Friday, February 29, 2008

Glowing lampshades

Not sure how annoying it might be in certain situations when you want
pitch black rooms, but it would be excellent if the globes and
lampshades in my home all glowed for a few hours after we turn off the
light. Cheap fix, and could obviate the need for nightlights in some
circumstances. Options for artistic versions and different colors. How
about the reverse of the original image on the shade? Many creative
applications available. One shade might say ON in the day/ when on,
and then glow OFF at night. That kind if thing. This is a hattrick idea.

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Micro turbines in roof vents

Also inside my chimney. My house vents heat and air all the time and
might generate enough power to run my water pump on cloudy days.

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Flat school tax?

I'd pay a few hundred dollars a year to improve my local public
school. I'm tired of levies to constantly beg for money and I'm tired
of failed govt programs.

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Rain catch and release system

Rain comes down in buckets but just try to catch in them and put that
precious resource to use. I propose that someone should invent a
specific cistern and solar electric pump that gathers up the rain that
falls on your roof to be used later as irrigation.

Big recycled plastic cistern. Sturdy Trex platform to lift the cistern
high enough to give it some gravitas. Solar pump to move the water
faster or uphill for irrigation.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Therapeutic Muscle Clamps

Clamps that normally work with wood, but applied to human muscles. Send a low voltage charge through as well. Can be self-applied. Easy-release. Do they have silicone finger attachments? Can you put them in the microwave and warm them up, or in the freezer? You bet!

Speed Zone indicators in pavement

Idea first posted in GlobalIdeasBank. Just like the rumble strips that get you to slow down as you get closer to the border or an airport, only the rumbling is specific to speeds required by law. The faster, the higher pitch, the slower the lower pitch. Cuts in the road would be good alternative to reapplying layers of cement. Could be done with slightly different grooves of pavement as well, in alternating patterns to indicate speeds. Could be done with road turtles as well, or simply raised paint.

New Sci Fi movie about Siddartha

Non-violent (Sorry, Neo) movie that goes through the life of the Buddha in a regular town, where the Buddha is a regular person who discovers the secret of suffering cessation. Perhaps a woman as Buddha. Non-famous actors. Excellent soundtrack (Massive Attack? Air? Postal Service?). Should be true to the story of the Buddha. Does innovative non-violent stuff to do conflict resolution. Should be a tad psychedelic, but not kitschy. Lots of cool nature shots required. Feel Good, but realistic.

Non-Newtonian Fluid Games

• Tag
• Shuttle Run, like in high school fitness test
• float a friend
• long jump, triple jump
• jump rope

Idea Camp *plus* Conflict Resolution 8x

My pal Joe "ideas in repose" Crick is repurposing his creative energy and asked for some ideas for a mixture of Idea Camp and Conflict Resolution Training Camp. Here are some game ideas for this concept:

• Game that rewards collaboration between kids, where you make one thingamajig and the next person must improve it and/or add to it.
• Game that rewards cross-pollination of 2 or 3 simple ideas to make one novel idea.
• Game (Classic) that rewards kids for coming up with the most ideas for repurposing a basic object. “Paper Bag Skit” equivalent.
• Same as above but instead of quantity, rewards quality (ie best idea)
• Biomimicry game, no idea what it would be yet but it’s where a man-made thing mimics the design of a natural thing.
• “Make it for kids” exercise where you repurpose “adult” stuff for kids.
sensory deprivation games where kids are deprived of a sense (sight, hearing, smell, etc) and then do any other game to see how they would fare
• Gather up game, where the object is to simply get others to join you (with certain parameters)
• RE-DO, drama game where kids get to re-enact a conflict in the past in a non-conflict fashion, could be called “Director” where you direct your own old movie differently. Directors Cut of your life. Playback theatre style, but you do conflict resolution of past traumas.
• VR poverty survival game to get kids to empathize with developing countries kids. Like “Halo 3” but with no guns and no food and no infrastructure and no running water and no support system no vaccines no parents and it’s real.

8x idea, for shizzle biodizzle!

Polarized contact lenses

Never known anyone to have them, and it would really be cool for us myopic folks. Vuarnet contact lenses, yo.

Dryer intakes from ceiling

Heating elements are the biggest energy hogs in the house. Dryer is one of the worst. The silliest part of the dryer setup is that it pulls in cool air from beneath the dryer to heat up in the dryer coils. Why not pull the dryer intake air from the ceiling where it's hotter already? A flat duct, painted to suit of course, runs warmer air from the ceiling down into the dryer. Not rocket science, but requires a bit of an aesthetic workaround.

LED warning lights and detection for stoves

Stove is hot, the big red LED sign blinks HOT. Might as well put it on the oven part as well, and for the blind, a similar system that makes a sizzling noise until the oven/stove cools down. Many ways to set up the LED system, could also just blink, or even show red when it's hot and green when it's cool. X2 idea for universal access!

Foot operable kitchen drawers

not just incidentally operable, but built to be so. The push-pop style is cool, but the mechanism wears out. I want a groove underneath for the bottom drawers and all the handles to be big enough to fit the top of my foot without getting it stuck forever.

New Baby Sling imitates "football" position

With an insulated arm-sized hump in the mix, a new baby sling would hold the baby out in front of you, face down, head to the side. Babies love this position as an alternative to the face-up position. It's just tough on parents' arms. Enter the new sling that suspends baby face down, with an insert that mimics your other arms underneath the baby. Much parental satisfaction to be had here...

Home biogas digesters

geared specifically for parents with newborns. Come on, seriously, all these damned diapers HAVE to account for something! Make your own methane, folks! Burn it in a generator and put the savings in your kids college fund!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Traffic light in-car alert system

Sees the pattern of traffic lights (uses the EMS system?) and repeats
it on your instrument panel. No more sliding into the car in front if
you or people honking because you didn't see the green light above you.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Idea Seminars

Like Idea Camp, but for adults, on a short retreat or even a single evening. Using my book as reference and perhaps textbook, have seminars on how to come up with new ideas. I could do my shtick and get people from the crowd to yell out topics or things that need improvement, then I can do my parlor trick of coming up with a solution on the spot. I'm good at facilitation and creative consulting, getting people to loosen up and get their creative juices flowing. Yeah. Brainstorming and Collaboration ahoy!
Thanks again to MF.

Idea Book

Courtesy of Michael LeFevre: Take 15 good ideas from the Firehose and flesh them out as well as I can. Tell the story of how I came to the ideas, and how in general I came to this pleasant affliction. Illustrate the book with my microprinting. Give some tips and pointers on how one can get addicted to creative ideas, then what to do with that when it happens. Excellent idea, Michael, and why the hell didn't I think of it?

New Warriors

I just watched "Valley of Elah" with Tommy Lee Jones. Great film.
Cried along the way, thinking about families of our warriors and my own warrior ancestors (Campbell/Taylors have fought in most of the big 20th century wars: WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam). Brother in law is an Iraq II vet, thought about him and his family.

Thought about the current warrior class and what they think they are about, what might drive them forward to sign up. I think we need some new metaphors beyond good (us) against evil (them). We need more than "Army of One" rhetoric. We need these warriors, alright. But the kind of warrior that is ready to respond, not excited to kill. I don't have any desire to fight/die/kill, but I do think I owe my life to this world and if needed, I would give my life back for the world that gave it to me in order to further the values I espouse. Justice, Peace, Love, Equality, Liberty, Human Rights are these values I would sacrifice my smaller life to uphold if need be. Would I kill? No, but I would die.

I don't really know what the new warriors would end up being, how they would be trained, under whose power they would be, but we need to get back to the drawing board on soldiering, and who gets to say when we fight and kill. The Congress is supposed to have that sole responsibility (according to our pesky Constitution), and they should not be able to abdicate that responsibility. I oppose the general idea of warfare, but I do think we need to ensure we are all as safe as possible. Maybe we need to phase out the need to go to war in the first place, thinking about how NOT to go to war rather than how to win it all the time. Department of Peace indeed, Dennis.

There is a need for proper policing of the population, for protection and safety. A national guard that guards ourselves from ourselves. But we spend so many resources on the warfare side of it all, and we don't even prepare the warriors fully before we send them out into harm's way. Perhaps the best way now to reduce the incidence of war in the world is for the USA to just lead by example rather than by weaponry. Take care of our own issues, our own internal battles with crime and poverty and racism and injustice. Who will do this? Who are those people? How are they to be trained?
Can they be non-violent and still be warriors?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Automatically breathable clothing

Pretty sure this is both possible and probably already exists, but I've not seen it yet. Kind of nano but really more micro idea. Electrical charges trigger the weave of your clothing to contract and tighten up to keep you warmer and then open up more with a flick to keep you cooled off. Electro Gore Tex.

LED lit guitar strings and frets

I want my guitar to light up where I touch it on the frets, and light up the string that I pluck as well. It could be a simple light, or it could be done cooler with a pulsing light that changes according to the frequency of the note. It would look awesome when you shred with your electric guitar, and you could see what notes you were playing if you were not yet skilled enough to shred.

Wacom Portable Art Pad and Journal

The Kindle from Amazon would be cool only if it was actually a Wacom art pad. I want a device that really only does reading and writing. It should let you store hundred of books, and it should let you write just as if you had a pad of paper with you. A cool pencil like stylus (or quill pen as you might wish) mandatory. It doesn't need to be a full computer, so the processor can focus on being pressure sensitive and capable of storing hundreds of hi-res drawings. I want a digital journal, damnit. It doesn't necessarily have to do OCR on my sloppy handwriting, but it could. It should look like a Moleskine journal. Heck, maybe they should do it instead of Amazon or Wacom. Somebody please make this for me. Please.

Current Mileage LED for cars

I want people to know it's possible to get 43 mpg in the city. My Jetta TDI can do it.
It would be cool to have the thing calculate my current mileage and put that number in real time on an LED readout across my back window. Good for the Prius as well methinks. It might sound smug, but it's really why we bought the car, to save the planet. I want people to know that they can do it as well.

Planetary Spirograph

I love that toy, and it's not really a toy. Spirograph lets you inscribe creative circles with an elegant weave with a gear-type set up. Hmm, bad explanation, but it's still a cool toy. Google it for heaven's sake.

While your search is running, ponder the idea of ellipses instead of circles for the Spirograph. Then the idea of each planet getting it's own elliptical gear, and you'll have a cool science project that doubles as an art project. Might just try this one myself...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tuned Guard Rails and Fences

Wacky public art project that tunes all the guard rails along a parkside or path to real notes. Must be somewhat muffled to keep the neighbors happy. Brass markers in the cement show you what notes are which and even give you songs to play. Would be a fun companion to the brass dance steps on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Alternate version: Wooden fenceposts tuned like a marimba would do the same thing and sound better. Should be tuned funky, like in pentatonic scale or all minor scales.

Dance Dance Power Generation!

The floor of the danceclub floats on a large platform that rocks back and forth in all directions (or multiple platforms so you don't slip and fall off!). That kinetic energy gets translated into power and that power lights up the club. The more people dance, the more frenetic the lights get. Slower (but still active) dancing will mellow out the lights and trigger a sooting light show. Particular songs during the night might be set to do particular light shows. Hell Yes, Loch Ness!

Chipped auto-cruise control for highways

On my local 520 bridge (Governor AD Rosselini), there's a lot of traffic and subsequent frustrations and accidents. What if every car (I know, crazy) had a chip that was seen by a road computer, and the road computer triggered the cars to go into cruise control for a particularly difficult stretch of road, perfectly spaced apart and requiring no brakes? We'd all go broke paying for it, yes, but it would sure be neat and safe.

Speed suggesting reader boards on highways

Sign on the highway that is connected to current traffic reports could tell drivers that if they ALL go 45 mph, they will get there 10 minutes faster than if they go stop-and-go from 10-60 mph. This will require some training and education, but if you posted the time saved and remind people that it will ALSO REDUCE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, they may change their minds about the need to briefly pass that one car they just HAVE to get around only to have him slowly creep by you a mile down the road.

Bonus: if we're all going the same speed and not causing as many traffic accidents, the traffic times will be reduced over again thanks to a lack of bottlenecks and brakelights. It would reduce wear and tear on your cars (and clutches), and make it easier to make cellphone calls (you know you do it).

Time share parking spaces

Groups of people, families, friends, you name it, might want to collectively buy a parking space downtown and post a schedule for its use on an internally accessible website (with cellphone alerts). If enough people do it (and adhere to the schedule!), you might come out financially ahead as well as happily and unstressfully parked. Works best in uncovered monthly spaces.

Alternately, you could auction your daily work parking space off on a website so downtowners might get a break on their bar-hopping or whatever. Lots of spaces downtown go unused at night, and the big garages are super-expensive. Make a buck and help the planet by not driving all around the block 20 times hoping for a space to open up...

Selective Family Reunions

In order to build some dysfunctional families up step by step to a full scale family reunion, perhaps it might be a good idea to isolate certain levels and genres of the family for selective reunions.

All the cousins might have a reunion, without the potential baggage and complication of a lot of aunts, uncles and grandparents (depending on the age of the cousins, of course). But maybe not depending, maybe the younger cousins might go on a chaperoned field trip. Maybe a "siblings only" retreat, or a "inlaws reunion" or a "grandparents golf trip" or a "half-sibling hang-out". The goal may or may not be to build up to a larger all-encompassing family reunion, but sometimes the smaller reunions are what might do the trick for some families.

People do act very differently when the whole misphacha are in the mix, lots of old rivalries and past wrongs are brought to bear. Sometimes it's just best to take it slowly and see what heals...

Baby (un)Steady cam

You know the tool, it's for keeping a video camera steady while you walk around. It has a cool smooth operating effect, and is responsible for making sure we all don't puke at every action movie.

The best ones are hooked directly to the body of the camera person, and the lightweight ones are hooked to a waist-belt that transfers the weight to your hips like a big backpack would. It takes the weight off your shoulders, and lets you keep your arms more free.

I need something like that for carrying my baby around for the hours (sometimes) that it takes to hand-rock my baby to sleep. I have an "Ergo" carrier, but it often squishes them a bit too much and they don't sleep well in it. I want it to be able to support my now 11 lb baby's weight and let me kind of jump walk around with it to give it some motion. I don't want it entirely steady, so some kind of pendulum system should be employed, or perhaps a heavy vibration motor installed.

War mongers must go to War

I am fully against war, in almost all its forms. Even a so-called "defensive" war would be hard for me to get behind. War sucks, and we'd all do better to have less of them.

Enter the classic idea (and still excellent) of sending the warmongers to war. It's just common sense. If you advocate for an aggressive war, you must participate in it. If you think you are too old, then you need to rethink your hawkish stance for you will still be compelled to fight. That's real "skin in the game" as they say. At risk of sounding as political as I am at heart, the Bush administration has many a hawk that never spent time fighting war, yet they are the most excited to wage it. This would end if there was a mandate to fight wars that one advocates.

More Playground water pumps for developing world

On the same idea that Playpumps uses, why not make a bunch of different play equipment that does the same thing (and doesn't make people so damn dizzy!)?

•A see-saw is a simple playground toy, and easily (and historically) makes for a great pumping mechanism.
• Another could be a hard-poled swing (instead of a chain-swing) that works like a pump-jack.
• Another could be a barrel-roll or tire-roll (using stuff that is more readily available), which could be used to turn an Archimedes water-screw.
• Another could be a modified platform teeter-totter that is a big metal disk with guardrails that teeters in all directions.

There you go, an idea worth no fewer than 4 ideas, and helps the developing world by easing their daily water commutes. Somebody, please do this stuff! I'm no engineer...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Food Branding Yourself

I'm no chef, I will tell you now. But I am known for two things: eggs and cereal.
I do both well. I would like to add another food skill someday. It's a big deal, to know what food you can make for yourself and others that is edible or even good to eat. It's a tool you can use your whole life. It should be part of Home Economics in high school. It's your food signature. Doesn't need to be fancy, but must in a pinch be able to suffice as an entire meal if possible. Should be adaptable in terms of economics, i.e, should be able to be made cheap *and* fancy. If you blend well, create your own signature smoothie if you must. But have that one thing you can pull out in a pinch. The life you save could be your own...

Anonymous Family Suggestion Box

Needs an interested third party to translate and equalize the suggestions so you can't tell which family member made them. Requires some flexibility and understanding for sure. It's just another tool for a family to make sure each member can be heard. Some people do this live, I think it's called "talking", but I can't be sure. The suggestion box would be great for those who don't do the "talking" thing, but still need to communicate their needs. Could be done via a website if you needs to get your digits on, yo. A family Wiki page, sure enough. Maybe the anonymizer is on the website. Maybe the goal is to eventually not be anonymous...

Home Vital Sign Aggregation

After having my friend help me with my recent home inspection, it occurred to me that I'd like to have a lot more data at my disposal about my home. Easy stuff that should be logged: Temperature rise and fall, humidity levels, air pressure (positive or negative), power loss and gain. Some home automation systems do a few items listed, but not all of them. I want to know what happens when I light a fire in the fireplace, what happens to my home when I'm away for a month, what things happen to my home at night. I don't need to be emailed about it (all the time), but I'd like to see all these stats on a secure website. It's more than just electrical usage, but it certainly includes that as well. It's about knowing what kind of shape your house is in, the current fitness of your dwelling. It's probably a $500 item, with a bunch of good sensors and a USB connection, but I'm not the engineer nor marketing guy. Should come with all new homes, should be subsidized by the power company, yo.

Self-sustaining Community Centers

I'm sure this is already happening, but not fast enough. We need to give a big upgrade to our community centers (if there is one in your community!). A great way to do this would be to get a grant (or legislation) going to subsidize the creation of a local community power plant, right on top of your community center.

A combination of solar, wind, geothermal, wave, and biofuel power sources would be optimized for the local climate and come at a low low cost. It would be a learning center as well as a community gathering place. My local center has a pool, classrooms, gym, and a reception hall. It certainly could use another draw, and also could serve to quit "drawing" on the power grid. It needs to be a beacon for the neighborhood, a light among the nations if you will. If you build it (right), they will come...

Vital Signs PDA kit

I want a full-spectrum real-time analysis of myself, in a kit, on the cheap. I want wires that are easy to stick and unstick, and a software/hardware interface that is usable and smart. Temperature, blood pressure, skin resistance, heart rate/pulse, the works. Collect the data on a standard issue PDA/Smartphone and let me analyze my own data. Not so that I can diagnose my own diseases, but to observe myself more clearly. Meditation help, stress reduction, jogging companion.

Thermal Camera Nightclub

Okay, it's off my normal greenie base, but it's cool:
I've just done a home inspection and sustainability plan for my house. A key to getting a proper sustainable path to efficiency laid out is to get good data. A full home inspection is excellent.

The fun part was today's thermal scanning camera work. You point this very expensive camera around the house and it shows in very vivid color the ingress and egress of air in your home, the places where you are leaking invisible energy. It shows where your windows are leaking heat and pulling in cold. And, it's TOTALLY BEAUTIFUL.

I was looking at the images and thinking, man would that be a funky display to show on a screen in a nightclub. Turns out the cameraman (if you will) had in fact brought it inadvertently into a bar, and voila! You can tell who's actually *hot* for you! Imagine that stuff, writ large, writhing around, sweat showing up vividly first as hot, then as cold, the works. Better by far than a black light, methinks, but you could toss that into the mix, too! Funkadelic, fo sho!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Trojan Help: Neighborhood Disaster Relief as Community Builder

I wasn't asleep at the wheel on the 19th, I was, um, FATHERING.
Speaking of duties, I have a duty to my community. Here's one I really like:

When the "Homeland Security" people came by 2 years ago, 4 people from our hood showed up. It was cool, actually, even to meet so few people. What would be cooler? Under the guise of *only* doing disaster relief/response stuff in your hood, you could do it up like a community event. Do a BBQ potluck, share photos of your kids in college, talk about the lack of speed bumps to slow down the teenagers, whatever.

It's not really a ruse, I just like the concept of double-tasking the event. Truth is, a strong community is itself the best disaster response, response. Meet your peeps AND help save their lives someday. Excellent.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Silicone feeding shield upgrades

Breastfeeding moms know:
Clear silicone is nearly invisible. Misplacing your nipple shield is
no good when you live from feeding to feeding.

Enter the designer nipple shield with color coded edges and glow in
the dark outer rim. X2idea since moms really need it.

Sent from my iPhone

Personal energy savings credits

Yes. When you can prove you are saving energy compared to the average,
you get a tax credit. Similar to corporations. Maybe you can trade
your offsets as well. If your whole household saves energy, you get
another break.

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Every kid gets a blog

They need to be heard and it won't cost much. Google could do it for
free. Also comes with their free public library card. Free training
included ( typing lessons too).

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Band Name: Jeff Hahn Love Child

Seriously. He's my scalable hero. I wish he was my dad.

Corn Alternative Weeds

No freaking clue how this will be done, but we need to do it. Some kind of growing medium that needs very little water, no pesticides, can be grown in the barren desert, and could be used as a rotation crop. Cannabis/hemp still needs water, but it's a possibility.
It has to grow like a weed. It can't be a genetically modified plant (unless you consider breeding modification). We can't live on corn alone. Switchgrass sounds nice, I guess.

Of course, a totally synthetic version of "corn" would be nice, something that could be made in a petri dish medium on a grand scale. It's starting to sound sci-fi, but that's because I am no longer a professional biologist.

Vegetable Cling-Wrap

cellulosic recombinations, ahoy! If they can make a corn-based "plastic" cup, they can make thinner and stickier plastic for use as cling-wrap. While I don't like the reliance on corn-based-everything, I think we can start there. Algae? Anyone?

Creativity Class in High School

SSIA. Art is a nice class, but art springs from a heart of creativity. We all have it, but it gets systematically purged from us if we follow the scan-tron world of mainstream education. Although there are pockets of schools that foster creativity, I think most schools would do well to bring creativity in stages. One crucial step could be bringing to the fore the using one's mind, heart and hands to discover the creative pulse that we all share.

Ideas are nice (as I attempt to show), but there's a lot of creative juice stored away in other places, and it needs recognition and fostering. Perhaps a semester class that has units the way science class does. Field trips, guest speakers, and final projects (ungraded?) to showcase the creative spirit. It needs a interdisciplinary push, a way to uncover the creative in multiple fields of study. Plus, it would be "fun". We all need more of that in school, for heaven's sake.

Repurposed Road Sign Canvas for Refugee Tents

At the moment, there are people re-using the spent billboard signs that are made of canvas instead of the old-school paint/wallpaper style billboards. They use it to make recycled messenger bags and chic purses. I like that, but I like this better: Keep the canvas in one big piece and send it to refugee camps with simple instructions for making it into a tent. It's waterproof, flexible, colorful, and recycled. The refugee crisis we currently see is nothing compared to the possible surge in the future due to natural disasters and a possible outbreak of mid-east warfare. Gimme (Give them) Shelter!

Neighborhood Native Art with geographical accuracy

People lament the fact that we don't have enough art in our lives, and yet it's all around us. It would be very cool if we could locate historically accurate artistic expressions and get some grants to do a small neighborhood art studio that specializes in that local artwork/craft. Bonus points if the native tribe of that area could help with the art.

Iphone Reader Scrolling

Although I do like the way I can flick the screen down while I read, I would like a feature of the phone to auto-scroll the text so I can read it without having to manipulate the screen every few seconds.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Computing Screen for Disabled Persons

It's hard enough for me to compute on a chair, with a keyboard. I got a glimpse of myself on a bed looking up at a monitor and thought, "Hell no, I would not like a monitor above my head during an earthquake." Enter the video bouncer:

Simple programming and/or minor engineering required for this. Make the image of the computer screen reverse and upside down, then bounce the image to a safety mirror (thin film of mirror material over lighter backing) above your bed. Voila, you can compute on your back, looking up at the screen projected above. I guess an even better solution would be to literally project the image onto the same location, again in reverse, but projectors aint cheap.

Okay, just as good would be the video glasses thingamajig, still expensive. Further, a foundation should be started to help people with disabilities use computers. Does Hawking have a foundation of this sort? Everyone needs computer and net access, for sure. It should be an inalienable right, frankly. Go $100 Laptoppers!

Heat-changing tub paint

Like the coffee cups that change when you put hot coffee in them, a tub should change to a particular hue when the heat is at optimal levels. Great for hospitals' birthing centers and homes with kids.

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Discovered vs Engineered contentment

When someone thinks about what it means to be content, there is often a small part of us that secretly believes that if we twist our minds just so, we can "achieve" contentment.

I posit that you discover your already existing contentment rather than creating it. Take a look at the word again. The root is content. It means happy with what one has but also it means "stuff". If you will, stuff that already exists.

Sure you might "get" it atop a mountain after a satisfying hike, but I bet if you rolled back to the times that you felt truly content, you'd see that it was during some normal everyday moment, and it happened because you had the time to look around yourself and observe that the world was simply working the way it should.

You had some basic needs met (Maslow) and you were able to step back for a moment and simplify your needs further. Slowing down and being aware probably facilitated the moment of acute contentment.

It follows then that the more slow observational moments you can string together, the higher the likelihood of feeling/discovering contentment.

Slowing down, then is the good idea here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Vegetable based grocery baggies

Biodegradable plastic meant for short term storage. Eliminate the
final plastic bag issue.

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Vegetable lamination

For sealing fruits and veggies in time. Also for short term packaging.
Biodegradable ziploc baggies.
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Walkable highways

It always kinds bothered me that I can neither walk nor bike on any major highway in my state. Aside from the obvious hazards of walking near speeding cars, what's the problem? Just make the walk/bike path farther away, or put up six foot guardrails.

Truth is, I secretly want to walk to DC this summer to demand the trial of GWB and co. for war crimes. I'll need a more direct path and easier press coverage. Use that new cool porous concrete or similar recycled material.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

iPhone autocorrection ubiquity

I want all word processing apps to do the same autocorrect that my iPhone does. It just lets you fly on teh keyboard (it would have correctly "teh") and words and ideas would flow far better. It's different that MS Word's autocorrect, though. It just freaking knows that "yjod ,rsmd" = this means. That's because it know that yjod ,rsmd really IS "this means" just typed one row over. It's a brainy no-brainer.

Reparations Idea

I think in light of Australia's recent apology to the Aborigines, the USA should apologize for their part in the enslavement of Africans in a very direct way: They should pay for the detailed genetic report of anyone who wants one. Right now, it costs $1000 to have your entire genetic ancestry worked out, and I think we owe it to the ancestors of those people we kidnapped and brought here as slaves. If it's good enough for Chris Rock, it's good enough for everyone else. What tribe am I from? Whose blood courses through my veins? Who are my people? Where did my great great grandmother come from? We owe it to them, and then some.

Friendster Mind Map

Okay, so I'm still on Friendster. Shoot me. I'd improve it with a cool interactive (So Web 2.0!) mind map tool. Your picture in the middle, with your friendsters floating around you in 3D space. Bonus: you can program the tool to give you a "friend fly-by" where you virtually fly through your friendspace in slide-show mode with a cool soundtrack from your iTunes folder.

I suppose it might even look like all those camp movies made to be shown at the last night of camp where people can laugh and be embarrassed at the crazy stuff they did all summer. Who knows. I just want more than text and photo interactions.

scooters, vacation, fall

Labels for this post are not exactly random, eh? Scooters need to be cheaper.
They shouldn't be relegated to vacation runabouts. Myself, I rented a scooter in Vancouver and within minutes I had lost my balance turning at about 3 km/h and gently laid the thing down, costing me $150 and wrecking my fun. That fall was due to my lack of skill, and that lack of skill is clearly due to the cost of scooters!

If we had cheaper scooters and small motorized bikes available, perhaps we'd opt for downsizing more often. As it stands, a Vespa is thousands of dollars and much more of a car rather than a common person's commuter. Check out China, India, Europe. They have lots of choices in scooters and lots of people use them. More inexpensive but good quality scooters and people will stop falling off them during summer vacations!

Guitar dreams come true for kids

Okay, not everyone is going to back me on this one. I don't care. There are WAY too many guitars out there, and most of them are not being played. Knock that crap off, guitar hoarders! I'm sick and tired of seeing hundreds of perfectly good electric guitars sitting the in the basement of some retired rocker's Beverly Hills crib. If you own an electric guitar that you are not playing (or any instrument, really), you are doing music in general and kids in particular a huge disservice. Use it or lose it!

Think of all those kids in band, praying someday that the school will magically spring for a new electric guitar that they can practice with, only to be told that they need to learn music first on a plastic recorder purchased in 1982. If you still rock out with your guitar, you are absolved. If you have more than one guitar, though, give it a thought. This world needs more music and more musicians, and you could just become some kid's freakin hero! What would Les Paul do?

Lower VOC, Better-smelling Dry Erase Pens

PLEASE. Someone at the FDA said they are "certified non-toxic", but man do they smell to high heaven. I want a pen not a piece of chalk, so that's where I'm going and I want it to be much less chemically offensive. I can't quite get with the concept that just because it says it's non-toxic that it's good for me to huff...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

iPhone head to head gaming

Via Bluetooth: Battleship, Stratego,
Pong, mmorpg, the opportunities abound. Better than infrared Palm
games I played back in 1998...

Sent from my iPhone

iPhone Wii controller

Its got Bluetooth and an accelerometer built in already.

Sent from my iPhone

The best coat rack in the world

Made with strong hollow tubes that send heat from an HVAC duct into
each coat, with adapters for gloves and hats.

Sent from my iPhone

Compact Universal Foot Pump Generator

SSIA. I want to charge my iphone while I use it, and get a little
exercise. Wife wants to occupy her time with some exercise distraction
while she pumps breastmilk.

The generator should have a 12v and a 115v inverter, and the deluxe
version would have a big Li-Ion battery pack that gets charged if you
don't use the power. Not a bike, must be compact.

Sent from my iPhone

Children's Sewer Tour

Part science trip, part treasure hunt, part Mission Impossible photo
shoot, part cultural history.

Sent from my iPhone

Band: Lambic Pentameter

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trex Detector Series

Trex is that excellent plastic lumber made from recycled bottles and bags. It's expensive enough as it is, but I want to got one step further. I want that Trex to be embedded with sensors. I want to know torque information. I want to know moisture levels. I want to know projected lifespan of the product given the current usage. I want to know when it's too slippery to run on (a common problem with Trex). Gimme more data! Crackalacka!

iPhone Bluetooth Remote Keyboard

I want to use my iPhone as a keyboard for my Mac to practice my keyboarding. It's a BT device, why can't I have what I want? Hackers made it a universal remote, I'm sure they can make it a keyboard. And, a way to drive my remote control electric car. And a way to solve poverty and world hunger. Ahh, irrational exuberance.

Kinetic Bridges

Bridges sway all the time, (have you seen 520 in Seattle/Bellevue??) and that's a lot of kinetic energy. Have some heavy duty engineering done at the hinges and interstices of the bridge deck to pick up that precious power that's lost in motion. Could at least power the lights on the thing.

Solar Tube Glowing Diffusers

Nightlights that are charged by the sun. The solar tube concept is proven and fully excellent already, I just want to improve it one notch. The sun comes down a mirrored tube from the lens on the roof and lights up a room with beautiful natural sunlight, even down to the basement. The end of that tube is a diffuser. That diffuser could and should be laced with glow stuff, the phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark material that we know and love. It could charge up all day while still letting the right amount of light in, then continue casting glow-light for 2 hours more. Totally doable, yo. To quote my man Beck, Hell Yes.
To quote my man Obama, Yes We Can.

Visual DJ Battle on Giant Screens Downtown

Admittedly biased to the genre, I think there should be a huge festival that showcases live video DJ battles in a large format venue for the public to enjoy. The medium needs big bigness to get full effect sometimes. It's lights and sound and fury and entertainment. The live stuff would have to incorporate the crowd and the venue and the echoing of sound off the walls of Nordstrom's. Westlake, HO!

Green Retrofit Tax Breaks

If you improve your home's energy efficiency by a certain wattage or btu's, you should get a tax break commensurate with that savings. You should win twice. If you put up solar panels, the govt gives you some loot. Better than panels, you reduce your demand on this ever-more-fragile centralized power grid. Further, you might as well penalize those that don't get to reduction and conservation by a certain time frame as well. Carrot and stick, bro. I'd rather not charge a dime to the homeowner, and have the city/state/county/feds pick up the tab on every energy audit and consulting gig I do.

"Gut" is "intuition" is "genius"

Hybrid reporting from the field. It turns out that your gut feelings are simply those that you have without first thinking about them. Those, according to recent scientific research, are the most accurate and often more creative. It's your built in genius, the little voice that knows stuff already. The consummate synergizer in your wee little brain that has already sussed it out and has the answer for you, as long as you quit all that damn thinking. Turns out the harder you think about a solution, the more your brain gets in your way about it. SO: quit thinking so much. When I do this idea stuff, roughly half of all the ideas I come up with are those that start with a blank blog entry screen. True there are ideas that I cook up over time, or that I have been itching to get down but didn't have the right venue at the time. But most really good ones, honestly, are those that have sprung out of the raw necessity of trying to get 3 down before midnight! I'm no genius, but the intuition and gut reactions that YOU have might very well be righter than any stewed-over debate of a thought you got.

The other night I blew up my keyboard with ideas, coming up with 8 ideas between 11:26 and 11:52. Most days it takes hours to stew up that many ideas, sometimes they've been cooking for years. But when I looked at the clock and got cracking, the ideas flowed out one after the other.

I had recently read an article that basically says that ideas don't come better with stressful attention to them, but when the person is relaxed, not really thinking of that particular thing in the first place. In my case, ideas occur at all times, and often when I am indeed asking my brain directly for them.

It's true, though ,that the concept might be on to something. The study in the article (I may dig it up soon) went on to say that time was an issue, and that more time didn't equal better ideas or a better solution to a problem. I agree for myself at least. For me, the initial idea is usually on target, with a "gut" feeling when it hits. Intuition? I'm not quite sure. This one, my peeps, is still cooking...

Family Secretary

Not necessarily an innovation per se, but a darn good idea: Family Secretary. Somebody in every family, immediate and then extended, to document the family's existence and meaning. Who's taking the photos? Who's writing the epitaphs? Who knows the addresses of your 3rd cousins? Where's the family tree? Best get to making sure that somebody has that job. And, secretary has the word "secret" in it.
I lost my 6th grade spelling bee on that one. All the more reason to pay more attention...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Smart Bolts

More nano-tech. Bolts that have a carbon nanotube running down the center that knows how much it's being torqued. Great for lug-nuts on cars, so you can tell how hard you have to tighten it in order to be safe and secure. Could use kinetic energy to give off a tiny amount of light, brighter=tighter.

Things this blog could do 4 U & me

  • bring ad revenue if I can figure out how
  • add friends and commnunity who want to use me as a creative consultant
  • cause a bunch of other people who have ideas to start blogging them because like me they can't bear to die with their idea in their head.
  • help me eventually patent or sell an idea that I've blogged, make millions and start an idea incubator that sponsors my Idea Camp.
  • help get the Green idea out there some more.
  • continue to heal my aching mind as the weight of unspoken ideas is lessened.

iPhone Video iChat hack, iLike

So, my iPhone has a nice little 2.0 megapixel camera and I've seen the hack programs that let it be a video camera, but sadly there're no looking into the camera as you see the other person during iChat like I can from my iMac. Crappy i naming convention!

The answer, dear Apple, is to hack a little mirror that snaps onto the top of the iPhone that will bounce your image back to the camera on the other side of the phone. Must have other purposes, like as a signal when you're shipwrecked or a makeup mirror. Must look Apple-y.

Parking Space Guides

In Seattle, many beautiful craftsman homes get this tiny little slot of a parking space, right off the main arterial. It requires some kind of superhuman telemetry to park your Outback at a sharp 45 degree angle, doing 20 mph in order not to hold up traffic.

Enter: Space Guides. It's a recycled plastic product that guides you into your space on rails. Like an automated car wash without the automation. Think Washington State Ferry docks. At the end, you get a gentle rubber stop to maximize parking spaces while keeping your car from scraping the underside on a cement curb.

Redneki Hana!

Surly, talented, and genuine short order cook will griddle bacon, eggs, chicken fried steak, pork chops and hush puppies at your table. He/she will make fun of you and your friends while whipping you up a fabulously greasy meal.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adhesive speaker wire

For new audio installations, a coating of adhesive that would let you put the wire up in any way you want. Great for college dorms and pre- wiring homes before putting up the drywall. Sticky stuff that could be light adhesive like on postit notes or perhaps washable jelly-plastic like those toys that emulate gecko fingers.
EMG idea, thanks!

Sent from my iPhone

Peak meter audio cables

What if your speaker wires actually showed you the music inside it?
If they had sensitive enough materials, they might be able to show
rising and falling e.q. Levels. The data could be simply and grossly
translated into LED musical beauty, pulsing with the rhythm of the
music being pumped through it.

Sent from my iPhone

Neighborhood political reconciliation

After attending my recent caucus (and becoming a delegate), I realized
that my neighbors are pretty cool. Then I got to thinking that maybe
my republican neighbors could also be cool and also be in need of
community. So the idea is to have our caucus event be a whole day of
local politics. Meet your people and share ideas on how to make your
neighborhood better, no matter which side of the aisle you're on.

Sent from my iPhone

Self-drying pack towels

Same nano tech used in my warm baby blanket idea. Rub the towel and it
gets warm. Needs some kind of fiber that lets electrons move around.
Perhaps it might work with a fiber made up of small amounts of
magnetite or a ferrous material. Comes with a small rare earth magnet
to "activate" the heat by moving electrons quickly.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hybrid Life Hack

A very cool trick to do to yourself if you're in a life rut. List all the jobs you've ever had in your life. All on one piece of paper. Preferably, make a mind-map of them, putting them in bubbles all over the page. Space them out enough so that you can draw lines between them, then draw those lines.

The lines themselves need to be thoughts, stringing together the two jobs. Fast Food Assistant Manager connects with Radio Shack stock boy via "retail, mall, easy" or "sucky, free food, corporation". Try to stay positive, though. When you've connected a few jobs, see if you can make a hat-trick. Use the connecting phrases to help describe the new job or hybrid optimization of those two. You'll see new jobs and career paths opening up and perhaps one will shine for you, but keep going until you've made at least 3 solid job connections.

If you do it with the faith required and hope injected, you'll see new possibilities for a brand new (but incorporating the old) life for yourself. Another stepping stone perhaps. If you don't find the connections this round, take another look at it later. Maybe the only thing that comes from it is "I hate retail jobs" or "I don't like working in the outdoors for non-profits". That's a great thing to know...

Think Fast, Hippie!

A bumper sticker on the back of my late great friend Damien's car. It has a silhouette of a running guy with longish hair trailing behind. It means something more than it's facade of funny... It's a call to action. If you're a hippie, you DO have to think fast. Storm's a comin', and you gots ta get ready. Is that revolution I smell in the air?

1968 Miami #2

Its a feeling , its a time, it's a song, a color and a culture.
Unlocked front doors.
Neighbor kids. Cousins. Simon and Garfunkel. Sandals. Innocence.
Chasing lizards in the back yard. Joan Baez.
Creamsicles and Coke and fireworks on a warm night.
Running barefoot on hellishly hot pavement en route to the neighbors'
pool. Jim Croce. Nixon. Palm trees. Safety.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, February 8, 2008

Quckly find your Geek

A band name , an album name, a warning call.
If you're a geek and you're proud, you best get to finding your partner. We geeks tend to be slower on the draw in terms of mating, and often underestimate our own attractiveness and selectability. That's the mating part.

If you're not a Geek, you should find a friend in your world who is one and figure out what they are trying to say. They are here for the good of the world and come in peace. Support your local Geek, and you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

Sent from my iPhone

A month of ideas, and a new idea

Hey Idea Peeps: thanks for sticking it out with me. For those of you who have subscribed to my RSS feed, thanks a ton. It's been one month now since my first idea postings, and I've achieved my goals for this month and then some. My goal is to come up with an average of 3 novel ideas per day. A month later, I've got 153 entries, which if you subtract 3 non-idea ideas (like voting for Obama), I'm still at 150 ideas (including band names and album names). Break that down on a per diem basis and you've got an average of 5 ideas per day. Hooray for me, but to what end? I'll be exploring this question as the ideas roll out...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Zen garden carpet

Tell me you don't want a thick shag carpet that looks like white gravel and comes with a cool bamboo rake for making zen inspired designs. If you tell me you don't want this, you don't like Japan or anything groovy. Just kidding, you are way groovy.

Sent from my iPhone

iPhone stylus and digital brush

Like for my old Wacom pad. For the eventual drawing app after the SDK
comes out. I do like the precision of a stylus. Fo sho.

Sent from my iPhone

Wattage sensing outlets

No duh. I want all new grounded outlets to have a simple LED readout
(like on the famous Kill-a-watt) that tells you exactly what kind if
power you're drawing when you plug something into it. Might as well
make a deluxe version that will send that data to your computer and/or
X10 home automation system.
Kablam! ZAPU!

Sent from my iPhone

Proximity sensing lamps

So you don't like going blind as you accidentally stare into a powerful halogen lamp? Waah. Might I suggest a proximity sensor for lamps over a certain wattage? I might, rabbit...

Sent from my iPhone

Cheap RFID biz cards

Sheesh, I'm lazy. I don't want to scan peoples biz cards when I get
them. If they had a cheap embedded RFID chip, then I could simply wave
my reader over the card and it would go directly into my contact
manager. Yeah yeah.

Sent from my iPhone

Bluetooth printer adapter

I look over at my old used HP 300dpi laserjet and recall simply
attaching a cord to it and printing immediately from my mac. Now I
want even easier printing by way of a Bluetooth dongle so I can print
directly from my iPhone.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Walmart graywater

Huge roofs with huge cisterns makes for lots of runoff collection.
Walmart says they are going solar so why stop there? They could treat
their own water inside and Culliganize it for sale if they want.
Providing their roofs are clean enough I guess.

Sent from my iPhone

Grey Water Fire Hydrants

SSIA. We use way too much fresh water for dousing flames. Let's make big rainwater/greywater cisterns (and integrated homes to tie into them) that get pumped out for firefighting instead of using treated fresh water for the purpose.

Universal Web Entry Form

I cannot tell you how pissed I am when I see a screen for signing up for something on the web. Okay, I can tell you: very pissed. typing in the same crap over and over, not knowing if it's being used for nefarious purposes or what. I want to hit one button and go. I know the autofill thing is supposed to do it, but I find I have to type stuff in again and again. I don't want to do it anymore, dangit!

Intercontinental Bullet Train

I woke up this morning from a dream (after a series of other dreams) in which the final phrase/moment was "TGV Around the World!". Mos def, my peeps. It would be a massive undertaking, but what if we had a pair of highest-speed rail lines that literally spanned the globe, connecting to existing rail lines at existing stations as well as being integrated into a super-fast next generation hydrofoil for ocean crossings? Boeing and Airbus could make the trains (as the trains would supplant some of the air traffic). Lots of jobs could be created, lots of fuel saved (over hundreds of years if well built), and I would buy a ticket on it just to go around the globe in record time. Ah, dreams.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

American Democracy v 2.2

We need, the world needs a new kind of hope, dammit. I want my vote to
count, I want to decide for myself who to vote for. I don't need a
delegate. I need a coalition of like minded people to work for me in
government. Let this election be the one that says we need our vote to
count, for real.

Sent from my iPhone

R-Value analyzer

Remote device that communicates wirelessly through the wall or
window that transmits the heat "signal" and one part that recieves it.
Tells you precise R-values on site.

Sent from my iPhone

album name: 50 in one electrical projects

band name: Hungry Hungry Hippos

band name: Pretty Sneaky Sis

Monday, February 4, 2008

Warming pockets for soccer shorts

Seriously. Fleece-lining. Adds hip padding for turf shock absorption
as a bonus. Toss a hand heater in there for winter games. Also doubles
as pocket.
Um, triples.

Sent from my iPhone

Musical Lincoln Logs

As if you had changed all the normal wooden building logs for kids
into marimba keys. Build up towers and then play them. Knock them down
with a satisfying chorus of destruction. They would have to have the
notes stamped/burned into each block. Natural stained wood. Optional
rack to play them like a xylophone. Recycled or reclaimed wood or
bamboo. X2 ideas.

Sent from my iPhone

Buddhist world cup

Competitions include "detachment off", "good wishes for all sentient brings video podcast", and "meditation decathalon".

Sent from my iPhone

Baby/planet safe butt dryer

I have had great success with an idea that I learned from my older sister: use a hairdryer on its side to dry off (and warm) baby while changing.

I would improve it by reducing the wattage (currently an arctic-melting 1500 watts) and making it quieter than the current Boeing 777 db levels we currently enjoy. While I am at it I'll add a flavor other than burned hair. Can I flavor the air? Damn right I can.

Sent from my iPhone

Water soluble vaporizer flavors

Lavender, eucalyptus, maple bar. We have a vaporizer and i would like
it to smell much yummier or at least more natural.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Local Kid Done Good

I think neighborhoods should support their local children. I want a program in place in every neighborhood in America to start intentionally and seriously supporting the kids. Whether that means scholarships or job opportunities or simply a hand in building their dream soap box derby car. We need to take a fresh look at the neighborhood dynamic and make it much more robust. It's one of the first places that you can truly see community development really work. Kids first, though. Neighborhood councils are a great place to start. Must be apolitical.

First thing would be to simply get to know the kids themselves. Have a meet your neighborhood kids night. Make a website for them to post their questions and progress as they grow. If someone is interested in playing guitar, neighbor loans one. If they need money for a school project, neighbors provide work to do for money. Support your local kid. Seriously.

Obama in 08

This is one of the best ideas ever. A new direction for the USA, a new direction for the world. We need a statesman, a leader, a pragmatist, a unifier, a fresh mindset, a grassroots supporter, a progressive as President of the USA.

He can win the general election with his legions of young voters, disenfranchised voters, independent voters, true replublican voters, values voters, progressives, people who want out of Iraq and other wars of aggression, people who want alternative energy solutions to become law during their lifetime, people who want an overhaul to the healthcare system, and pretty much everyone in the USA. That's Obama's key demographic: Real Americans. If you consider yourself one, he's your candidate, it's a fresh, new, good idea.

Iphone Car Adapter

I want to use my iPhone in my car, but don't want to hassle with it. I want a plug in system that lets me dock my iPhone for viewing, routes the mic and speakers to the car, and sends the video out to a screen behind my headrest for viewing and interaction for my backseat people. Obviously, it should charge the thing as well, maybe even make a data backup for it on a separate internal HD. Please, Apple, Make this..

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dramatic Path Lighting!

When I walk from my car to my house, I want a motion-triggered light to swivel around and light up my way. EMG submission, damn she smart!

Red Light for Fridge

So I don't freakin go night blind every time I get up to get some juice at night, I want a switch on the outside of the fridge that I can flip to make the main fridge light go off and a red light inside go on. Could be even easier, just turn the intensity of the light already in there down to a minimum. Has to be from the outside though, or perhaps be put on a timer so it happens at night and not in the day.

Baby Warm Blanket

I want a nano-enhanced blanket that when you rub the blanket back and forth a couple times, it gets cozy and warm without burning the kid. Not an electric blanket, just a quick and easy solution to the "woken up baby due to cold bedding" problem.

Baby Sock Savers

Baby socks fall off all the time. They need to be held up somehow. One idea is to clip them on to the pants, but how about a string that connects the two socks together, just like mittens were strung together when you were a kid, so you wouldn't lose them. EMG idea submission.

Neighborhood Superintendent

Just like the super in a New York City apartment building, people who have their own homes also need someone to take care of maintenance. I want to know who they are (be from the neighborhood), I want to know they know what they are doing (licensed and bonded). I don't want to have to bother about whether or not to trust them (his/her kids go to my kids' school.) They should be able to do carpentry and plumbing, and be able to sub out bigger or more technical jobs, and generally be able to take care of business in the homes. Also, like a super, should be able to let workers into the house (so homeowners don't have to wait from "12-4" in order to let the plumber do 20 minutes of work). Does regular scheduled maintenance as well as project-based work. A general contractor of sorts who acts as a single point of contact for work to be done in your house. Idea collaboration with Michael and Elise Gruber.

Remote International Code Proofing

There should be some kind of code proofing service so that dialog boxes for software would make sense to English speaking people. I guess it's localization, but why don't people do it? Could be a big service, esp in this Global Village style digital workplace. With Help From Rod Fox.

iPhone midi control surface

Wouldn't it be nice to use the iPhone as a midi control surface for applications like Reason or Ableton live?
Sent from Rod Fox.