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I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about putting my photos on the cloud (1, 2, for example) but have always been stuck because of scalability issues. And plus, it sucks that you need a network connection to see your photos.

One day, I had an interesting idea. Instead of putting all my photos on the cloud, why don’t I just carry them around with me! I have a phone and there is “16GB” of storage. What if I can fit all my photos on my phone? It’s certainly not possible with 16GB only but I decided that it’s not important to have full resolution photos (I settled on 720p as the max resolution) and I can live with some compression because the point is not to carry around photos for editing – but to have my photos with me.

So I batch processed all my photography and resized it to 720p with decent (JPG 80) compression. Photos ended up being around 100-200kb each. And all of my photography from 2012 ended up being under 250mb! In the end, for not more than 3GB of space, I can carry around my entire photo collection; and with new technologies to output from your phone (via HDMI or chromecast etc), it should be even easier to browse the photos.

I can even sync this up to DropBox if I want it on the cloud!

With this approach, I have some drawbacks which are:

  • Not a viable backup for my photos
  • Introduces another step in “photo processing” (although I’ll probably only update the photos in my phone several times a year)
  • Not high resolution or original quality
  • Difficult to see on large screen for now

I stayed in two different Westins on two consecutive nights (second due to flight delay) and after seeing that the fixtures were exactly the same between the two locations, it hit me that the Westin brand is the same as Banana Republic chain of clothing stores. I have been shopping at Banana Republic for several years but don’t really like it anymore – I find that while their clothes are fit for professional environments, they are just plain and lack character. I realize Westins are the same way!

Like BR, the SPG has several other brands. I feel that Sheratons are a bit more varied, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not very good – kind of like GAP. Four Points by Sheraton are the cheaper brand, much like Old Navy is the cheap brother of GAP. The SPG W hotels are more unique/trendy, but expensive so they’re like the Abercrombie’s of the family. Aloft is a cheaper W-like vision so they would be like Hollister.

I’m sure the branding for certain demographics isn’t rocket science so it’s not by chance that there are analogies here, although when I pick hotels it’s mostly based on location and cost rather than a specific SPG sub brand.


One of the things I hate doing is taking the car in for maintenance. Even if the service representative isn’t pushy, I still feel like I’m getting scammed into paying money for no reason. I think the reason for this is because I don’t really know what I’m paying for.

The car industry reminds me a lot of the consumer computer industry – places like Future Shop and Best Buy will suggest that people buy extended warranties, anti virus protection, recovery discs, geek help, etc with their computer purchase. I’m sure a lot of consumers don’t actually know whether they need these services or not but are preyed upon and end up spending more money than is necessary. I feel like one of those consumers when it comes to cars.

Of course, I don’t want to feel helpless, so I try to never make impulse decisions and to do some research before committing to certain tasks. But I find it is very difficult to do research – I can’t (economically) experiment with my car to see the effects of my decision and I find the information I find online is biased. For example, I had to decide whether to do my timing replacement this weekend and did some reading online – the anecdotes were from people who suffered premature failure and those that repeated the standard line (replace it every 100,000km). The (perhaps silent majority) who had their timing belt last well over 100,000km hardly post at all; and why should they? They are quite happy with their timing belt’s longevity.

I ended up getting the timing belt replaced, because I had already put it off for almost 35,000km longer than I should’ve (obviously it didn’t snap). But it got me thinking about a recent article I read in Wired about designing for failure.

If you chart failures over time, you will almost always see some form of bell-shaped curve: A few units will fail early, most will fail in a cluster in the middle of the chart, and a few will last much longer than expected. Knowing when the first failures will happen is vital to guaranteeing reliability. On Ford parts, the very first fails aren’t supposed to happen until just after the 10-year mark (with most of them occurring much later).

I am quite confident that the maintenance guidelines for every single part are set so that the time limit is to the extreme left of the bell curve – it would be a public relations disaster if a car’s parts failed when it could have been prevented through a more pre-emptive maintenance plan. Of course that means that on average, you can safely go beyond that guideline without suffering failure. The trick, is that you don’t know the time scale of the curve so it is difficult to judge how much longer you can go (and the car companies will never tell you either).

Therefore in a way, the money that you pay for car maintenance is actually a form of insurance to ensure that your parts don’t fail. Except instead of the insurance companies having full knowledge of the statistical likelihood something will happen and charging based on that calculation, car manufacturers make you pay the full price for the part at pessimistic intervals, every time. That is an inefficient system, and a rip off.


Now that it’s been a few years and a few vacations since my last thought on travelling strategy, I’ve had a bit more of a think about what sort of vacations I want to take. I realize that there are several aspects that we generally focus on during our trip planning; we try and strike a balance, but that might not necessary be a good idea – sometimes you just want to do something specific. Here’s my though on what the different types of vacations are:

  • The Sightseeing vacation
    This is typically what you intend to do when you’re going travelling. You want to see the main tourist sites of your destination, such as visiting the Great Wall of China or Golden Gate Bridge. This type of vacation is sometimes a caricature of a vacation; you go to the attraction, take a few photos, and then move on to the next one (think: duckling tour). However, sometimes its worthwhile to visit these sites because they are amazing (have you ever seen a waterfall as long as Niagara Falls?)
  • The Cultural vacation
    When people talk about visiting Europe, I think this is the type of vacation they mean. You want to visit Paris and be able to sit in a café and watch as people pass, or you visit a poorer country and understand how people live their lives. I think we have been a bit too guilty of expecting a cultural vacation when we visit Europe; but we have just visited it so often that it is not novel anymore.
  • The Unique Experiences vacation
    Travelling to a destination just to do something Really Cool. Like staying on top of a mountain or catching a concert, or skydiving or visiting a specific restaurant. The list goes on. I think this is the most interesting type of vacation now.
  • The Culinary vacation
    This is a subset of a cultural vacation, but focused on the food. You go to a specific place to indulge in the regional specialities; for example Spain and Tapas.
  • The Shopping vacation
    You might want to go to a particular place for shopping because they sell specific brands, or have specific discounts. You can classify all our cross-border jaunts to Buffalo under this category!
  • The Learning vacation
    I classify visiting museums and other historical sites under this type of vacation. We don’t do this very much as it is not too interesting to us right now.
  • The Relax & Unwind vacation
    Another type of vacation we don’t do is to visit a beach or a resort and just sit/lie around for a week without and stress. But I know a lot of people enjoy doing this, and it is its own type of vacation.

I’ve been using my iTunes playlist strategy for over five years now in order to keep my songs fresh. But it’s a bit inevitable that I will begin to tire of my collection since I’m adding new songs much less frequently than I did in the past. The past little while when I have been listening to my music, I’ve felt that I’m beginning to tire of some songs even if they are good/great songs. In encountering this, I realize that there should be two different metrics for a song – its rating and its freshness.

The rating is easy to understand, you either really like or really hate a song or somewhere in between. I don’t think a song rating should change (unless something drastic happens such as you associating the song with a tragic event).

Freshness describes how frequent you want to hear the song, and that changes over time. When you hear a great top40 hit for the first time, it will be very fresh (say 5/5) and you want to hear it very often – maybe every day. After two weeks or so, you may still enjoy listening to the song but it will drive you crazy if you hear it all the time, so let’s say the freshness is 3/5. Then after a few months, you may still want to hear the song on occasion, but you’ve moved on to newer songs – then its freshness could be 1/5.

A smarter playlist would actually sort and pick songs based on the freshness rather than rating. You could have some 1 or 2 star songs that you want to listen to a bit more frequently for a time (say Christmas songs around Christmas) so you would adjust to freshness higher. The only problem with this approach is that there is no mechanism to record freshness in iTunes (unless you reuse the rating field or add the freshness into the actual metadata of the file). So I’m kind of stuck in how I would actually implement this.

The second problem is that when you have a large collection, it is very time consuming to keep accurate freshness of your music. There probably needs to be an automated system that would adjust freshness of songs based on your listening frequency.


I started reading Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guys. It’s interesting but also not very interesting – I mean, I am piqued by the concepts he suggests, but not so motivated to read about all the basketball stories that he uses to illustrate his points. I’ll probably get tired of it and quit reading it.

But early in the book, there are a couple of points that kick around my head. First is his claim that sports is interesting because of the unknown element. This makes a lot of sense, in fact a few days prior, I also came across this link saying that it is almost entirely uninteresting to view a replay of a sports event because although you may not know the specific outcome, you know that no (super!)-heroic event took place. However, when you’re watching a live event, there is always a chance of a ridiculous play happening which is why real-time sports is exciting.

The second point is that The Secret of winning a basketball championship is basically assembling a team of team players (although that needs to include an elite star, a co-star and supporting cast members). But I got to thinking why being a team player is so important in basketball vs the other major sports (baseball, football, etc). Immediately I thought about hockey, which is also a strong team game, but I think it’s different because 20 people on a team participate in a game of hockey (and the minutes are not heavily weighted to certain players), so at any given moment the players on the ice are different. Meanwhile in basketball, a large portion of the game will be played by the 5 starters and so their chemistry and cohesiveness can greatly affect the success of the team.


I’ve been thinking how to monetize my Android apps. I know that it will never replace my day job in terms of revenue, and that it’s more of a hobby; but it would be great to get some disposable income from the time and effort I put in.

My original thought was to have a donate model. If you liked what I did, then you can donate some money. This could be a couple of formats:

  • A Paypal-esque link
  • A donate version of the app (which sucks because then I would have to maintain two copies of the code)
  • A donate key

I’d like to provide some incentive to donate, which would be added functionality, so a donate key would work the best since I could have a single code base and then provide a small download that would unlock the functionality. I could even add the key as an app on the Android Market and distribute it that way.

That was the model I was thinking about for awhile, and it’s good for long tail revenue. Another idea has been kicking (heh) around my mind lately though.

My thought is to build apps through a patronage program. Such a thing exists, although it’s generalized – Kickstarter. How it works is that you set a funding goal, and you have 30 days where people can commit to funding your project. If you reach or exceed your funding goal, then you get the money to do your stuff, otherwise no one is worse for wear. There are a bunch of other incentives and so forth that you can read on their site.

I think this would be a good mechanism for me, because my apps are generally niche market ones, but I try to make it great and of high quality. The problem I have is that the numbers on Kickstarter are too big. It would be great to get thousands of $$$ for my work, but I don’t think that that is reasonable. I’d rather make 5 apps that get funded for $300-$500 each. I guess what I need is a micro-Kickstarter.


With the Federal election coming up, I pass by a ton of candidate signs to and from work in Markham (and two candidate offices). I noticed that the Conservative, Liberal, and NDP candidates have signs that say their name only, while the Green Party sign has the name and the picture of the candidate on their sign. This perks my curiosity – why do candidates decide to put (or not put) their image on signs? I can think of a couple of reasons why you would want to:

  • You’re a new candidate and want to be recognized
  • You look awesome/trustworthy/superior human being™ and want to subliminally convince voters to vote for you
  • You want to build an emotional connection with voters

For a parallel – take a look at advertisements from Real Estate brokers. The ones that I remember all have the Real Estate broker’s face on them (although I can’t specifically recall what they look like). That seems to indicate to me that having your face on the sign is beneficial.

Then, why would candidates choose to only advertise their name? Here’s what I think:

  • You are already recognized visually by the community
  • Your name is recognized (because you’re the incumbent etc) and much more stronger than your face
  • The impact of the party colours are more important
  • They expect people to glance quickly at the sign and thus not remember the details in a face
  • Given the limited budget, it’s cheaper to print out (and spam) simple signs
  • They are really ugly

Any other ideas?


The Viral Me starts off like a generic beginner’s guide to Web 2.0 on the web, and I was set to disregard it as a fluff piece, but it gets quite compelling and deep at the end.

By the middle of the article, it starts discussing your public profile on the internet. I share the same view and have long practiced it. I don’t try and hide myself on the internet using a variety of privacy filters and permissions. Instead I publish a lot about myself to everyone in the world! I do consciously filter what I publish to make sure that I am aware of what I’m revealing and that everyone isn’t aware of the truly private information.

The most interesting point in the article I think is this:

Now that the social layer has been built, some people say the next layer will be the game layer. The game layer will install game mechanics in everything, and game mechanics are a way to manipulate human behavior. The optimists say that we can use game mechanics to manipulate ourselves to be better—nicer, more productive, not as fat—and that the companies who figure out how to install that layer will be the next Facebooks. Here’s how Rahul explains it: “The biggest trend in Web applications right now is adding game design. With the theory of game design, you want a curve like this: increasingly large payoffs at random but increasingly spaced intervals. So the first payoff is very small, and the next payoff is a little bigger, and the next one… To begin with, you get a payoff one out of five actions, then it’s one out of twenty, then it’s one out of fifty—but those intervals have to be random. That is the key to human addiction.

Here’s a bonus topic:

I’d wager that of all the companies I’ve mentioned in this article, the one that freaks you out the most is Swipely. The place where you give it access to your credit card and it starts sharing all your purchases with your “friends.” I mean, let’s start with “give it access to your credit card.” But there’s a business that freaks people out more than Swipely. It’s called Blippy. (I know, I know: You might think that Internet companies might try not naming themselves something nonsensical that implies lots of exclamation points.) Blippy is like Swipely with one big functional difference. Blippy displays how much money you spent on something. If you buy a $365 sweater at Barneys, your Blippy friends will know you bought a $365 sweater at Barneys.

I can actually see a great use for a site like this in sharing bargains, rather than showing off your expensive purchases.


Some ideas that have been bouncing around my head.

  • The biggest leap forward in cryogenics will be invented by the fishing industry
  • If China wants to maintain their manufacturing dominance, they should invest in 3D printing research
  • Rationalization as a child = science; rationalization as an adult = economics

Earlier this month, I started messing around with Android app development, and for a two-week period, that was basically all I did in my free time. I’m glad to say that I am quite over that obsession (at least for a period now). In the end, I churned out 3 apps, VIVA Next Bus, Gas Up Eh? which is an Android front end to my gas site, and Twitter Followers which is a home screen widget that displays how many Twitter followers a user has.

Each app served an educational purpose, the VIVA app was my “Hello World”, the gas app allowed me to experiment with UI layout, and the Twitter widget taught me how to write widgets. Maybe I’ll combine all my experience into a more complex app in the future, but first I’d need a good idea to hit me.

I thought the Twitter widget was a promising idea. It could serve a (world-)wide audience, unlike my other two apps; and for some reason, no one had thought about writing something like that before! I toyed with the idea of making it a pay app – primarily because there is no way to put ads onto a widget – but in the end decided to make it free. Although I think it is a novel idea, I don’t think there is a barrier of entry that would prevent a competitor from writing a free version and killing my market. Plus, I’m not writing apps to try and make a few bucks on the side (and it would probably be only a few bucks!).


If you read my lifefeed you might notice that often I would have an item with the same status from Twitter and then from Facebook. The reason this happens is because I have the Twitter Facebook app which automatically copies my Twitter updates and posts them as Facebook status updates.

That’s a bit redundant, and one of the reason why I don’t end up using Twitter as much as I could. The other reason is because no one pays attention to my Twitter so I might as well be talking in an empty forest.

But I think I’ve finally figured out why I would want to use Twitter over Facebook. On Facebook, my status gets spammed to all my Facebook friends, but it only gets to those people. Whereas my Twitter updates are unprotected, and most importantly, they are searchable. If I have 140 character tidbits of information that I would like the world to know, they should go on Twitter, while inside jokes should stay on Facebook. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize this.


Sometimes my mind wanders. And sometimes it wanders to the topic of gaming in general. Here is one of my random thoughts:

Back in the old school days, people (i.e., kids) were poorer, games were more expensive, there were fewer releases or the combination of all of these. You ended up with one or two games that you played the crap out of. Of course that meant if your friend came over, they couldn’t play against you at all since you easily dominated them. Now it’s not like that at all. People play one game, and then move on when the next “Triple A” title comes out. The side effect is that few people are going to put in the effort to really excel at a game (rather they can use a helper like a FAQ) which I think is one reason why game companies water down the difficulty and make games easier and quicker to play.


Recently, Clearly Contacts has a promotion where they are giving away 500 pairs of glasses for free in several cities across Canada. Being a freebie, this deal is quite popular with RFDers and some members have claimed to get up to 5 free glasses in similar CC promotions in the past!

Of course, CC has a policy of only giving one free pair of glasses to a household, and I expect they have some sort of automated way to determine duplicates (because some people get caught). But, I was thinking about it and it is not straightforward to determine which orders are dups while limiting false positives.

The obvious is to use street address, but that quickly falls apart when you consider apartment residents with the same street address. You can’t allow variability based on apartment number, because then a (single) household can abuse that field. You have the same problem with postal code.

You can try to match on personal information such as email address, credit card number or name; everyone has multiple email addresses, most have several credit cards, and you can modify your name and the package should still get delivered to you.

The last piece of information is your prescription. I don’t know how statistically similar prescriptions are, but I think that needs to be the key. If you can find multiple orders with very similar prescriptions, and some other information (such as name or email or street address) are statistically similar, then those are probably orders from the same person. At least that would be how I would implement it.


Sometimes my mind wanders. And sometimes it wanders to the topic of gaming in general. Here is one of my random thoughts:

If you were to read a book, and then read through the footnotes or citations, would that count as cheating? If you were to see a movie/period piece and then research the history and setting, would that take away from your experience? Then I think if you were to read a FAQ while playing a game, that can’t be considered cheating or not really “playing” the game. There is a specific amount of content within a game and if you want to experience it all (or in a certain way) you use a FAQ. A lot of people may not go to that extent, but then there are a lot of people who just watch a movie and then move on.


From my sites-I-should-make-but-won’t (really this time!) mind, here’s an idea: there should be a site, a wiki really, which lists when things really go bad. For example, I know there is a “best before” date on my milk and my bread, but I *know* I can drink and eat it until the milk curdles or the bread gets moldy.

There’s a “best before” date on almost everything now; but I suspect it very rarely means that you actually HAVE to consume it before that date. Do vitamins really expire? I’d wager the dates are more so the companies can guarantee an acceptable level of quality in their product and so they don’t get complaints and returns.

Instead of listening to corporations, I’d really like to know the truth. Like, can I eat these spongy potatoes? they still look white when you peel them…


I don’t think we’re going anywhere for the upcoming Labour Day long weekend, even though I have a 4-day weekend. We’re mainly struggling with where to go that isn’t a waste of money, seeing as how most viable destinations aren’t actually unique. It’s always the same thing. Shopping malls, towers/observation decks, museums, parks, yadda yadda yadda.

To get past this problem in the future, we’ve begun compiling a spreadsheet of activities/experiences (and even some tourist attractions) in various cities that would be worthwhile to visit. Eventually when we build enough of a list, we can match the city, time, and price and figure out where to go!


The most neat for me in the NXE, aside from the avatars (which aren’t really useful) is the ability to queue downloads on the LIVE marketplace. I can surf to whatever I want to download (usually free), like a trial or a demo, and download it. The next time my Xbox starts up, it automatically downloads my queued downloads. This is great if I’m surfing around and finding out about new things for my Xbox.

After living with this feature, I kind of miss it in other products. iTunes can easily use this feature, since it is already account centered. If I choose to buy a song in the iTunes store, why can’t I have it downloaded to all my machines that are authorized? Apple’s not leading the way here.


In a quest for transparency, I figured I would post up some things I want to change for 2008:

1. Post up New Year Resolutions promptly
Oops, failed.

2. Make attainable resolutions
Always a goal, but see previous #.

3. More picture headlines
I would like to put more images into my blog posts. Not necessarily photos floating to the side of blogs about events, but actual image headlines (such as my previous post on music depression). This is something I think about doing all the time, but in the end it usually takes too much effort.

4. Keep track of key events

I need to keep track of important things as they happen, both in my personal life and worldwide. This is to help me write my year-end blog roundups, but also to maintain a better diary-like blog. An idea I’m thinking about is to have a monthly roundup diary post, although I expect my life is too boring to make it worthwhile.

5. Stop accumulating stuff
This has been bothering me for awhile, and really pisses me off about Christmas. Our culture is centered around possessions and materialism, but I’m at a point where I just have Too Much Stuff. I’m not against consumerism but I personally want to minimize my frivolous possessions. I’ve already started doing this, as I threw away half my closet over the holidays and will continue to throw away stuff.

6. Blog concisely
I can go on-and-on about various things until my fingers get tired. But you would just stop reading. So I’ll try and write more concise blogs, which means that I should conveniently end my list of resolutions here.


One thing that I was never good at, and still not good at, is story telling. My built-in excuse is that I’m not an extrovert. Lately however, I’ve been thinking that it’s because I don’t practice. And by practice I mean practicing telling a story, not story-telling.

What’s the difference? I’ve noticed that a lot of people end up saying the same things over and over again. I’ve had bosses that would say stuff to me during individual meetings, then go out to group meetings and say the same thing to a larger audience. In retrospect, I realized that I was the guinea pig on which they practiced their speech before actually delivering it.

I’ve often marveled at how many individuals can go up on stage and talk to an audience for an hour without notes or cues. It is a fairly common skill, and it’s not restricted to heads of state and business leaders; people speaking at conferences have it too. My guess is that this is what they do, they practice their talk in bits and pieces to various friends and peers; then on the big day, all they need to do is combine the pieces and make a big story out of it.


Having watched the Grammies and the Oscars recently, I realized that they operate under a dumb, backwards system. The voting for best *whatever* is done by a panel of industry experts that don’t necessarily reflect our views (i.e., why were the Dixie Chicks the big winners this year?). In this day of American Idol, it should be the people that vote to see the best. See NHL All-Star selections for reference.

Of course, by letting the people vote for the best *whatever*, you open the door for ballot stuffing. Such was the case in the Vote For Rory campaign, that tried to send a random non-superstar NHLer (in this case Rory Fitzpatrick of the Canucks) to the All-Star game. This was only prevented by the NHL mucking around with the numbers once they realized they couldn’t technologically block the campaign.

Of course, allowing the common fan to vote for the best song of the year would result in the same thing. American Idol is clever about it because it costs you a fee to vote. So why not build upon that thought. Here’s my idea. Every CD that’s sold will include a unique code which can be used by the consumer to vote once for that album, or a song on the album for whatever category it’s nominated in. So if I bought the Killers and the Strokes album last year, I could cast my vote for the Strokes’ First Impressions Of Earth for the rock album of the year. Or I could cast a vote for the Strokes’ album to be the best album, and Bones from Sam’s Town to be the best song. Or maybe both albums were not noteworthy and I just won’t use my votes.

I think this is a good idea because it puts the voting power back into the people supporting the music industry; the people that are actually buying CDs. But maybe I’m just describing the fan-awards from the Billboard Music Awards or MMVAs.


In the previous two parts, I talked about my current hobbies and the difficulties of starting new hobbies. I’ve been holding the third post back, because I was hoping that I would think up more ideas. Well that hasn’t happened so I’ll just discuss some potential hobbies that I’ve thought about but haven’t picked up. Why? well here’s why:

Playing the Stock Market
This hobby has a great reward! Provided I have enough money to make trading stocks worthwhile. But I think the more depressing feature is that it just takes too much time. First, to learn enough information to decide what to trade, and second to monitor the market so as to know when to sell. Oh yeah, there’s also the risk that you won’t actually come out ahead. Of course, I could just buy blue chips and let them sit there, but how’s that a hobby then? That’s what mutual funds are for. Some more reading for you unbelievers out there

Networking
Networking, I think, has the greatest benefit of my hobby picks, but it’s more of an intangible benefit since you can’t really see it (or rely on it but I digress). It’s also a hassle because 1) I’m an introvert, 2) it’s so superficial, 3) I’m not interested in the networking “activities”, and 4) there’s no immediate benefit!

Wedding Planning
Hey yeah I could do this, but there’s so much to do and no plan to go about doing it!

Climbing
This seems like it would be fun since so many of my friends do it, but it’s somewhat expensive and seems like such a hassle to travel so far only to spend more effort climbing a man-made wall.

Hitting the Gym

Another hobby which involves physical exertion, but that isn’t the part that is the hassle. The difficulty I think is planning and scheduling. Without figuring out which sets of muscles to work on when, and going to the gym regularly; I don’t think I would get a lot of bang for the buck (although it’s free…).

More Games
I’ve been thinking about starting WoW, mainly because the box has been staring at me since Boxing Day, but I don’t have anyone to play with; and ultimately, while I think it will be fun, I’m sure that it will just be the tedious waste of time I remember. I’ve also had thoughts about buying a Nintendo DS as it seems like it will be fun. I’m not sure whether I will enjoy playing on a small screen though. And anyways, these ideas are just different variations of a unrewarding hobby.


If you could cause one invention from the last hundred years never to have been made at all, which would it be, and why?

Various science people answered this question with embedded advertising, nuclear weapons, calculators (?), landmines, and other weird answers. I thought about this question for a couple of seconds and here are my ideas:

Television. TV can be argued to be the source of obesity, stupidity (jackass, Punk’d), violence, and the retardness of society. Just think how normal we would be without Jerry Springer, if we didn’t have Star TV/Entertainment Weekly/Inside Edition to sate our celebrity lust, or the lunacy of American Idol. Parents would be forced to pay attention to their kids, and kids would have to read books or go out doors. TV is a sinkhole for time with little value, especially if you are watching 24. What do you get out of 24? a story?

Instant Messaging. I am of the opinion that IM is useless. It is a quick and easy form of email. But why don’t we just use email instead? I always have my email client and IM open. I have my friends as contacts on my IM and I have my friends in my address book. Now they both use an email address as an unique identifier! Why don’t we just use email for both? At least sending and receiving is a standard, unlike IMs where there is ICQ, MSN, AIM, Jabber, gTalk, YIM, + countless others.

So what about you? what one invention from the last hundred years would you make disappear?



We had a discussion the other day about reputations and relationships. I brought up the point that there were private and public reputations; a public reputation being what society thinks of you (i.e. your feedback on eBay), and private reputation being what a certain person thought of you.

Relationships in this context on the other hand, are set roles between two people. Currently, IMs suggest that you organize your contacts by relationships; you have groups for co-workers, groups for college buddies, etc. However I don’t think this really works because you may keep in close contact (or want presence information) with a small selection of people from every group. The way things are setup now, you would have a difficult time keeping track of the people you want to.

I think the better way to organize contacts on your contacts list is by (private) reputation. So people that you talk to more often would be higher (and more accessible) on your list than the ones you hardly remember. The best way would be if there was some functionality in your IM client that automatically did this for you. Of course you could still view your contacts from a relationship paradigm, but I think this alternate view would be better than sorting contacts alphabetically or by status.

related:
Parts of my Ideal IM Program


From going to Karaoke too often lately (well for me at least), I’ve been thinking about how to setup my own Karaoke system. After some research, it doesn’t seem to be that difficult to do. I would need a videocard with dual outputs, one to a monitor and the second being a TV-out. The mic can connect to the sound card, which then can be output to the home theatre system (or connected directly to that), and finally there is software available which provides the song playing functionality, although the menu system could use a iTunes-like revamp.

The problematic part I think, is getting the songs themselves. Even if I only attempt to get the top 100 songs of every year, that’s at least 1000 songs; and the selection would still be shit.