Sunday, 30 August 2009

Laserquest + smartphone => fun

Imagine playing laserquest (aka Quasar) anywhere, with anyone, just using your phone. Play on the street, urban warfare style; play in the park. The necessary additions to existing smartphone technology are a transmitter at the top of the phone and a set of sensors on its sides. The phone can be held like a StarTrek phaser or clipped into a gun (like a Wii-mote fits into a plastic gun).

This concept makes the best use of smartphone technology: the screen displays a map, and puts you and your opponents on as (labelled, different coloured) dots (using GPS technology); you can call you friends whilst playing to coordinate tactics (a bluetooth headset is preferable); flip the phone's camera forward to video (or take stills of) the action (for upload via 3G); automatically log scores online (using 3G) to a national competition database or just a score table of you and your mates.

Animal vs godly

Mass media tends to converge on delivering things that appeal to our very base, genetic level, primitive instincts: sex; violence; good vs evil. Mass food converges on sugar, fat and salt. We surpass our animal selves on a daily basis, but be regress through media and food.

Man is half animal, half god. We must strive for our godly side.


Animal God
Actee Animal Trys to best Trys to educate
God Trys to best Cooperates

Perfection is boring

No really, it is.

Perfect people/perfect system - catch chicken 22 egg

If we change the system (e.g. communist revolution) then it fails because the people aren't perfect. But we can't change the people becuase they're encouraged not to be perfect by the system (e.g. trying to convince people living in a capitalist society not to be selfish).

Law, policy, perverse incentives and individualism

The problem with many laws and policies is that they create perverse incentives and require further laws and policies to patch them up and these laws and policies may create perverse incentives...

So when designing laws and policy, we need to identify all the things society wants to achieve, and what all perverse incentives.

For example:

To ensure equality we may wish that there is no ownership of land (which is the only thing that doesn't depreciate or expire). But we also want land and the buildings on them to be maintained and no damage done.

The individual's incentive to own land is to make profit through both use and appreciation. The individual's incentive to maintain assets is linked to the ability to make profit from them.

So against these criteria for achievement and these individual's incentives we could perhaps: tax profit (after inflation) on the sale of land at 100%; annually tax land in proportion to area or perhaps value extracted (e.g. for mineral extraction); and fine people for polluting land. Individuals still have incentive to maintain buildings as tax on profit would be at a lower rate, allowing personal gain.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Spider-diagram unlimited canvas

I currently document my thoughts on this blog and in a collection of text documents and spreadsheets. What I want is a unlimited canvas, similar to a presentation editor (e.g. Powerpoint) with the ability to put in textboxes (with as much functionality as something like Word), spreadsheets (with as much functionality as something like Excel), pictures, etc and have all of these linked with labelled arrows showing the web of my thoughts.

File manager vs summary document

The problem with file manager is that a lot of the information regarding where things are stored (and why), and what documents are (without looking at them), is stored in the users brain. This poses problems for different users and the forgetfull. A summary document with links to all documents would solve this problem. The summary document would be like a home page of a website, with categories and links to every document.

Simple cat autofeeder

Cat autofeeders are ridiculously expensive. Yet an autofeeder for dry food could be done so simply. Get an alarm clock. Wire a motor into the buzzer. Use the buzzer to drive a notched wheel that allows food to fall from a silo into a chute. Set the alarm.

Losing a part of yourself

We are our memories. The objects around us, particularly souvenirs, keepsakes and photographs help us to remember. The people around us help us remember. We are what we own and our relationships. If we lose an object or a person, we lose part of ourself.

Ease of liquidation

We need to make it quicker to liquidation companies to reduce the waste of resource during the liquidation process. Companies should be required to report a liquidation statement in their financial statements, which would be audited and published. This way, the information necessary to quickly liquidate a company would be readily available.

All internal documents on a wiki system

It should be possible to put all internal documents of an organisation on a wiki-system that allows anyone to edit documents, anyone to create documents and, most importantly, allows the recording of meta-information about documents. All documents in the organisation should be linked in together (no orphans).

As some information in an organisation is confidential, sections of the wiki could be locked-off (similar to a file system). Similarly, some documents could be declared as records (e.g. internal policies) to prevent tampering.

Organisational timelines

Time is one of the most effective ways of organising information. Organisations should put timelines on their websites and intranets with as much date-related information on them as possible: both events (happen at a single unit of time, e.g. day) and periods (happen over a multiple periods of time). Each entry on the timeline should be a link to further information.

The user should be able to filter the information by tags, such as appointments (showing when board members were appointed and left) and publications (when a document was published). An internal intranet timeline should act as a wiki so any staff member can add events.