Thursday, October 18, 2007

forgotten futures

"The end of the day comes closer to my ear and whispers casually that she'll be leaving me alone."
-Me, 20 minutes ago.

It was a quiet morning when the past abandoned me for her other lovers. A story follows, but it's too late to open her now.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fallujah

Ithaca College today had the audacity to introduce and screen a film as a documentary, "Fallujah". I am still processing my rage.

Put These Into My Car

Every day that I drive, stuck in traffic, I find myself wishing for little things--often simple things to make my drive faster, safer, more enjoyable. I doubt anyone's listening, but by golly gershwin I'm going to write them down.

1. Front side brake lights.

Yes. When that lunatic without a turn signal is slowing down--I'd like to know. My eyes are pretty good, but sometimes it's hard to tell when someone is actually slowing down. If I'm at a stop sign, waiting to turn, I could turn faster if I knew the car approaching were slowing down. If I'm driving towards a crosswalk, and I don't see the pedestrian step out but the oncoming car from the other direction does--I'll see his brake light and know something's up.

A simple set of red lights below the headlights would do the trick.

2. Yellow lights before green.

Oh yes. Europe has it, and it's a joy. A short, 2 second yellow light (the same yellow light preceding red) appears before the green (or blue). It keeps traffic flowing smoothly. It's so simple, yet so effective.

3. WiFi Everything.

I want so much, it's hard to contain myself. I want WiFi radio stations for my stereo. I want to communicate with other cars without honking. I want to know if there's a car coming toward me in the evening fog that I can't see yet. I'd like my car to calculate right-of-way at a 4-way stop and inform everyone else as well. Traffic info.

4. USB plug for the onboard computer.

I would love to know what's on that chip. Why is that dashboard light on? Just route a cable to the cigarette lighter space and let me plug it into my laptop. Let me download the mileage, calculate my fuel economy, alert me to problems, see my daily usage--starts, stops, trips, etc. All of that isn't on the chip, but start with the chip and make everything accessible via USB, bluetooth or WiFi.

5. No more cigarette lighters.

I don't smoke. I don't need to light things on fire while I drive. I hate the adapters to plug things in. Just give me a plug. No adapter. Just a plug. Now, please.

6. WiFi alarm.

Back on the WiFi trail. I have a program for my Mac in case it's stolen. If so, I report the theft to the company. They ping my laptop the next time it comes online, activating the theft software. It starts broadcasting its location, logging all keystrokes, and silently feeding video images of the thief back home. It can't be erased or uninstalled (without the very secure admin password). Why not in my car? I hate the noisy alarm. Just start rolling film, broadcast location, and send the crook to jail. As soon as the car comes within range of a hotspot.. bam. Or give it a disposable phone number to SMS data. Anything.

7. Cameras.

I'd like to end the insurance speculations now and forever. Just put 4 cameras (or more) on the 4 sides of the car. Build them into the frame. Record everything on a little hard drive in the trunk. Next time I get rear-ended, I'll simply show the video to the police and walk away with my check. You can also fight those tickets. Prove you came to a complete stop. Prove that crazy man jumped out in front of you.

8. Breath-a-lizer in dash.

I never want to drive under the influence, but sometimes I have a few drinks on an empty stomach that hit me a little harder than I'd like. I don't notice it until AFTER I start driving. What an awkward feeling, I can tell you. I doubt I've ever been illegal behind the wheel, but I'd love to be able to make a snap decision before even turning the car on: drive or cab it.

Anyways, that's my wish list for today.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Open P2P (Peer to Peer) to Life

I'm just one fellow, and not terribly educated at that; so my opinions may not be grounded in actuality. Nonetheless, I've been thinking of a few ideas, wondering if anyone else has thought of them and if they're any good.

1. P2P networking. Why not host websites over P2P? Sure, you'd need a client to fetch them for you. But you already need a browser to see websites anyways. Sure, they'd be more vulnerable to change, perhaps. But you could design some checks and balances. Of course, maybe change is good. Maybe allowing websites to evolve over P2P could be radical and fun. On the upside, anyone could create a website. No one could take it down. Maybe there's other benefits/dangers as well.

-Also, why not create a P2P file system, based on xfs or ext3 or jfs or something like that. One could install applications, do all sorts of craziness--databases, etc.

2. Consolidate email, SMS, and IM into one solution with many options. In the first, what about *really* instant email? Wouldn't that be neat? If email were as fast as IM--would you need anything else? What about P2P over email? Now it seems like I'm stuck in a P2P mode of thought. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe not.

3. What about wiki everything? Wiki-phonebooks. Wiki-advertising. Wiki-directories. Wiki-life. What about my life on wiki? Family trees. You name it. Wiki-news. I'm tired of getting calls from numbers that I don't know and can't find. Sure, there's 800info.com, but wouldn't a wiki be better? Also, directories of websites are great. Why aren't they wiki-possible? It could go on and on.

4. What about news id tags? Like an RSS feed, I'd like to be able to subscribe to a news item. For example: "United 572 crashes into Pacific, cause unknown." Why not let the first person to write the story assign a unique number that all other agencies use as well. Then, all updates to the story get branched off that number. 4 days later, when I want to know the status of that story--I've got the micro-rss of it, pulling articles from every major news source to fill me in. Like an IMDB or AllMusic or database for news. Specifically, I want updates of the Australian ghost ship that hit the news a few months back. Every time I think of it, it's harder and harder to find.

5. Login consolidation. I have keeping multiple logins, multiple profiles, multiple passwords. I hate recreating my profile on every site I frequent. I hate registering for sites. There's a feature in Joomla 1.5 that promises Google authentication. That seems like a good start. I just wish I could create a Facebook style username/password/profile for my identity and use that same identity on every site I want to leave my mark on. P2P identity. Too much? Not sure. But dear god, I wish it were here now.

6. What about a site devoted to ideas like this? I'm not sure a site is the answer--it seems like a needless waste. Maybe a better way to connect ideas. A Google extension for ideas. Not keywords but concepts. I'm searching for innovative ideas (not to suggest these ideas are innovative) or answers to my questions about potential ideas, and I can't seem to find them.

Anyways, I'm just tossing the idea out there. Maybe it's worth someone's time. Maybe not.