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Ask HN: Idea Sunday
369 points by rokhayakebe 1385 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 567 comments
A small HN experiment. Every Sunday, a thread will be started to share product ideas. Why? Because many people have ideas they will simply not have the time to implement, and many need product ideas to work on.

A way for employees to push back against their coworkers when they email too much crap to too wide an audience. In other words, I wish my Inbox had a little voting widget next to each message:

    | 4,376 people received this message |
    |                                    |
    | [Cool, it was ]   [It was a waste] |
    | [important and]   [of my time to ] |
    | [worthy of our]   [  read this   ] |
    | [    time     ]   [   message    ] |
    |                                    |
Then, as votes are collected, the sender (and maybe everyone else) gets some kind of feedback on how their message was received. Maybe the report could include a total of how much time was spent reading it: "Your coworkers spent a total of 36.4 hours reading your message. It cost the company $1458 in employee time. Sending it was therefore a moderately bad use of company resources" .. or, if the voting was favorable, "1722 of your coworkers enjoyed reading your message. When you were deciding whether to hit Send or Discard, you made the right choice in clicking Send."

Edit: As I've said in the past when posting ideas on HN, if you think this is worth doing, please run with it! I make no claim on "owning" the idea, and all I ask is that if it makes you a billionaire, you commission of bust of me to install in your parlor. (Bronze or marble only, please.)

I love this idea, except that the conclusion about something being a moderately bad use of company resources doesn't necessarily follow. The benefits of things like team rapport are hard to quantify, but that doesn't mean they should be dismissed as waste. The same goes for things that certain individuals feel are a waste.

Taking jokes, just one subset of such emails, as an example: For you, a particular joke may be a waste, but having the team culture be such that it is open to jokes, may provide benefits beyond each individual joke.

Still, great idea, and maybe the objections I raise could be overcome just by the right wording.

That is true, but at a very large multinational, I used to recieve over 100 send to all emails a day, and three real ones.

Some of the 'send to all' emails were pretty important, so I had to read them, but a lot of them added nothing, and were sent to 400'000 people. I think each inappropriate global send to all cost $1000+, assuming people disgarded it pretty quickly.

+Low estimate, assuming it takes 1 second to disgard the email, everyone reads it, and gets paid minimum wage.

:) reminds me of the "warning" message that used to appear in "rn" before you posted a message to a usenet group:

This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. You message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing.

Ah the old days.....

When I am wistful for particular aspects of the Usenet, the degree of self control exhibited in its threads is clearly not among them. Audience size fueled many a flame war, and reliance on self control by contributors allowed spam to overwhelm most communities.

>You message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere.

Was there a time when this was actually true?

>"Your coworkers spent a total of 36.4 hours reading your message. It cost the company $1458 in employee time. "

This in itself could be a nice plugin for your mail. You need 3 values to be able to calculate it:

* Number of employees the mail will be sent to (hard with aliases, easier with Outlook PDLs)

* Average fully burdened cost of employees (managers should know this, or you can default to something like $120K)

* Estimated time to read (based on wordcount and an average reading speed)

From there you can get the "hours wasted reading this mail" and "cost of this email".

EDIT: You could go above and beyond and use an open rate percentage to more accurately determine the cost, but that's not something an email client could record, it'd be server side.

That's pretty brilliant. Imagine showing an HR department their worthless emails cost the company a million dollars in man hours.

First rule of HR : fire the ones who talk bad about HR. Come to think of it, that's what bad bosses do, too. Oh no, I should add the epiphany that "Enterprises are like Operating Systems in which, by design, the malware has the Highest Priority" to the thread on Epiphanies : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7545284 !

Nice idea but the big problem I can see is that nobody will want to vote their bosses emails as a waste of time. Also in large corporations a lot of long emails will be sent that relate to company policies etc that nobody reads in practice but the purpose of the email is that it protects the company in the event that an employee says they were not aware of policy X.

I think you have two issues here. The first is that in a larger business there are a significant number of messages that get sent out as a matter of corporate policy that don't get the attention management thinks they should. Quite possibly email is not the best approach to these, but telling management that the email was a waste of time is going to make no friends, especially if there are legal reasons for the announcements.

The second problem is that there are managers who do send out de facto spam and probably could use the feedback.

> Nice idea but the big problem I can see is that nobody will want to vote their bosses emails as a waste of time.

Are you kidding? That's the whole point!

Presumably, the boss allowing it in the first place is a signal that they're interested in this feedback from their employees.

Yes and no, corporate politics is a minefield and often subtle.

If the feedback is anonymous, I'd certainly vote my boss's email down.

Well, hopefully your boss does not read HN.

On the other hand, some E-mails are actually not crap and get lost in the waves of mailing list spam and build reports. While we're fixing E-mail, here are a few suggestions that would correct a major problem with E-mail, the ability to miss/ignore it:

1. Non-optional delivery/read receipts Various clients have these, but it would be nice if these were universally supported and could be made non optional. This is useful so that when I don't get a response and have to go hound someone, my first question doesn't always have to be "Hey, did you get that E-mail??"

Speaking of responses...

2. Response required flag Be able to mark an E-mail as requiring a response from a specific recipient. Such E-mails could be presented differently in the recipient's client, highlighted or called out in a different color. Client software could generate a TODO list out of them, issue reminders if the E-mail has been un-replied-to for more than some configurable period of time, etc. The longer the message is ignored, the more annoying the presentation might be. This highlighting could be silenced by either a. replying to the E-mail, or b. clicking an "ignore" button (which also sends notice of the ignore action back to the sender). The sender could also cancel the flag after the message is sent.

3. Response required by date As an enhancement to the above, instead of a flag, a date/time by which a response is needed. This could allow the recipient's client software to display these E-mails in a sane priority order.

I don't think many people would sign on to mandatory read receipts. It'd have to be forced on them by mail provider or employer.

Every single alert I have ever seen through outlook "So-and-so requested a read receipt. Do you want to send it?" has been 100% declined on my part.

I love the idea of getting feedback on what you sent. It took me posting to HN and Reddit to realize how unimportant most things I work on are. It's one of those things that should be obvious but aren't until you are confronted with numbers.

- A variation: to have emails you want to send go in a pending pool moderated by a team of trusted confidants, to avoid sending out email that is a waste of time.

Hopefully not being unnecessarily critical, but I can't see the trusted confidants bit working: 1) They're trusted confidants, probably more likely to a) share your opinions b) support you when they shouldn't 2) The more value your e-mail consumes (i.e. the more people that receive it), the more likely your trusted confidants have expensive time.

I agree trusted confidants is an improvement, but probably not enough on its own.

If the voting doesn't work it should be possible to gather other metrics such as how long the message was visible on the screen - in other words did the recipient actually read the email. Over time it would learn the users typical reading speed. Another would be how long was it sitting in the inbox before it was read. A smart email client can detect when the recipient actually notices that the email is there.

With these metrics it could then work out which members of the company send out the least well received emails. There are certainly some people where I work who have a very low interesting email ratio. These people would be prompted to sort this out.

One risk would be the employee that just sends out jokes would of course appear to be highly effective. Some algorithms would be needed to filter out work vs play emails.

To creep employees out, these metrics could be readily available to management and used in their performance reviews as part of all the other data obtained about them!

Basically, we're now talking about taking the way mailing lists track their impact, and applying it to internal corporate communications.

That would make total sense as a sideline for somebody like mailchimp.

Here's a version of that that we did using our Django app. You create a new email with a unique ID and get a link to vote that you can put somewhere like your email footer. We've posted some of the code here: https://github.com/FlowStacks/email-voting and the email voter is here: https://flowstacks.com/emailvoter/

Great idea and I think this would be awesome as a GMail extension/addon (ala Rapportive). You could even have it only appear for messages from the same work domain.

It'd be absolutely necessary that voting was anonymous.

It's a nice idea but I think it would be a little too burdensome for every single email. Maybe if the mail was going out to >N people where N is configurable by the organization.

I think one of the reasons why no one's ever done this is that with traditional email, it's impossible for the sender to know how many people one email has reached, or will reach. But I think Threadable (recent YC startup) could actually do this.

It might be cool to make it like a neutered spam button. Instead of actually training your mail app to reject it as spam or notify any spam registries it could just function like clicking the "waste" button and cut out the "worthy" button since it is sort of default.

Attent by Seriosity has an interesting solution to this: http://www.seriosity.com/attent.html. They create a scarce currency that companies use internally to send messages.

The broader point this raises is the cost of information exchange, not just corporate email but all valuable content. I can envisage some system attaching cost to information exchange. Kind of like curating through market forces. I suppose it's an extension of what a search engine does. Anyone come across this idea anywhere?

like how Medium displays reading time?

Isn't Gmail Priority Inbox a solution for this use case? I don't use it, but keep an eye out on it's classification efficiency, looks like it does a fine job already.

No, because it doesn't close the feedback loop: It neither encourages good writers to keep writing, nor does it discourage de facto internal spammers.

That's actually brilliant, thanks for sharing!

There is an easy platform for this.


Check it out!

I want to search for furniture, and other products, based on dimensions. My girlfriend and I furnished a new apartment recently, and had to be space conscious.. This spot next to the couch could fit a 10" wide table. It's not easy to search for that, yet the information is there. My original plan was going to use the Amazon API and take a search term and page through looking for dimensions that fit. I still think it's a great idea, but obviously not huge, and I don't really have time to build it. If you do, hook me up.

In college, I won a business pitch competition with the idea of using a digital laser measure to measure the dimensions of any space, and then only show you furniture that fits within that space. It had some other aspects, but that was the gist of the idea. It looks like Ikea and others are slowly working their way towards that ease of use, but it's still a ways away.

Related concept: when I moved cross-country for grad school I found my landlord on Internet classifieds and got him to send me a floor plan of the apartment; I then measured all my furniture, used LibreOffice Draw to make circles and rectangles that I could print at the same scale (that was surprisingly time-consuming - it would be neat if someone could make that easy), then printed and cut them all out and virtually re-decorated the apartment until I found a layout I was happy with. It was a neat way to do it, but rather labour intensive.

Actually it would be useful if it included measurements of your doors so that items you aren't going to be able to get into the house unless disassembled first can also be appropriately filtered.

There's an app called CSTM that takes this concept to another level with custom built furniture. The furniture is more expensive thusly but also more unique. http://cstm.co/

Taking a pic of your room and seeing nice furniture virtually added so you can easily test different styles.

In college, my senior project involved a 3d room designer using the Kinect and a laptop. You could position virtual 3d objects (couches, lamps, etc) in the room, and move the camera around to see how the virtualized items looked.

that sounds so freaking cool :D

Somebody wrote an app for that :) http://reorganize.amberfeng.com/

People are referencing Ikea higher up. I live abroad and was surprised to see Ikea marketing Android/iPhone apps with this ability, and I said audibly to the dismay of people "now that is fucking slick, good for them!"

This is less an idea, more something for someone to think about.

We need to figure out how to defeat the internet echo chamber effect.

Notice how often, when a community gets started between a small group of people(such as early Reddit or HN), it's a place of intelligent, productive discussion, where people measure what they say instead of just spouting extreme rhetoric?

Yet, once these communities grow, you inevitably see the "How bout dem Cowboys" problem, where it seems like the point of discussion is more to get the most approval instead of trying to argue a point, and where anyone with a disagreeing opinion feels unwelcome even if they're willing to put a lot of effort into their response?

I haven't quite figured out how to solve it, but I really want to. I've been a part of several online communities like that now, and it always ends up the same way. Once it gets big enough, finding good conversation gets very rare.

I think you misunderstand communities. Vibrant communities are full of people who share a materially common set of opinions about various things. They engage and interact within that world view.

At the same time people evolve and communities evolve. Sometimes you move away from the community, sometimes they move away from you. Either way, you can end up feeling like an outsider in a group you once considered yourself to be part of the 'in' crowd.

Because a large part of anyone's current point of view is driven by past experience, communities often segment by age but sometimes segment by politics or world events (the mechanism is that people take away different things from the same experience, it "changes" them in different ways, and that puts into further out or closer to other members of the community.

The internet "echo chamber effect" as you call it is defeated by visiting multiple communities and watching and noting the differences. That your favorite 'hang out' on the Internet has become distasteful to you can no more be "fixed" than you can will your favorite eatery or bar to exist for all time.

Things change, people change, places change. Keep moving and an open mind.

Speaking for Reddit, it was an unfortunate consequence of the pseudonymous and point system. As communities got larger, there would be less and less tolerance for discussion and focus would stray towards quick (easily digested) posts.

Although, the counter point is that people in general are less likely to produce discussion. Or, that a lack there of of easily digested posts invokes discussion.

So does the karma/points thing make it an attractive nusiance for trolls? It does seem to encourage participation which is one of the challenges of any community (way more lurkers than speakers)

I think I have a solution to this, something I called Reddit150. You have divisions, like in soccer or american foot ball leagues, where the highest rated members can be promoted to the "higher" league and also demoted if their contributions are not good enough. People from a lower division cannot comment on a higher division, but everyone can view all divisions, this would result in situation where the media would always reference /r/science from the Alpha rankings for example, the prestige of maintaining your position would ensure a higher quality of content at all times. I called it Reddit150 because that is a typical number of names a human can remember for our social structure before it starts to breakdown, the member number in each division number would have to be in the order of 150k or possibly something that adapts with the total user base.

Wouldn't putting more emphasis on karma just lead to more karma whoring? You want to encourage quality dissenting opinions rather than just making the echo chamber louder

That doesn't solve the problem of the comment with the lowest common denominator being the one that gets promoted the most.

I think it could work somewhat. It depends on the type of, in this case, subreddit. With this in mind:

> also demoted if their contributions are not good enough.

If there is a user that gains karma by karmawhoring with the quick jokes and whatnot he/she would simply be demoted by the rest of the high-users.

Or something to that effect.

Oh, would you only be able to vote in your classification and lower? If that's the case, doesn't that make it extremely hard for a crowd to overthrow a close-nit elite that refuses to upvote the plebeians?

This is also called Eternal September[1]. And I think the Spiral of silence[2] adds to the problem, as people not only see their own opinion echoed, but also stay away from expressing it if it's not in line with the community.

The only solution to this I've seen so far is making it harder for "ordinary people" to discover the community, as HN tries to do it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_of_silence

Developing a site conducive to good conversation, in general, needs work.

It's not just the echo chamber. It's the spam, the repost/duplicates and the following discussion, the trolls, the downvoting-for-disagreeing, gaming-the-system-for-'karma', the caring-about-karma, the offtopic-but-'funny'-jokes, paid-posters, etc.

The fact that every site fails when it becomes sufficiently popular says that good conversation is hard, and harder still while maintaining anonymity - and even then, exorcising anonymity doesn't seem to have helped the quality of Youtube comments.

There are various measures like hiding comment scores or capping karma that help but there's no site out there that combines them all.

I have an idea: Remove visible karma. Your personal karma is invisible to you and you have no feedback on how a post did. Karma is still used to kill comments, but everything above a certain score (say 5) is ranked arbitrarily (say MD5 of unix timestamp of comment).

Alternatively, make it public what everyone voted up on. That way everyone is open to criticism for what they voted on, and like people do on Facebook, they'll try to curate their upvotes so that they look sophisticated. Hopefully that will modify their upvoting behaviour.


Well, that's okay, isn't it? It's the idea that counts, so the discussion will still occur. It doesn't matter that it is centred around your comment that came after mine.

EDIT: Context for those who come after: Some other commenter said he downvoted my comment because he posted something similar. I assumed he said that to illustrate a flaw in my proposal and that he did not _actually_ downvote me. Since I can't find the comment that is similar (he's deleted what he's said), I'm leaving it up.

Oh, I see we completely talked past each other. This is the comment I was talking about:


I can only think of one solution: moderation. And that does not scale very well.

The only way out I see is a paid forum, so that the site can hire full time mods. I'd like to build something like this one day, but its such a herculean task that I figured I'd need at least a year of runway to make it work.

This doesn't necessarily work, though it does help. One already exists- SomethingAwful.com. It's better than most forums for sure, but it's certainly not perfect and the size of the community still clouds conversation significantly.

In the starting days of Reddit and then HN this really bugged me a lot.

One of the solutions I wanted to try was to partition the user base on a similar way that posts are filtered to you. That is based on the up votes you give. Now I'm not sure if it happens here but at least on Reddit you have it on your customised first page.

I believe that it isn't the user base that gets worse but that it gets much more diversified and people entrench themselves in groups and the "How bout dem Cowboys" problem arises.

Think of it as user and posts clustering, the secret sauce would be how those clusters interact, I don't have a tentative answer for that. This idea would top current aggregators by valuing discussion and intervenients in the same way that posts are valued.

I had the same idea as you! You can check out the project at http://code.fraction.io

I'm currently building a solution to this which is still in very early beta. Using machine learning, I'm working on solving the Goldilocks problem of community affinity (not too close, not too disparate), aiming to fix the hivemind problem that reddit has and the strictness that topical communities like HN have.

I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have a few moments to spare!

Code: http://code.fraction.io Beta: http://beta.fraction.io

That looks great. I think they experimented with this idea on reddit aswell at an early stage. However it didn’t turn out to be beneficial. I unfortunately don’t know the details, I read about it in some comment on HN a while ago (I unfortunately don’t remember where exactly).

I'm part of a community that limits how much you can post and (up)vote in a day. The points for these actions are shared. There is no down-vote.

There are two kinds of users, regular ones and "elders" of sorts. First few were established years ago and they can vote on others to become "higher tier" users as well. How much votes you need depends of how many people can vote.

The registration is not automatic, but you fill out a form with an open-ended question and selected users (mentioned above) can vote to approve the registration.

The system has threaded discussions where every post is equal. So you create a post and it can become a new "topic" (or forum, or however you want to call it). These can be nested of course. Whether something is a comment, topic, list of topics, blog, ... depends entirely on the template used to view that entry. You can manage privileges (rwx) to these subtrees (or any single node in the tree).

I don't think you can solve it because it's not the platform, it's the userbase. Although voting systems to highly encourage downvoting/upvoting based on whether you agree or not. An idea I've had is to rank all content separately for each user, by predicting what content they will upvote or downvote.

At first it sounds like this would exaggerate the echo chamber effect, but I think it would do the exact opposite. There's no reason to downvote or upvote things because you agree or disagree, downvotes only affect what you see in the future and no one else sees them. And instead of different ideologies being pushed away into different communities, they all exist in the same place, occasionally interacting with each other and mixing.

I just had this idea: How about making it really easy to be promoted to a volunteer down-vote moderator for an hour or so, just a button away. The task would be to downvote comments with mean and extreme language. The down-votes would count twice during that time and the actual moderators would be able to monitor what the volunteers are doing and to act accordingly in the event of misuse. That maybe results in less work for the actual moderators and at the same time it’s maybe more effective. I think, I would happily do this on a lazy sunday afternoon as a service to the community.

Did anyone experiment yet with a tree-like comment system (just like the one on HN) that completely hides comment points (even in the profile pages and to the users themselves)? To me it seems that, contrary to the intentions to achieve high quality comments, the crowd often optimizes for low effort and high score. Maybe the lack of publicly visible reputations points could reduce that high score mentality. Maybe we are all wrong with this kind of behavioristic approach.

Spam and trolls would still be punished and one would still have the benefits of having the most favored comments at the top.

This is an option that can be enabled on a per-subreddit basis. It's not very popular since people like seeing how popular their posts are.

I mean comletely removing publicly visible points, from the profile too.

afaik the scores are just hidden with CSS, so you can see them if you really want, and I believe that RES even has an option to enable this without having to dig into CSS wizardry oneself.

The issue isn't just about the internet echo chamber though, it's a more fundamental thing that people seek out news sources and opinions that reinforce their own biases - totally the right thing to tackle, but it's not just about internet communities.

Totally. But I'm a programmer, so I'd like to solve it on the internet. We can push it out into the real world after that.

And I just refuse to believe we've figured out everything there is to know about community engineering.

Be wary of overly technical solutions for what are essentially people problems. Technical solutions can be useful tools for moderators but removing too much human judgment from the process creates more problems than it solves.

This is an interesting space to me. I hope to write more about it in the future. I think I have done one blog post (on my current personal blog) on the topic of moderation but I have been a moderator a few times and have done some A/B testing of different approaches. But I still struggle with how to talk about it to other people, who often think I am just full of hot air.

The solution: the more you up vote, the less it counts for.

You can't. Not without banning those responsible for that kind of behavior or severely dis-incentivizing them somehow from coming to the community.

I think more generally, if I understand what you mean correctly, that that is really nothing more than water-cooler talk. Talk meant to be pleasant rather than investigative.

I also think with that said, it's really only a property of small communities because once it reaches a certain size, the amount of substantive things to discuss and hash out doesn't scale with the number of users.

A solution for the "too many tabs open" problem. Need a way to save my history in an organized and interactive manner, with a nice looking UI. Sort of like the old WebMynd (http://webmynd.com). I find that most of my tabs are open as a form of reminder. If I close it, I'll forget it and might as well not have seen it. Same if I hide it away in some kind of bookmarking app. I think it would be best to apply a UI layer over my entire history in a way that makes it easy to search and recall things that I found interesting int he past.

Need to store all data locally for privacy reasons, and have a way to logically group urls by content and bring them back to the front occasionally (maybe with some kind of gamification?) so they don't disappear.

Did you have a look at the Firefox add-on Tree Style Tabs? It puts the tab titles on the left hand side, allows for grouping them and seems to be very stable. There are also a couple of add-ons that allow for exporting the tabs. That combination works quite nicely for me.


I love how OneTab works, and it was something I used very frequently. But one day, not sure why exactly my chrome profile folder (osx mac) got corrupted. I cannot give technical details about it really, but not a single one of the chrome addons I had worked any longer. And I tried to recover the tab sessions but was unsuccessful.

If there is a feature OneTab is missing, it's to sync your tabs/sessions to a certain location. Or at least that's a feature I'd really appreciate!

It provides an export as a text file on the 'One Tab' page in the right hand corner. I wrote a small Python script to parse this text file and upload all my tabs to Pinboard.

Good idea. Here's my Clojure script: https://github.com/danneu/onetab-to-pinboard

care to share the script?

I'm with this guy


This functionality is build into chrome. Just right click the tab strip and the bottom option is "Bookmark all Tabs" or use the CTRL+SHIFT+D shortcut. Then they are just saved as tabs in a folder which has the benefit that they show up in address bar searches and are backed up via chrome sync.

I'd love a "Bookmark selected tabs" kind of function that lets me quickly click on a dozen or so relevant tabs. Usually, I'll have 20+ tabs open with 5-10 on a given subject, so "Bookmark All" captures a lot of useless tabs.

Better yet, a "Bookmark similar subject" plugin would be awesome - Leverage Google's search to automatically figure out tabs that are about the same thing and bookmark them by subject. Ignoring pinned tabs would be a bonus.

Usually I find tabs I want are next to each other, or easy to drag together. If there are a log of tabs in the window that I don't want then I use the Tab Split Extension[1] to put them in another window, or I just edit the bookmarks once I've created them.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tab-split/imjbfepo...

I started using OneTab after I saw this comment last Sunday. Just wanted to come back and thank you for bringing this to my attention :) It's added a lot of value for me.

+1 - tab groups are great

It would be great if each tab belonged to a project and I could add new tabs to a project when I open the tab.

If I could, all at once, close all tabs that aren't part of the project I'm working on, that would free up resources for the things that currently matter.

And if the browser could keep track of how much time I browse for a specific project, I could use that to track how much time I spent on each project.

That's kind of what I've found myself doing with multiple Chrome users.

Each project I'm working on is a different user, with a different set of open tabs, and separated cookies, allowing multiple sessions (e.g., Gmail accounts) to be open at the same time, one in each "project".

Firefox has tab groups, have you tried them?

Not a perfect solution but might help: The Great Suspender:


"Unload, park, suspend tabs to reduce memory footprint of chrome. Tabs can auto-suspend after a configurable period of time or be suspended manually. Tabs can be whitelisted to avoid automatic suspension. Suspended tabs are retained after closing and reopening browser, preventing many tabs from all reloading after a restart."

Have you tried Onetab for Chrome? It has some of the functionality you're looking for in that it pulls all of your open tabs into one tab and vertically orders them on the page for you to go back and access later. Neat tool, I use it quite a bit. http://www.one-tab.com/

I second 3rd3's suggestion of tree-style tabs. (I ended up with mine as a narrow strip on the right that expands when I mouse over.)

But I'll add that I mainly solved the "as a reminder" thing in other ways. I use Instapaper for a "read later" queue. For to-do-ish stuff, I use KanbanFlow to wrangle short-term tasks, and Trello to manage a deeper backlog. For "maybe I'll want this someday", I use Pinboard.in. Events and related links go into Google Calendar. And for "don't forget X" things, I sometimes use a dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror, so I glance at things while brushing my teeth.

Now I've got my open tabs down to things I'm actually doing, and it has been a huge relief. Now I don't have to search through a bunch of open windows and tabs trying to find that one thing.

I'd like some UI element that lets me know how long it's been since I read/used a tab. I tend to open lots of tabs and then browse them as is convenient later. Sometimes this means tabs get "lost" (i.e. become stale before I read them). This would let me know which tabs I might have overlooked or should close, bookmark, etc.

I've started using Pocket for this.

They need a better browser UI, since they seem to have been focusing much more on their mobile apps, but their recently-added "highlights" features accomplish the "bring them back to the front occasionally" part of your description.

Opera, up to 12 has the best tab management, groupings, etc that I've ever seen. It's a real shame the new webkit based Opera still isn't up to par. As such I'm in the same place as you hoping for Opera's tab management but left with hundreds of unidentified tabs in Chrome. Plugins help a little bit but nowhere close to Opera's innovative management. Hopefully they'll restore parity soon.

I'm disheartened by their conversion to Webkit. Tab grouping + session save is one hell of a killer feature : I used to archive websessions in order to track my references when writing a academic paper.

I've switched to Firefox from then, but it's not as convenient as Opera12.

The Windows feature (in the sidebar) is especially helpful.

Agreed! I'd love to have something like this. I discussed it a bit in a previous comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4714341#up_4715785

Maybe this? http://twin.gl/

Another tool for organizing on-line research is Zotero:


I made something that addresses this: www.seekaizen.com. I haven't advertised it before and it's mostly just friends/me that use it, but it seems like you might like it. Let me know if it fits your use case.

How about tab grouping? Or multiple windows?

I use SessionBuddy to manage this.

perhaps a followupthen for tabs?

Along these lines, what if the tabs could pop back up at a certain day/time or if you could just snooze tabs? I see people use tabs as a pseudo todo list. Reminding you to do, schedule, research, or buy something. What if you could continue to use tabs that way, yet not clog up your computer, use up memory, or distract you from getting stuff done with open tabs.

*> ... what if the tabs could pop back up at a certain day/time or if you could just snooze tabs?

There are several GTD-type web apps that support "desktop notifications" that might fit the bill.

I have a strange fascination with knowing exactly how I discovered a particular artist, film, website, etc.

I'd really love a browser extension that could keep track of how the user reached a given site. Then they could go back later and input, say, a YouTube URL, and it would show exactly what lead them to that song.

I started writing such an extension myself, but I was clearly out of my element. So when Mozilla shut down their Firefox Add-on Builder, I lost motivation completely. For someone with experience created extensions, though, I imagine this would be pretty straightforward.

EDIT: no, using the browser history is not good enough. Browsing is a non-linear activity (especially with multiple tabs open), and to visualize your path through the web you need a graph, not just a list of sites.

> "I'd really love a browser extension that could keep track of how the user reached a given site."

I used to love to have this. I called it "browser history", but then Mozilla decided it made the browser so terribly slow that you can now no longer really configure how long history is retained. After a while it just disappears.

I used to have my history all the way back from 2006...

Is this true? I checked and I seemed to have lost my history from before 2012, and assumed I'd messed up somewhere in transitioning between computers. I couldn't find any info about Firefox doing this (arbitrarily deleting history from the past), but I'm almost sure it does.

Edit: This time I found it: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Projects/Places_async_expir...

I find it rather annoying, however, that this isn't obvious. I like keeping all my history :( I'd rather I could at least keep the history somewhere, even if it didn't stay in Firefox's history view.

Well, it's stored in a simple sqlite file (places.sqlite), so you can just do regular backups or import it into another DB.

I've seen this a few times, once as a firefox addon which is no longer available by the looks of it.[1]

I'm pretty sure Mosaic tried a similar thing about 20 years ago.

The other time I saw it was in the form of a DAG which appeared in a panel above the address bar which could be selectively hidden. The graphics were crude as I think it was rendered in GraphViz. I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this - tried searching for it again with no look. Pretty sure it was in a video demonstrating an experimental browser, but I'm lost as to which. (Maybe I dreamt it)

I just found another while searching too.[2]



I have this exact same fascination and the need to know how exactly I discovered a website, etc. I used to think I was alone, finally I know I'm not. I guess I gotta make something for this, as I would not only be helping myself, but others as well.

Same here! I've found that people often have really interesting stories surrounding their discovery of a favorite album (for instance), especially when they have strong emotional or sentimental attachments. I think it'd be really cool to tap into that and even help people recall things that they might not otherwise recall by showing them the "path" by which they arrived to an album, the date when they first listened to it, etc, and then collect those stories to share. Could also become an interesting approach to content discovery—through personal stories instead of similarity algorithms.

This is a very cool idea - for me the application would be more in research, when quite often I stumble across an idea, or go back to read an open tab, or read my Pocket, and when I want to see how I discovered it, can't figure out how I got there. Just a simple graph of history chains would be great.

This already exists for most browsers. Pressing Ctrl+H should take you right to it.

Yes, but it sucks - if you browse using tabs (and everyone I does), then the simple time-order list that comes by defaults on Firefox and Chrome just doesn't cut it.

You can poke around and find the right history eventually but we've come to demand more of computers these days.

Keep Writing. I, sometimes, would like to write on a subject but I fear no one will read the material. If I had X people simply suggest to "keep writing" I would be more willing. Keep writing is something like Medium but it allows someone to post text (news, fiction, stories, anything) that is not complete. Writers set a (hidden) number of votes they should reach before they keep going then they publish what they currently have.

While it doesn't address the problem of not having an audience, you might be interested in the Iron Blogger concept: http://blog.lazerwalker.com/blog/2013/12/24/one-post-a-week-...

That's a fantastic idea. It might be tricky to find a balanced reader/writer dynamic but it if it worked it would be very cool.

Check out http://helpmewrite.co/ - submit the title, lets people vote.

What about riffing on the Povio idea (http://pov.io/) where people "ping" you to request a photo, but in your case they instead request you to write something on a particular topic?

So someone might request a blog entry on the most interesting accommodation you've stayed in overseas, or the biggest waste of money you've experienced, or the most memorable meal, etc.

I'm interested, but where would an author get people to vote on the piece? While a fiction story could get votes from various communities, I imagine it would fail for specific posts? Feel free to email, mail at namanyayg dot com

I think it could be a simple like button, hence it could be anywhere. You could also build the platform to write and publish if you wanted, but regardless of where it is it would work the same. I will email you.

Maybe you could nominate the minimum number of reviews or votes you want and then "owe" that number of reviews to the community.

I've been having this in my mind for a while:

A nice way to organize & share my knowledge. I know that lots of people have a self-hosted wiki or similar where they write nice tricks, something that they learned about and might be useful in the future, nice ideas...

Well, I'd like something like this, but more "social". Pages could be shared (or public), anyone could write a comments on something (I'd love to see comments a-la Medium), and it would be nifty to have a way to "fork" and submit a pull request for every page.

I guess it could also have the usual "follow user" that will show all of his pages in a dashboard, a "trending pages" for the most seen pages and similar.

It isn't really the normal use for it, but I made my own subreddit for this - I only use it as a personal repository of information, but it would suit pretty much all of your requirements, and it has stats on usage etc built in :P

This went over my mind, but I've read about other people using a subreddit for that. Indeed, it looks like a nice option - free, can add content (using markdown!), other people can comment/vote on it, easy searchable.

One key component would be SEO juice. The knowledge should be easily findable by others, even if people use different words to describe what they're looking for.

An open question would be how to make the site sustainable monetarily. About.com is this idea (but non-wiki editable) and they've plastered so many ads on the pages that it's become nearly unusable.

I like the idea a lot, and have started the most barebones version of this at http://aboutfact.com . If anyone else is interested in chatting more about this, let me know.

It's funny, Notedock[1], one of the things I'm currently working on is kinda like what you've described. The original vision at least.

It's currently being offered as something like a self-hosted wiki or similar as you say, but has some hidden, unadvertised "social" features.

Like sharing pages to other sites in the Notedock system. And pages can also be public (you can choose to set individual pages as public or private). Here's an example of my "public" site: https://jb.notedock.com/public Members of that site, and the members of sites each page is shared to can add to the Comments section. But for public pages, there's also a Disqus[2] option at the end (which I've turned off for my public site).

The original vision also included being able to "follow Notedocks" instead of "follow users" like you've described. What I didn't have in mind was the Medium type comments and "forking". So it's leading me to think that we probably have/had the same inspiration, but different ways of implementing this.

[1] https://notedock.com

[2] http://disqus.com/

I like this. Some ideas that come to my mind:

Text analysis. Automatically match pages with similar content, so that even if everyone just posts their own stuff it will be connected to the rest automatically. I think the problem of a wiki-kind-of knowledge base is that pages are easily orphaned, especially if people just do brain dumps. Nobody wants to spend time tagging content, and you also don't want to manage a site-wide structure. It would be great if the content would organize itself. Could also be used to automatically link terms within text (to the most relevant page about this in the network).

To extend on the "nice tricks, something that they learned about": Let students (or even professors) put their lecture notes up, structurally and visually enhanced. KhanAcademy and edX do a great job providing professionally produced courses, but maybe my friend or I can explain a specific problem better in easier terms, and you'll be even able to comment on it or provide a fix for some error.

Smallest Federated Wiki[1] is something you may be interested in.

Smallest Federated Wiki is a distributed wiki. It allows anyone to fork a page by clicking the fork button; this copies the page to their own wiki and they can edit it. The original wiki owner(s) can then decide whether to merge the change into the original page.

Ward Cunningham has a few short videos about it at http://wardcunningham.github.io/.

[1] http://fed.wiki.org/ and https://github.com/WardCunningham/Smallest-Federated-Wiki

This falls under the "Why didn't anyone think/built of this yet?" Where is the global knowledge base? I am sorry, but it is not wikipedia. Wikipedia is what all us know/think to be XYZ?

What you are describing is a place for you to share everything you know about a subject, and I can use to find what 200 other people know about it.

This is simple and extremely powerful.

I'm happy you're liking it. I've posted this over HN exactly because I like it, and hope someone will pick it up (I might think about doing it myself, but I'm not exactly a good coder, so who knows if I'd manage).

I know this thread is old, but if anyone is interested and want to talk about it a bit, my email is in my profile :) (also spittie over freenode)

A team and I built something like this (www.pilot.me). It's written in Ruby and we're looking to hand it off to new owners. Unfortunately, there is a government stakeholder who put some money into it and they'll probably need a small amount of money to release it completely. andrew dot peek at gmail if you'd like to know more.

Did you take a look at https://coderwall.com/ ?

I didn't, thanks, it looks pretty similar to what I meant.

I would like it to be "more wiki", coderwall seems more a social profile where you can share small tips, not a wiki where you can write whatever you want.

It's also missing the "git" stuff, which I think could be huge (or maybe it's just silly, but it sounds good in my head).

And I also don't really like the "closeness" of the site. for example I can't even see every tip shared by an user without having an account (it just show the first ones and then a blurry mess, a-la Quora).

some influencial tech blogs (in order less famous) in France use a lot this delicious-clone : https://github.com/sebsauvage/Shaarli.

It's a one-click bookmarlet with public/private separations, RSS built-in for syndication, and there are implementations of dashboard multiplexing sources : http://shaarli.fr/.

No comments though (the author seems against it).

As the proud owner of mypro.tips, I'd be totally down to create this. Piggybacked off GitHub Gists, maybe?

Interesting.. I can finally put my domain have.tips to good use.

Sorry, I accidentally down-voted you..

You just described a wiki.

Idea: Airbnb for food. An app where you buy meals cooked by your neighbors.

I see two big trends these days.

1) People seems more willing to connect back with their neighbors and community.

2) People have less time but want to eat more healthy.

Imagine this scenario:

While going back home, a student could check on the app what's available to eat for tonight. Next to his place, there's a family willing to sell the extra tacos for a few bucks. The student would then just stop by and pick them up.

Obviously, there would be quality rating and the possibility to reserve a few days in advance.

Major legal problems with this, unfortunately (at least in the US). You pretty much HAVE to have a commercial kitchen in order to legally sell food in the United States, as well as be licensed by the state. It is cost prohibitive. Some states have what are called "cottage food laws" that enable individuals to sell food cooked in their home kitchens on a small scale, but there are many restrictions. (For example, in my state, you cannot own any pets, and the food can't be the sort that goes bad if you don't refrigerate it.)

Granted, what Airbnb does isn't altogether legal much of the time, but food safety is taken much more seriously than hotel taxes and zoning laws. If you did build a startup like this, the second it started to become popular, I expect that you would get shut down.

What if there is no money involved in this, but more of an exchange/barter with points? If a point was roughly equal to a cent, then imagine the neighbour makes 3 tacos that could be 500 points... This student then will offer up a $25 Amazon gift card that is worth $25 to him, that he could offer for sale on this site (like ebay) and he gets to keep his points which he can barter.. At no point is cash redeemed/exchanged.

Does this break any of the various regulatory laws in place?

The laws are at the state level, so you'd have to dig deep into your particular state's laws to find out for sure (or hire a lawyer to do it). But since the concern is about foodborne illness, I suspect that you will run into a problem with the law in any case where you are offering food to the public that was not cooked under your state's watchful eye, regardless of your particular compensation scheme or lack thereof.

I am aware of one way around this, though (sort of). As I recall, if you come to my house and cook food for me in my kitchen, then I can pay you and everything is fine. I don't think you even need a food handler's license. But obviously, that's a lot less convenient for both of us.

I'm no expert on this topic. I've just looked into it enough to get discouraged!

You can do it lyft/sidecar style

Your neighbors happen to be cooking dinner, and this app is a convenient way to provide tips, write reviews, etc.

What if it was donation based, like lyft or uber?

http://us.dinnersurfer.com does this. It's only a few months old and may not have that many users outside of its native Denmark yet, but it has potential.

hah. I am surprised you have not heard of any of these!!


Wow, quite the list! Now I feel compelled to read through some posts tagged "AirBnB for X".

Interesting discussion on whether this model can succeed: http://www.quora.com/Will-Airbnb-for-food-be-a-successful-bu...

And I just stumbled onto another one of these last week: http://cozymeal.com/

Ha, yes well, I guess "Airbnb for food" might not be the best explanation then.

The pain point I was focusing on was to provide good food at cheap price for neighbors, less about "Living an experience with another family".

Oh I see. I actually like that! I don't think I would ever use one of these services to eat at a strangers house. However, if I could go on and see a list of what people in my area are planning to make (oh boy my neighbour is planning to make a batch of brownies this weekend). Then I could opt in and pay for a certain amount before some deadline.

Then the person making the food sees that they need to make an extra x amount of brownies (but they were already planning to make them, but now can make some extra money!). Then when they are ready you get an alert and can go pick it up.

That would be pretty sweet! I'd use that.

In the Netherlands, this exists. Thuisafgehaald.nl

Wish granted: cookening.com

I would say it's a bit different, it's more akin to going to a restaurant and grabbing something to it, rather than eating with the family.

A programmer social network. I find myself with two distinct sets of friends on Facebook: my tech friends and my normal friends. With my tech friends, I just want to post neat snippets of code as statuses and share github gists on walls and whatnot. So I'd like basically github with more social elements thrown in.

Imagine seeing a cool repo, then being able to friend the owner, and open a chat box to have a quick chat about it right there on the page rather than having to go to another communication method.

EDIT: I know this super similar to github. Really I just want github to implement the equivalent of friends, chats, and public profiles people can post things to (a la facebook wall).

This could be solved by something like Google Plus, if circles could be defined by topics that people subscribe to rather than by people you want to send a message to.

e.g.: I want to know what Jim thinks about coding, but not politics

What you describe sounds like the existing Communities feature, but until there is code block formatting in posts it'll still be a pain to read code in G+

That's why we've built http://DoerHub.com . We have hackers, entrepreneurs, surgeons, PhDs, and doers of all kinds posting and contributing to projects. The purpose of the site is to enable everyone to share what they are working on and grow it with help from others who care about the same topic (teammates, advisors, beta users, feedback, single-task contributors, word of mouth, you name it ). You can already message anyone, but we're adding group chat and anything else doers request that makes collaboration easier. You can just connect with GitHub.

I'm part of a huge Facebook-group (maybe 2000 members) with only programmers in my city. It's really great and the only thing that I like and enjoy about Facebook nowadays.

I'm a part of a similar thing, except for high schoolers. ~700 members and it's easily become my favorite part of Facebook.

I think GitHub is in a strong position to do this. They can easily turn it into something more social that allows you to add friends and share codes in your feed.

Github already let's you follow people, and has something vaguely akin to a feed to track followed users and watched repos

Dude. I've often thought about doing exactly this, but I felt like there was probably something already out there and just haven't taken the time to research whether that's true or not. If there's not, and there still isn't by the time I finish launching my current project, I might just look into taking this on next!

I built something like this about 4 years ago called BigStartups.com. It was built to help network the startup community and was moderately successful. Unfortunately, there were co-founder issues and we shut it down. I often think about what it could be in todays world if we kept working on it. Oh well...

This looks really cool :D

This sounds like something, that if it started to gain traction, could be replicated by Github almost instantly.

Really I just want github to implement that functionality, rather than make an entire new site.

http://www.coderwall.com seems similar to that.

Could these features be added to Github via browser plugin? (I really don't know)

Only dead trees there. It used to be a great place, but after it got acquired, acquired, sold and then acquired again, all of the community was long gone. It had its peek under Kyle Bragger when he was actually running a community with staff full-time on it, but after he sold it, it went downhill. Fast.

There's some recent attempts to bring back the community and improve all sorts of things, but it's just renovating and feeding a rotten tree. Sure, it will live for a long time but it will never be as beautiful as a real living tree fed by nature.

Facebook Groups work well for this for me. Twitter too. And IRC...

Geeklist, Coderwall, Github, sub groups on FB/Twitter

https://geekli.st is trying to be that.

Geekli.st is "social network" for tech recruiters.


It's called Github

As I said at the end of the first paragraph:

>So I'd like basically github with more social elements thrown in.

So Facebook. :) How about limiting the audience of your Facebook posts to a list of developer friends?

Popcorn Time for quality children's programming - Bill Nye, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, Avatar. Shows that are entertaining AND educational, none of that advertising filled, sassy attitude, Disney Channel crap.

edit: Seems like there is some interest in this. If anyone wants to discuss this more, email my username at me.com

This extends to regular quality programming as well.

Sometimes I spend 30 minutes looking for a good movie before giving up and watching The Bourne Supremacy again because at least I know I won't regret the 2 hours I invest in it.

I would pay $1 bounty every time someone just recommended a good movie that I end up liking.

Criticker solved that problem for me. You do have to invest a little time rating movies you've already seen, though.

1 million more...

Given the source is open, it may be more like curating a list of children's programming torrents and providing a delivery system for people to add their own child appropriate work.

I wouldn't be opposed to ads but not the sort you currently find on kids tv hawking toys

What if it was a Spotify-like model. ~$4.99/mo unlimited streaming, money is pooled and then pay out a % to content owners based on # of plays each video gets? The more popular episodes earn more of the money.

That seems to be the direction Amazon is going with Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, also includes books and apps. Not the best library of content just yet, but it seems to have potential. http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?&docId=1000863021

Jyst compiling lists of Youtube vids


This a million times.

Parents all over the world approve this idea.

An app that allows you to have a meeting with someone anytime both of you're available for the meeting.

So it's schedule-less.


You want to talk to Paul. Paul wants to talk to you. But not as much.

Paul is ranked "a1" in your book and you are ranked "b5" in Paul's book.

Paul notes that he is in a "b5 and above" time period. Maybe he just got done exercise so he is more interested in talking to anyone (you are a b5 after all). Or maybe he is sitting in the dentists waiting room and has time to kill and is ok if he has to stop the conversation right away abruptly.

In your book Paul is an "a1" so he can call in the middle of the night and you will take the call.

Paul marks his availability as "b5 and above" and then app proceeds to start to contact anyone who matches.

Someone else is ahead of you at b3 so they get the first call. Next guy is at b4 but he doesn't answer. So you are next at b5 and your phone rings and it's Paul.

You have your conversation.

Advantage: No need to schedule calls by time. They happen by importance.

With granularity on both sides.

Why I like this:

I can make the most efficient use of time. Some people are more important and you want to take the call anytime anyplace. Others are less important and you are more picky. Also ability to use time that normally goes to waste. And prevents you from having to think "I've got a minute who should I call".

I really like this idea, although I'd be unlikely to mark my availability often. Maybe have a 'get me a meeting now' button, which raises your availability until a meeting matches.

That's part of the idea. You don't map anything out. You hit a button that says literally "get me a meeting now" but further you can give it an idea of the level of importance of the meeting you want "now".

Using the example I have given elsewhere if you are waiting for a plane that might take off in 10 minutes you don't want to call someone that you can't quickly get off the phone with. (You don't want to be rude to someone important). Otoh the person pitching you or the local realtor that you know that you need to check in with is the type that you can say "hey have to catch my plane talk to you later" (or your aunt). Or the guy at Home Depot with the size of the garden hose.

That's a bit different in that it requires you to map out specific times. And people's mood and availability changes for various reasons. Things come up. People need to cancel. Maybe a more important thing comes along. This actually encourages more "iffy" meetings for that matter. Since you aren't obligated for a specific time. [1]

Imagine needing speak with your doctor. You doctor might grab a minute sometime and then call you. You, with anxiety waiting for your test results, might take that call anytime (and in fact people do). But the doctor does not want to map out a specific time to call you as he might just have a few minutes between patients. And he will dial those from a note he has. And many will not be there when he calls. (This could in fact pre queue up just as if you are the President and you tell your secretary "get so and so on the line I will be out of this meeting in 5 minutes".)

So really this solves another problem but is not necessarily a replacement for a separate general scheduling issue.

Same concept could be adapted to, say, a handyman. He might have two hours in between fixed jobs and say "what job can I pull of where the person is home and within 3 miles from where I am right now".

(Although to be clear that wasn't the original point of the idea but now I'm thinking of that twist to it.)

[1] For example a salesman calling is normally interuptive and scheduling a meeting for something that you have only trivial interest in is not going to happen. Otoh sitting waiting for a plane which is delayed opens up the potential desire to possibly take meetings and conversations over things that you don't necessarily want to schedule.

  - When will the next bus/train be at this spot?
  - a non-DRM ebook reader with Project Gutenburg installed
  - auto convert from client/server to webapp or phoneapp
  - grocery delivery for us not in SV,Seattle,etc
  - reservation-only restaurants that have tables avail now
  - auto turn cell phone to vibrate in certain locations
  - auto forward cell phone to close land line (work/home)
  - old Google maps
  - a no wifi or cell Palm Pilot replacement
  - cell phone direct to .txt email for all but certain callers
  - mini-blogging platform: 400 chars < every post < 800 chars
  - yelp you can actually believe
  - forum software that filters trolls
  - forum software that filters idiots
  - salad bar locator
  - buffet locator
  - televisionless / audioless restaurant locater
  - chess with n moves forward/back what if 
  - shock nearby driver on cell phone not paying attention
  - missing commercial airliner locator

> - When will the next bus/train be at this spot?

I think Oona Räisänen solved that already: http://www.windytan.com/2013/11/decoding-radio-controlled-bu...

> auto convert from client/server to webapp or phoneapp

What? Client/server is a network model, webapp and phoneapp are applications. You mean like a web/phone app that you can use to talk to random server applications or something?

> old Google maps

More specific..?

> auto turn cell phone to vibrate in certain locations

There's an app for that

> auto forward cell phone to close land line (work/home)

You can do that with VoIP.

> forum software that filters idiots

That would be a major breakthrough. Hellbanning probably does a good job already though.

> shock nearby driver on cell phone not paying attention

The police calls that a Taser.

One thing I have noticed is that if I look at my phone while driving but hold it lower out of sight no one reacts. But if I hold the phone up so I can actually see where I am driving while glancing at the phone, people honk and act like they want to kill me. So I often just try to hide it, even though I feel much safer holding it up so that it is in the same field of view as the road. So this is an example where people think they are helping righteously but they are actually making the road more dangerous.

Anyway I think that cars should come with heads up displays that overlay information on or in front of the windshield in front of you without obscuring the road.

Also I should get a hands-free setup.

> but they are actually making the road more dangerous

Or you could just stop using your cellphone when driving instead of rationalising the blame onto others?

> Anyway I think that cars should come with heads up displays that overlay information on or in front of the windshield in front of you without obscuring the road.

Yes, for instance some cars are designed to put things like speed indicator just below screen, but most bury them behind the steering wheel where it's hard to see, never understood why.

I had an errand service and a lady would pay me to get her groceries every week. I think I charged $10/hr. She would also give me a stack of coupon items to pick up. Her way of rationalizing the expense was that the coupon savings was usually more than she paid me. I would buy all the crap and she'd just write me a check for that amount plus my fee.

> buffet locator

There's probably a market for a Buffett locator as well.

cell phone direct to .txt email for all but certain callers

How much would you pay for such a service?

HulloMail does this for your voicemail.

Many people on hacker news have explicitly asked for this: a platform for listing your open-source project that needs contributors. I tried here:


But nobody cared. Perhaps I was doing it wrong or I have not do many/any promotion. Anybody wants to take this idea and solve it for us I will really appreciate it.

The monthly "who's hiring" guy should post "which open source project need help" as well.

It's a bot, but agreed :)

for what it's worth http://solvers.io was featured on HN recently and seems quite similar.

http://solvers.io is this for charitable and scientific ideas (by me and davedx)

https://openhatch.org/ is this for open source software in general

http://up-for-grabs.net/ is trying to make it so that new contributors can easily find projects that they can contribute to.

Downloadable sounds for electric cars.

Electric cars must make noise under new EU rules:


Aesthetics is another (arguably more marketable) aspect of car sound.

Have you seen The Dilemma? About two guys (tech founder and business founder) working on a system for giving traditional muscle car sound to electric cars. (And some romantic comedy type stuff too.) When I saw it I thought - that idea would really fly. Whilst silent cars may be great for the majority (especially those living near busy roads), there is still a sizeable group that will pay extra for a great engine/exhaust note combo. See also recent criticism about the sound of the new hybrid Formula 1 engines, including from world champ Sebastian Vettel "sound like sh*t". There's a definite market there, but obviously depends on the electric car market itself.

For blind people, they must make a sound that person recognises as a car. So they can't download their favourite bands latest single.

From the article:

> MEPs agreed that in future the vehicles must be fitted with devices to make them "sound similar" to cars with combustion engines.

So you'll have a limited choice to choose from.

But personally I'm hoping they can make them a bit less rough and more of that smooth "Hummmm" you associate with luxury cars.

Michael Stipe had that idea back in 2004: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/28/electric_car_rington...

All those fart app developers will have a new home!

blink and sound when the pedestrian is detected is way better for him/her and the driver.

Would really make an impression passing along a crowded sidewalk :)

That's an April's fool, right?

Cars that are so quiet you can't hear them are very dangerous for blind people trying to cross streets, for example.

How about a program that watches for certain input patterns, takes calendar, location and maybe camera data to determine the best times to deliver push and email notifications without interrupting.

Maybe one could figure out moments at which the user would be interrupted the most, for example shortly after opening a new window or tab, or shortly after switching programs, since these moments are risky for forgetting things (if the same psychology applies): http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17470218.2011.571...

It would probably make sense to prohibit interruptions during intense writing. I also thought about an option to blacklist certain apps or websites like Skype, Facetime etc. and to whitelist activities that don’t require focus like browsing news websites or playing a game.

A service for blind/partially sighted people where they can use a smart phone to connect to a service where volunteers (if any are connected) describe what they can see from the video streamed from the smart phone.

The volunteers are given ratings afterwards, and their video streams checked against their descriptions by other volunteers.

Monetized later via a paid service where the person is reliably connected to trained describers rather than volunteers.

Have a look at bemyeyes.org it is just that its in public beta: https://beta.bemyeyes.org

A web API that consumes phone camera captured photos of nutritional labels, and spits back a structured JSON response of the data.

Primary consumers would be developers who're building products that depend on the user inputting this type of data - or warehouse logistics companies who could catalog this sort of data and middleman it to everyone else.

This would make my idea for a mobile app that renders pictures of the sugar/salt/fat content in foods by OCRing the label a trivial problem, and it could lead to many other applications like a shopping assistant for diabetics, athletes, etc.


This was the startup I was CTO at. We organized peoples' whole diets and we used the barcodes rather than OCR to get the nutrition facts of labeled products.

The product recommended home-cooked meals (web-only), found the healthiest restaurant dishes near you (mobile and web), and evaluated the nutritional fit of labeled food products in stores (mobile-only). The recommendation algorithm was all backend.

Too bad we got acqui-hired.

I didn't follow the acqui-hire and went on to work for a genetics startup.

Email me if you want more info or to see about making it exist again. We had an alpha test group of some very happy users :)

Dibs. I'll start working on it. If anyone wants to help out, message me or email me karan[at]goel.im

(Apologies if you're an OCR guru and this is a stupid comment, but...) I wonder if it would be easier to get an MVP together using Amazon Mechanical Turk. A quick Google search reveals that there are lots of commercial products providing OCR on nutrition labels, but getting open source OCR to work reliably with phone-quality images (poor lighting, curvature of containers, etc) is tricky.

Either way, I think OCR-as-a-service would be really useful, and nutrition labels are probably a great place to start. I think there's lots of room for improvement in the nutrition/meal planning space.

I know FoodEssentials used to do this on mTurk. I did them myself on that platform. They haven't been around in a while, though. I'd be more than happy to enter nutritional label information on mTurk should that method be chosen.

I don't know how hard it might be, but we have a team already (wow HN), and have started the work.

You can scan barcode most of the time.

Just be aware that they're proposing a change to the current format used in the United States. This post covers the proposed changes:


The product should already have a UPC code that is trivial to capture. From there, it would be a simple matter of looking up that code to map it to its nutrition information. There may even be databases (eg: FDA) where this is available. MyFitnessPal seems to have the nutritional info on just about every product I've scanned, and I can't tell if they crowdsourced all that data input and/or if they seeded it with some database.

I believe it's crowdsourced. There are many items I eat that they don't have in their database. The app allows you to submit the nutrition info to their database and it gets recognized afterwards. MyFitnessPal is very popular. They should have one of the biggest databases out there.

This adresses a pain that I suffer:

An app to easily compare SQL execution plans.

I believe the better way would be graphical. I have needed this on MS SQL Server, SQL Sentry Plan Explorer has helped but lacks this comparison. Today I do it by diffin execution plans on XML format.

On my wildest dreams I would have a REPL accepting a DSL that would allow me to query the different DMV's (those are SQL Server data management views which give you insight on the inner state of SQL Server, Red Gate has a nice site on them http://sqlmonitormetrics.red-gate.com).

If it already exist is some form or platform please share.

An IaaS provider which meets "paranoid" security requirements -- essentially, being able to remotely provision a box in a trustworthy way, and know you "own" that box at least as much as if you'd carried it to colo yourself.

Then, the ability to secure those boxes (and boxes you drop off in colo) against tampering short of powering them off.

(tech details: Intel TXT, TCG TPM, cheap HSMs, Intel SGX, etc.)

PrivateCore has a product to do this for OpenStack:


Not sure if any IaaS providers are offering services based on it yet, though.

Hey, interesting, I'm a researcher working in this area as it happens. Have you any particular classes of application you'd want to use this for? What level of performance hit would you be willing to take? Would you be happy to just have a mechanism that enables you to determine after the fact that you've been hacked or data has leaked due to a misconfiguration, or would you mainly be interested in mechanisms for preventing such issues ever happening?

I have been wanting this for a while as well. Performance is not a huge issue in this scenario for me, as security is the really the reason anyone would use this. I would want to prevent data from leaking completely if possible. My ideal scenario is that an adversary/host could take down my box, but they couldn't get at the content inside without my authentication. I don't want my instance to be clonable/rootable by the FBI, NSA, the hosting provider, or anyone else. Ideally I should be able to set up a Tor host in this instance, no one should be able to see inside under any condition, and I should have some proof/verification that it is secure from outsiders as claimed. If they realize that something undesirable is going on, I have no problem with the instance being shut down, but I don't want my privacy/security compromised.

So you don't ask for much then :). As I'm sure you're aware, even with TPMs/TXT/SGX/Trustzone etc, once your threat model includes a capable adversary like the NSA with physical access to your box, it's hard to see how you can provide bullet-proof guarantees. I'm excluding fully homomorphic encryption based systems on the grounds of practicality here (although there are interesting 'somewhat homomorphic' systems out there that achieve practicality by restricting what kind of operations you can perform on the data).

I guess, but it still seems like no one offers this and its not trivial. Do you know of any research/systems/practical offerings in this area? This has been something that I would be interested in learning a lot more about honestly. I agree that bullet-proof guarantees are basically impossible and that physical security is probably going to be the weak point at the end of the day. Maybe some system could be created that made it hard to individually tamper with one instance without alerting others, or made it hard to isolate one from another from a hardware view? Do you think even something like SGX can't prevent some level of physical threats? It seems like it would at least make it harder/reduce the scenarios in which hardware is vulnerable, but I haven't researched it extensively.

SGX is pretty reasonable IFF you believe in the Intel PKI.

I have been looking at how to do cheap ($20-50 slow USB connected (essentially smartcard), $500-1000 PCIe) HSMs. If you do shared-computation with a host (with or without SGX/TXT), you can get pretty decent performance with quite modest HSM hardware.

Those provide NSA-type protection -- in that attacking a single instance isn't guaranteed, and takes time, so a system with key rotation or k of n split across locations is going to provide pretty reasonable security.

Private Core is definitely the most interesting TXT-based solution today; if you built an IaaS provider with that tech plus live video monitoring, alarms, etc., you could probably offer quite reasonable security assurances to people. (i.e. the tools to defeat it require physical access, and if no one can gain physical access to a rack once the rack is put into production...)

The k of n split across multiple locations idea is interesting.

I agree that if you're paranoid about the NSA it probably doesn't make too much sense to have faith in the Intel PKI. When you say pretty decent performance for your HSM, do you mean less than 10 % for real world apps?

I'm currently assuming a threat model where an attacker doesn't have physical access however, and looking more into how to use hardware to bootstrap a minimal TCB that doesn't require OS or application rewrites but still gives good performance. Even if only for specific use cases.

ARM or possibly Atom in a box, so pretty decent performance. The pain of the HSM is the physical packaging, and my ultimate goal is to make that reusable and let users select their own components and do their own final assembly and certification.

Baby near me

Amenities near by with baby facilities, possibly with user ratings.

All of my recently baby-ied friends complain about finding places to go, especially groups of recent mothers meeting up in the middle of the day.

As a (relatively) new dad, I would find this very useful. There doesn't seem to be a central repository of such places and the ones in my city (Cincinnati) are really badly organized, maintained, ect...

There is room in OpenStreetMap for this sort of data. Parks and playgrounds are already frequently marked (along with stuff like museums), and there are at least a few people trying to figure out things like changing tables.

I guess it would take a while before people were chasing details like kids menus.

There is Wow dad, and there is mum version called Wow Mum (maybe Wow Mom). https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.wowdad.ui

It really bugs me that this is restricted to ireland, UK and USA. :(

If anybody is interested in working on something like this let me know :)

We have an almost-ready app for finding bathrooms nearby - think Yelp for bathrooms. Adding support for baby services would be very trivial.

For some reason I like this idea, not sure why but seems like something that could help my wife immensely as well as other mothers.

A place where developers can post their already launched projects, and business/marketing/sales people can get in touch with them if they're interested in becoming a cofounder . I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets all excited about building and launching new stuff, but after that, I'm kind of clueless about what to do, so I move on to the next.

Biz/Marketing guy here: I'd actively use this for multiple motivations. -Financial support, especially if project has potential for eventually passive returns. -Growth marketing portfolio, for leverage on future marketing projects and consulting work. -Positive impact, dependent on nature of project. -Cofounder pre-trial: work together with smart hackers with potential to collaborate on future projects if fit is good.

Thinking of ways to position this and sources to share it already.

Really: if someone were interested in building something like this out and able to seed initial dev projects, I'd be happy to help.

This sounds good. As a developer I frequently churn out stuff that I have no idea how to sell or grow.

Let the sales guys look through a list of stuff that has been made by developers, and if they find something they think they can add value to then a connection can be made.

Have you tried DoerHub? We're three hackers and we're building it to bridge doers across disciplines via the projects they are working on. It's free. It's connected people who would have never ever met otherwise (surgeons, hackers, researchers in pharma, commercializers, farmers, activists). It's built by doers for doers, and you are welcome to join us, contribute, provide feedback, or help in any other way.

Same problem here. Sideprojectors tries to solve this, but hasn't worked for me so far.


Any particular ideas about what's wrong with it?

1. License Tesla or Prius chassis/drive-trains and put Golden Oldie car shells on top of them and sell them to retiring boomers (think Pink Cadillac). Industrial Design IP of exteriors should be expired.

2. A commercial version of PostgreSQL server that has row-level security and natively replicates with SQLIte over HTTP(S). Easy offline mobile apps.

> A commercial version of PostgreSQL server that has row-level security and natively replicates with SQLIte over HTTP(S). Easy offline mobile apps.

This, if done well, could be awesome. How you would effectively guarantee row-level security?

One thing that I've been thinking about a lot is a database whose rows are only readable by the users that generated the data in those rows. Essentially, the data in each row is encrypted with a key that's generated from the password of the user.

Data breaches are bad because, among other reasons, nothing in the database is encrypted. If each row was encrypted with a key only recoverable from a user's password it would solve a lot of problems.

Some RLS updates coming in 9.4 . Updatable security_barrier views, as well as updatable WITH CHECK OPTION views. Can be done now sorta, but is a PITA.

Generally speaking, encryption isn't the answer. Hard to search, hard to sort, hard to index.

RLS using views works well, but has some issues such as Covert Channels. See http://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/Row-security .

Don't think it would be a problem regarding replication, as long as remote databases can't query as they please.

How would you combine that with indexing? Seems like data needs to be unencrypted to be indexed. And if you're not doing any indexing, isn't it as simple as converting the user's data to JSON, and encrypting the JSON?

Aye, there's the rub. Lots of nice features disappear when you're only storing encrypted data. I suspect that it's not possible to create an index of the data (before encrypting it) that doesn't leak information and thus ruin the encryption (but IANACryptologist).

It would really only be useful for data you're not joining on or searching over, and then you've got more of a dumb data store than a database.

It might be useful if a database could enable encryption on specific columns (which would make those columns unindexable).

A way for me to organize hundreds of gb of porn.

Seriously, porn organization is the 1 thing I haven't been able to master over the years. A way to detect what your current preferences are and map them to a video or image set would be revolutionary.

The only part there that seems like it's actually hard (ooh er) is encoding information about the content of a given video or image file; I don't see any better way to do that than tagging by hand, which is going to take a while for a sizable archive.

Once that's done, it seems like keeping track of frequency and recency of access, plus user ratings which gradually go stale over time in order to model familiarity breeding disinterest, should suffice to give you the rest. In order to avoid the complexity of hooking into whatever image/video viewer you use, you could run your ratings collector as a background process which uses inotify or your local equivalent to keep track of accesses to the files under curation, and by some method decide when to request you input ratings. (I'm seeing a notification area icon with a bubble popup saying "Click here to rate the last 15 porn videos you watched." This thought amuses me, God knows why.)

Then it's just a matter of asking for more of what you've been watching lately, or stuff you haven't seen lately that matches some collection of tagged interests, or what-have-you. I don't know what you use as a UI for your porn collection, but a simple first approximation might be filling up a temp directory with symlinks to the content matching a given query, and then popping up a file browser on the directory -- in any modern OS, this should give you a pretty good overview, thumbnails and all.

A way to organize anything at all would be a nice start. The real problem is people trying to force arbitrary relationships into hierarchical models always results in mediocre solutions. When are we going to start taking graph databases seriously? (+ Graph filesystems)

I'm really interested in this idea as I suffer from the same problem on my local disk in addition to having years worth of documents across a DropBox account, SkyDrive, and two Google Drive accounts.

What are your biggest gripes? What model would you like to see? A tag based filesystem? Arbitrary graph?

Would love to talk to people such as yourself who have this problem.

I am working on a project to categorise your files/code projects. You can give them tags, comments, and then sort them in that way. I want to see something like this for any type of data, and I think graph databases would be a good thing to explore!

It's not quite done, and I will be making demo videos eventually but if you are curious check it out!


I'd like to see arbitrary graph based systems where there's no restriction on the relationships you can create - although doing so takes more work than dumping things into hierarchies. Tag based systems are useful for making the transition to graphs, but they're really just "patching" graph-like semantics onto trees - as are things like symbolic links in file systems.

Relationships are largely arbitrary, and what is meaningful to one person may not be to another. In order to have an effective system, I think it would need both a distributed and local component, such that there is this large, distributed graph of knowledge of relationships, which you can download and cache parts of selectively - and which you can add your own relationships to, and chose which of those you wish to share. By collectively sharing relationship, we can form consensus models which converge around specific kinds of ontologies - which could be used to optimise storage and querying for local caches of such boundaries.

My biggest gripe is perhaps this idea of bottom-up-schema creation, in which we try to conjure up a model of relationships which may work based on our limited knowledge of the models we want to express. Instead, the graph based approach gives us a top-down-approach, where all the relationships are visible, but where we focus on specific relationships to build an ontology, then optimise our problem around it.

Filesystems in the traditional sense are far too limiting in that they already push a bottom-up schema on you - that of files, and much of the data you want to organize isn't files anyway. The filesystem is useful though, and necessary to remain compatible with existing systems - but I think it should take the top-down approach, where for example, you'd have some FUSE module which accesses part of a larger graph database, and only cares about the file specific relationships or ontologies.

I'm no expert on graph theory, and I've only played around with the ideas a bit using existing graph databases (Titan, Orient, rel etc) and querying languages like Gremlin and Datalog. I also have a few dozen databases I've made with Postgres in order to map the relations I care about with refeences to external information sources (e.g musicbrainz) - some of which are not "open" in the sense that you'd want them in a distributed system, because they require sign-ups to central services in order to manipulate them.

I've also looked at various attempts to build systems like this, but the majority are proprietary systems, or centralized in some way or another, and I've not discovered a sane way to locally cache the data I want without taking whole copies of the databases.

At present there's just too much for me to learn and research, and not the time or motivation to do it - partly because I feel it would need to be a collaborative, free software project, as the profit motive is largely incompatible with the need for a distributed system - and I'm too focused on making a living right now.

What's your email?

my username @live.com

"Pay for friendly email".

I would pay for faked friendly emails and messages. You'd need to price it low enough to be sensible. There would have to be strict no sex rules; and protection against scamming. I imagine it workin a bit like camming does now - there's a "menu" of available people with mini biographies and the user picks one and selects what kind of service they want (early morning motivational; late night inquisitive; etc) and pays up front for X messages. The message writer sends the messages and the site takes a cut of the payment.

This is a service, it is not an i troduction or dating or real friend site.

Hey how about "problem monday" then. It is said that often times you should not start with an idea, but rather with a problem. So maybe posting problems could lead to great ideas...

Many (most) good ideas don't solve problems but improve something, create new way to have fun etc. For example, I wouldn't say that Minecraft solves a problem (unless you define "problem" in a weird way).

A way to submit any legal document, and for a fee have it returned but explained in plain english.

What do you guys think about this? And what do you think are the most common use cases/legal documents?

> A way to submit any legal document, and for a fee have it returned but explained in plain english.

SNARK: I understood this to be called a "lawyer".

NOT SNARK: Legal language is so recondite, complex, and heavily dependent on external dependencies defined elsewhere, that short of very smart AGI I despair of there ever being a programmatic way to translate between legalese and plain language with any hope of maintaining fidelity -- and, given the import which legal documents tend to have, a bad translation may well be worse than none at all.

I've actually been working on this. Dutch, unfortunately, but here you go: http://lucb1e.com/rp/js/en%20dan%20nu%20in%20het%20Nederland...

Quick translation of the text on the page:

Title: And now in plain Dutch

Intro paragraph: Contracts are always written in a very cryptic manner. So what do they say in short, plain old Dutch?

Status of the project: beta. I've "translated" 2 out of 38 paragraphs from one contract I've received, and that was a lot of work already. Those paragraphs work fine now, but it still needs a lot more work.

Couple questions. Have you had any customers? What type of legal docs do you think are best to target?

Are you trying to generate summaries programmatically?

> "Have you had any customers?"

No, no, it's nothing like that. It's just a small Javascript thingy that tries to convert legal nonsense into sense. I got a contract in Dutch that I found took way longer to read than it should (like, really read and understand all implications), made this script and threw it online. It's in a directory with dozens of unfinished scripts that I wrote.

So yes, summaries are generated programmatically. They have no legal value but provide a much better read of what is written in the contract.

How does it translate any legal writing into a simpler form? That sounds like a damn nearly impossible language processing feat.

Simple text replacement. I'm sorry if I just shattered the mental picture of some high-tech language processing, but this pretty crude method that just gets the job done :P

I'd get lawyers to write up explanations of common blocks of legal text. Then you just find them in the contract, and provide an interface to view the explanations alongside the text.

For extra money, you can highlight a section of text, and a laywer will tell you what it means. Once a few people have asked about some phrase, you can include it in the general data bank.

Make it easy for users to hire a lawyer through you for more extensive work -- that gives you a massive revenue stream, even if only a few people take you up on it.

I think the legal world needs to create abstractions and simplifications similar to the programming world. There should be standard definitions, that are simply referenced, ideally these standard definitions are available online.

For example: "No theft agreement" - employees/tenants/whoever shall not steal, etc etc etc

Not quite what you asked for but Word Rake removes extra text (extra adjectives, phrases, filler words) to get you to something more concise and readable. They have a focus on legal docs. http://www.wordrake.com

Tenancy agreements and job contracts would probably be common uses. I like this, nice idea!

Telepresence for travel. One use case is that I don't have time to travel to location X, but would like to be part of a group who is hiking, etc there. Could see this being quadcopters with cameras with dual controls (remote for me and possible to be overridden by someone on site if there is an issue).

Second use case is my disabled daughter who I can bring back videos of places to, but it's not quite the same as sharing the moment, and of course would give her a sense of freedom to be able to zoom in and look at something I might not have thought to capture.

Given connectivity issues to many of the places I know "I" would like to be able to go to virtually, I suspect part of the problem will be convincing folks that it doesn't ruin their wilderness experience to let other folks attend virtually. Given that you would then have fewer travelers impacting the environment I would consider this a net win.

I did wonder if anyone would watch real-time first-person hiking. Bit like the slow TV movement. My brother has done a few hikes with a GoPro set to capture a photo every few seconds and the results can be quite cool. With storage and power, you could probably capture something. Streaming would be a lot harder in even slightly remote areas.

A device that sits in your toilet (under the water level) and detects trace amounts of blood or other stuff that shouldn't be in urine or stool

Toto is way ahead of you; their patents has already been issued and expired: https://www.google.com/patents/US5111539?pg=PA25&dq=5111539&...

This is an excellent idea. Lot's of cancers can be prevented this way.

Citation needed?

I think mavdi really meant "diagnosed sooner". Or perhaps cancer deaths could be prevented? Either way, just google "cancer blood in urine" or stool and you get the idea.

yes indeed, sorry I meant cancer deaths prevented

Crowd meets Class Action Lawsuits. A mobile or web app that shows many class action lawsuits in one place. I'd like to be able to go to one place and see a large list of pending class action lawsuits and their corresponding meta-data (deadline for joining lawsuit, company, details, link to website with more details, etc)

A real, smart browser bookmarking system. One that looks at your bookmarks, and based on content (and/or other factors) categorizes and organizes your bookmarks for you without intervention. Due to issues around privacy, should either run locally or be part of a large, anonymized data set if it needs to use a SaaS. Even better would be a real standard for tagging URLs that bookmarking system could just use on their own (kind of like CDDB music genres or similar.)

A website for employees in a company to share SQL queries and their results, like Heroku Dataclips. You can write your query in your browser, the results will be shown, and you can just copy/paste the URL to a coworker for him/her to see the results.

I'm already working on this, contact me if you're interested!


very interested in using it.

http://sqlfiddle.com/ sort of does this, but not in the way Dataclips does.

Rahil, have you thought about extending this idea to a place where you would post a DB schema and SQL queries and let the community optimize it. Companies will use this to tap into the expertise of many database engineers.

This sounds pretty out of scope for what I'm thinking of.

I'm trying to solve the problem of people sharing data within an organization. I'm not trying to make a social community of database engineers.

Cool idea though! Feel free to contact me if you'd like to chat more.

There's the excellent https://github.com/epantry/django-sql-explorer if you're running a Django app.

- Browser plugin that lets you have private group conversations around other peoples' posts. Pure evil, I won't do it due to pesky ethics. (Think "people gossiping about how ugly someone is in their selfie behind their back" as primary use case.) UX would be injecting thread inline on major sites, first would obv be Facebook.

- Better wedding planning software

- Tool to go through LinkedIn "Who You Might Know" recommendations to assist in job hunt

I love the first idea, and I might just be catty enough to implement it. I'll be sure to follow up w/ you if I do (:

Your first idea is basically whytheluckystiff's "hoodwink'd".

A wiki-style spoiler-free website for catching up with TV series/books.

For instance, you've only watched Game of Thrones up to series 2, episode 3. You're about to start watching it again but can't remember what Daenerys was getting up to.

You go to the Game of Thrones page on that website, pick your series and episode, and choose "Daenerys" as a tag filter. It brings up all the major plot points relating to her up to S2E3.

This does seem like a rather interesting idea.

However, how might one implement this while remaining concise? For example, say a user tells the Wiki they are in S1E02; the Wiki would provide a synopsis of the events relating to the specified tag up till that point in the series. However, imagine a user tells the Wiki that they want the same specified tag up until S3E10. That surely complicates things as far more major plot points are likely to have occurred. How would this be handled? Would it just be what the user at S1E02 was told plus everything after and up until S3E10 tacked on to the end?

To further illustrate this idea, consider the following: User receives two (2) plot points when selecting S1E02 User receives seven (7) plot points when selecting S2E07 User receives (13) plot points when selecting S3E01 ...

It would be interesting if the synopsis provided could summarize dynamically based on what point the user was caught up to in the given series. I've no clue how that would be implemented, though, short of someone going in and writing a response that would keep it concise for every episode that a user could select.

(This isn't my most concise comment on the internet. I'm sorry.)

That's pretty much what I was thinking, yeah. A detailed plot synopsis is provided in chunks of information of 1-2 sentences. Each of them is tagged as being at a certain point in the text/series, as well as extra tags about the characters/settings that they deal with.

Each query that a user sends would just display a subset of the complete plot synopsis. So user at S3E10 would see all the things that user at S1E02 will be shown, and then the rest of seasons 1, 2 and 3.

The character/setting filtering is just a way of filtering down things further. If you're just interested in what character A has been doing, you don't need to pore through information about characters B, C and D.

A search engine for knowledge and facts.

I think there's huge value in a search engine of knowledge and facts, where all sources are verified. A search engine that is objective and contains no opinions, crappy blogs or tweets, content farms. A search engine where you can't game your rankings through SEO techniques or through higher add spend.

Google is amazing. Google Search is going to be here for a long time. I doubt anyone will be able to come up with a solid replacement. But one of the current problems with Google is that they have too much information.

So far, i've put together a tiny version of this concept, which i've found very useful when i'm trying to learn new things or do some research. I would love to see some smarter people turn it into something more.

I've previously said that I'd like to see a fork of Wikipedia.

The new version would remove the toxic meta community. It would focus on narrow and defined topics ("science", "art over 50 years old") and would have rigorous fact checking and sourcing. It would aim for truth and accuracy, not whatever the hell WP currently does.

It would also have much better introductory paragraphs for every article.

That would be a great! A verification algorithm of sources and how objective the information is.

The concept I mentioned relies heavily on Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha. It seems like unfortunately Wikipedia is starting to see it's own share of not so important/factual information.

It's been done. Wolfram Alpha[1] specifically.

Also look up "linked data" (I'm not sure if DDG uses linked data or not[2]).

[1] http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=How+many+people+speak+B... [2] https://duckduckgo.com/html/?q=linked+data

edit: so "Hacker News" doesn't allow even basic HTML? Meh meh meh.

> "Hacker News" doesn't allow even basic HTML?

I think that's to try to keep the focus on content rather than presentation, and also because parsing user-submitted HTML to pick out the safe bits is a pain in the neck. If you absolutely need presentation features you can't get on HN, then turn your comment into a blog post or a webpage and link to it from here. (But you probably don't need those features, and HN's formatter is easy to get used to.)

This new site called Meterfy came out on Friday (I think) that is trying to be "Wikipedia for numbers." It currently only allows submissions of individual numbers as facts, but if something like this could handle datasets it could replace entry level analysts. For example, thousands of people (and algorithms) pour over earnings reports to find out different information about companies. Much of this work could be done by fewer people, freeing up the productive efforts of the others...

You could focus first as a search engine for everything baby or medical related. As a new dad I can't even count how many times I've searched for something like "what temperature should I bring my baby to the er" and find pages of mommy blogs and user comments. In instances like those I need accurate instant answers, not page after page of "my son had a 103 fever for 6 days and we didn't bring him to the doctor and he seems fine".

Reminds me of OpenCyc [1]. I'll need to have a closer look at it someday.

[1]: http://www.cyc.com/platform/opencyc

This would require a full blown company, and a big one at that, to get it right. Not really a hackable idea that a reader could do in a few months of spare time.

Search on Wikipedia? Or what sort of facts&knowledge?

What about Freebase? http://www.freebase.com/

I like live shows. I would like a website that lists all the live shows in my area. Like "show me all shows at Shoreline". I haven't found a single site that tells me this.

I actually launched a webapp for this just a couple of weeks back: Netbiljett at http://netbiljett.se . The user can create searches that Netbiljett keeps an eye out for, and sends them an email the moment an event shows up. (I also show all currently available events matching the search term, but the heart of Netbiljett is helping people not missing out on what they are interested in.)

To get what you asked for, try searching for "live konsert stockholm", which translates to "live concert stockholm". If you add "fredag" (Friday) you'll only get events occuring on a Friday.

I should mention Netbiljett is only meant for the Swedish market, so I never posted about it on HN. Was that a bad move? (Also, "Netbiljett" translates to a rhyming "Onlineticket" in Swedish.)

I'd love feedback.

I spend a significant amount of time looking up live shows, but what about the Ticketmaster website for Shoreline doesn't do this? As far as I know, everything at Shoreline has to go through Ticketmaster/Live Nation. If the venue doesn't have their own calendar, most of the time Ticketmaster/Live Nation does. My personal solution is just to go through all the venues individually that I'm interested in. In the bay area that's about 15 spots for me.

Are you looking for a "show me all shows in San Francisco"? I haven't found a good solution to that either, and things like Eventful, Pollstar aren't the greatest as they simply show too much.


Yes, I should have said "Show me all events near San Francisco", because as you aptly point out a single venue is easy to search. The problem is that I have to find all the venues, do all the searches, and then do it again as they add more shows!

So yeah, a single site, maybe one where I can upload my iTunes song list or link to my Pandora or something so it can sort by why I like, would be awesome.

Seems you're looking for exactly this: http://www.bandsintown.com/home

I've recently started something like this, but so far it's in German only, and only recognizes zip codes from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (it does a proximity search, not strict search by city).

The main problem is getting the data. I thought that ticket affiliate programs would give me the data in machine readable form, but so far no luck (one of them does, but it's far too expensive).

In case you're still interested, it's http://konzertgeek.de/ (source at https://github.com/moritz/soonish-p5 ).

If anybody has ideas where to get the data from, please tell me!

I built this many years ago (http://techcrunch.com/hearwhere), and shut it down a few years later. As others have mentioned, BandsInTown and SongKick are both in this space, along with MANY others. Before I let the domain expire, I'd get e-mails every month or two either from people wanting me to bring back the service, or from people who were building a new one and wanted advice. I haven't figured out why people aren't satisfied with what's out there.

So I'm not working on this but I'm working on software that might be the base for this? An Open Source collaborative wiki calendar http://ican.openacalendar.org/

As others have said, data is the main problem. Sometimes it might be best to focus on a small area or niche. There are lots of sites like this but the ones that succeed generally seem to cover one area or niche (or both)?

I wrote something for that (and more events than just shows) years ago. didnt have the time to populate it myself while it was in its infancy though so it never took off. looking back, I probably should have focused on a small number of event genres (maybe just nightlife) instead of trying to list everything that was going on in the county.

These sites tend to be labors of love: http://showlistdc.com/

Have you checked out bandsintown.com ?

I'm working on this. Seattle has launched, more cities on the way. discovershowgo.com


seatgeek sends out a weekly email

I think 'Ask HN: Idea Sunday' is a great idea, I am definitely looking for a project to work on and this is very helpful. Look forward to seeing this continue.

examine.com meets google scholar

Place for all scientific studies to be elucidated with plain english explanations, analysis, information on shortcomings, links to related studies, open questions, links to further information. Would be community created content, but needs some sort of community voting/moderation system to surface the best content and empower the most knowledgable/trusted contributors.

Ideally this would be where you go when you see sensationalist headlines in popular science magazines -- here you can find out what the study actually means.

Anything like this out there?

I'm trying with http://www.sciencegist.com

The difficult part is getting contributions and building anything sustainable around this idea. You can reach me at info@sciencegist.com if you want to chat.

There's also http://usefulscience.org/ and http://sciworthy.com/ but I think they both have staff to write content.

Im having trouble organising the information I consume. I have tried using a mix of Google Bookmarks, Youtube's watch later, GDocs, Evernote, Pocket, Dropbox (for pdfs/books) and tldr.io.

There has to be something that encompasses the full 'learning process': find content, read/watch/listen it, summarise its most important points, list actionables, revisit it in the future...

This maybe too personal to standardise, but even a 'convention over configuration' approach would keep people like me from feeling stuck.

This sounds like the problem I had, which I'm trying to solve with https://nachapp.com - instead of my attention being split between several apps which focus on specific TYPES of content (i.e. everything you listed), it focuses on a specific WORKFLOW - acting as a central high-level hub, based on the core concept of achieving personal goals (which I think would be the same thing you mean with "learning process").

It isn't trying to completely replicate the storage of everything you have in the apps you listed. Instead, it's trying to focus your attention to what your real goals in life are, so you hopefully end up with quite a minimalist approach, where you're discarding a lot of info that's essentially a distraction, and really able to focus on only saving the stuff which is relevant to your goals, and keeping a hierarchical list of actionables as your method of recall for the content, instead of it being scattered randomly across a dozen apps.

If this sounds like an attractive solution to you, would be great to talk about this a bit more (you can reach me through the site's contact form), because I want to work out ways to make the app smarter for covering that exact workflow you're talking about (discovery -> actionables).

Note that the app may look pretty "simple" from the landing page, but it is also very much aimed at power-users (I personally have a couple of hundred active steps+goals).

A way to get notified of new book reviews for my book across Amazon, Audile, iTunes, and GoodReads. Even better if it could also track sales from Amazon, CreateSpace, and Audible in one place.

You can sort of do this now (at least the sales) if you're willing to use Draft2Digital and let them submit you to all those places. They get a cut of each sale however, so you'd have to decide if the centralized reporting and letting them do a bit of the leg work is worth the price.

An ESP (email service provider) geared towards people publishing content instead of marketers. Marketers are certainly the bigger & better market, but they have hundreds of options to choose from. Almost no one targets publishers.

(ping me if interested... I know more than anyone should about email)

I think Tiny Letter <https://tinyletter.com/> does what you want.

Create an RFID and/or NFC (Near Field Communication) READER that can mount on a DSLR and dump read data into an IPTC field.

I could imagine a variety of services to go along with modular, open hardware for proximity communication. My impression is that this is a relatively unaddressed market.

Yes it is. I'm a Media Asset Manager / Digital Archivist and there is no EASY way to collect metadata about people (from their name tags for example, that could hold name, company, title etc.) or environments.

Can i talk more with you about this? You can email me at oeyr at uci dot edu

An automated "backup" service for your website that crawls around and builds a static copy of all the pages it can see. If the site goes does (or if you push a maintenance mode button) it switches to the static site, maybe with a small warning message. You'd probably need to run the DNS or integrate with DNS services to make that easy to implement. The key is it needs to be stupidly easy to set up.

(ping me if you actually start working on this)

Very similar, but not exactly: Cloudflare. Takes over your dns routes and will detect when you are down and tries to continue serving.

Yeah, they offer something similar (and in some ways better since it proxies all the requests, it knows what files to save). But it's not quite what I want.

Also there's a lot more you could do. For example, versioning: show me what the site looked like last thursday. For people using crappy or nonexistent CMSes this could be huge.

wget has a mirror option that can do the crawling part for you.

Yep. In my experience it tends to miss a fair bit of stuff, though. I think you'd want to be more aggressive about sniffing out files loaded by javascript or linked from CSS. Wget could probably serve as part of an MVP though.

I don't think the crawler is actually that hard. The killer feature would be the execution and the UX. It should be usable by anyone.

A mobile app that combines flight info with airport food listings and reviews. Let's you put in your flight numbers for a connection and will make recommendations based on the time if your layover, gates you are flying into and out of, etc.

I don't think it does exactly what you want but it somewhat useful: GatesGuru (by tripadvisor). Can see a map of the airport and what they have to eat etc.

Hmm, great thought. I found myself looking for something exactly like this earlier this year.

Just for developers: Something that allowed you to change the IP your request resolves to with a modified URL instead of editing the hosts file, like this:

Benefits: Not as much work, not as permanent, you can use multiple at once, you can easily see where you are connecting.

I think this is something web developers would pay a few bucks for. I know I would.

is virtualhostx [0] what you want? personally i ditched it many years ago in favor of editing the hosts file. it really doesn't get easier than that.

not sure i'm on the right track though because the benefits you list seem contrived. "not as permanent"? "not as much work"? we're talking about editing a single line in a short file.

[0] http://clickontyler.com/virtualhostx/

Localtunnel does this: http://progrium.com/localtunnel/

I had issues with localtunnel and I discovered ngrok: https://ngrok.com/

Also you get HTTPS out-of-the-box and can introspect the data transmitted over the tunnel.

nip.io and xip.io can do this:

mysite.com. mysite.com.

Your server must route the request to the appropriate vhost though (e.g. ServerAlias mysite.com.*.xip.io).

Is this possible with a Chrome Extension?

Waiforpaperback.com Informs you when alternatives printings are available could monetize by showing similar titles in monthly summary emails

I've been thinking about a much more general idea recently: basically twitter, but for data (in JSON format), not just text.

A company could simply announce all new publications, and you could subscribe to that stream, filtering for paperback (and possibly authors you are interested in).

Of course, there are hundreds of alternative use cases.

(Interested in doing the project with me? drop me an email moritz@faui2k3.org).

I've had this sitting on my idea list for a couple of years. It almost seems like this is what app.net is supposed to be. It also seems like this is how applications would talk to each other with https://tent.io/

so rss?

Luzme.com does similar for ebooks (audiobooks and deadtree books coming soon). Shows availability and prices for ebooks across all major stores in 8 countries; use your existing watch list at Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing or setup a new one and we'll email you price drop alerts; register an interest in an author and we'll tell you when they release a new book.

I guess the question is how big of a market is there for this service? You could have alerts for Kindle version, audiobook and/or paperback. The monetization would be simple through Amazon affiliates, and implementation could just scan Amazon periodically.

I think http://luzme.com/ can do this? Not sure if it's E-book only tho

i am often interested to find out when kindle version is available. amazon should implement this.

Anyone been to an airport lately? All open outlets are swarmed upon by people charging and keeping watch on their phones to make sure they don't get stolen.

How about mini lockers with miniusb and apple chargers in each locker. People swipe a credit card and can rent a mini locker to charge their phone is.

I realize how low tech this is but it's less so than people babysitting charging phones.

We have these in few places in the UK, including some of the airports.

Office package for Internet and open source era. MS Office concept was good in 1990. Google Docs just replaced local drive with cloud drive.

Tools for developers are really good. IDEs and DVCS are pleasure to work with. But try to work on a spec, RfP, Offer, etc. with Word and Outlook. Online wikis are quite good but it is not possible to send them via email to a third party.

My idea for a text editor: * storage: wiki text files + embedded git repo * save all to a single file, but with possibility to access and edit the contents via web server / web app * possibility to squash all edits and send a clean copy (branch) as an attachment * possibility to incorporate changes sent back, thanks to DVCS * two edit modes: WYSIWYG and markdown style for experts * two client modes: standalone with thick client (based on Webkit) and html5 client * possibility to access and modify the contents via APIs (Java, Ruby, ...) * optimized for screens, not for A4 / US letter pages

You get the idea. Corporations would love something like this.

A data driven and personalized alternative to credit scores.

Credit scores lack transparency, usability, and are often inaccurate representation's of a person's financial health/responsibility. Especially regarding student loans, credit scores are useless...all a 20 year old's credit score tells you is how much his parents planned his financial life for him

A voting system based on the Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System behind Bitcoin. The major reasons votes couldn't be conducted electronically is because of trust issues and today we have a technology that solves that. I think this could potentially disrupt voting if properly executed.

I see this idea very promising. This problem is a very good research topic for academics. I'm sure the current shortcomings can be fixed.

The main problem is that all the transactions should be public, but the individual votes should be kept as private. We may overcome this problem by a 2 level system, just like in the traditional offline elections.

1. Ballot box level. Each 'digital ballot box' has a certain amount of voting coins. Voters go to a voting site, prove their identities and are given a key for a single transaction. This transaction transfers one voting coin from the ballot box to one of the recipient wallets (each wallet representing a candidate or a decision).

2. Network level. All transactions from ballot boxes to candidate accounts are public and verifiable using bitcoin protocol.

At the end of the voting period all the remaining unused coins must be transferred to a common wallet representing empty votes. So these numbers must mach: Number of coins = number of voters = sum of coins in all wallets

Candidate with the most coins wins.

The main benefit of bitcoin voting is that it's not a centralized system. It's open, online and verifiable.

Can't really see a way of doing this without all votes being public, which is sometimes wanted but often not?

Well you'd register to vote just like you do now, by mail or online, and get returned a wallet instead of a little certificate.

You'd just need a law that the voting center can't track the wallets I guess.

I have not looked too much into this project but I think this is the goal it is after: http://users.encs.concordia.ca/~clark/projects/commitcoin/

Unfortunately all the bitcoin fiascos lately do nothing to engender public support and confidence in a voting system that "works like bitcoin."

When transaction malleability kills.

Turn a crowd & their devices into a huge stereo system!

Two issues: distribution and synchronization.

First off, you must either have all clients have a full copy of the song, or have a remote site with the full song available for seeking-and-streaming. If you stream it, you have to be able to seek to the position in the song that everyone else is at so you can add more devices dynamically. You couldn't just stream whatever your phone is listening to (e.g. pandora) because it would add latency to the other clients' players and it would sound out of sync. The exception is if your player actually cached the sound data coming out of pandora, created a 10 second buffer, and started playing it "late", so the other clients would have enough lead time to buffer the song and start playing in sync.

Once you have resolved how to distribute the sound, you have to establish synchronization with all the clients. Ways to do that:

* Ship an ntp client with the app. Downside: network latency, firewalls.

* Synchronize nearby players by playing a loud tone four times, allowing clients to sync to the tone. Downside: latency of speed of sound, can only do once (otherwise someone has to play tones in the middle of your song to sync a new client)

* Listen to a track already playing, analyze own song's structure, find that point in the song, start from there. Downside: must already have decent portion (or all of) the song to seek to the correct positions. (Possible solution: implementation of rolling checksum/deltas?)

* Child clients buffer the song data from the parent client. Assuming the parent has slept N time before playing, communicate with the parent to discover what point the parent is streaming from now, download its 10 second buffer, and start playing at the correct point once synced with parent. Downside: must do all of that (network establishment, sync with parent, download buffer, start play) within 10 seconds or the buffer will be out of sync. Possibly do a 60 second buffer?

If your remote host just has all the song data, you could also just record a few seconds of whatever's playing around you, discover the song in your remote host's database, sync to the sound you're hearing, and seek, stream and play it. That would probably be the easiest thing, assuming your remote server had whatever song was playing. Possible to index local songs too.

It's much worse than that: if the soundwaves from all the different stereos aren't at least roughly phase-aligned, it's going to sound pretty bad. When working with installed soundsystems engineers typically apply sub-millisecond delays on each channel. Touring setups don't always do this stuff, but they're working with a few dozen speakers from the same manufacturer, not many assorted stereos.

Still, it would be a lot of fun to try. Best to just use FM radio.

Looks like someone got this working using various smartphones http://vimeo.com/71647538

FM radios though just might sound better.

Wayne Coyne (of the Flaming Lips) sorta did that in the 90s with car stereos.


Check out SpeakerBlast (http://speakerblast.com).

Think that is what your talking about or similar?

Hmmm, this was an idea my friends and I tried to nail down, but eventually gave up.

This site's demo video shows they got it working?

Though it's not open to the public; errr, I want to see how they did it!

I wonder if using iOS 7's mesh networking feature, if this would be more easily feasible (discoverability of other devices).

This would be awesome for simulating chorals and orchestras, each phone being a voice/instrument.

Spotify released iOS SDK. Can someone make an app that will just have one button? Just play the goddamn music. I think Spotify works on the wrong level of abstraction. It should work exactly like a radio. Many people just want to listen some good music for running, relaxing etc. They couldn't care less about following artists and making playlists.

Also, I'd like to be able to play it while I'm on a train. Pre-fech 30min of music to play when I'm underground and I have no internet connection.

If there is a hacker (London-based ideally) that want to work on that idea give me a shout on lukasz.madon at gmail.


iOS app is US only and the website is broken. When I click on the play button it redirects to the home page.

Working or me right now in Chrome...

Check out http://molli.es! I made this only for EDM music right now, but ya I just wanted the very basic site that plays music, and trying to bring back visualisations. Miss those from the Winamp days!

Recently came across Noon Pacific that does exactly this. Loving the service: http://noonpacific.com/

An idea originally by sdrothrock which I've been thinking about for the past few days: An app which can be trained to recognize certain sounds. You record a few examples of that sound and then it listens and gives an alert when it hears it.

Another idea, allow deaf people to "visualize" sounds. Just displaying the raw sound wave is too redundant and difficult to interpret. But what if you could display a higher level representation, perhaps obtained by unsupervised learning.

Even cooler if you can attach rough labels to the sound like is done by some object recognition systems (example: http://i.imgur.com/anp7RY9.png).

The second idea is probably unrealistic but the first is possible.

Something like a Yubikey but:

1) with a battery or supercapacitor or something, so it can have a proper real time clock

2) with a much much better website. Yubikey needs to split the site into Enterprise users, individual users, and developers. The documentation for enterprise and individuals needs ro be much shorter and easier to understand. The documentation for developers should be as good as possible, including permissively licensed sample code in sensible languages.

I really hate the current password set up.

I want to carry my token with me and use that, and a passphrase, to unlock everything. Log into my computer, decrypt the drive, open email, perform root level actions, etc etc. i want it to work on my windows, linux, and max OSs. Across browsers. Etc.

Considering this is Idea Sunday, would anybody be interested in validating my idea?

It was originally posted here:


The idea is simple:

+++Create an invite-only jobs mailing list similar to HN-standards+++

Companies want the best and talented workers wants to find the most rewarding work, so why not keep the 2 well-maintained with the best firms and the best workers?

If you're interested, read my thread above or simply go here and help me validate the idea:


All feedback welcome and I will reply to anyone that has any feedback (good or bad) on the idea.

A peer-to-peer broadband solution to replace ISP dependence. Perhaps this could be used on a small scale at first for hacker communities and then grow from there. Challenges would be on interconnecting between p2p community centers without relying on major ISPs. A hyrid approach might be needed at first to establish connectivity.

Previous efforts:

Netsukuku - http://www.masternewmedia.org/the-alternative-p2p-wireless-i...

P2P Foundation Blog - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/

Fair warning, I'm kind of a sarcastic person, and most of my ideas tend to reflect that...

If you actually want to work on one of these, go for it! Just please let me know as I'd like to hear about it (and if you'd like, maybe help out where I can). Contact details in my profile page.

My three latest ideas with variations:

#1: Kitty cooker social game (please don't actually build this): Basically Cow Clicker meets prisoner's dilemma. Everyone gets a cute little kitten. In order to earn in-game currency (find a synonym for "cat poop" for a currency name, please), you must cook your friends' kittens. Your friends cannot cook your kitten if you have cooked theirs first. If all of your friends decide to abstain from kitten cooking for the day - you either all get gold, or all of your kitties get cooked anyway. In game currency can be used to buy cat clothes, cooking paraphernalia, recipes, etc. Recipes are a tradable item, effect earnings, might cost resources to use, and have a "cool down" period. Variant: Puppy kicker.

#2: A toolbox of satirical marriage help apps. I really don't have a lot of tool candidates, but they're easy to think up. For instance, "argument score keeper."

#3: Rent-a-sheep (name taken, needs something else): Presale of wool from individual New Zealand sheep. I live in New Zealand. There are lots of sheep here. Imagine a site where the landing page is a paddock of little fluffy sheep trotting around (SouthPark style animation, maybe?). When you click on a sheep, up pops a bio showing a photo of an actual sheep, from an actual farm in New Zealand. For a fee, you can "rent" this sheep, thereby receiving its wool production from that year. In the mean time, you'll get little auto-generated notifications about your sheep, perhaps including photos. You should also be able to choose how the wool is processed. That is, scouring, dying, spinning. All to be done in small batches.

Much easier variant: Small-batch customized supply chain for New Zealand yarn sold to yarn stores in the USA (aka create your store's own brand of yarn). Interface looks a bit like a slot machine - choose type of wool, then choose scourer/washer, then choose either/both dying service and spinning service.

Both variants should be very "connection" focused. That is, if you're renting a sheep, the site should do everything in its power to make you feel a connection with that sheep. If you're a yarn store owner, you should know a bit about the people who are performing each of the services, and you should hopefully have a window into how they're processing your yarn.

#3: Do farmers have the time or inclination to photo, name, and update the status of individual sheep?

You'd have to solve this for them. Short answer is, I think if you make it as automated as possible, and I think if the margin from RAS is much better than sales to wool buyers, they'd do it. Farmers here are very happy to include technology so long as it comes with a simple-to-calculate ROI.

Edit: I don't think that this is mandatory or that it has to be super frequent. Could substitute photos with cartoon images - but include a photo from "shearing day." Could also find a way to automate the content of status updates. Maybe have the sheep wear a logging GPS collar which is scanned once a week or something (have to bake this into the pricing, of course)?

In regards to #1, you might be interested in "Mewgenics", the follow up to super meat boy. http://mewgenics.com/

Given the teaser video, I'm really not sure what to make of that...

Put a drain at the top of toilets to prevent overflows (like sinks already have)

And where exactly would it drain to? Your toilet's output is plugged, thus causing the overflow, remember?

I'd imagine it would be somewhere beyond where your toilet is typically clogged. That would handle most overflow situations.

A more practical approach might be a way to stop water from going into the bowl. E.g., you lift up on the handle to close the tank flap. Or maybe there's a stop button next to the flush button.

That would be almost as good as an overflow drain, but wouldn't require adding second sewer pipe.

A solid linkage between the handle and flap is available.

(The toilet in the room a little ways from where I'm sitting has one)

Overflow completely overrides the effect of S-bend. There is a (pretty important) reason behind S-bends.

Simply add an additional S/U bend to the overflow. Less likely to get clogged as the overflow is hopefully rarely used.

The overflow is only for water, right? Then a filter at the overflow entrance (or just the opening being narrow enough, two/three small holes maybe) could make positively sure the overflow bend cannot possibly get clogged.

my bathtub is like 1" lower than the rim of my toilet

oh, crap.

"FootTraffic.com", a social network/foot traffic planning site.

The idea is that brick-and-mortar stores/restaurants/hairstylists/etc that are located close to one another can communicate and coordinate days of the year (or month) when everyone in the area who is participating offers some sort of discount or sample.

It incentivizes consumers to make a day out of going to an area of town that might not otherwise get a ton of business.

Could lead to an interesting community of people travel around the world exploring and going to FootTraffic days.

Tracked changes for gmail. So instead of replying to an email in text and then changing the color/font/size of words, tracked changes will do it for you similar to how it does in Word.

A device that would let people sleep in public while letting other people around them think they're awake (business meetings, boring lectures, etc.)

This could either be glasses with realistic eyes painted on them, or opaque contact lenses (that would then require the bearer to be able to sleep with their eyes opened -- but if no light enters the eye it should be quite possible).

There are many situations when you can't really leave the room to take a nap and yet you feel as though you'll die if you resist sleep a minute more.

Someone just recently sent me a low-tech version of this - http://imgur.com/gallery/MekVijC

An easy way for mole mapping at home and having an personal electronic journal about it. It should be possible to share a link with your dermatologist containing your mole mapping.

Mole checking over the net. I am never enthused about having to make an appointment and strip down for a full check, but I'd pay a few bucks to get one mole checked.

Dibs! Melanoma runs in my family; it never occurred to me to build something like this, but I can certainly see the benefit. Thanks for the idea!

Crowdbetting/Crowdtrading (etc)

A sports betting website that uses crowdsourcing to make the best bets. As a user, you predict the outcome of some match, but your final bet isn't necessarily what you chose, but what the crowd data indicates is the best bet.

Much like the CIA found crowdsourcing to be very effective in forecasting global events (http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/04/02/297839429/-so-...), I think there's a good chance you could successfully crowdsource things such as betting on sport results.

The way the CIA thing works, I assume (the article doesn't get into much detail), is you have 3,000 people, you ask them to make some predictions, and in the end you select the top 1%. When you compare the future predictions of these top forecasters with those of CIA analysts, you find that the average Joes tend to be more correct (even though they have less information than the CIA analysts).

So you can do something similar with sports betting. You have a group of top forecasters and their predictions for some game assume some probability distribution (like, 30% bet on the home side, and so on). By comparing this distribution with the average odds set by the major brokers, you can identify where the odds have been set incorrectly (according to your crowd) and exploit these weaknesses. For example, let's say that your crowd says that the odds of the Away team winning should be 2:1, but the brokers set the odds at 4:1. Then, this would be a good bet to place, assuming the crowd is 'more right' than the brokers.

I use Spotify for listening to music, it pushes data through to Last.fm, but I suck at actually checking Last.fm for its (very good) new music recommendations.

So take one of those recommendations from the Last.fm API and email it to me each week. Add affiliate links (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) and take a little cut each time I buy something I discover through this.

Better yet, if Last.fm just implemented this themselves I'd be so happy.

There's a Last.fm app inside Spotify, maybe that would make it easier / more likely for you to check it regularly.

API documentation tool: If you have a REST(ish) API, the tool would allow you to:

* Describe the authentication

* Enter all the objects, methods, URL endpoints, and parameters of your API

The tool would then:

* Generate pretty documentation, including example requests/responses

* Include a working web-based API console (like Mashery has)

* Auto-generates client libraries in Ruby, Python, PHP, Node, Obj-C, etc. and keep them updated in GitHub

Bonus points for bootstrapping the API information from your Rails routes file.

RAML promises most of this: http://raml.org/ Specifically, check out the projects section, which includes: an API designer, an API console and a documentation generator.

Holy crap, that looks fantastic.

I like Apiary a lot so far

A really good iTunes/MP3 de-duper. Should have the following all in one package: - Talks to the iTunes library file (IE - doesn't just edit the filesystem) - Undo/non-destructive final delete. - Smart/fast search that reflects how iTunes handles duplicates. Should smartly leverage the following: - Filename compare: filename/filename-1/filename-2 - Files with identical sizes, then binary compare - Metadata compare (title, album, time) - Allow auditioning of tracks - Smart delete options - Select all lower bitrate duplicates, select all filename-1, select all duplicates from path X. - Preserve/combine metadata from duplicates (IE - combine play counts, ratings, copy tag if tag in target is missing, etc). - Clean out missing items from iTunes library. - Vast amounts of idiot-proofing (list files/entries to be changed, confirmation dialogs for any modifications, etc.)

I've yet to find an iTunes manager that has all of the above - Most fail at the smart de-dupe search so when I get pages of results, I still have to audit each entry.

GetMeHome - A non-driving-centric nav system for the 2am crowd to safely get home from a night out. Requirements:

- UI geared for too-drunk-to-read - Big buttons, no text entry, large-type text, low clutter images.

- One button actions/options - "Go home", "Find open bathroom", "Find hotel", "Prefer Train" "Cab OK"

- EASY turn-by turn navigation for walking (large font street names with "turn left in 2 blocks"). Always update auto-routing. Bonus points for avoiding sketchy areas or using obvious landmarks ("Turn left at Bob's Transmission Shop").

- Location/time alerts for mass transit "Get off here" or "Wait here for 1:30am Blue Line Train to Hillsboro"

- Alarms for "Time to leave the club for next train" - Loud/big alarm for "Leave now for last train!"

- Since most phones seem to die around 2am, steps should be taken to be as battery conservative as possible - Walking = less frequent server polling. Also cache simple directions locally and turn off network features altogether if battery life is super low.

(edited for readability)

I would like to see something like PhotoSynth applied to video. PhotoSynth is a program that infers three dimensional objects from two dimensional photographs.

In particular I'd like to see this applied to public events, like sports. I'd love to re-create, say, a music show or a live football game in 3D based on livestream video coming from people's phones.

Heroku add-on for hosted Varnish (the freakin' awesome reverse caching proxy). You'd be able to speed up people's sites and potentially even save them money by allowing them to run with fewer dynos. Ideally you'd be able to tweak the config and view stats/graphs through a web interface.

(ping me if you actually start working on this)

A cheap hardwire device that I can take to the gym and not worry about breaking it. There are lot's of great workout tracking apps but I won't risk having my expensive smart phone smashed in order to record my workouts. I see more people using pen and paper even with all the amazing apps out there.

this is probably a core use case for smartwatches. i'd probably lift with a smartwatch on.

I'd like a way to skim through videos. Playing at 2x or 4x doesn't really do the trick.

For contrast, if I'm skimming through an article, I can quickly scan for keywords, look for paragraph breaks & sentence breaks to get the gist of what a particular section of the text is describing.

How can I skim a video the same way? I'm more interested in a solution for a 30 or 60 minute recorded lecture or conference keynote than something that let's me skim a music video or blockbuster movie. So the solution here may be more suited to one form of video than another.

https://skimo.tv/ seems to be trying to hit the mark, but from what I've seen, they've got a long way to go. And I'm not 100% sure that pulling a few short video segments out of a long video is the solution.

One possible way I could think is to have the video and the transcript side by side. Then you could skim around the transcript, and clicking on a phrase should bring you to that point in the video.

For audio there is an app called Recordium ( recordiumapp.com ). It is a great tool for lecture noting and skimming the audio later. Someone should do the same for video.

A package/dependency manager for C/C++. In my limited experience working with C/C++ projects, the most painful part was always getting the project to actually build (downloading all dependencies, figuring out how the Makefile works, etc.). In other words, a npm/brew for C/C++.

For anyone who wants to see how it can be built: CocoaPods does it for xcode and objc.

There is an easy platform for this.


Check it out!

I was hoping this would be a better platform with more relevant features than HN for browsing/submitting ideas, but it actually has less features. Commenting, I think, is a must have feature. Being able to tag and search by tags would be nice as well.

A single interface/application that can be used to do anything. An actual implementation of http://zombo.com.

I don't want an account on 1000 different sites, nor do I want 100 apps on my smartphone.

It can be done. Just not through incremental changes.

A more accessible desktop client program for "Bitcoin IPOs". Useful for crowdfunding. Kind of like this but less messy: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=133147.0

I had an idea for a "plug and play" tor relay. This would be suitable for computer literate folks who are committed to privacy and such, but not necessarily up to installing linux and tor. Trick would likely be keeping this to around $50 or less. Thoughts?

One such appliance/distro is the "Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty", there's even a raspberry pi version: https://github.com/grugq/PORTALofPi

Possible but likely not enough overhead to make a business out of it.

Uber for delivery via drones. Kind of reaching, and I know it's not practical yet, but the general concept is cool. I wouldn't be surprised if Uber did it themselves first since they have a knack for trying weird delivery stuff like ice cream or flowers or whatever.

You would open your Uberish app, punch in the weight of what you need delivered and where to deliver it to, it would give you an estimate, and come to your house to pick it up and make the delivery. Really not that far off, I believe the FAA has or is relaxing the rules on commercial drone flight below 400ft and the Parrot drones are capable of following waypoints on their own to a destination, and coming right back home when they're done.

I was thinking more of sending stuff peer to peer than purchasing something from Amazon! Or a system to help small businesses to do so.

A matchmaking service for business owners to digital marketing and/or web development companies.

A business owner is not going to know everything that the digital company is explaining to them or selling to them, and since there's no large digital companies that are the gold standard, but just a very fractured industry, it's hard for them to really know what they're getting.

The matchmaking company would advocate for the business owner. The matchmaking company would really understand the web development and digital marketing landscape, but they are not selling the services themselves. They would ask the potential agencies the really hard questions that the business owners wouldn't know to ask on their own.

Netflix for Sports. But not quite the same. There wouldn't be just 1 subscription were you get all. You would be able to pay per game and as well a pass for all games of a certain team. You would be able to watch any games live or any other time of your convenience. It would be cool also to have just 'a show main highlights of the game'.

Prices per game should be relatively cheap, like 1.99 or 2.99; except some cases like championship finals.

I would try first to secure the rights to show some of the European soccer leagues and championships as they should be easier to get than any of the main American leagues. Hopefully none of the US networks have an exclusivity agreement.

> I would try first to secure the rights to show some of the European soccer leagues and championships as they should be easier to get than any of the main American leagues.

Maybe the Lithuanian 3rd Division. European soccer leagues cost a fortune to get rights for:

UK Premiership: £1.78bn [1] UK Third Division: £88mn [2]

Annoyingly I couldn't find actual costs on much else, but my point is that European soccer is huge, and you won't pick up the rights cheaply.

[1] http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/fans/faqs/how-much-clubs-... [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_League_Championship#Br...

While the Premier League rights seem to be quite expensive, I wouldn't go to the Lithuanian 3rd Division :) Bundesliga seems much more approachable [1]. Rights costs are €70 million in the current cycle, and close to €150 million in the next. I am sure that the portuguese and italian leagues would also be more affordable. It would be quite interesting to know costs for La Liga (Spanish). One may also be able to approach the rights owner with some more interesting ideas, like instead of paying all upfront, they will get a high % per user that purchased a match. Not sure how would that go.

Anyway this is just an idea, and it would take someone with good financial resources to undertake this project.

[1] http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/bundesliga_to_double_inte...

Manual route planning for walkers/runners/cyclers.

My idea was that there are lots of fitness style apps that track where you've gone, how fast and so on, but I haven't seen anything that lets you plan your route out beforehand, see how long it'll be and then estimate how long it will take. I was thinking drawing a simple overlay on a map interface. I recently got back into walking/running and wanted to slowly ramp up what I did, but wanted a route I could get all the way through (not run until I can't, then have to still get back) so wanted to plan ahead, and also allow for cuts through parks, bush trails and so on.

Also, add elevation information. Especially for cycling, would be great to see how a slightly longer route compares to a shorter one with bigger ascents.

Wrote this, googled it and actually found something fairly useful: http://www.doogal.co.uk/RouteElevation.php

I figured there'd be some traditional route planning already done. The problem with a lot of this is it's looking for the most efficient route, rather than the route someone actually wants (eg if I want to do a circuit from my house).

Agreed that elevation is a good thing too though.

Garmin connect can do this, as can runkeeper: http://runkeeper.com/search/routes. I'm sure mapmyrun and others allow it as well? you point and click along the route and it calculates the distance for you, garmin even tells you expected time to complete.

have you tried something like www.gmap-pedometer.com? that's how i plan my routes and I've been pretty happy with it.

I hadn't, that actually looks pretty good. Thanks :)

Something to keep in mind whilst sharing your idea:

Your idea may be great and may appeal to a science/tech community on HN, but be wary of building something where the audience is very small (if you plan on commercializing it).

Although quite a few of the ideas have some "mass appeal", some of them also seem so narrow that you'd be better off building them as OSS projects and releasing them into the wild (as they'd never achieve huge commercial success).

Just for the sake of guidance, plan on what you will do with any ideas you follow through with (go commercial or open-source it).

One more pain point I'd like to solve. Something that can process my pictures, and tell me what wildflower(s) are in them. Sitting down with a guidebook is tedious, and sometimes it's hard to tell which version from a book or site is closer to the picture you have because of the angle. So I end up adding meta data that it's a picture with blue flowers. Not to mention that there are some longer term ecological studies that could be done if I can see how often flowers or plants turned up in a certain area 10 years ago compared to now...

- Movie Quote Search - Search for a movie quote and it brings up the part of the movie where the quote starts. User can then adjust the length of the clip they wish to share. No longer than 30 seconds.

- Mobile App - Timed Deals for local businesses. Company registers their deal and how many they wish to offer. A potential customer who follows certain types of products may get the promotion, The catch is, Promotion only last 30 seconds(max) and you have to buy it right then.

Anyone wants to help me with any of these I'd love the help.

I am trying to make something similar to the Movie quote search. I am focusing more on making an easy way to share your favourite clips from shows.

I made a tool to do selection screen recordings that record the system audio. Makes it really easy to record clips from youtube/netflix etc: https://github.com/Jonovono/cutter

I am working on a simple website to host the clips as well. cuts.io (live again soon). I want that as a hassle free alternative to youtube, for short clips!

Update. Not sure why it's not letting me edit the post?

The site is running now. Here is an example of a clip I made with the tool from Netflix. All the clips on the site feature Ted Mosby.

Example: http://cuts.io/c/gJl6x_L2o

The time deals one seems interesting.

I don't know if this already exists or not, but I'd like an app for iOs/droid that shows all of my installed apps and what permissions they need -- in a comparison/grid format. It's easy to agree to all kinds of stupid permissions when you're first looking at an app, but later on, having dogFood 3.0 phone home all the time when it's never used is not-so-good. I'd like to go back periodically and look at all of my apps, at one time, from a permissions standpoint.

* Hearing aids that can run off body heat. Not even sure if this is possible, but I've heard of watches that can recharge their batteries from body heat. You know how expensive and annoying it is to buy batteries for a hearing aid?

* A better credit report system than Experian/TransUnion/etc. The current system is flawed on a number of levels -- not the least being that someone can file a claim against you and you have very little recourse. Something with a little more accountability and a little less emphasis on distant history. For instance, if two years ago I lost my job and fell behind on bills, but now I've had a steady job for a year and have been paying down my debt, that shouldn't rule me out for buying a car or a house. In other words, just because I might have been financially unstable in the past does not mean I'm financially unstable now.

* a HUD for subtitles/closed captioning on TVs, so hearing people don't have to see subtitles while deaf/hard of hearing people can see them. This would be especially awesome in movie theaters.

* A Fitbit clone that actually figures out what I'm doing, rather than just counting steps. (For example, it knows my height/weight/gender, and it knows that I took X steps in Y minutes, so it should be able to calculate Z pace and conclude that I'm running.)

* Something that makes tracking caloric consumption EASY. For instance, I'm at a friend's house and we have some mac 'n cheese. I open up my LoseIt app, and I see several options: Kraft Mac 'n Cheese, Velveeta Mac 'n Cheese, KFC Mac 'n Cheese. Well, you know, we made this mac 'n cheese from scratch. Which one of these is the most analogous to what I just ate? At this point, I'm just guessing, right? So make an app that makes those guesses for me. "What'd you eat today, Jemaclus? On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being super healthy, how healthy do you consider what you just ate?" Then check out all the values for macaroni and cheese, identify the options that most closely match the health scale I gave, run some calculations, and come back with an estimate on what I ate. If at the end of the day you say "You ate somewhere between 1900 and 2150 calories today," that's better than saying "You ate exactly 1937 calories today," when honestly, I was just guessing about those portions to begin with.

Use ultrasound to measure shoe size and also see how we'll shoes fit. Sell to shoe stores.

(I heard they used to do this with X-rays before people knew better. )

A screencast app (or browser extension) specifically to create those short gifs showing product interactions that have been showing up recently.

I making something sort of like this for Mac. It's for recording a selection of your screen with the system audio. I have not made it so it can convert to Gif or WebM, but that is in the plans!


LICEcap [1] does this beautifully.

> LICEcap can capture an area of your desktop and save it directly to .GIF (for viewing in web browsers, etc) or .LCF.

[1] http://www.cockos.com/licecap/

A sentiment search engine. Suppose you type the name of a restaurant or a camera or a protein supplement - you get condensed view of "sentiments" with scores in different categories. Data is scraped from individual reviews, shopping sites etc. Additionally you get information about the original source of information so you can carry further research if you want to.

Back when we were in an accelerator, I was blown away by how many tools were being used by the other startups ( over 300 teams ) that i've never heard of.

So i came up with http://Vettted.com as a way to harness that data..and ideally create conversations about how each team used each tool specifically.( that part still needs work )

Any takers?

Smartphone Email Client with Chat UX

For Mac, http://www.uniboxapp.com/ comes close, but basically an a app for my phone for Email, grouped by sender, sorted by last message received per sender.

Most personal email nowadays are one-liners, so this UX would work well for them.

Expanding, senders could be organized into groups, etc.

I wish there was an easier way to peal oranges

If you don't know, these are awesome: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=peel+oranges+tool&FORM=H...

Also: There is a musical joke in there somewhere (but I am not musical).

(Not intended to harsh on you. I just find the typo funny. Carry on.)

Whoops! Thanks for the link though, I may have to pick one of those up.

A "Movies I've been meaning to watch" queue. Sort of like Netflix's queue, but not limited to a particular provider's catalog. For each movie, show the cheapest (legal) way to stream/rent/buy it. Add price drop alerts. Monetize through commissions and/or ads.

http://goodfil.ms does a pretty good job of this.

A website that lets you watch the second episode of many television shows. The pilot episode, I feel, is usually not indicative of the direction/feeling of the show, or is concerned with setting up the backstory, whereas the second episode sets the direction for where the show is going.

Couldn't you already do this with Netflix or Hulu? Just start with the 2nd episode?

Yeah you can just select the second, or whatever episode you want to watch. I'm not seeing the point of this.

A notepad that can send my handwritten notes to the cloud. It should have a mini-scaner embedded into the top cover so when I want to backup a note, I just close the notepad, push the cover, remove the first page, close, push again.

None of these ipad apps can substitute the good old pencil drawings

Instead of a magic notebook cover, people do this with a magic pen:


You have to mail it in, but http://modnotebooks.com/ will scan your notebook and digitize the contents for you.

Related: I wanted to make a highlighter that would be able to read what it highlights and then digitise it and send it to my computer.

Why not just photograph your notepad with your smartphone?

the point seems to be to have your handwritten notes uploaded automatically. that's the product.

meh @ that 'product'

A service that facilitates company matching of employee donations to non-political charities. Ideally, the service should make it as effortless as possible for all participants: employee, company, charity. This could be generalized into a kind of philanthropic social network.

www.chimp.net does this in Canada (been a client of mine for several years and counting).

There was a discussion on an earlier thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7489401) about bringing App Stores to servers. Would people use and/or pay for something like this?

Bitnami [1] does something like this. I've used their Gitlab installer and virtual appliance with success.

[1]: https://bitnami.com/

Untangle is a firewall with its own app store, and it works great! It's hard to imagine a firewall app store, but once you start using it, it just makes sense.

Interesting. I'll definitely look into these. Thanks!

odesk for physical low/no skill physical labor. Some things just require muscle: moving, yardwork, lifting large furniture, etc. Would be nice to be able to see who's near you and hirable on an hourly basis. Bonus points for verified background checks, etc.

I've used taskrabbit and it's very close to the idea I mentioned, though what I had in mind is more pure physical labor related. The premise of the idea is to remove middlemen like moving companies, landscaping contractors, etc who do nothing more than organize laborers.

Hey, I am putting the finishing touches on lawncheer.com, will be launching in a couple weeks, hope to meet the mowing/landscaping need.

Homework Tutor App - App that allows kids to take a picture of a homework problem and submit a question about it. Then the picture and question get submitted over to MTurk. 3-5 answers come back within minutes from folks on MTurk.

you try the Yahoo answers homework helper? The questions in the algebra & geometry math section were getting answered within a couple mins. I'd have to race to answer them or someone would get them before me. Were you thinking primary school stuff or college?

Do this for me and I will subscribe.

I will send a box full of my letters in month to you, you scan them and make them searchable online for me and send the box back with a label.

Later when I need something, I can search online and know which box it is in.

A social network where the users get paid for the advertising they do.

Can you expand on what you mean by this?

I mean, we're practically all advertisers in some way or another - every time we share a promotion with our friends, or even just discuss a new product we're interested in. Most of the time we're not advertising for the sake of profit, but just sharing interests with like-minded people.

Social media outlets attempt to tap into our general ignorance of advertising profitability - and they act as the middle-man between companies wishing to advertise, and the people who're sharing with friends - but facebook take all of the profit by inserting themselves between these relationships, and the users who are sharing don't notice they done a large part of the advertising work, for free.

Facebook can obviously provide some usefulness, because it knows where you are, what your interests are, and your recent activities - so it can target you for specific promotions. A recent video by Vertitasium[1] showed how this isn't without problems though, and does not directly correspond to ROI for advertisers. (Likewise with many advertising models, there's always people trying to game them to earn a quick buck). Facebook provide the "advertising seed", by predicting who is likely to share.

I see a different potential model that could arise with the gaining popularity of cryptocurrencies and electronic transactions though - one where advertisers only pay when it results in a direct ROI, by tracing electronic signatures through a public, distributed ledger.

If a company wants to promote a product, and they offer a $10 advertising bounty for every advertisement which results in a direct sale. They initially create two digital signatures using "cryptocurrency X" and pass them to advertising agencies A and B. A advertises the product with "Get $5 back off your purchase when you register your product using X", in which they make this guarantee by creating a transaction whereby the original input transaction from the company is used as the input, and the output is split in half between the buyer and A. When the buyer then registers their product with the advertising company, they release the $10 into the public ledger, which propagates $5 to A, and $5 back to the buyer. B is greedy and wants all of the $10 for themselves, but fails to make any direct sale, and thus, is not paid anything.

In this way, there can be any number of middle-men between the company and the buyer, and each party can agree on the fees they wish to have for each direct sale that results. By having a public ledger of who is making the sales, companies and advertisers alike can use analytics to discover the best routes to sales, and narrow down their advertising strategies, and agree on the most reasonable fees for each of the parties involved.

The social media aspect is to have this technology encoded into the social platform, such that it is mostly invisible to users - they simply "promote" an existing post which has a bounty attached to it, and if those re-posts eventually result in direct sales, their wallet starts to grow. The part where users need to actively know about the system is when they purchase and register their purchase, such as to trigger the release of the advertising fees through the chain in the public ledger.

These are only rough ideas and I have no idea how they'd be implemented effectively, including issues around anonymity and ensuring the system cannot be gamed by registering a product then returning it, for example, but I think there's infinite potential for such ideas to replace the advertising empires - so that literally anyone can become a paid-advertiser, and where ones effectiveness as an advertiser results in profit. This wouldn't make facebook et al obsolete, only distribute the profit a bit more - and it would help to improve the AI which is behind FB's advertising, as it would be inefficient to promote things which aren't likely to result in direct sales. Everyone wins, although facebook's profits may decline a bit.

[1]:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag, also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ZqXlHl65g

They have this for twitter. It's sorta like viglinks

A demo mode for browsers.

Incognito / private mode kind of solves this, but form autocompletes, and browser history when I enter a URL doesn't always contain stuff I want to show in front of my clients.

If you're using Chrome (and I believe Firefox can do this too), if you go to the settings, there is a section for Users. You can add a new user to the browser and use that account for demo purposes. Our sales guys do the exact same thing.

You can use Firefox Profile Manager and create a new profile for demonstration purposes. ($ firefox -ProfileManager)

Doesn't Chrome have a guest session kinda thing? And Firefox Mobile?

TaskRabbit for businesses

Something maybe related to this that I think would be cool would be something like fiverr but much more structured / open.

So people could like something like I will do x for you for $y amount, all I need is you to fill out this template / give me this info.

So automate it as much as possible, and know how much it would cost. Break big tasks down into small ones.

For example, someone may offer to find you the cheapest place to buy tires in your area. All they need is <city>, <any necessary details on tires>.

Something like that.

Funny you mention that. There was an article a few days ago that TaskRabbit quietly shuttered their 'for business' offering and rolled it into the general service. http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/01/taskrabbit-for-business-ser...

Intriguing. I have some immediate questions.

What is wrong with using taskrabbit itself? What tasks do you envision? What about virtual assistants like Zirtual.com?

TaskRabbit is a pain in the fucking arse to get something done.

I don't want to negotiate, I want a quote and a yes/no decision on the quote. That's it. Period. End of story.

--- has tried to use TaskRabbit on three different occasions to get something done, all failed, two were to get lunch for an office. (so, business)

Never using TaskRabbit again.

1) Businesses have tasks that they need to get done. Many of which are probably too low-skill to make it worthwhile to give to a talented employee. 2) There are prospective employees trying to build their resumes, who would do the task to a) get experience, b) explore a field, and/or c) display their talents.

I don't know enough about businesses to know what sorts of tasks would be good for this.


a simple, motion-sensitive sleep alarm. i just tried to find one, but they all require a phone or tablet. they're nothing simple and stand-alone with a very basic interface.

What is a "motion-sensitive sleep alarm"? One of those widgets that wakes you up at the most advantageous part of your sleep cycle that falls within a given bracket of time? ISTR seeing one of those a while back, in production, which was built on the wristwatch form factor and didn't need to integrate with an external device; if indeed that's what you're looking for, I'll see if I can turn it up and post info about it here.

yeah, one of those (thanks). edit - knowing it was a watch i've found this - http://www.sleeptracker.com/ but if you have something simpler / less expensive / more attractive to my partner (less nerdy looking) i'd be interested. edi2 - ah, also http://www.axbo.com/pages/shop

so i guess to correct my original post - something more like a simple, traditional alarm clock. with less obvious tech. but that somehow works this same way. basically just a clock display and some buttons to set the alarm time, and i guess some kind of wearable sensor.

The Zeo Sleep Manager Pro [1] looks like probably your best bet. Unfortunately, Zeo closed its doors about a year ago, which may make it difficult both to find the product available for purchase in the first place, and to get support for it once purchased. That said, phone integration appears to be otherwise ubiquitous in the field, at least judging from the few minutes I've spent poking around Google and Amazon; that being the case, your choices may well reduce to either accepting phone integration and making the best of it, or finding a way to get your hands on an orphaned product and making the best of that.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Zeo-ZEOBP01-Personal-Sleep-Manager/dp/...

Would this have the same motion detector as the soap dispensers or maybe out-door motion lights?

they seem to use accelerometers - either in your phone/table (which you have to then place on the mattress under a sheet) or in a wristband or watch.

I will slowly update this over time:


Search function for browser tabs. So hard to find pandora in the haystack, and I need a short cut to search through all the interesting things.

In Firefox, type "% query" into the URL bar. That will search just open tab titles and URLs.

  Add ^ to search for matches in your browsing history.
  Add * to search for matches in your bookmarks.
  Add + to search for matches in pages you've tagged.
  Add % to search for matches in your currently open tabs.
  Add ~ to search for matches in pages you've typed.
  Add # to search for matches in page titles.
  Add @ to search for matches in web addresses (URLs). 

Firefox already has this built-in to the tab groups view http://imgur.com/1060tx7

I would also like a search function for browsing history. Most browsers let me search titles but I want to search content as in "show me the page I read 3 days ago with the words 'foo bar baz'".

stop-the-data-orgy.com: A service that makes it easy (2 clicks) to migrate my email storage from gmail/googleapps to to s3/dropbox.

CloudHQ (not affiliated, never used it) makes it seem pretty easy[1]. Not two clicks, but that's mostly due to authentication.

[1] http://www.slideshare.net/cloudHQ/backup-gmail-to-dropbox

Thanks but that just does backup. I have a domain I use with google apps. I'd like to move that to a non-ad-driven email server that doesn't mine/sell my data and preferably that I can own.

Two for today:

-a site to upload Evernote notebooks to share/view online.

-a service that saves all your snapchat stories on the cloud

An app that shows me where my friends and family are.

(Like Google Latitude used to do)

This functionality was moved to the Google Plus app. At least on Android, you can fire up the Google+ app and go to "Locations". Invite people to see your location and ask them to let you view their location, etc.

Find My Friends

A Dribbble for video creators/animators.

Doesn't Vimeo do pretty damn well with this? Or are you looking more for snippets of animation/shots, instead of Vimeo's YouTube length videos?

Vimeo is Youtube for great, quality video productions. I'm looking more for snippets and/or past work.

The reason I say this is because in the past week I started looking for video animators/designers (I don't even know what the right name is) who can design/create a 5-10 sec intro + ending animations/videos, and Google isn't the best option. I'd love to browse through dozens of snippets a la Dribbble in order to contact those companies/freelancers I find their work appealing.

http://www.startupvideoawards.com is something similar of Awwwards for video startups

a service for creating simple wedding invitation pages with a unique URL. no ads or sponsored links

I'm in!

Open University.

A massive repository of all books needed for any career.

No teachers, no videos, no homework, nothing, just the books, free, forever.

Yes! Thought of this as well. To add what I would love to see is:

So starting out with this comic: http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/

I think a open education platform where it kind of plots out the things like in comic. So you could navigate around this circle and see where your knowledge is at for certain subjects (closer to edge of the circle is getting to phd knowledge).

What you could also do is show interconnected things. Say you are trying to learn some math subjects but you know very advanced music theory (or whatever). Knowing how to explain certain topics to someone that has other knowledge, or even showing other topics and how they make use of the math/whatever subjects you are studying.

I started on something like this, basically just going through a bunch of schools curriculum and putting it together with classes / books I could find. But I would love to explore this further.

Feel free to message me: jordan@howlett.io


I'm not sure what the quality of the books are overall, or the consistency between books, but I've had some luck with introductory level info. It looks like a good start and seems to be the same basic concept as what you describe.

I'm working on this - obviously there are licensing issues with books, but my idea is to have students keep notes online, and then have those documents available to everyone.

I'd love to hear any more ideas you have about this.

Nop. Not a single Law School, Medicine, Computer Science, Civil engineer book in that listing.

It should be organized like an university with all the programs by semester and their respective books.

Btw, I don't care about diplomas, I care about knowledge.

something like wikipedia?

1. where quality doesn't compromised,

2. company runs by donation and

3. keep growing with volunteer support.

That sounds like excellent idea. I don't have too much time but i would love to be part of something like this.

Try saylor.org.

All shaving machines are crap. I also need to stop biting my nails.

awesome idea!

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