Idea: Taxi cruise map

Do you ever get the feeling that the taxi you took didn’t go the shortest route? Sure it could be because of traffic or road work, but you still wonder if he’s taking a longer road than necessary. And why wouldn’t you? The driver gets paid by kilometer after all!

The idea would be to have an app that you start when the taxi starts, and then stop when you’ve arrived at the location. It would then plot out the route on a map, with some stats as time taken and lenght “driven”. It would also plot out the Google Map route so you can compare.

Idea: Spotify Screensaver

I run a small media computer on my TV and often have Spotify running. The problem is that the screen gets burned in if I don’t have a screensaver, but if I have a screensaver on I can’t see the name of the song playing.

So the simple idea would be a neat screensaver that shows the current playing track. A bonus would be to show the album cover and next track, and follow the beat. As it would be a third-party application the easiest way would be to parse the artist and song title from Spotify’s Window title.

By using Gracenote it could show the album cover and lyrics, but probably not feasible for a free screensaver.

The hardest part would be inventing a cool or fun enough visualization. Maybe a self playing game, like Tetris, Audiosurf, Pong or Snake? A Rubicks cube solving itself? Maybe a nice fish tank? Or random particle effects? What would you like to see as the visualization?

Idea: Star sign matcher

Some time ago I heard a guy that was into The Game and studied astrology. He had found that every star-sign was related to another star-sign in one way or another. There’s compability, moon date, and a bunch of stuff I don’t remember. The point was that you could always clame you were destined together regardless what star signs you both have.

The idea is to have a handy little app (or website) that you enter your birthdate, to configure it for your star sign. Then you just pull upp the page and ask the person what star sign they have, tap it, and see how you’re connected in the stars!

Idea: Shaking as pin-code

The iPhone uses a regular number PIN-code as a locking mechanism for the phone. Android uses a swipe-based method.

Wouldn’t it be funny to use shake instead? Think of your favourite chorus in a song, and shake to it. Someone would have to guess the correct song and “dig” to it as you do.

Sure everyone can see you shaking and shaking takes more effort than swiping, but it would be funny!

Idea: Abstract Amazon Web Services to a Platform as a Service (PaaS)

What I really really like about Google App Engine (GAE) is the whole Platform as a Service (Paas) approach. As a developer I really couldn’t care less about how many instances (virtual servers) are running the site or what configuration they have. I certainly don’t want to be on call 24/7, ready to manually start up new instances in case I get slashdotted. GAE just runs your application and scales when needed with your set budget as the only real limit. So upload your website project and relax.

Google provides a great dashboard that shows usage stats and costs about all metrics that count so you can optimize and lower your costs. They even offer a pretty high volume of free capacity which is great for trying out new projects/products. If it was a .NET platform I wouldn’t use anything else, but alas it’s not – it’s for Java (JVM) and Python only (although it does support anything that runs on JVM, like JRuby).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) so you have to manually start up new instances or set up a small network of AWS-services to do it for you. Windows Azure is even worse since there’s no infrastructure support to build the automated monitoring on.

I see it as a great business opportunity to abstract AWS into a PaaS, and provide platforms for various website technologies. Especially ASP.NET and PHP.

Idea: Design pattern of the day

This is more an idea for my blog. To do a blog post about some design pattern every week. The thing is there are so many types of patterns now, everyone wants to patternize things. There’s Design Patterns in software, there’s Apprenticeship Patterns in software craftsmanship, UI Design Patterns in graphical design, there’s Pair Programming patterns, and so on. Also there’s the original architectural patterns.

What kind would be the most interesting? Maybe a mix of everything?