As the title suggests some of these ideas are really sketchy.  Like really, really, really sketchy.  Borderline offensive even.  But there were some gems.  Such as:
  • Make headphone wires out of shoelaces and shoelaces out of headphone wires, now headphones will always untie and your laces will never undo.
  • Google’s Self Driving Car should have an incognito mode where it tints all your windows.
  • Movie about a Nigerian Prince who struggles to move millions of dollars out of his country with the help of a strangers he meets online
  • Make it so no city can have more than one professional sports team… and it has to play all sports!
  • Take a girl on a first date to couples counseling.
  • Get all the one hit wonder bands together for a massive concert where they each only play their one song.
  • A microwave that goes to YouTube and finds a video the exact length of the time you just typed in and plays it on the microwave door.
  • Snickers should do a commercial with Louis C.K. where he’s optimistic and cheerful until he eats a snickers.

Intrigued I decided to try and come up with a few sketchy/shady/quirky ideas of my own.  Here’s a look at what I came up with:

  • Partner with Eddie Murphy to create an airline that caters to flying with babies.  Call it Daddy Day Air.
  • Collect all of the drier and belly button lint in the world and convert it into bio-fuel.
  • Make Family Feud all about competing against members of your own family instead of competing against a different family.  Book the Kardashians for the first episode.
  • Mandate that Sports Illustrated can’t use any words.
  • In addition to a driving test mandate that everyone also has to pass a walking test.
  • Make it so that if you don’t vote you lose the right to vote from that point on.
  • Give multiple life sentences to anyone who doesn’t pick up after their dog, litters, harms an animal or defaces nature in any way.
  • Create a Real World style reality TV show where all presidential candidates live together in the same house.  Candidates vote each other out until only one remains and that person gets the nomination.
  • Mandate that everyone has to take a citizenship test every five years.  If you fail you get deported.

Are any of these sketchy ideas the Greatest Idea Ever?

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The annual Consumer Electronics Show is currently underway in Las Vegas.  Which can only mean one thing: everyone around the world is geeking out about the latest technology.  Drones!  Virtual Reality!  3-D Printing!  The Internet of Things!

But how much of that is truly innovative?  Sure there are lots of cool things but how many of them are truly unique?  How many of them can accurately be described as ingenious?  I’m willing to bet, not many.  But you know what truly is remarkable?  Some of these unheralded innovations that I’ve heard about lately.

Such as:

Face Time Swing:  A staple of every playground, the swing is every child’s favorite toy.  The rocking back and forth, the sensation of flying, the joy on the face of your parent as they push you.  At least you think that last part is true.  Since you’re not facing them you have no way of knowing what they’re doing.  Enter the Expression Swing.  A two person set up that allows for both parent and child to enjoy the swing time experience together.

General Electric’s Innovative Oven Design:  GE is a huge behemoth that has ties to Thomas Edison.  Suffice it to say they don’t lack for innovative ways of thinking.  Yet one of their latest creative ideas doesn’t come from their own ranks.  Rather it comes from a retiree working with FirstBuild, their DIY maker space cooperative that they created so that they could crowd source new ideas and bring them to market much more quickly than through traditional R&D means.  And the idea really is incredible.  Simple.  Yet incredible.

As Wired UK explains, “One of FirstBuild’s products, (is) a simple but elegant oven drawer that opens towards the user when the door is opened (so the cook does not have to reach deep into the oven)…”

Anyone who has ever baked something is probably asking themselves right now: why didn’t I think of that!

Ziploc Cereal Bag – For decades we’ve been buying boxes of cereal, opening up the bag inside, eating half the box within the first two days, and then watching by as the rest goes bad.  It’s a vicous cycle.  One that results in ridiculous amounts of wasted Frosted Flakes.  They’re Grrrreat….sttttale!

Wouldn’t it be great then if there was a way to keep the contents of cereal boxes fresh?  Well a recent tweet from entrepreneur Troy Osinoff suggested a possible solution: have cereal boxes come equipped with built in ziploc bags!

You’d imagine that this would have to be technologically possible by now wouldn’t you?  To figure out how to do it Kellogg’s might just have to think outside the box.  Or, rather, inside it.

Well there you have it.  Some truly innovative ways of thinking that have nothing to do with virtual reality or drones.  Take that CES!

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You probably won’t have time to read this.  I barely even had time to write it.  Such is life in today’s day and age of information overload and infinite choice where the battle for your attention span is constantly being waged.  So much so, that we’ve now reached critical mass.  A point of no return where it is now literally impossible to do everything that we want to all the time.  I don’t know about you but that stresses me out.  In fact, I sometimes find myself so paralyzed with indecision that I often wind up doing nothing at all.  Like a Netflix queue of life where you spend all your time scrolling through options, looking for something to view, instead of actually watching something.

Speaking of Netflix, that’s as good a place as any to start my rant because I just took time off from binge watching Mad Men to binge watch Jessica Jones and Dark Matter.  That’s on top of all the other network TV shows I currently have lined up on my DVR.  Mondays it’s Gotham and Minority Report.  Tuesdays its Marvel’s Agents of Shield and The Flash.  Wednesdays its Arrow.  By Sunday night when I’m watching Into The Badlands, Last Week Tonight, and Quantico I’m ready to tap out.  Just in time for Monday to roll around and start the cycle all over again.  And just when I think I’m going to get a reprieve with most of those shows taking a mid-season break, I get a whole new slew of shows to watch in the interim with the return of The 100, Peggy Carter and the debut of Legends of Tomorrow.  It’s a never ending cycle.  One that I’d be grateful for if watching TV was my only passion.  But it’s not.

I’m also a really big sports fan and in particular devote a lot of time to fantasy sports.  I have six fantasy football teams and five fantasy baseball teams.  Just managing a team is time consuming in of itself but in order to be successful at a high level you also have to do a significant amount of research.  Baseball in particular requires knowing about major league players, minor league players, and even high school and college players too.  Some leagues are so deep in fact that they require knowledge of international amateurs.  That’s right.  I actually know way more about sixteen year old boys from the Dominican Republic then I should probably be admitting publicly.  And all that without having the ability to play FanDuel or Draft Kings in my home state of Arizona.  I can’t even imagine the time commitment it would take to be successful in a daily fantasy league where every day you have to come up with various lineups, meticulously crafted in pursuit of winning cash money.

Sports and TV aside I also like to write about new ideas, innovations, and inventions which I do on this blog.  I try to post at least once a day, having so far posted over eight hundred and twenty five times over the last three years.  At that rate you’d think that I’d have run out of things to write about by now but just the opposite is true.  There’s so much happening on a daily basis that I can never keep up with it all.  And that’s just my blog.  I also have over thirty book and screenplay ideas and plans to expand this blog to a YouTube Channel, digital magazine, and ultimately a public speaking series if I ever get around to it.  Plus there’s always the off chance that I might actually act on one of my gazillion ideas and actually start my own company.

That’s doubtful though because when I’m not writing about new ideas, I’m reading about them.  But I just can’t read Wired.  I also have to read Wired UK.  I just can’t read Fast Company. I also have to read Fast Company South Africa.  Yes, that really exists.  All told, I try to read every issue of eighteen different magazines ranging from Popular Science and Popular Mechanics to Discover and Scientific American.  That’s a lot of reading.  Most of which I never do because life gets in the way.  My iPad is now at the point where I’m so backed up with things to read that it’s unable to download any new content.  And that’s just magazines I’m talking about.  Dare I even sit down and try to read a newspaper?  Or, heaven forbid, an actual book?  Nah, I’ll just wait for the movie to come out.  Oh wait, now I have to go to the movies too?  Who has time for that?!

To make matters worse I decided to go out on Cyber Monday and buy a PS4.  I don’t know why I did this.  I obviously don’t have time to play video games.  I haven’t even taken it out of the box yet.  But life is short so I decided to take the plunge.  After all, why deprive myself any longer of something that might bring me enjoyment.  Unfortunately, I may have underestimated what I would be getting myself into for there are at least a dozen franchises from Uncharted to Halo, all with multiple titles and expansions, that look like they will be worth playing.  And I can’t half ass it.  Now that I’ve taken the plunge I have to play all of these games.  And can you even imagine what will happen when the Oculus Rift comes out?  I’d never leave the house again.

And I really, really, really want to leave the house so that I can go hiking.  There are literally thousands of miles of trails within driving distance of my house.  And I intend to hike all of them at least once.  And that’s just in Arizona.  Just think about how many other hike-able places there around the world.  And that’s just hiking.  I also like to ride my bike, play softball and basketball, and go swimming. I even recently started playing Frisbee golf.  Turns out that it’s not just for stoners – although I can see why they’re drawn to it; it’s addicting as all hell.

Speaking of addicting there’s about a half dozen social media pages that I have to maintain religiously even though I don’t even want to.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc.  It never ends.  And don’t even get me started on Instagram.  Why total strangers are liking my pictures of mountainside sunsets is beyond me.  Actually, it’s not.  It’s because they’re epic.

With all of these video games to play, TV shows and movie to watch, books and magazines to read, sports to watch and play, and hikes to go on, you’d think that I’d be happy.  That’s a lifetime of entertainment right there.  But just the opposite is true.  I have too many choices, too many options, too many interests that it’s literally impossible to keep up with it all.  But that’s actually the least of my worries.  What bothers me the most is that I have no time to do anything else.  Anything important that is.  You see, there are certain things that I wish I had the time for.  These are things that I call “pursuits” because I’m constantly chasing after them.  Things like hunting for exoplanets on Galaxy Zoo, learning how to code, and taking online courses in fields of study that interest me.  The kind of things that could actually improve my standing in life or allow me to actually feel like I’m gving something back to society.  But sadly I’ll never do any of those things.  There’s just not enough time in the day because in addition to everything I already mentioned I also host a podcast about Ancient Aliens, consult on political matters for Wikistrat, own an online marketing company, and go antiquing on the weekends.

All that and I haven’t even mentioned anything social yet.  I’ve swiped right on so many activities that I no longer even have time to swipe left on Tinder anymore.  Hanging out with friends, going on dates, doing things in public.  Those are now all afterthoughts.

To make matters worse there’s no end in sight.  Anyone can create a podcast or self publish a book or start a YouTube channel.  The barriers to entry have been lowered.  Every one of us is now a media mogul.  Keeping Up With The Kardashians was the easy part.  It’s keeping up with everyone else that’s hard.

So is there anything that we can do about it?  Well, there may be some technological solutions on the way.  Driverless cars will free up a ton of time currently spent commuting.  Time that could be spent reading, playing video games, or binge watching shows.  Personal robotic assistants could help us do chores and errands and save us some time.  3-D printers could save us some trips to the store.  But other than that there’s probably not a technological solution to the problem.  All that technology is going to do is help us create more content and ways to consume it.

That’s why I actually feel bad for kids today.  For as bad as I think I have it now just imagine how they’ll feel when they’re my age and there’s another thirty years worth of books, movies, TV shows, and video games to catch up on.  Binge watching six Star Wars movies to get ready for the Force Awakens was bad enough.  Can you imagine having to watch seventeen of them? Actually, that sounds kind of awesome.

Which come to think of it is probably the point.  Having so much content at our fingertips isn’t a curse.  It’s a blessing.  It’s not overwhelming.  It’s exciting.  For we now live in a world where it’s physically impossible to get bored.  Could your parents have said the same thing?  So let’s embrace it.  Let’s dive right into the content deep end without a care in the world.  It we never get through it who cares?  At least we had fun trying.

 

In today’s day and age we’ll never be able to do it all.  So let’s stop trying and just enjoy the ride.

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I broke my ankle.  Shattered it really.  Tore the ligaments too.  I was also in a car that flipped over several times and landed in a swamp a hundred feet away from the highway.  But nothing can compare to the pain I’ve experienced when I’ve stepped on a Lego while walking barefoot.  If nails scratching a blackboard and stubbing your toe had a baby it would be the feeling you get when you step on the jagged edge of one of those iconic children’s toys.  Thankfully, Lego agrees.  Which is why they’ve teamed up with design company Brand Station, to create special Anti-Lego slippers with extra padding on the bottom that make your feet impervious to pain.

As CNET explains, “The squared-off slippers are interchangeable between right and left feet, which is handy when you’re fumbling for them in the dark. They come in bright red and yellow with the bold Lego logo on the top of the foot. They have an open back so they can be quickly shuffled onto your feet before you step into a potentially painful area full of little Lego landmines.”

For now this concept is just for a promotional campaign with only 1,500 pairs being given away at this time.  But I’m hopeful that someone else will come along and make these into a real thing just in time for the holiday season.  And if they don’t, I might just have to make a pair myself…out of Legos.

Are Lego Slippers the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#798 – Week In Review

Here’s a quick look at everything that tickled my fancy this past week:

1. Laundry Folding Washing Machine: Are we really so lazy that we’ll need a washing machine that’ll fold our clothes for us too?  In a word: YES!  Being developed since 2008 the Laundroid is almost ready for it’s close up.

Engadget explains what’s taken so long:

“Because clothing is so malleable, it takes a higher degree of skill and dexterity for a robot to perform tasks with than, say, wood or metal. However, as far as the on-the-rails demonstration on stage went, it was a success. A handful of minutes later, the HAL-esque cabinet (which frustratingly hid all the robotic ‘magic’) produced the shirt, folded flat, if not completely pristinely. (We’re sticklers for crisp edges, what can we say?) The team behind it promises that more will be revealed as it slowly comes into existence over the end half of this decade.”

2. Star Wars Land:  With the new Star Wars movie just weeks away now would be a pretty good time to mention the fact that by 2017 there will be a Star Wars themed area at Disney Land!!!  Having been to the totally realistic Harry Potter world there’s little doubt that a Star Wars land would be equally awesome.

According to Digital Trends, “Speaking about the planned expansion, Staggs said “This will be I think perhaps the most immersive land we’ve ever built. We want people to feel like they’ve stepped into the world of Star Wars and so that’s really sparked our imaginations and it’s got people fired up.”

What exactly will the land entail?  According to the article, “visitors will be able to experience what it’s like to actually fly the Millennium Falcon as well as dine in a Star Wars cantina, like the one visited by Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”

star-wars-disney-darth

3. Boeing’s new material:  Boeing has invented a new super material that’s 99.9% air making it the most lightweight metal ever created.  While that sounds like something out of science fiction it’s actually now science fact.

Why is this important?  According to the UK version of the Huffington Post, “Researchers say the material could change what air planes are built out of and could allow air crafts to be more fuel efficient in the future.”

worlds lightest material

Is a metal that’s 99.99% air the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Here’s a quick look at some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately:

Electronic Bumper Stickers:  In the near future we may have curved TV screens, bendable cell phones, and e-readers that roll up like newspapers.  Which makes it some what surprising that we don’t yet have something so simple as a straight forward electronic bumper sticker that would allow us to swap out messages as easily as using a turn signal.  With an election fast approaching this would be the perfect time to create something like this.

Ambinesta:  I love the idea of taking a nap.  There’s only one problem though.  I can never fall asleep quick enough to take advantage of it since I’m always thinking about just how little time I have to sleep and what I have to do when I wake up.  Short of inventing a way for humans to charge themselves while they’re still awake like cell phones is there anything that can be done about this?  I think so.  All we’d have to do is invent an extremely short term sleeping pill.  One that will allow you to fall asleep really quickly in order to take a nap and will then wear off right away so you’re not groggy afterwards.  I’d call it Ambinesta, a shortened nap sized version of both Ambien and Sonesta.

Elbow carpal tunnel syndrome:  Is it possible to get carpal tunnel syndrome someplace other than in your wrists?  The reason why I ask is that lately I’ve been wearing out my right elbow from overuse from the way in comes in contacts with surfaces.  Whether it’s resting on the center console in my car while I’m driving, touching my couch while I’m watching TV, or laying on my desk while I’m typing when I’m at work.  If this is not a real thing it really should be.

Bug bite pill:  There’s a report that scientists are working on a sun screen pill.  Just take it before going out and your entire body will have coverage so that you’ll never again have to worry about missing a spot.  Similarly I’d love to see a bug spray pill that ensures that you won’t get bit.

Shower transition invention:  Your nice and warm while you’re in the shower and freezing cold as soon as you get out.  It’s a common problem that we all face.  So shouldn’t there be something that we do about it?  Perhaps a heated bathmat to keep our feet warm while we change into our clothes.

Refresh all tabs:  When you come back to your computer after being away for a while you often have to refresh the tab you were working on.  Fine, no problem.  But what if you had about a dozen tabs open?  Having to refresh each of them one by one can be tedious.  Shouldn’t there be a way to refresh all tabs at once?

New MLB rule:  Instead of ejecting a player for arguing balls and strikes leave the player in the game but penalize the team like technical shots in the NBA.  Penalize them by adding a ball or strike to the next batter’s at bat or recording an out.

Is a napping pill the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#779 – Human Source Code

One of my favorite new shows is Mr. Robot, a show in which a young hacker with schizophrenic tendencies attempts to take down a giant corporation with the help of his imaginary friend and a few other bizarre characters who may or may not be who they seem.  In a recent episode, the main character, Elliot, raised a fascinating question: what if we could see a person’s source code the way we could see the source code for a computer program?

The show demonstrated this concept by making characters walk around with a sign around their necks during a dream sequence with the sign summing up what they were feeling at that exact moment in time.  For instance, someone might have a sign that says that they’re jealous of someone else in the office or that they’re having an affair or that they secretly hate themselves.

Such tidbits are insightful, sure, but they also don’t line up with the exact metaphor of a source code for humans.  For a source code isn’t just one phrase.  Rather, it’s a sequence of several different things.  The digital equivalent of DNA.

So I got to thinking.  What if there was a way to make this analogy more accurate?  What if there was a way that we could actually find out someone’s source code.  Not a brief description of who they are.  But, rather, a breakdown of everything that comprises who they are.  A personality test of sorts.  One that follows us around and that can be viewed in real time, upon demand.  A cognitive fingerprint if you will.

Dating site profiles could feature this information.  As could LinkedIN.  Or even Facebook.  Anywhere that you’d want someone to know who you are, who you really are, not just the parts that you showcase publicly.  This source code would enable people to find out what you’re all about.  To see what emotional states you exhibit the most, to find out what kind of character you have, to find out, for instance, how competitive you are, or whether or not you can take a joke.

My source code, for example, would probably say something like: introverted with the potential to be extroverted in the right setting; even-keeled the majority of the time; doesn’t get too high or too low; close minded when it comes to certain things like trying new foods; adventurous when it comes to other things like traveling to new places; conservative risk taker; compassionate; empathetic; dreamer.

With information like that readily available potential mates and employers can find out right off the bat whether or not I’ll be compatible with them.  The question that remains, however, is how would we ever find all of that out in a quick and easy way that’s 100% accurate?  Well I think there may be a rather simple solution.  All we’d have to do is create a wearable device that monitors brain activity and determines a person’s state of mind at any given point in time.  Or we could take a data mining approach and compile a profile of a person based off of an analysis of their social media posts, emails, texts, browsing history, test scores, etc.  Or I suppose that we could just do it the old fashioned way and just have people fill out a detailed survey by hand.

Either way I think there might be something to this, something to the idea of a source code for humans that other people could view quickly and easily.  If I’m right there’s only one thing left to ponder: what will your source code say?

Is a source code for humans the Greatest Idea Ever?

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