Idea: Update watch

There are some simple pages that I’d like to follow, like job postings. They don’t have a RSS feed and are so seldom updated that a simple email notification will suffice.

So I’d like a service where you enter a URL and it will email you when the page is changed. A bookmarklet would work great with the service. Bonus if the mail included a diff to show what had been changed.

What would you follow?

Idea: You have ‘this’ version of .NET installed

With each version of Windows, you can make some assumptions on what .NET Framework version is installed. Sometimes you need to know it on a computer that’s not yours, or you need a user to tell you what version they have, it would be very convenient to tell them to visit a site and tell you what version they have. Microsoft has a KB on this but it involves mucking around in the Windows Registry, which most users aren’t comfortable with it.

Maybe the only way to really do this is through ActiveX if it’s going to be on a website. A simple download .exe would be much easier. There’s already code for this but I haven’t seen a wide use yet. Has anyone done this on a website before?

Book review: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living – Dale Carnegie

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

A nice book on how to conquer worry. There are so many tips here I actually have a hard time remembering what to do when I worry! The book says two things about itself: to read it twice (second time underscoring and highlighting interesting texts) and not to consider it a “reading book” but more like a manual. I’ve done the first and I’m still confused by all the great tips. Basically it says not to worry… then there are a lot of ways to achieve that. If I would read it again I would probably just read it through once, and then look up the index once in a while. Let’s see if I ever go back to it, I might even update this review then. (don’t hold your breath)

Conclusion: Read it, on a holiday or some time relaxing.

Idea: Using a burndown chart for personal finance

One tool I love in scrum is the burndown chart. It clearly shows how much time and work is left. A quick glance shows you if you’re going to hit or miss your mark.

It occured to me that that’s exactly how I’d like my economy, my monthly spending, to be visualized. The only difference is how the goal should be to stay over the base line. Being over the line means extra money saved. Under the line means you’ll be out of money before the next paycheck.

(Made up example) Someone was able to adjust and save money.

The main point is to trigger a more saving approach and get continous feedback on ones financial situation. It’s a bit obvious, but the chart only makes sense for what you’re planning to spend until the next paycheck. Big expenses on the first day, like rent, electricity, etc, will mess up the chart.

Book review: Rich Dad Poor Dad 2: Cashflow Quadrant

Rich Dad Poor Dad Part II – Cash Flow Quadrant – Robert T. Kiyosaki

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

It’s an alright book. Gives you a bit to think about but nothing revolutionizing. The last 40 pages or so are just blatant propaganda for his first book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and his CASHFLOW games. If you’re going to read one of Kiyosaki’s books then you might as well read the original: Rich Dad, Poor Dad (and be aware that Kiyosaki’s only successful venture is the Rich Dad franchise).

Conclusion: Skip it.

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?

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.