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.
I want a social cooking platform where the only way to represent a recipe is with a diagram.
You're a cooking master? No need to explain you how to make a roux or how to blanch vegetables.
Don't have butter? We'll substitute the step where you need butter by the steps to make it.
Allergic to peanut? These nuts are a good alternative.
Let's build a semantic recipe platform that's not linear and add a functional twist to ingredients (the part where you can substitute an ingredient by the function that returns one).
There's so much friction in the process of finding the various contractors needed to keep a home in good order. First you have to search on craigslist, angieslist, or google for contractors that service your area. Then you play phone tag with each. Then you schedule a time for each to come out and give an estimate, which can be a major interruption to your week. Then you schedule a time for the chosen contractor to actually complete the work. And then you cross your fingers that you chose well, because if you didn't, you'll have an even bigger headache on your hands.
Ideally I would pay a large monthly fee (500-1k) and absolutely everything would be covered. Regular maintenance would simply get done without requiring anything of me. My lawn would get cut when it needs it. My driveway would be cleared when it snows. My gutters would be cleaned as needed. My home would be cleaned twice a month. And so on. When ever anything else needs fixing, I'd have a single point of contact (an app, maybe) where I could open a ticket. I'd then be offered a selection of times when an expert could come fix the issue and after selecting a time that works for me, an expert would actually show up at that time and fix the problem. A little more friction could be removed if I could preselect times when it's acceptable for maintenance personnel to enter my home. Ideally I wouldn't even have to be home. The service would also have permission to deal with my insurance company as needed since that's also a major pain point. They'd cover anything not covered by the insurance. Or perhaps I could do away with my existing home insurance in favor of this full service home insurance company.
To begin the service, someone would have to perform a full home inspection to uncover preexisting issues which wouldn't be covered. The service could help take care of those issues but it'd have to be on an a la carte basis. Once the home was up to snuff, then the monthly fee would kick in and cover any new issues, as well as regular maintenance.
A simpler version of the idea, which wouldn't be as good but would have a lot less risk would be to offer maintenance only: lawn cutting, regular cleanings, ect... I'd still pay good money for that.
Why not just find a good one that operates in your area and pitch the idea to them? Normally they operate for a percentage of rents but I'm sure you could find one who would do it for flat rate.
Your problem with the insurance company thing is you might have to give them Power of Attorney (which you really don't want to do) to make insurance claims on your behalf.
The Property Management company would already have the liability insurance that any company working in this space would need to do this for you.
I've been researching property management companies in Cincinnati (where I live) and I've come to a few conclusions:
1. There are no good property management companies in Cincinnati. At least, there are no highly reviewed property management companies - only those with negative reviews or no reviews at all.
2. Owners looking to rent their homes might be a great demographic for this idea. While most of the property management companies state that they do regular maintenance checkups, they really aren't incentivized to do so and from the reviews I read they typically don't. They're really only incentivized to keep the renter renting so that they continue to get their cut. As it stands, owners and tenants are often at odds when it comes to "needed" repairs because the property management companies charge the owners $50/hour plus parts for any repairs beyond the most routine of maintenance. Basically the property management companies have stuck themselves between a rock and a hard place where it's almost impossible to make both the owner and tenant happy. If, however, the owners were paying a larger monthly fee that covered all repairs, they'd no longer be at odds with the tenant. Of course, the problem of "tenant abuse" would then fall on us. Hopefully by being proactive with regular maintenance the abuse could be mitigated somewhat.
I'm going to call a few property management companies tomorrow to get a better idea of what exactly is and isn't covered under their plans.
There are a ton of remote homeowners renting out their property here without using a property manager or without using a good one. Unfortunately the homeowners I mention here tend to be extremely greedy people and don't have property managers because they don't want to pay anyone. They do things like advertise their units have cable TV and free wifi and have the cheapest, worst tier of service and constantly call the cable provider every month trying to get credits for fictional outages.
There's probably some money to be made here but I'm not sure I'd want to be the cog that keeps their greed-machine running.
If I could find a good reputable property management company in each city, I wonder if a business could be built around them. I'd be the single point of contact for the home owners, subcontracting the work to the property management companies. Hmm, definitely worth some research.
Could it operate like Uber in a way? This service would attract a lot of handy/service men looking for work. It definitely would need a review system.
Also, you need some way to ensure that they actually show up when they say they will which, from my experience, is a 50-50 proposition with most handymen.
It's definitely an interesting approach though and there are probably ways to circumvent the obstacles.
I am game, when do we start!
update: Some further thoughts on cost.
Looking at what I pay for my home (some of these I use, some I have had quoted; I also factored a monthly cost out of some of these which are quarterly). My home is upper-middle class in the midwest, about 5K square feet on 1/2 acre.
Lawn mowing: $150/mo
Lawn treatment: $40/mo
Pest control: $35/mo
HVAC maintenance: $30/mo
House cleaning: $300/mo
General maintenance: $100/mo
I would certainly pay a premium for a single end point for managing these services but that last one is the stickler. Some people will never call but you will have those who want a maintenance person for every creaking floorboard, dripping faucet and other little nuance of the home.
I think the idea has lots of merit, would love to know what others think.
And you're right - people don't budget for the big issues. And that's all the more reason they need a service like this. A monthly, predictable bill is more manageable than a series of big, one time hits.
As for maintenance debt, pricing might need to take into account the age of the various components (roof, fence, siding, ect...). And, of course, any pre-existing conditions (ie. roof needs repaired now) wouldn't be covered at all.
To start with, you could leave general maintenance off of the list of services performed, perhaps offering those fixes a la carte.
EDITing my comment to be more constructive:
There could be money in a cloud- or app-based Personal Assistant, but you would really have to focus razor sharp on your target market. Rich people already have PAs and middle class people's time is not scarce enough to justify paying to get chores scheduled. You'd have to zero in on upper-middle folks like doctors and lawyers who aren't particularly rich, but tend to not have time to manage their lives. I still say it's a small market, but if you hit them and your price is right, it might work.
House cleaning should probably be an optional add-on, but I think you're underestimating how big of a market that is too. Approximately 10% of households seek outside help with at least some of their household cleaning chores.
I think it would do pretty well throughout West LA. It's not a big deal to call a plumber, but it is a big deal to find a good plumber that you can trust.
Likewise, it's a non-trivial task to simply be aware of the maintenance that should be done around the house, let alone finding time to do it (or, again, finding someone you trust).
Empty Nesters in their 50's and 60's is where this product needs to be focused. These people usually still work, tend to have more house than they need, have fewer monthly expenses, and aren't able to do run-o-the-mill house maintenance (even if they have the time). They could range anywhere between middle class and upwards.
My parents are firmly middle class, and I could see them wanting something like this.
Empty Nesters are your customers. And it's a growing market (in the US at least).
EDIT: Spelling and grammar.
That said, whatever site mediates this, would potentially need to have 24x7 customer service, a billing platform (with payouts), and potentially some decent liability insurance.
That being said, did you consider Task Rabbit? It seems like they might have been able to help you with your air conditioner install. Or perhaps not if it required a more skilled professional.
Besides covering stuff like fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, theft, etc. they give you free home services like the ones you mentioned (hanging pictures, changing lightbulbs) and offer "emergency" services like locksmith, electrician and glazier.
It's way cheaper than your 500-1k range.
Here's one of the companies that do this:
I agree that this is an idea worth pursuing.
Also, I like the idea of having a company that is invested in maintaining my home because they're on the hook for any issues that arise. They would be incentivized to perform all the regular maintenance tasks that I might neglect.
relying on subcontracting means your company/service will be judged based on the quality/service performance of 100's of subcontractors and their employees, putting your business at risk once you want to scale.
By entering what you want to do beforehand, the app would know where you are and have a list of places you said you want to go, and tell you how to get to the next closest place, or alert you if one on your list is about to close for the day. Perhaps each city version is done by locals and in case of bad actors, there can be a voting system so the right info goes to the top. Plus, there could be integration with Google Maps so you can see if you're going the right way.
There's a guy out of Brazil who has a site called Viagens Maneiras (aka Trip to Brazil) and he goes to different locations in Brazil with his dog and takes pictures and offers info on each place. At the bottom of each location page, he has tips listed. These tips are usually comments by his site visitors (on what to do, what not to miss, etc). Anyways, I'm imagining part of his site but with improved functionality and a redesign.
I hadn't visited the site in a long time and it seems to have a few navigational issues (like two-finger scrolling on my track pad required my mouse to be on the text/picture area rather than anywhere on the page).
My original idea was that you do it ahead of time. It would have general ideas of how long it takes to complete an activity and would essentially provide you a list of maps relative to your hotel. Then, you'd have that information beforehand on your smartphone so that you could avoid roaming charges (which is an issue for international travel.)
The revenue model was funneling to travel sites and possibly travel agents who could provide more customized itineraries.
But now, with OpenStreetMap, you could have an app on the phone. On top of it, it could use the GPS to figure out where you were and put together a slide show for your friends. You could rate when you were there and provide more feedback later if you wanted -- just a simple thumbs up/thumbs down.
I've resigned myself to never getting around to it -- If I'm to found a company, it's going to be in the b2b arena instead.
Rather than 'fencing' regions then, if it could be done to just sort proximity that way, it would be incredibly useful even while sparsely populated.
The other issue is what occupies people's hands. It's surprising for me to see how many tourists use traditional maps (though, on the flip side, one never knows when someone is looking at a map on their smartphone), and how many people don't ask passers-by questions in order to get help. A dedicated app would mean less happenstance intereaction while abroad but it would also help not waste time (and give more time for more sights to see).
Another HN commenter mentioned offline capability, in this sense it could be like Wikipedia's make an e-book function, where you'd get, in the case of my idea, the pertinent street view photos, together with the right info downloaded to your phone. For ex, "give me top 10 comments on the Mona Lisa, 5 levels deep and for the Moulin Rouge, which I'm more interested in, give me the top 20 comments, 10 levels deep."
If a 'chapter' is to be added while on your trip, because you heard about something new and cool, then all that's needed is a wifi connection to download the right info and add it to the multimedia 'book'.
I'm not sure, though. The main page isn't clear about what it does exactly, and I haven't created an account.
That said there is definitely something that can be done in that space.
Another useful feature would be suggest me the best food list for the city I should eat.
I've been working on making the decision as to who I'll get to sculpt new genitals for me, and researching this on the web is a mess - every site comparing them is out of date, triggers my mental sketchy spam site detectors, or both.
It'd be great to be able to go to a nice-looking site and say "all I'm interested in right now is MtF genital surgery", then see doctors who do that, and crowd-sourced reviews if their work. (Other people may be interested in FtM genital surgery, breast augumentation/removal, orichectomy, you get the idea - various manipulations of genitals and secondary gender cues.)
I think there's probably less than a hundred people who offer these kinds of services in the world, so it's not exactly a huge database to worry about.
Also, good luck with the transition, I have a friend going through something similar, its definitely not an easy thing.
Yelp started out as finding a referral for doctors, and recently Yelp has added public data to their respective hospital pages:
More specifically, a better UI to use Mailing Lists. Perhaps like vBulletin or other advance forum software. Maybe even built-in support in my email client?
For the life of me, I can't find a good way to use Mailing Lists. I don't like receiving 40+ messages every day, but I don't find digest mode good enough either. Google Groups is clunky, and it gives me no good motivation to return to it. The readability is also not all that great imo. The whole ajaxy thing it has going for it is also bad. I want to read static text on a functional and beautiful UI. It's not too much to ask for. :(
It's awful! And I agree with the other commenters that it used to be better. Usenet was better. A threaded mail client is better. HN is better. Reddit is better!
This got me thinking: why don't folks just deploy a reddit instance? It's open source, it's easy to hack, it works. I went ahead and did it myself. As a test, I wrote a little gateway program to import all the postings from that famous old Usenet dump , the one Google was so excited to preserve for us in clunky old Google Groups.
This Usenet-in-reddit experiment is surprisingly readable. Some of the formatting tricks and conventions from 30 years ago carried over without needing conversion. However, some things still need cleaning up before this is ready to be shown to the world.
If you're interested in helping out, it's a fun little project. Drop me a line!
With usenet, I could easily tell what I haven't read and if a branch deviates from what I'm interested in discussing, I can just ignore that entire branch.
Setting up a private NNTP server and getting people to use a Usenet client is going to be a challenge. I haven't looked, but are there any mobile clients?
I think what I'd want is a forum that emails, but runs so completely off email that you don't have to log in if you so choose -- essentially, a hook on message save to email out if the preference is on, and a smart enough parser on receiving an email to post back to the forum (after email validation and verification, of course). That would be really fun to build, and may be worth some time exploring. If that's a solution you'd like, let me know - I could always use a hacking buddy.
They have a walkthrough video here. http://vimeo.com/90926057 Stay with it till the end; it looks like any other forum software until it becomes clear it's all happening over email, without any need for your team to learn a new tool or sign into anything. You can split off new discussions at any time, or make any sublist digest-only.
Once companies reach a certain scale they inevitably expend some of their resources on building internal development tools. At Foursquare we have 1 person (on a team of ~80) doing this fulltime. Google has spent a ton of effort on this with blaze. Facebook & Twitter have done similar work. But it's all fragmented and it's all reinventing the wheel.
A company should do this right for everyone. If it was good enough I'd happily write very very large checks to use it.
Honestly I think this is what GitHub should be doing, but they don't appear to have their shit together enough to innovate so someone else should do it.
GitSense is marketed as a Git solution but it's also a proof of concept for a much bigger problem that I'm trying to solve, which I believe will be critical for being able do develop tools that can work in any environment, regardless of size, process, politics, etc.
What is not obvious, which is mostly my fault due to poor marketing, is the tools in GitSense are context aware and adaptable. With GitSense, I can drop it into any enterprise environment and have it work in a way that makes the most sense to them. And what I have learned from developing GitSense, we'll be the basis for creating smarter wikis, bug trackers, continuous build systems, etc.
I'm currently working on a blog post right now that talks about my programmable metadata technology, which demonstrates the benefits of having context aware and adaptable tools.
As a side now, I'm also looking for one or more co-founder to execute this larger vision of mine. So if you are interested in tackling this problem, send me an email. You can find my email in my profile.
The feedback we have heard is the editor of choice is near-and-dear to a developer and would be difficult to force a new tool on anyone to edit code. Code hosting has a good solution with GitHub too. Which leaves testing and deployment up to the platform. Since we focus on giving two free REST services for publishing your own Jobs we put the deployment and testing into our web dashboard (and cli tool). Testing a REST API is easy and already integrated into our dashboard similar to Postman. The only code a developer has to write is a Job which is just 3 simple parts (inputs, outputs, and tasks). For us we wanted the .Net debugging power for every developer from our dashboard so we built it to identify tests that fail validation based off your test inputs and outputs versus your test's expected outputs.
Let me know what you think here's our beta vision based off our feedback for quickly developing and deploying REST API services for your own Jobs:
But what's wrong with IntelliJ?? We use it for Java EE and it works pretty darn well. Repository Management, Local server management, Compilation/deployment, it has everything and its executed pretty well. Although i suppose it's restricted to java...
My GitSense product is very similar to their fisheye product and due to how my system was built, I can actually integrate better with their own product line than fisheye can.
E.g., which PC platform is best in class? OS X, Windows or one of the flavors of Linux?
For those of you who develop using powerful IDEs (such as Visual Studio, Eclipse, ...), it's hard to imagine going back to a basic notepad.
Most people, most of the time, don't write software. They exchange ideas, express wishes, share their feelings. And to do that, they use tools that are not more powerful than a basic notepad.
This forces them to be explicit, to explain what they mean, to repeat ideas, to think linearly.
I believe it's time for the average person to have access to tools that are just as expressive (if not more) than the ones developers have been using for years. It's time to break the speech metaphor and develop a completely new way to communicate. It's time for a UI-driven, computer-assisted, general-purpose language.
What I suggest we build is an IDE for ideas. Intellisense for thoughts.
More seriously, what would this IDE have in it?
Have you seen Scrivener? That's what many of my friends both in academia and in fiction use. What does it have that you would expect otherwise?
Here's my take on this, in the form a ramble:
Intellisense works really well for code because there's a finite set of, for instance, methods you can call on a certain object - so I'm assuming you mean something that's more than just autocompletion.
I'm not really sure language on its own is powerful enough to handle ideas. When I think of organising thoughts and ideas I normally think of a mind map type of thing.
However, mind map software is too restrictive in terms of what you can create. A sheet of paper + pen is an excellent tool for noting down ideas and thoughts, but paper is finite and ink is irreversible: you can't move around/delete stuff.
I also sometimes have trouble with situations where idea A and idea B are related, but are situated at two completely ends of a mind map graph. So this might mean dispensing with two-dimensional mind maps entirely, but I struggle to imagine a non-annoying way of displaying a mind map in 3D.
Freemind has an arrow that can jump branches. Also you can drag A to B, flip a branch up, down, to either side, etc. No such thing as opposite ends. Also I think you can hyperlink A to B.
We communicate using natural languages. If you check Twitter, you'll see people write down all kind of thoughts and information. But this information is not semantic, and only a human (or NLP) can make sense of what is said.
When people communicate, it's either to make a statement about the past ("I ate sushis"), about the present ("I'm in Las Vegas"), or about the future ("I want to watch Terminator 2").
The past and present (which actually are the same) are simple declaration about reality. The future is all about wishes and intents.
Of course, you could add another dimension/mode (reality/fiction). In fiction, past/present could be "I wish Hitler wasn't born" and the future could be "I want to work at Google". In reality, you would say "Dinosaurs existed" (past/present) and "There will be an hurricane tomorrow" (future). The difference is that the future is no longer a wish, but a prediction (as we're dealing with reality).
I want people to be able to communicate the following ideas without just relying on boring text:
- The Lego Movie was great.
- I want to be in NYC by noon.
- I'm interested in Bitcoin.
- Lock my house's doors.
- I want to wake up at 7AM every monday.
- I'd love to attent to the next Metallica concert in Barcelona.
- It's rainy in Vancouver.
- Where is my car?
- Turn on the oven to high.
The above statements should be purely semantic. I should be able to click on "Metallica" and get more information about them. I should be able to click on "event" and see where and when it takes place. I should be able to click on "car" and see exactly what car he's referring to. I want statements to be elevated to a level where they have meaning, and that text only is a single representation of these ideas.
You're in Vancouver? You won't see "It's rainy in Vancouver". You'll see "It's rainy (here)". If you don't know what Bitcoin is, you might see "John Doe is interested in [insert a short summary about what Bitcoin is]". If you're metallica, you'll probably see "3723 people want to see you in Barcelona". If you're the oven, you'll probably understand "Heat up to 500 F".
Now, the above statements are simple and don't show why someone would need an IDE for thoughts (NLP + manual confirmation would be enough in many cases). But people shouldn't limit what they think to 140 characters either. They should be able to express complex ideas such as (a product review):
"iphone" -> "Do you mean iPhone 5S ..." -> Yes
"display" -> "Are you referring to the display of the iPhone ..." -> Yes
- Too Dim -> Yes
When writing a product review, people don't always know where to start, and often repeat things that other have said. By being able to refer to specific aspects of a product, see what others have said and confirm/infirm their statement (upvote/downvote), as well as build on top of it is probably a better way to converge meaning than to ask potential buyers to read through all of them manually. Maybe this should have his own idea thread.
Basically, I want a semantic version of Twitter that can suggest me things I can say about things I want to talk about, and let me endorse an existing statement instead of repeating it.
You type in english, and it generates an AST on the fly. This would allow conversations to line up and be searchable by content rather than just text.
If the software isn't continually improved I could see it dumbing down the grammar that the group uses. It could enforce a defacto double-speak.
Another nice side effect, is that you could search by concept. I find this very very difficult with current search tools.
Why? I think the key is exactly what you've said - to think linearly. Ideas often mushroom to end us up in a place drastically different from where we started, so the end result is not really linear. But we need to think about the next step in an idea linearly if we ever want to get something done. That is where mind maps (non-linear all the way) and traditional task-based tools (too linear) fall short.
Check out what we have at germ.io, signup and if you'd like in on what we're building right now just ding me a message.
The documents for this development start to look like hierarchies with many cross-dependencies (the solution starts to 'fall-out'). For example, if the 'want' were "I want to make routine repairs easier for customers" we'd work up to different customer use models such as "Customer is notified on head unit radio that timing belt routine maintenance is suggested" to functional objectives (or functional requirements) "Customer shall be notified of suggested maintenance 1000 miles, 500 miles, and 100 miles before timing belt suggested maintenance" to non-functional requirements "Head unit connected cell shall notify timing belt status every hour" to performance specifications "Connected cell shall meet 3G bandwidth specifications for xMbps when within xmile range of cell tower with x specification" that then get tested to our test flow requirements.
The interesting thing is this design follows a 'V' engineering model  and the documents and requirements do not always have the best correspondence. In fact, the user models can sometimes be captured in Microsoft Word whereas the technical specifications can be captured in DOORs. Also, the use case is not clearly delineated to a performance specification 100% of the time. In large organizations it's difficult to communicate requirements and development milestones if this correspondence isn't clearly drawn. e.g. An executive that manages user experience (UX) may not understand why technology X is in the vehicle and what it gives them. This can lead to communication issues.
So, I believe the IDE for ideas has a data structure that is hierarchical and the IDE resembles an FPGA IDE feature such as Xilinx ISE RTL schematic. In this RTL schematic, the designer can show a 'black box' such as 'My CPU Design'. The black box can be double-clicked to show black boxes that make up 'My CPU Design' such as Instruction Memory, Data Memory, a program counter, an ALU, etc... Furthermore the user can click Instruction Memory to see which FPGA elements make up Instruction Memory, etc.
In such a way, different team members in product development can see different levels of abstraction according to their own interests and responsibilities. The user model can be the top-level 'black box'. A manager can double-click the black box to see which features create the use case. The manager can further double-click the feature set to see which functional objectives create the features, etc. This would be possible all the way down to performance requirements and can even include data for 'validation' and 'verification' activities (e.g. This is the feature I wanted, are all the functional objectives that make up the feature set fully validated?).
Anyway, that would be my ideal IDE for ideas. The IDE would be cross-functional and many people could have input for multiple user models that drive the initial feature 'want'. This IDE could even help control costs of large systems "Which feature set is driving the most cost?".
An IDE like this could be applicable to any multi-month project with sufficient requirements complexity.
I like this IDE from an engineer standpoint, but I think the killer app will be automatic report-outs. I wouldn't have to spend hours making status updates in powerpoint for every type of audience in the corporation.
We could then build lean, database-less asset management applications, while the user data (i.e. the files and their metadata) would always be portable, across platforms.
Take for example:
J.M.W. Turner | Rain, Steam and Speed | ···· 1844.jpg
W. Blake ···· | Newton ·············· | 1795–1805.jpg
It’s just an idea for HN Idea Sunday; I did a somewhat more detailed write-up:
but some standard way of expressing it in the file name would be great, and nicer to parse out later. There are filesystems that allow metadata, but I've never seen one really being used for that purpose. You could make some associated command line tools that are equivalent to 'ls' that allow splitting/slicing the files down different parameters.
It has support for database-like extended file attributes, which can be custom attributes!
For example, a `person` file would have all of the normal fields you'd expect from an address book as file attributes: http://www.birdhouse.org/beos/byte/24-scripting_the_bfs/ https://www.haiku-os.org/docs/userguide/en/attributes.html
Though you seem to be against specific file systems due to non-portability and that is understandable.
Imagine managing a collection of photos (or a mixed collection of multiple file formats, like scans of receipts, and pdfs with invoices) in something like Dropbox: no access to hidden low-level metadata blocks, etc., let alone easy editing. Not to speak of cross-platform support.
File names are always visible and editable, and they’re easily parsable.
I discussed such objections here: https://gist.github.com/rhythmus/11118629#problem-metadata-p...
1. Find something you want to sell
2. Snap a picture (or a short video)
3. Tap "list for sale"
4. Let mechanical turk + computer vision identify the object
5. Let the system pick a value (based on sales history, location, demand)
6. Contact the seller when a serious buyer made a deposit
7. Proceed to demo + sale
I shouldn't have to write down any spec when selling something as ubiquitous as an Xbox 360. I shouldn't have to go through 100 different ways to describe an iPhone 4S when looking to buy one.
Delegating item identification to a third party is how you reduce the friction of listing items for sale and improve semantics.
And to think that this system only applies to selling items is naive. The possibilities are endless.
It's an interesting system to build, though, and there is money to be made. The very first version of my startup was something that was pretty much the same system, but we focused on offloading liquidation inventory. Some things that you will likely discover along the path
1. If you use eBay as your dataset, you are pretty much SOL. Their lack of rigorous moderation in terms of their image style guide makes computer vision really, really difficult to carry out. Using SIFT image features from the same exact images, I only got about a ~75% accuracy because eBay users tend to slap all types of random extra things onto their images. I can't imagine you'd have much success trying to use CV for identifying (with sufficient accuracy) consumer electronics in consumer supplied photos. I can't speak for Mechanical Turk... We wound up modifying our tech strategy such that we didn't need high accuracy in identifying other listings.
2. Product versions dramatically alter product value, but are just about impossible to figure out without being explicitly provided that data by the person holding the product.
3. Unless you own your own sales channel, you will be beholden to the marketplaces to offload the inventory in. In my case, we automated the process of selling on both eBay and Amazon. We were reading in data from multiple wholesalers (dropshippers), which had catalogs full of an arbitrary assortment of products... Which means we wound up listing weapons, sexual objects, etc. We got dinged pretty bad by eBay for these things (though, turns out batons sell really well on eBay). Eventually we pretty much got banned from both marketplaces for listing violations + bad fulfillment speed. We couldn't control the shipping speed of our dropshippers (we had no bargaining power), which I attribute to killing that section of the business.
As somebody who actually built the same system that you're describing (sans being an open marketplace, which actually makes it more difficult), I can say that you're in for a rough fight. Pretty epic watching an ebay store run itself, though...
I didn't get much interest so I didn't bother building it :)
It finds all the pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #forsale, post them on Craigslist, and contact the seller through Instagram when a buyer emails the Craigslist contact info.
Craigslist killed it.
a few others
https://paytagz.com (Member of http://boost.vc)
Would you be mad if your barely used unlocked 64GB iPhone 4S was sold as a non-working locked 8GB iPhone 4 and they send you a check for $10?
If the user can see these informations, he can take a picture of it. If he can't, well most people probably wouldn't know either.
Also, nothing stops you from taking a short video of the item and saying additional information out loud.
As the comments have pointed out the difficulty is accurately identifying items.
With used books you don't have that problem because every book has an ISBN number so you can easily identify any book. That's enabled a robust used book market.
So maybe the business isn't the end product, maybe the business is an intermediate step, the equivalent to ISBN numbers for everything.
The business I'm thinking of is QR tags for everything. The QR code allows the owner to simply scan the QR code when they want to sell their stuff.
You'd have to work with OEMs. The pitch to the OEMs is that a QR code that allows the item to be identified and easily resold enhances the resale value, thus enhancing the initial value of the item.
Part of the idea was to identify stuff, and then send people a QR code so that they could refer to physical item with a simple scan.
Want to find someone that can repair that particular guitar? Scan it, pick "Find repairman" (or any other contextual action), and you're set.
Insurance backlog, selling, lending, sharing, hands-on trial (before buying online), lost & found, quick review, ownership history, package tracking, user's manual, community hacks and mods, 3D print a case/accessory, buy related accessories, brag, home automation, etc. Once you can refer to a specific item precisely (knowing everything about it), the sky's the limit.
I looked at existing barcodes you can find on some items, but they're rather limited. Recognizing games, music, movies and books is easy. But that's quickly becoming all digital.
Like you, I have a lot of stuff I'd like to sell. What I want: a company to send me pre-labeled and pre-paid shipping containers that I then fill with my stuff and leave on my front porch (safe, rural neighborhood) to be picked up. Every week or so they pay me until everything is sold - minus a commission so that our interests are aligned to get as much as possible for each item. I can't seem to find a service that makes it that easy though.
Oh, and that lamp? Amusingly, I took the lamp back to Home Depot where I had bought it new 3 years earlier. I had no receipt and I told them honestly how long ago it was originally purchased. None the less they offered me a full store credit. The catch was that they no longer carried that brand of lamp and hadn't for over 2 years. In fact, it had been so long since they last sold the lamp that they didn't have pricing information on it in their database. Since they couldn't determine how much I paid, they instead gave me store credit equal to that of a lamp they currently had in stock that we agreed was comparable. I was so impressed by their generous return policy that I promised to one day spread the word of how awesome they are.
This problem is so big that i have to avoid facebook becaue they also show trending news.
So a filter that filters F1 or any selectable sports news. Then when i turn it off after watching the race the filter shows me a list of what news it found and filtered for me.
Added extra, while i'm watching the race it could show me tweets in real time, but back shifted so as to make sense with the race.
My football loving buddie also agrees he'd pay for this filter.
I thought about building a proxy but simple name-blocking is too broad given names like "Button", and some headlines don't contain other easily matched patterns like "grand prix". EG "Button wins thrilling battle" or "Williams duo take epic one-two"
Not sure I'd pay for that service since it's probably easier to just pay for HBO and watch it "live" like everyone else.
Interesting nonetheless. :)
I wrote that years ago, and I read last year that a kid had won a hackathon with this. I think some of the TV apps do this?
I never updated the code for the new Twitter API, could fish it out but it wasn't that hard to write really.
The "Ready for Battle alarm clock". An alarm clock that wakes you up with your favourite quotes from video games or movies such as:
- Rise and shine, Mister Freeman. Rise and... shine. Not that I... wish to imply you have been sleeping on the job. No one is more deserving of a rest, and all the effort in the world would have gone to waste until... well, let's just say your hour has... come again. (or part of this one).
- It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum... and I'm all outta gum
This idea would work best when you always wear your Google Glass like device. Then the audio can be combined with a nice visual of for instance the G-Man.
For now, without the glass integration, it's easy to do make this with your own phone. A nice service could be to personalize the message, i.e. "Wake up Mr. Bootvis...".
The big problem here is that just copying these audio samples isn't allowed and so it will be hard to build a company out of this.
Wealthy people with desires to become Batman can more-or-less do so.
First they sign a waiver and an NDA, removing any liability from the Bruce Wayne Gap Year company. Then they'll pay the company tens of thousands of dollars to pay for what is to come.
They'll be put into a real criminal gang , and taken around the world getting involved in all sorts of illegal  activities.
Sooner or later they'll be subtly led to the Himalayas, where they'll join a monastery, lead a simple life of celibacy and minimalism and slowly learn to meditate and fully understand themselves and their body.
After a while, they'll be groomed by a man  claiming to be working for a mysterious and powerful leader of a guild of assassins, and taught all kinds of martial arts over months and months, culminating in a complex battle which determines their eligibility. At that point, they will be asked to do something their morals will not allow (this will be determined in a psychological screening), and end up betraying and destroying  the guild.
Then they return home, better for the experience.
It can't fail. A friend of mine also suggested it be re-implemented for all sorts of action hero/film type situations. James Bond, Die Hard, Rambo, etc. It's essentially a very expensive, realistic roleplaying experience.
: Actually, very highly paid and well-trained actors. We don't tell them that though.
: Mostly not illegal, but they're made to believe that these things are illegal. Some things will be borderline (they may accidentally end up threatening people who are not part of the ruse, for example), hence the NDA.
: Also an actor. A very good, very well paid actor. Possibly we'll just get Liam Neeson, and he'll act so well that he'll convince them that he's not Liam Neeson.
: Not really. The martial artists will never be allowed to be worse than the client, and will also be stunt-trained and capable of faking death.
I always thought this was a cool idea. I'd imagine this couldn't effectively be done for less than a couple hundred thousand considering the number of people who would have to be working on this full time.
As for the full-time-ness? Yeah, totally. I think there's something to be said for big, serious roleplaying games which effectively can take up your entire life for a certain amount of time, and I think a lot of people would do it.
In some scenarios, it could be cheaper to do since you could involve multiple people in the same experience.
Wealthy people who have time, don't have health.
And those who have both, won't even talk to you.
Edit: I have a friend who made LOADS of money filming couples who wanted to do their own version of adult movies. So I am sure there is a market for something like this.
EDIT: If you take the red pill, you get to live Neo's life when he was still Thomas Anderson, go to his job and do all the stuff he would do. It'd be hilariously boring.
The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix, therefore living the "illusion of ignorance", while the red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the real world, therefore living the "truth of reality".
Many travelers are short on cash but would love to trade services for a night's stay. Me, I would be happy to host a guest for free provided they did my dishes or laundry.
Many homeowners, especially empty-nesters, have homes with plenty of space that they still have to maintain. This would provide benefits to both parties.
The other option is a cheap ipad with a bluetooth keyboard. If you turn off all the unnecessary apps and notifications and put it on airplane mode - it should last a couple of weeks. You turn it on only when you need it. You will still need to get an ssh app [many available].
Would about pulling high rated, top-level conversations from multiple sources for a quick digest? Sort of like Google News for commentary.
Ever been interested in a topic that once you google you end up with explanations(quite often on wikipedia) that rely on foundational knowledge you didn't even know you should have? And then you started working your way back by googling things you didn't know until you hit something you do know and from that point you try to inch your way forward to the original topic just to get discouraged a few hours in? I know I have and it's a pain!
A well built knowledge map that would graph the relationships between different topics in a field would help alleviate this problem. Take for example linear algebra. You've heard about this fancy thing called singular value decomposition but barely know what a matrix is. You type SVD into a search box, and it generates a breadth first tree with all the topics you need to know to be able to understand SVD up to a certain depth. And then you just work from the leafs that you do understand up to the topic you are interested. This saves hours or sometimes days of just trying to understand the ordering in which you should be learning things. It essentially builds a curriculum for the user on the fly for a topic they are interested.
I would propose this as a community wiki so knowledge maps could be crowdsourced and curated as they would be time consuming and difficult to build for a single person. Would also suggest adding the ability to let users create accounts and mark off topics they feel confident they know.
Potential problems: The two big problems with this idea are
1) generating a proper knowledge map: There will be ambiguities in the edges and even the nodes of a map. Sometimes (often) you will need to be clever how you organize the information. For example, your have a dependency listing like: Matrix <- Rotation Matrix, but in reality it might be better to have something like Matrix <- Linear Transform <- Rotation Matrix. Linear transforms would act as an intermediary node for rotation, scaling, shearing, w/e.
2) a topics can be studied in different frameworks: E.g. linear algebra can be studied with or without using vector spaces. Once again, deciding how to create the knowledge graph will be difficult.
Solution: Have multiple types of edges. You can have edges to signify hard dependencies, soft dependencies, generalizations, and extensions. Maybe other types of edges. You will still need to be clever, but having a way to signify the relationship between topics will help resolve the problem.
Excited to see where it goes!
Academic subjects on Wikipedia are close to useless, if your goal is to actually gain a comprehensive knowledge of the subject.
The result (http://precis.gopagoda.com/url/https://news.ycombinator.com/...) still doesn't entirely work right, partly because my implementation is still pretty poor and because I could see how flawed the premise was after I actually tried it - if you try it you'll find a lot of 'threads' wind up at spam links or twitter and facebook inside of a couple of levels.
Still, I think this is a problem worth solving. Good luck with it.
You can read a bit about the ideas behind Metacademy here: http://hunch.net/?p=2714
I wrote a quick article about it, here:
...And the supporting code:
but for all knowledge?
I have to say I'm really impressed by their progress since the last time I checked their knowledge map (~2 years ago).
But would the company be able to build brand? First, to find expats would be somewhat difficult as they tend to blend in! Second, the company would need to be careful which people they hired, so they might be able to start at the top end of the market (high rates, high quality service) and work down from there...
That gives me the idea that it could start from an already existing service-oriented company, whether that's landscaping, security, legal services, accounting, etc. and they could just add translation and a more taskrabbit-like approach (phone app, etc.)
I knew a chap who could roof a home with Cotswold stone. He knew how the stone was quarried (but he didn't do that bit) and how it was made into roof tiles (but he didn't do that bit very often) and he knew how to roof a house using those tiles. There are not that many people who can do that anymore.
There's a meme about the NASA Saturn V rockets that says we've lost the paperwork and thus re-making them would be cery hard, and could involve rediscovering technology.
The Domesday project is sometimes used as an example of digital obselesance http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Domesday_Project
And here's an example of someone looking for Cray software and code and documentation https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3464546
So, this would be a site that interviews people (using crowdsourced interviews) to glean information about how they do or did things, and why, with video if possible of them demonstrating the techniques and equipment and methods.
This would be a teeny bit like the Endangered Language Project. http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/about/
There would need to be some way to control for truth and accuracy and also some suggestions for what is a good interview.
 my dad used to tell quite a few lies. One of these (well, one set) was about his diabetes diagnosis and treatment. He claimed he had been diagnosed as a child while still at school, and that he had to sharpen his syringe on the stone floor. Utter cobblers, but somehow it found its way to an academic site. I sent them a polite email and they made their disclaimers about uncorroborated etc a bit clearer.
It came highly recommended to me, and the six episodes are sitting on my disk, but I haven't gotten around to watching any yet.
Transforming yourself has never been more accessible than it is today. We have access to so much information and so many resources that there's rarely any valid excuse not to become what you want to be. The problem is that the whole process can be overwhelming, and finding what works for you requires discipline and dedication. Most results don't happen overnight, and the only way to get through months of imperceptible progress is to have a clear plan, track everything, and learn from others.
I've seen all kinds of people in all kinds of context attempting to share some regimen with others. You will find that on Oprah, in books, at the gym, at your doctors, on forums, etc. That's all fine, but why do they still have to write down the name of the product, the brand, the posology, the side-effects, their interactions, everything by hand? Wouldn't it be easier for them to write them down with a tool that understands what the regimen means, and easier for us to add them to our own regimen in a single click?
Once the system understands what I (and others) want to achieve, how I progress and exactly what I do to reach it, only good things can come out of it. It can learn (machine learning, correlation finding), it can recommend tweaks, it can help me acquire products, it can reward me, etc.
How hard is it to set-up a database of all drugs/supplements/vitamins, and let people semantically fill the why, what, when and how?
I don't think there's a lack of niches either:
- Cognitive enhancement (nootropics)
- Weight loss
- Hair loss
- Skin care
- Long distance running
- Diets (vegan, paleo)
- Chronic disease
- Life extension
More importantly, it's hard to keep track of what equipment was given to each employee. I imagine at a larger company this would be handled by an IT department, but sub 50 people I'm doing this on a spreadsheet myself. Would love a simple web app to record serial # of machine, receipt (that I could upload PDF), date purchased, employee, etc.
Happily would pay monthly SaaS. Please message me if anyone knows of this type of product. I'd happily be your first customer if you want to build it.
edit: Happy Easter!
Register for an account.
Follow the little tutorial balloons to create your first collection: "Employees." Create some basic employee pages.
Create another collection, "Equipment," with pages named after serial numbers, and add some facts: perhaps "Used By," "Purchase Date," and "Type."
This will probably take no more than a couple of minutes. What you get is a wiki-like site with permissions; an easy way to create and present charts, distributions, overviews, etc; and a newsfeed showing fact changes, like "Owner changed to X from Y."
Once you see how the product works, you can upload your existing data as CSV. You will need to upload existing receipts by hand, or use our API (we can help you with this).
Example queries that you can build trivially with the "explore" view, and then store on a page or embed:
- Equipment with "Used By" nonempty, grouped by memory amount
- Table of equipment with owner, price, date purchased
- Pie chart of equipment's memory size distribution
Check out https://www.silk.co/teams and write an email if you want some help setting it up. Or send me a message.
Regarding the receipts, have a folder and just give the receipts a simple date-supplier-what-for filename. You could probably paste the hyperlinks into your spreadsheet if you could be bothered. If you can't then they are easy enough to find.
Isn't this how ZeroCater got started?
The features for this (act 2) make it very interesting. Imagine one slick sell to post to CL / Ebay.
I've been googling but can't find anything
What would you pay for this service, annually? What are the features you would find most useful?
Forward an email receipt to yourcompanyA87y5@trackmyreceipts.com and have it auto-create a purchase record
Upload a PDF invoice or receipt
Manually create a purchase
Track purchase orders
Enter serial numbers
Produce reports of in-service equipment
Enter a comment about deployed location (e.g. John Smith, or Board Room)
Track service history?
All the Features you mentioned, plus multi user access (for bookkeeper / accountants).
I'd pay $3-500 annually (maybe do something like $X per device > 5 devices).
Idea: Git-story, a website that generates summary narratives from git commit histories and other github data.
Here's a brain-dump with some ideas for the specifics:
Use foreshadowing: "It all started with one person, X, spending months to gradually build what would one day become Y, a project forked by hundreds and starred by thousands."
When someone makes their first contribution to a project give them a brief introduction, like a shorter version of http://osrc.dfm.io/
Use sentiment analysis on commit messages to say things like "Frustrations mount as...", "the developers rejoice after..."
When people work on multiple concurrent branches use use phrases like: Meanwhile, X and Y toil away on the new Z feature.
Use the time between commits to chunk them into single sentences/paragraphs. Also, add comments if the project goes dormant, or if there is a spike in development.
Use keywords in commit messages like merge, revert, resolve to generate events in the story.
When bugs are resolved look for linked issues and use the age of the bug and number of comments to say thinks like "X finally fixed the controversial Y bug"
Include a decent plugin architecture, and you could get lots of contributions to add in data from everyone's pet CI system, bugtracker, download counter, etc.
[actually, if you started with something like Rails, you could launch versions from old code, take screenshots, and stitch together a video]
Use ANT or Bluetooth 4.0LE to tie into a treadmill, bike, or other exercise equipment to get output measurements (speed); ideally, find some devices which allow two way commands (not common at all right now).
Networked games against other people, or vs. computer or past personal performance. The interesting part is a "use while running" interface for the touchscreen, requiring inputs (using gross motor skills, not fine control) to do things in-game while retaining performance. Or maybe use audio output for instructions (i.e. "press the blue button, then the red, then the green" while keeping heart BPM above 130, and targets moving on screen.
For example, I may only care that:
: Government = Democracy
But for climate, something a little more specific:
: Climate : Rainfall < 200 cm
: Climate : Snowfall = 0 cm
And then something really granular:
: Sports & Leisure : Adventure Sports : Sky Diving < 50 km
Major categories might include:
It could be marketed as a branded plugin for company web sites in travel, real estate and jobs. They'd pay for clicks and then use the results to market their services.
I've found sites that offer this, but none have been quite what I wanted. One requires you to enter the locations you think you'd like and then helps you decide. Another was pretty close, but only covered the USA.
That's because after accounting for the number of places and the parameters, doing this efficiently is almost impossible (kinda like NP).
coMarketing: I would like to see a solution that allows smaller companies that target a similar audience to be able to put their "little" marketing dollar together and have a better chance at fighting the big guy.
Phone screen on my computer: When I am at my desk, I want to be able to use my phone from my computer. I can use the desktop interface to go through contacts, check feeds, answer texts, and even forward calls to my desk phone.
Conversation blog: A blogging platform that is based on discussion. Each blog post is a conversation between two or more people, let us stop the monologues because in real life to hear two is more interesting than one.
Alarm Band: A simple band that wakes me up with a buzz, but I just want to spend $25 for it.
PHP wrapper: I began to write a simple consistency wrapper for PHP, but I never finished. Basically it a class that gives me a clear structure on how to pass parameters for functions. I ALWAYS know to do function something (haystack, needle) then the wrapper rearranges according to the actual function requirement.
The same is true for paid search, facebook, etc...
Chrono: chronological inventions and academic breakthroughs of mankind as a dependency graph. This is a lingering idea that has been coming back to me a couple times a year over the last decade or so.
What if there's a kind of semantic wikipedia that is built upon a dependency graph of inventions and academic breakthroughs. What led to the invention of the internet, to nano-tubes, etc? How cool would it be from an education standpoint to be able to jump back in time and see invention upon invention replayed (with backgrounds on how these breakthroughs came to be) up to today.
Check out what led to invention X (the galaxy S you're reading this on), played back . Or reversely, lookup which inventions were build (transitively) upon the discovery of Y. You'd also finally be able to answer definitively who was more important: Tesla or Edison ;)
Socio-economic backgrounds, anecdotes, etc. what led to invention X, and how X was important for Y, etc. An interactive "Short history of nearly everything"
Idea: Weekly online, live discussion sections to accompany self-paced video lectures. Discussion sections have 5-10 students and are facilitated by Teaching Assistants
How it works:
Students taking a MOOC course sign up each week for a discussion section. There can be multiple discussion sections to accommodate changes in the student's schedule, different time zones, etc. Students pay ~$10/discussion, once a week, for an hour.
Discussion sections can be G+ Hangout style and taught by crowdsourced Teaching Assistants. These TAs can be grad students in universities looking to make extra money. They can assist students with HW problems, go over tough concepts, and talk about material outside of the immediate subject matter.
TAs can rev share per discussion. Example: 30% rev share for a class of eight students paying $10 each --> $24 for the TA for an hour of teaching. This is significantly higher than market rate (~$10-16/hr)
If anyone in SF is interested in helping out, I could totally use a collaborator or two if skillsets/personalities mesh well. (I'm doing all the coding right now but the project could greatly benefit from a second developer with good design sense and some web dev experience)
I'm a proponent of making education accessible, but it seems that it is fairly easy to find good resources to learn just about anything online, particularly if it is related to computing. The real problem I think is motivation. Most college students don't try that hard in school, so I wouldn't expect most people taking online courses (particularly free ones) to try that hard either.
If you're motivated enough to learn the resources are already available to you. If not, I think the efforts of others to make you learn will have marginal effects at best.
Edit: I was replying to the first point about completion rates being low. I actually think the discussion idea is a good one and would be helpful for those who actually want to learn the material.
For everyone else, I'd imagine the motivation level is higher because of voluntary enrollment than a college student's who is forced to take certain classes.
Also, the current iteration of online education can survive on unassisted self-motivation. I can't recall the specific stat, but I believe 80%+ of students taking coursera classes already have a bachelor's degree. Most classes tend to be technical, where online resources are free and plenty. And given the self-paced nature of online classes, most students who learn best in group environments are probably pre-filtered and never sign up.
Perhaps discussions would be even more relevant as online education becomes more mass-adopted? Group tutoring for home-schooled kids, KUMON classes taught online, K-12 education where students need more hand holding, liberal arts classes where answers are subjective and can't be auto-graded, etc.
It was more an idea for the "snark" category though.
That said, for it to work properly, the staff would need to watching the clock too so it couldn't just be a managerial thing.
All staff would need to at least know the wage bands of each other's salaries.
(Code golf - for recipes). A community where members submit recipes. Score is a function of ingredient count and cooking time. The lower the better. Recipes are also rated for taste/quality by the community.
But I like the idea. Perhaps a twist could be to prepare a weeks worth of meals using the least ingredients - people are allowed a small set of regular items for the pantry (plain flour, milk, granulated sugar, salt) but have to use or reuse a limited set of ingredients to create a tasty nurritious menu for a week on a tight budget.
Basically: a reddit/HN clone, but at any given time only one article can be commented on. That article is replaced every day or every hour (whatever interval makes sense) with the highest-upvoted submission that doesn't have comments yet.
The goal would be to encourage deeper discussion of matters, rather than fleeting posts. I have no idea if tree-style comments would be better than just a simple forum thread. A major part of the site would also be scrolling through all of the past articles, and being able to read all of the previous discussions.
The only problem I see, is that the audience of HN (and Reddit even more) is big and has many different interests. It's very hard to cover those interests with only an article a day, and many might just lose interests after a bunch of days without anything interesting for them. Moving the cadence down would probably help, I think the sweet spot might be around 4/6 articles a day.
I think I'd also try to bring down the number of submissions compared to HN. HN gets a lot of those, and it's good, but I don't think it would be healthy for such a site. I can think off limiting the number of submissions an account can do every day/week, limiting submissions to accounts older than X days (this is mostly to avoid spam) and/or having a pay-for-submission system (not real money, but karma or other similar things).
In addition, most people nowadays expect things to have instant feedback. How would you address that concern?
So many services offer a free tier, maybe 5gb for free and then you pay after that. Some are much higher. Build sort of a proxy to these services so that you have a distributed and large free online storage system.
This was an idea my team had last year when we were looking closely at a photo organization and management startup. We had won a startup competition, had investors tender offers but in the end we decided not to pursue the idea primarily because the storage business absolutely sucks, and photo systems are inherently storage businesses. This idea of 'BYOS' (Bring your own storage) was one of the hacks we thought up to get around the problem but in the end customer discovery taught us that the idea had too much friction for most people. Tech folks loved it, 35 year old moms didn't.
You can simply start with a few of the larger players, use the service to connect your free DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive accounts. There may even be a monetization option wherein as you approach saturation of the storage you push the user to sign up with a specific vendor for a discounted deal and that other vendor can be a partner company or your own storage medium.
It has to be simple and transparent though, you still want people to have that simply sync experience regardless of where the file is stored and they should be able to view all the files across all the services at one time, regardless of where they are physically stored.
Technically, it is a difficult problem to solve if the product need to be software based, simple, transparent and targeted at consumer market so that user can install on their laptops/workstations. The product will need to sit in the middle and capture every operation between OS and DropBox, GDrive, and OneDrive etc. It is not a trivial problem to solve.
A solution that uses a target storage device on a network which in the background sync with different online storage service providers is a better alternative and that is what NASUNI and a few others pursued. But now you are in consumer/SMB storage hardware business. Another better solution option is for users to only install one piece of software (ex: OwnCloud) which uploads to one cloud and then sync with other services in the background. Overall, my impression is that online storage providers offer very little support for such services that try to consolidate storage from different service providers.
On business side, it will be very difficult to make money of people who want to consolidate "free" space from different services. Such people are inherently cheap and wouldn't pay for your service either. So this will lead you to target SMB/enterprise market where typical mindset is to use one service like S3, Box, or Dropbox. So your value proposition has to change from distributed and large online storage system to redundancy, disaster recover, data access and data protection. Such solutions still have the single point of failure - your service. You will need to somehow need to be overcome.
Overall, I believe it is a good idea in principle, figuring out a business model, distribution and customer discovery may be a larger challenge.
It's an "Imgur for audio files".
Now there's times when you record an audio and want to share it. What do you do? Uhh,, umm.... Yup. exactly. There's no reliable, easy-to-use app to share audio files (not music).
So, this is a web/mobile app for easily uploading and sharing audio files, and playing them. I don't have a full plan laid out, but I'll work on it for sure.
(If you'd like to be notified when it's done, let me know: http://eepurl.com/SRIPT)
It was just relaunched as Clyp:
simple, awesome , fast and opensource
You usually go to Soundcloud because you're linked there, it's not something that easily builds its own culture.
Also, I'd like to make the service free, ad free, and maybe add a very cheap pro option.
Worst case (and sadly most common one):
You share the dropbox link, the recipient clicks on it, it opens the browser, triggers a download, he has to choose a download location, download vanishes or takes a few seconds that are spent doing something else, worst case: the person forgets about the file / best case: he digs ups a file manager, navigates to the downloaded file and opens it, player selection...maybe...and all that for a 5-15s just audio-greeting message :/
It should just work out of the box.
People seem to use Messengers for that. Like Whatsapp, which play back recorded or attached Audio.
But yet this is only mobile.
Sean sends his regards :)
What if you could just upload your design, select a material from catalogue and receive an instant quote. If you're happy with it, order the parts and then either pick them up in person or have them delivered.
CAD your design, select your material, quantities etc - get real time quotes, refine your spec, and order on the spot.
Not the cheapest for small quantities, but for a small run in production quality / materials, or larger actual production runs, they're excellent.
We use them constantly.
I want something I can read (comprehensive guides) with specific background info on insider knowledge per industry or cool things they did that made the company a success.
Mixergy interviews are often too long, too much noise to sift through, and not enough core information.
Examples of things I've love to see... Say you are building a physical product... How did you go about figuring/developing the prototype. If its hardware, where did you go to get the prototype done (PCB boards, etc..). How did you figure out manufacturing, if its overseas, how did you coordinate (different language, sourcer, shipping information, quality control, etc...).
If you're in the food industry, how did you manage to get contacts to help you get your product into stores, how did you develop or manufacture the product, etc.. If you're in catering, how did you go about reaching specific clients before you were known, etc...
The things people want to know are the details that are difficult to find that could be useful. I don't care much for the stories (success or failure doesn't matter as much as the core background on how things got done).
I don't know if this exists. But some companies don't ban some sites because they don't want to appear to be too controlling.
I personally do this by changing my own /etc/hosts file, but it is too easy to override. A firewall solution my be better for technical and not technical employees to help them to control their own browsing addictions.
An phone/web app that allows you to click on a place in google maps and request a "cammer" for x minutes, you pay $x and anyone running the software on their phone that is near that location can accept the offer and start streaming video from their phone to you, allowing you to have a kind of "live" street view.
There is UI for the payer to click on arrows to inform the cammer to move here or there, and to zoom or focus on certain things, also a pre translated set of things to help communicate with cammer. Cammer gets paid after the x minutes is up.
Cammer gets cheap money for being a personal camera man for someone somewhere else in the world.
Client saves a trip out there to see something for himself.
Use cases: Want to see if an antique you are looking for is at the markets but cant get away from work?.
Want to check out markets in turkey but live in australia? Want to see what the surf is "really" like right now and whether you should bother heading out?
Police work/chases! heaps of uses.
For popular events and markets, a cammer could setup shop and offer high quality streams etc.
Of course this problem is generic for many types of products.Reviews are a partial solution ,but it would be quite useful to have a site that gathers research and helps in creating valid research on various products.
This is an idea that I had recently, but for which unfortunately I have no time. I hope that some of you folks can make it happen.
The idea is that with the recent release of Chrome for Android's "Add to Home Screen" feature, there is now a way to bookmark websites to the home screen of every mobile os. Mobile sites can add a meta tag to hide the browser chrome and look fully native. Combined with fast mobile processors, this means that we can finally have native-like experience only by using HTML.
It may be difficult to build a business around it, and could make more sense if it is crowd-sourced (the database could be hosted as json on a github repo).
I haven't done much research, but I believe that an independent store which collects these apps, makes them discoverable, and instructs people how to install them would be very useful, and will do a great job for promoting the freedom of the web over closed app stores.
Practical example: Attending a conf as a woman
- You want to ask questions during the talks but you are afraid that because you are a woman your answer will be "dumbed-down" or just different
- Also, the guy doing the talk would like to answer the best possible question (or a random one)
So, there can be a lot of solutions to this problem, here is mine:
- Every attendee get an anonymous account on discuss.confname.org
- So everyone can ask questions anonymously and also it's fair because everyone has only one account
Except, that I made up this example in 5 minutes. This problem is effectively on every possible group in the world. People would like to express their opinions inside the group without risking differentiation.
I tried to describe this idea and the implementation ( http://kioto.io ), but it's really hard to explain. So I'm just implementing a prototype right now to better explain this idea.
You make a topic, people submit questions, people can vote up the questions, people giving talk can answer the top questions. There's a space for some discussion below each question.
Google uses this both internally at company wide meetings and at Google I/O
For $X, we will come and do Y chores, quickly and professionally, relatively flat rate. Y job is a typical household chore.
Particular pain point: cleaning the litterbox. I don't really like it, so it gets delayed a bit more than it should. Garbage can be a pain when the apartment building is poorly laid out.
I don't mean a maid or cleaning service. If I lived in a house, I'd want someone for random house maintenance tasks.
I'm half-tempted to do this where I live - I live near both a university and a fairly well-off suburb. Pretty sure a freshman would appreciate odd-job work not far from campus.
The catch is that I don't really have time to deal with bonding, insurance, payroll, workman's comp, etc, etc. Someone with 10-20K, familiarity with the process, lots of flex time over the next 4-6 months (when your help gets sick, YOU get to do it. =) ), and a yen for business could probably make a tidy income from it.
There are several attempts, with prototyped like housing/neighborhood scenarios, where the younger generations (students) live together with the elderly.
Older people might live in the ground-level apartments, while the young students wouldn't worry about walking up 2-3 flights of stairs. They could do some shopping, basic housekeeping, watch them take the right medication in the morning.
In return the elderly could return the favor by exchanging non-monetary things, like home-made food. Or they could just pay for the students to lower their rent.
All those solutions are great, but they require serious building of infrastructure, which can't be done immediately.
So services like the one described above seem to be an intermediate solution.
The problem is that all those "micro-tasks" (take the cleaning the litterbox example) are too easy/short to be paid a sufficient amount of money to be done. It's an entirely different league if you pay a gardener to come to your house twice a week for 3-4 hours.
And even gardeners/poolboys etc. have issues if they have to drive from client to client for 30min. or more.
It would be great if there would be a platform that allows people living geographically close together share a qualified person doing specific services.
Take someone walking their dogs every morning as an example. The cost can be shared amongst 6-10 dog owners. While the time spent for walking 6-10 dogs might only double (you need time to collect and return them) instead of increasing 6-10 fold.
So the service should bundle and curate requests from a neighborhood or house.
If a couple requests are similar, like "I would love someone to clean my windows every X weeks." They get bundled into a service package for which local contractors provide a quote.
And other people living in the neighborhood can then pledge for the service. With every new customer joining the average price is lowered for everyone.
Kind of like a curated form of a cross between taskrabbit and kickstarter.
I like your angle on how it'd help the elderly. It might be an interesting way to put together a 'senior living' neighborhood in conjunction with a developer. You could contract with the developer that your labor force would handle the big lifting duties; on the buy side, the rent would be marginally higher (and spread out over the development). Perhaps that already exists though.
Task Rabbit presents a very "sanitized", very "Apple", "Industrialized Clean" overall. It's also "tasks" (vs. someone regularly showing).
I want to hire for "Detroit", "dirty", "Dirty Jobs". Services: My "labor" shows up 3x a week and cleans cat crap up & takes garbage out.
Task Rabbit is also one-off hires, it seems like. My "labor" would be the same couple people every time.
I think this could be really efficient for the labor in, say, the same condo or skyscraper. Also, this would be a relatively traditional employment situation, not a sharing economy/one-off model like TaskRabbit. Could even make it unionized if the thing works. That'd be a fun twist. :)
I've always had a hard time coming up with a good comeback in conversations. It would be great to have a site where I could post a situation and have the community suggest and upvote/downvote insults and comebacks. Maybe introduce a real-time element so I could use it in an actual conversation.
(For instance sometimes I like to wear little horns glued to my forehead while looking otherwise normal. People regularly ask me "are those real?" By repeatedly answering that question, I now know that some variant of "yeah, I used to file them down, but I've been letting them grow out because I've been busy" will get a laugh.)
If you do, I'll commit to it :)
EDDIT: Re gamifying, karma does it.
Let me know if you would like to talk more about this. Contact info is in my profile.
Like any platform, there's the chicken-egg problem. I'm not sure how you'd get enough content, but I'm confident that if you had enough content, it'd be better than YouTube.
But starting off getting content wouldn't be that hard though. You could take currently existing YouTube videos and make them skimmable. And you could convince people to make videos for your site because the quality is so high.
And if you could create a tool that makes making these videos easy, it'd provide single-user utility, is important for platforms. See http://platformed.info/
- I'm currently in Guatemala City and nobody talks here. A lot of people go to their office, bring their lunch, go home. You hang out with your high school / college buddies some evenings / weekends. I should know who works in the building next to mine.
- Haven't read the book but the concept of "Never Eat Alone" has been running through my head for a bit
Ideally, it would have the following features:
* Pay once, run forever (pay for the job up front and never again -- no recurring billing to worry about)
* Configure once, run forever (use Docker/LXC in the background to allow custom environments and absolve the user of the dependency headaches that can arise when running multiple jobs on a single machine)
* Easy to use
I've been casually working on this as it's a pain point I've experienced numerous times (e.g., running a daily job that should cost ~50 cents per month, which is substantially below any available VM price).
Would anybody use this? Other thoughts?
It doesn't actually run the job but could be used to trigger them.
I think the idea could work if you could write the tasks as snippets of JS, think IFTT/Zapier but with a code editor.
It would definitely need to include:
* Web code editor for jobs (JS, Python, Ruby, Perl, Go, etc., etc.)
* Results served over an authenticated API (e.g., servicename.com/api/<username>/<jobname>/files/result.csv would get you the latest result.csv file generated by your script, .../<jobname>/20140419/files/result.csv would get you yesterday's, etc.)
* Jobs could probably be both scheduled (i.e., cron-like) or triggered via a webhook
I actually wrote a Node.js PaaS that I never open sourced & periodic short lived jobs was one of my use-cases.
Let's continue via email.
hello at duncanmsmith.com
As far as I know, such use of voice does not exist in any game. Player's voice does not really interact with the environment. So, say someone says, "come to me!" through voice-chat.. you still have to look at the map to see where they actually are.
There was "Enemy Zero" for Sega Saturn. I remember being amazed by the pre-rendered scenes, and mostly enjoying the game. But it wasn't great and even in that game sound wasn't super important part of gameplay.
Having said all that my ideas for games that use sound as a key part of play are a bit, uhm, not good.
== Cat Detective ==
You play the part of a cat who is also a detective. You are investigating crimes. You use analogue sticks to generate meows and purrs - this is a cat language that you use to question suspects and witnesses. How well you ask the question governs what kind of i formation you get back.
You and others on voice chat were in a 'virtual' room and the sound was stereo/volume adjusted accordingly.
I remember that when people misbehaved on group voice chat we used to "put them in the corner"
It didn't map to the game environment but the execution was pretty nice; I fear that, if you use the game's physics, you'll quickly realize why radio-comm became such a thing
For every theory, define its axioms and valid logical steps. Let anyone build theorems based on these (validate them automatically), and allow people to fork others theorems to create their own.
It's probably possible to get a lot of proofs from projects like Mizar and Metamath to start with, then let the community build on top of it.
Maybe even a crowd sourced bounty program for unproven theorems, like P=NP. Let people pledge and automatically pay to whoever proves or disproves it.
I think this can really change how mathematical research is done.
That's the hard part. There is some research being done in that are really interesting, such as
* Koepke, Schröder, Cramer with Naproche http://www.naproche.net/index.php
* Paskevich with SAD (unfortunately he stopped his research)
Edit: In case I wasn't clear, I didn't mean anything like natural language processing (though that would be awesome). I meant very strict formal math where everything is explicit.
I'd like a website which facilitated debates, allowed debaters to branch off multiple threads of debate and close threads once they are settled (ideally until all threads are closed), backreference other threads, citation lists that get automatically aggregated, etc.
If employed in an corporate/enterprise environment, it reads all the documentation and then someone can ask it questions like: "What does the SDP 5.1 do?", "What is the capacity of an SDP 5.1?", "Can I connect an SDP to an SCP" etc.
Idea: a new way to purchase and set up a fish tank. Currently, you have two options:
a) Buy everything separately - tank, filter, heater, plants, fish. You have to find out whether your fish and plants are compatible and your tank is big enough for what you want etc. You have to figure out where to put the heater and filter so that it doesn't look unsightly.
b) Buy a prebuilt tank with the filter and heater etc. pre-installed somewhere not too ugly. You still have to figure out which livestock you can keep, based on tank size, filter type, plants, and whether they can live with the other livestock you want. You also have to live with the prebuilt tank company's design decisions, which you might not like.
The solution: a company that offers minimalistic, sleek tanks with a modular system for adding filters, heaters, skimmers, lighting, etc. that keeps the equipment out of the way and not looking ugly. Also, an online service where they can select and order the modular tank and equipment that they want, and be allowed to choose from compatible livestock and plants. Alternatively, they can start with livestock that they want and they can be recommended the right modular tank and equipment etc. They can pay for everything all together and the items would be delivered as they are needed (with marine tanks, for example, you have to let the tank 'cycle' for a few weeks so that the water parameters normalise before you can add livestock).
What do you guys think?
If you're correct that "they usually" actually do research beforehand, there would probably be a market big enough to sustain a small online business.
Once the data is put in, the garden becomes part of the user's "profile" on the site. Others can examine it and make suggestions about what to plant, how to amend the soil, etc. User can log the things they do and upload photos (or use automated sensors and webcam to send periodic updates). You can "star" someone's garden to keep track of it and see how well their decisions worked.
Would be a great tool for experienced gardeners with too much time on their hands, and busy newbies (who are nerds like me) to get free access to distributed knowledge to learn how to grow food in the back yard.
A consumer machine that can be configured to takes as inputs:
1. A set of different electrical part. (Perhaps self-contained in a large box like printer ink is)
2. A circuit board schematic file
The machine cuts the board and solders the parts in.
And there you have it! Your own computer factory! (For limited definitions of "computer")
If this idea ever piques anyone's interest, I'd love to lend a hand with it.
There are already a specialized niche for this: blogs. Blog platforms just take your data (posts) and display in a nice time-aware format.
But there are not alternatives for pages built with not temporal articles, tree-structured data, hierarchical content, lists of things etc.
A major pain I've noticed is event planning. If you are doing it solo you must call a ton of different individuals. You have to call for a place for the event, a caterer or someone to supply food, decorations, and finally invite all the people you want to come.
My idea is kind of a cross between airbnb and eventbrite. We create a service that works with only local locations and food vendors. This service allows them to post times they are available and food availability in a central location. Individuals who are planning an event can come to this web site and select what they want and where they want there event.
This service acts as the middleman easing the pain of event planning in a one stop web site and also benefits the local small businesses by connecting them with people looking for vendors for an event.
Let me know if anyone sees any problems with this or ways it could be improved.
My fitness pal is great, but it too long for me to use, I suck at looking up or even knowing exactly what I ate is.
What I'd like is an app that lets me just take a picture of my meal, then add any comments that might be helpful "ham sandwich" or "poached salmon, about the size of my palm" -- then it magically figures out what I ate and the nutrition contents (within a day is fine)
I've seen this attempted before, but nobody still seems to be in business. I suspect this has to happen with a human powered "pictures+comments to nutrition data" engine.
I'd be willing to pay $30/mo (too low? $50?) for this and commit to paying for 4 months. If 99 other people (or 59) people committed as well, that'd be $3000/mo revenue for the day this thing launches.
1. Would anyone else back that as a pre-signed up user?
2. Is anyone willing to do it for us?
I've got a Software Architecture assignment which allows me to work on any kind of large scale Project (regardless of number of languages and complexity) for 3 Months. The end result will be planned, discussed and evaluated scientifically. We're two experienced devs. Suggestions for ideas are welcome!
How many times have you watched a video, maybe an hour long conference and wanted to go back to a point in the video where something specific was mentioned. You have to skim to the area where you think it happened, and then re-watch the video until you find what you're looking for. That sucks.
Even if Youtube allowed people to embed the full transcript of a video in some kind of search layer with corresponding points in the video that would be a dream.
Besides that I'd like a web browser built on 'the hive' that eliminates advertising. If you want to browse the web without being tracked, traced, prodded and harassed you could install the browser and a small, unnoticeable amount of your CPU is used to help power the hive. I would then like to see that operating system give a charitable donation every 6 months that says they will donate 1 month of computational power to a research organization.
One thing I've always wanted to create is a competition website like Kaggle but with real world results. Let's say I create this and go to Mount Sinai hospital in NYC and tell them that I want to run a contest. The contest is to anybody who thinks they can increase Mount Sinai's margins by X percentage within a particular area of interest. The agreement with Mount Sinai is that they have to give us all of the available data and we will open-source it. The challenge for open-source folks is to review the data and if you can find a way to increase margins by X percentage while still upholding the same level of quality, you win the prize. Let's say Mount Sinai gives us access to the entire spreadsheet of products they order from hospital gowns to radiation machines, or even lets say we fund a $100,000 bounty to anybody or any team who can reduce their emergency room wait times by 50%.
You could solve the problem in any way possible, improving hardware/software, or simply finding redundancy in logistics.
Hospitals are probably not the best examples but I hope you see what I'm getting at...
2. Pcb layout design, in the electronics industry, is somewhat similar to games like pipes. So why not gamify pcb layout ?
3. Recently i read some interesting research about some electronic circuit. It would have been very useful to get access to a full diagram/layout and a module to buy and play with.
Even better would be integration inside the reusable bottle cap such as you just press somewhere to flavor a bottle.
Below are the concepts:
Pack - A travel planning tool that integrates weather information to stay alert on what to pack.
RQRES - A real estate search that uses a collaborative algorithm to quickly find a home. The application pulls 10 homes; user rates them and then are shown results that are highly relevant.
Pattern - A more difficult game of Simon. Instead of four tiles, there are nine. The game also features ways to manipulate the game board.
Wonder - Hyper-local network.
If people are familiar with Bufferbox (YC S12,acquired by Google) this is essentially the duplex version. People can deposit and retrieve packages/items.
One can think of charging people for the amount of time the package remains inside the system or based on the size of the box etc.
Pros - if there is a secure payment system on top of this, one can essentially use this to implement a small marketplace.
Cons - Could be used for exchanging illegal goods as well.
As a blogger for last 10 years, I think someone should consider providing WP blogs with ability to charge for guest posts. That can be done either as a single time purchase (for a single guest post) or as a recurring payment (i.e. monthly charge for unlimited or predetermined number of guest posts per month). The purchaser makes a payment and opens an account, and then is redirected to WP where he can write a post.
Guests posts is a growing industry for a number of reasons: SEO manipulation, old fashioned PR, promotional activities, contests with multiple participants (such as writing contests), etc etc.
Googlebot doesn't magically know when you're guest blogging or gaming it. All it can do is pattern-match against heuristics that you can avoid.
The HN community has long had an informal self-correcting mechanism for this case: when fair-minded users see a substantive and civil comment unfairly faded out, they upvote it back to par. We're encouraging everybody to do this consciously. The hope is that the overwhelming majority of good comments will come to rest in positive territory, while comments that deserve it stay negative. Exactly this happened with the GP.
In general, it's best to give such comments a corrective upvote yourself and trust your fellow users to do the same. "Why was this downvoted" posts mostly add noise—especially once the comment in question is back at par. (We're seeing a lot of this.) If it turns out that it's necessary to rally corrective upvotes—that is, if casual reader attention isn't enough—we'll figure out an unobtrusive way to achieve that. For now, though, let's wait and see if it is.
- Yes, IMDB exists. And has some of the functionality I'd like. But it is a slow site, replete with ads, upsells, 2003-esque "only show 10 results per page!", etc. Yes, I realize they have to make money.
- Yes, there are millions of movies in existence, and thousands added to the pile every year. Not sure how to fix that data issue :(
I don't know jack shit about Google Glass, but this is so high on my list of wants that I'd drop $1500 for a Google Glass just for this app, assuming it worked well and as advertised.
Someone make this happen.
I know in some video players, such as Amazon's, you can control the size of the subtitles. Perhaps this is more ideal than having to constantly switch focus away from the screen.
Your idea isn't hard to work on, but I don't have a glass to do it.
I tried and failed to make this idea a reality. I got to partial solution using regular expressions. But it is far from functional and reliable but it is only like 200 lines!
You can check it out here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52646091/syntax/selectio...
You can turn off the live preview and it does exactly what you're asking. Just, it's not in-browser.
Have a look at my inventory¹ of Markdown editors (both native and web based), parsers, stylesheets, etc.
Dillinger for web. http://dillinger.io/
But they are not open source. I am thinking of starting to work on something. Would be very useful.
Bonus points for good social media integration - Read my location/4sq to know what show I'm at - Easy posting to 4sq/FB/Twitter/Compuserve.
To be honest, I'd love to see it added as a feature in an existing successful photo app.
I'm working on this full time now, so it's less of an idea than a reality in progress! :)
It would be possible to have a local mirror of the site on one's PC which would automatically sync with the live site; this mirror could also be used to set up other live sites. Thgis would be an anti-censorship measure if the site went down, someonre else could mirror it easily.
Basically a way to organize photos into searchable tags which are context aware and auto-generated. This way, I will not have to browse through tons of photos to find the ones shot at a concert, for example. What if I simply search for "concert" and all my photos shot at some concert are fetched. The key here is to auto-tag the photos as good (or near to) as Google does with their Image search.
A distributed peer to peer encrypted chat system. No dependencies on Google or whoever for hosting. No middle channel holding private keys. Threaded conversations. Synced across devices.
I dig the peer 2 peer chat.
I just want a locker where I can feel safe leaving my stuff in the cities that I travel to most frequently. This means I'm reasonably assured they wont get stolen as well as being afforded many of the same rights when you own or rent property.
What cities are you in?
Heroku Dataclips allow you to share the results of a SQL query against your database with a simple URL. It'd be really cool as a standalone service that you could hook up to your non-Heroku DBs (local, QA, production, etc). An API would be sweet as well (imagine having a dataclip with your stack traces during QA).
I came across this idea after YC said no to my Android screen live sharing service https://shou.tv, a live video streaming service for Android gamers.
I follow many social media feeds that are other companies in my industry - some partners, some competitors.
I want a script or app or service to dig through their social media history (pics, posts, etc) and send me what's been most engaging.
That's it. Can probably be done in iMacros, just haven't found the time... Could be a small SAAS though.
E.g., You want to blog for tumblr, create a post here and then it gets auto-posted to tumblr directly.
Of course, the API issues and permissions are another headache to worry about.
Refer to specific aspects of a product and make semantic statements about them.
Endorse what you agree with instead of repeating it.
Basically, no blank text box waiting to be filled witohut the reviewer's own unique way to format thoughts.
Enough of the forum/blog/posts/email solutions! How can a community of people, oriented to a subject or location, keep organized data about things it cares about?
So far gathered thoughts on this, documented some business and sustainability plans (some awesome ideas here), and planning a medium-term timeline to actually work on.
But this is very complex to handle on my own, and only in my spare time!
Also note I'm interested in focusing open source databases first, if not only!
2) simple way to share sensitive financial details with others (e.g., credit card payments, pay stubs, paypal history, bank transactions)
The problem with this is that you (as a customer) mostly are locked down by...
a) a long-term commitment (2 year contract)
b) the process of changing is made so complicated (30 day grace period, waiting for technicians)
All that makes it hard for the customer to adapt to the ever so fast changing market.
The only way I see is to virtualize this. So that you would no longer be a customer of cellular provider X and internet service provider Y, but you'd be a fixed-fee customer of Z-ALL.
The company Z-All then acts as a customer for provider X and Y.
It would be interesting nevertheless!
Basically, qualified investors own pieces of mortgage in their communities.
I've seen variations of this for student loans - why not mortgages?
When you want to focus, instead of pressing start, you ask for time from someone else.
Once you've completed using that time, you get to pass it on to somebody else.
Completion depends on approval from the previous owner of the time.
As the time gets used, it gets passed from person to person, creating a "time chain." Participants get to see the history of the time chain. Established users can create new time chains and watch them grow.
Every tweet is RDF.
Perhaps neither practical nor legal, but something that would be useful when the barista is feeling snarky and you don't want to return a second time to ask for the wifi password.
and doesn't have vast