Idea: Material collector

As a consultant I get many different costumers and the most common way for me to get information and material is in small attachments, one at a time, spread out through the whole project. I don’t think it’s possible to get every new customer to use some kind of FTP or anything else that’s more complicated than their already tried and true way of attaching files in an email.

The point would be to automatically store all attachments in some form of group. Either a new view in Outlook/Gmail, or just automatically saving all attachments to a folder. It could prompt if it doesn’t know what project the attachments belongs to.

Idea: Unnecessary code comment generator

I remember when I was trying out XNA back when it was launched in 2007. The first line of code in the sample was “graphics.Initialize()”. Wonder what it does? MSDN said: “Initializes graphics”. Wow… Thank you Captain Obvious. Today at work I saw “loadXML(); // Loads the XML”. Couldn’t decide if I should laugh or cry.

I prefer code that’s readable and documents itself in a way. That’s why it would be funny to write a little app/script that adds completely unnecessary comments to your code. Like the classic “i++; // increments i”. It could be used to play a prank on co-workers that are coming back from vacation.

The sad part is that this already exists. And it’s a serious product. GhostDoc. I have to start selling my funny ideas as serious products to unknowing wannabe managers…

Idea: Technical translator

I often find it hard to translate words that aren’t commonly used in conversations, like technical terms. Normally I use when translating words between English and Swedish. Sentences is a completely different beast, I’ll rely on Google Translate for now.

But when I want to translate the name of a city, a language, a lesser known piece of machinery, chemical substances, a software engineering concept or anything else I find most translators inadequate. That’s when I usually use Wikipedia, look up the word I want, and then check the left column for “In other languages” and the language I want. If I find it, I also find what that word is in that language. That works surprisingly often, and the results “update themselves” thanks to the living nature of Wikipedia.

A simple website/app should be able to do this with a simple webscrape.

Idea: Funny translator

Thought it would be funny with a translator that works kind of like the “whisper game”. You know, you whisper something to someone, who then whispers it to the next person, and so on, and the last person repeats out loud what he heard. It’s a funny game because what the last person heard is rarely anything like what was said in the beginning.

I thought of using Google Translator and make a sentence jump through a couple of translations (English to Japanese to German to Hindi to Spanish and then back to English). The results should be pretty interesting/funny!

Seems like someone already done this though.

Idea: Client view for Pivotal Tracker

In the project I’m managing we’re evaluating Pivotal Tracker as our online Scrum tool. I wanted the client to have a good view of our progress so I gave him viewing rights to it. Didn’t work out that well. He couldn’t map the dev teams stories to the feature set overview we had written and prioritsed.

Pivotal Tracker has a friendly API which lets you access your data. One could build a special view outside of Pivotal Tracker that shows bigger features, and gets the data by aggregating several stories. I’m thinking something along the lines of a Scrum or Kanban board, but for the customer.

There are other parameters my client wants to see that aren’t really part of Scrum. Like our time budget and overall project progress. They too would be part of the “view”.

Idea: Online portfolio

The core of this idea is a microproject. A jQuery carousell that lists screenshots and text of projects I’ve worked on. I’m not after a fancy CMS interface for updating, so updating a JSON file manually will work just fine.

I’m counting it as a byteproject because I’ll need to put a lot of polish into the design and presentation of the page since I’ll use it professionally to show of my experience. I’m currently looking at Google Web Toolkit to write the needed JS. If you have any tips let me know in the comments.

Idea: Project Valhalla

This summer I visited a friend that had started his own game development studio, WhiteOut. They’re only a few people, but it reminded me of the DICE office where I once worked. I also started thinking of another friend that had driven his own incubator.

The idea would be to create a place where small independent game studios can sit together, being small and independent but still enjoy the luxuries in office-terms that bigger studios can afford.

I contacted an office hotell and Riksbyggen who controll most buildings in town. It’s simply to expensive, even when renting a large space. It would have to be subsidised somehow. If a benefactor could be found, these places could be started in every major town in Scandinavia. Each project could pull a little, but much needed, PR to other projects in the building. I think the atmosphere would be awesome and people would really thrive day.

Maybe some day…