13 November, 2012

Bunch of Half-Baked Ideas

Hey, so I went to a hackathon on Friday without any ideas or a team, so I ended up spending a good 3 hours of my time just brainstorming ideas. I thought some were interesting, but they did began to degrade as sleep deprivation started creeping up on me. Hope it inspires something!

Half Baked Idea #3

Wouldn’t it be cool to know where all the girls are? I mean, when I’m on campus and I study homework, I always seem to be surrounded by guys. I would like to know where all the girls hang out. What if spotting girls is like bird watching? Like “hey I found a girl! Guys come over here and check it out.” And the guys flock over to check out the birds.

But then the ratio between guys and girls will weight more towards guys. But economically speaking, the sudden increase in the large demand among guys should invoke a shift in the supply of demand of girls. Because attraction is a two way street! If girls know guys are going to particular places to meet girls, then they will be there as well. And this would breed an atmosphere of friendliness and socialness, which will incite conversations and friendships and relationship.

So I thought I would make an iPhone app that could plot your location when you spot a hot girl. Several users, in a collective effort, could create a density map of the hot girls on campus, thereby giving an accurate indicator of girl density among the campus. And guys could use this information to leverage their chances of getting a girlfriend or getting laid.

Half Baked Idea #4

Are you ever bored and want to talk to someone while you’re pathetically sitting alone at Qualcomm cafe by yourself, pretending to be busy? Well now you can pretend to be even busier. Because if someone hooked up Twilio to Cleverbot, then when you call the Twilio number, it is as if you’re talking to a real person! No more faking conversations! You’re talking to a 59% human (which is still better than some introverts). It would take 30 minutes to implement

Half Baked Idea #5

An iPhone app that makes up excuses for you to talk to people. It could be a news article or a random question. Anything! Some of the people I met this week I would have never talked to if I didn’t have some form of objective in mind or some external pressure forcing me. But yet, I have grown to like them. Sometimes it just takes a little push to meet someone new, and that meeting could mean a new friendship or relationship.

Half Baked Idea #6

Do you know what an epicaricacy is? Before you go google, you should consider the state which you are in now. Confused? Empty? Do you feel an urge to find out? What I’ve noticed is that during these moments we tend to imagine what we believe things are like. What do you visualize or see? Do you see a vegetable? a person? a chemical? What is it? I think it’s in these moments of confusion in which we really think laterally or creatively. There’s a vague notion out there waiting for us to grasp, like a fish, and only when we cast a wide net and think broadly could we catch the fish. But wouldn’t there be other things we catch? Ideas? Notions? Visuals? I think it’s the moment when a google search result grooves and short-circuits our train-of-thoughts that really hinders much of the creative process.

I can recount many times when people are poor communicators who pitch ideas to me, and because I have terrible understanding, I would actually generate my own ideas on the fly in hopes of understanding what the other person is saying. In a way, Google is bad for you because it is a form of instant gratification of knowledge that prevents us from thinking laterally.

That’s why I’m proposing a “Postpone Google” chrome extension. Every time you are about to search something, this extension would pop up and remind you to take some time to write down your assumptions before you learn about something. Sometimes the tangents you go off in your thought process are more valuable than the thing you were originally looking for. I think this would be a valuable tool for thinkers and entrepreneurs.

Half Baked Idea #7

Facebook circlejerk. What better way to establish your online presence than to like a bunch of random things and rub other people’s ego? If it’s such a repetitive task, why not automate it? Just sign into your Facebook account, and FBCJ will randomly like statuses, updates, photos, and wall posts of your friends, thereby giving your social networking the impression that you are n tune with their lives and genuinely care about the facebook statuses they post about Ghandhi or Oscar Wilde.

Half Baked Idea #8

Photoshopping your friend’s face onto Darth Vader is no easy photoshop task. At least for a good job, which is what you want right? Well discovering Face API, a facial recognition software, today, I realized that this could be done easily. As long as two faces are recognized in a double photo, photoshopping is as easy as cropping the recognized face from one photo onto the picture of another.

Half Baked Idea #9

People have been posting vignettes on Facebook, but how would that story translate into Twitter? Introducing Twitterize, the data-compression tool that analyzes your sob stories and make them into neat, 140 character Tweets, complete with hash tags! It would take verbal shortcuts like “you” to “u” and take special uses of acronyms. Then it would take repetitive words and put hashtags on them, thereby reducing the need for mentioning it in the status multiple times. I’m still thinking of other ways how the Harry Potter series could be tweeted. oh well #YOLO

Half Baked Idea #10

I’ve been playing tetris a bit these past couple of days. And being any other slightly to severely obsessed tetris player, everything looks like a tetris game. In its most fundamental level tetris is just a compression game. You try to compact as much stuff in as little space as possible. Whether it’s packing groceries in your card or shoving all your returned hw in your backpack, it requires a lot of spatial wisdom.

But in computer science, it’s a pretty neat thing to do. Compression in a way is minimizing surface area. So in a sense you are minimizing edges. Now in computer vision finding edges is easy. You just have to find a strong enough juxtaposition between two pixels and that justifies an edge. So I could probably make a portable tetris game that in able to live inside an iPhone app. It just does what it’s suppose to do–measure the amount of edges it sees in a picture. With this functionality you could play tetris games on pretty much anything you desire. Whether it’s cramming a bunch of kids between a door or seeing who can have the neatest room, it’s a fun game to bring around.

Half Baked Idea #11

Email shoot. Emailing people shotgun style. Because you just can’t reach out to everyone.

Half Baked Idea #12

Good Advice/Bad Advice Game. Apple-to-Apples for column advice. You know there are always people asking for advice on these blog columns right? Wouldn’t an Apple-to-Apple game revolving the concept of giving advice be fun, scalable, and replayable? The fun comes from making a definitive impact on some person’s personal life choices. Granted, it is kind of cruel to ride on other people’s miseries, but at the same time it’s really fun. It’s scalable because it will all be played online and it’s replayable because new material’s always coming in and that means new games can always be created. Fun, no?

Half Baked Ideas #13

Facebook best practices chrome extension. Let’s be honest, not everyone’s the best facebook user. Wouldn’t some coach please teach them to shut up and stop sending us farmville and birthday requests? Someone has got to teach them some manners through a chrome extension!

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1 Response

  1. Nisma says:

    Hi there,
    I saw your productivity/studying guide on a Pinterest page for studious graduate students, and came to check out your site. I liked a lot of your suggestions (organizational, life goals, etc), and started exploring other parts of your website. I came across the ‘half baked ideas’ section, and the first one on the page was #3 – the ‘hot girls locator app’ idea. I am a woman, and while I understand that 1) guys like to meet girls and 2) engineering/computer science guys for various reasons tend to have less success in this area (I have older brothers in this field), I felt that this idea was not one you should keep on your website. Granted, you posted this about a year and a half ago, but it’s still up so I thought I’d comment:
    1) if I ever found a guy using this app, I would immediately think: ‘creepy-stalker alert, avoid and warn friends’ – which would completely undermine the purpose of the app. More seriously – I’d probably also report it to the campus ombudsman. You might not envision using this app for bad purposes, but there’s always someone with nefarious intentions.
    2) yes girls like to meet guys, but girls generally do not like to be gawked at or objectified. Not sure if I’d be considered ‘hot’ on your app, but I have l several close friends who are very attractive, and they would be horrified to learn they were being tracked illicitly. You might think a girl would be flattered to be considered ‘pretty’ enough to follow around like an exotic bird, but a group of guys at my high school did something a bit like this a few years back (not a location app, but a ranking system), and one girl who found out she was being ‘evaluated’ by her classmates was so distraught she burst out crying – the teacher got involved, and the boys got in trouble.

    Moral of the story: A couple of guys nudge each other when they pass a cute girl, that’s ok and can be flattering if handled well. A bunch of guys tracking girls and entering info into a locator system, that seems unethical and has the potential to go very wrong. If you had a sister/close female friend who was going to be tracked, would you still suggest this app?

    Btw, I did like your ideas #6 and #10 — I think it would be really neat to take a picture of items you want to fit into a small space and somehow have an app that let’s you try out different configurations, like for organizing your fridge.

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