Idea: Idea voting

There are some good social issue trackers like UserVoice and GetSatisfaction. Not only can people report what’s wrong or what they’d likte to see, but others can join in and vote for the issue. The idea has spread to most issue trackers too which is great. What I’m missing is the voting functionality on personal or corporate ideas. The whole voting concept should be made separate as a service. Maybe you want to decide on the next book to read, or the next game to play.

I want something like Evernote, but for lists where people can vote and help you prioritize. I could use it for my idea blog posts (like this one!) or at work where we come up with small projects. The list should be accessible from other systems. What would you use it for?

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Book review: Snow Crash

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

(Note: I read this book in 2008, and this is a repost of a review I did then in Visual Bookshelf on my Facebook)

I was warned about the last part of the book being bad but I found it satisfying. The hard part for me was the beginning, with all the cheasy 14-year-old-cool-stuff like the hero being a samurai-sword using pizza “delivirator” called Hiro Protagonist (I mean.. really?). The tone and language are very cooky-childish too, but it all comes into place. It does set the tone for the world in which the book is set.

The book was really good and presented a lot of new interesting ideas for its time. Today you can see a lot of the Metaverse things in Second Life, but still it deserves merit.

Conclussion: Read it, if you’re prepared for some extremely corny writing. It has a Da-Vinci-Code feeling to it when the book builds up to explain things in the middle and you kinda go “eh really?” and then moves into solving everything. Have the right expectations and you’re going to love this book!

Idea: Kinect in presentations

Kinect just got an SDK which probably will lead to a whole bunch of cool videos on YouTube and other projects. The potential is enormous! It’s almost hard not imagining making yourself into the center of the universe (living room) with it. Personally I’m trying to find something that a thousand devs aren’t going to jump at.

While attending a presentation it hit me that Kinect could easily be a new Power Point controller. I’m trying to imagine another gesture than waving for “next slide” since it can look distracting and gimmicky, but one feature I’d love to see is automatic zooming to where you point. Things to make presentations more interactive and alive than regular slides really. Maybe augment it with voice recognition, so it automatically queues in with what you say. I think this could be really interesting.

What ideas do you have for the Kinect SDK?

[Update 2011-07-27] This has now been done: http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/kinect/NUI-for-PowerPoint

Book review: Losing My Virginity

Losing My Virginity – Sir Richard Branson

It’s well written and it’s hard to stop reading once you start. The second half of the book feels a bit slower as each chapter covers less time. Richard has done an incredible amount of things in a relatively short time. When he puts his mind to something he’ll find a way, and it’s really interesting how he was able to pull some of the things off (like buying Necker Island for a tenth of what the real estate agent wanted). Inspiring in a lot of ways.

Conclusion: Read it.

Idea: CV exporter

It’s not in many people’s interest, but being able to export my CV from LinkedIn to wherever would be perfect. As a consultant I have to send my CV around and people like to rebrand it as they pass it along. For this, Word works quite well because that’s what they’re used to. But I have more experience than I should put in a particular CV, so a checkbox for what I want exported would be the ideal.

There’s a microformat called hResume which could work as the intermediate format during transfer between CV databases. Either way I’d like CV websites to get it together and support one import/export format so I can keep my CV updated in one place and send it to where it needs to go.

Book review: Going Postal (Discworld)

Going Postal – Sir Terry Pratchett

(Note: I read this book in 2009, and this is a repost of a review I did then in Visual Bookshelf on my Facebook)

This was my first Terry Pratchett book so I can’t compare it to the others. I really loved his way with words. Terry uses the English language to it’s full use to bring hilarious sentences to life. The story of Moist Von Lipwig is extremely entertaining as he goes from con-artist to entrepreneur, and the wonderful similarities. Terry has some funny insights, and critiques, to society and business and portrays it wonderfully in this book. The characters are entertaining in themselves and it’s hard not to sit there giggling while reading what they say and do.

Conclusion: Read it.

Project: Read It Later Dashboard Prototype

Me and @bennedich decided to make a prototype of the Reading Statistics idea while keeping it fully hosted in Dropbox. That means pure HTML, CSS and JavaScript (although we wrote the JS using CoffeScript). For fancy graphs we picked Google Chart Tools. Here’s a shot of the final prototype:

Screenshot of the RIL-Dashboard prototype

First we took a look at what the ReadItLater API offered, as we both use the service for our reading. It’s fairly simple and just gives you a list of all the articles, where each article has:

  • Item ID: unique id identifying the url
  • URL: the article url
  • Title: page title
  • Time updated: Unix timestamp of when the item was last added/changed
  • Time added: Unix timestamp of when the item was added to list
  • Tags: user entered, comma-seperated
  • State: read or unread

We thought of a few specific stats we could easily calculate and drew some sketches. Basically some kind of big line chart, and then some numbers around it.

Then we looked at all the chart types provided by Google, grabbed screenshots of them, and ordered them into potential dashboards.

For our first prototype we picked the easiest one just to get all the pieces in place. A simple bar-type distribution chart of how many articles are read after a set amount of time (i.e. X articles on the same day, Y after 1 day, Z on after 2 days, etc). The three main numbers below the chart were average articles added per day, average read per day, and average time between adding an article and reading it.

Parsing and calculating the stats was the easy part. A problem we have is that RIL doesn’t support JSONP. To get around that we used Yahoos YQL service. A potential new project would be a JSON tunnel.

Finally we added a small login-screen, on the same page, put the data in the REST-call and blam! Done!

Now, try it out!