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: Banking visualization purely on client-side

When I talk to people working at banks, even UI people, they love blaming their bad banking services on their legacy systems. So far I’ve been semi-succesfull in convincing people that you could do all those pretty graphs, without touching those old COBOL-mainframes.

Mint.com graphsMint.com uses imported data.

I don’t think banks want to give you a good picture of your economy as it won’t make them more money, maybe it would make them less, and they find excuses for it. To prove a point I’d love to make a bookmarklet that uses JS to generate a page with budget data, or even import it to an online service like Swedish Spenderat.se.

Idea: What the E?

When you look at some food product, do you ever wonder what the E’s are for?

For example, I’m looking at a bottle of Coca-Cola and it has E150d and E338. The first is “sulfite ammonia caramel” and the second “food-grade phosphoric acid” (with the interesting note “not without controversy regarding its health effects”). Google and Wikipedia works fine to look up what these E’s stand for, but it would be nice with a more formal view of every E, what they actually are and specific foods they’re in.

The base for a site would be to mine Wikipedia to get a base for all E’s and what they are, but then rely on user submitted data to find products that have that E in it. With enough of it one could build a bar-code database so you can take a picture of a bar-code, and get a list of all the stuff it includes. What’s interesting is when the ingredient has controversy or debated health effects, and/or is banned in some areas (like E110 which is approved in EU but banned in Norway).

For fun, it could generate a score. The worse ingredient, the higher the score. The more of it the worse score it gets. Hopefully it would get people to buy less of that product and choose some more natural substitute instead.

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.

Idea: Feel score

How do you feel? Are you feeling better than yesterday? Than last week? Are you overall feeling increasingly better? Is there some part of your life you would like to improve? Or maybe, should improve?

In psychology it’s common with questionares the patients have to fill in at an intervall. For regular people a simple app would suffice. All it needs is a simple tap to save the mood.

The mood, or well being, could be distributed along several axis, like a radar chart. Then once in a while you could check a summary type screen which shows how you’ve been progressing through time. It could be various line charts, or just animate a radar chart. It could even email you the status every week if you want.