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Toys Technology

Ideas Unlimited: 11 Suggestions for New Inventions 554

securitas writes "The New York Times asked 11 prominent people to write about a device that they'd like to see invented (Google). Contributors include John Perry Barlow, Scott Adams, William Gibson and Bill Joy, among others. There are some intriguing ideas and some that are way out there, but lots of fun for geeks everywhere."
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Ideas Unlimited: 11 Suggestions for New Inventions

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  • by JamesSharman ( 91225 ) * on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:14AM (#7346816)
    This would have been a really cool article a few years ago, you know, back when to patent something you needed to actually build it and show it to the patent office.

    In the current climate this article is completely redundant, if it can be conceived of it has not only been patented but there are defensive patents surrounding it's use, offensive patents surrounding it's use while painted a different colour and more than likely several publicly traded companies bidding on the future rights to sell a cut down version for kids.

    The product itself will never be developed however because there are 3 studies proving it causes cancer and several court cases that are claiming that the concept artwork was inspiration for some violent outburst.

    Please note, I have not even suggested the possibility that you might have to pay SCO for using it. Wait a minute. Damit!
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:16AM (#7346833) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm. Aside from the rather rediculous suggestions that ended up in the NYTimes, why not spend the ink space and advocate some suggestions for real innovations that could change peoples lives. Like bionic/biological/cybernetic retinas that actually work?

    • I love the New York Times, but they could've gotten more insightful predictions from grade schoolers on some of these. Drugs that don't addict? Come on Moby, think of something that might have more of an impact beyond just increased profits for your lame brand of new age trance music.
      • Which doesn't event factor in the fact that there are plenty of drugs which are not addictive and greatly entertaining, such as weed, E, shrooms and LSD, which doesn't stop them from being illegal for reasons which the various governments can't seem to explain in any sort of way.

      • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:16AM (#7347368) Journal
        My favorite was Cho's idea:
        The computer should be powered by solar energy, which could be from any source, not only the sun, so that even the illumination of the screen could keep it going.

        Err, yeah. It's bad news when the best idea out of your panel of 11 geniuses comes from Cris Collinsworth. Imagine if Terry Bradshaw or John Madden had been included!

        • Yeah, I think I came up with this brilliant idea in 6th grade, something to do with an electric car that used a generator to continuously regenerate power. After we started discusing physics in Junior High, I felt really stupid having ever conceived of the above, because once it was mentioned to me, conservation of energy made perfect sense.

          Now I don't feel so stupid, because I have living proof that people can graduate high school and STILL not understand the simple concept of conservation of energy.
    • Hey, I know I'd love to have the automatic bullshit detector. Too bad it was probably the device I'm least likely to see in my lifetime.
    • I had a physics teacher that will rename nameless who works for a large company that will also remain nameless. They made a fake ear that actually allows people to hear, effectivly curing deathness when the ear is the problem. When you get it installed, which is a surgical process, everyone and everything sounds like daffy duck until your brain gets to know how it works.

      Mr. First post up there got the whole reason why they didn't sell them; people would be sueing right and left for whatever they could
      • by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:29AM (#7347530) Homepage Journal
        They made a fake ear that actually allows people to hear, effectivly curing deathness when the ear is the problem. When you get it installed, which is a surgical process, everyone and everything sounds like daffy duck until your brain gets to know how it works.

        Cochlear implants actually do work to some degree, and the limitations can be overcome by better amplifiers/more channels etc... The problem with cochlear implants is relatively simple with some causes of deafness. Vision rescue is a different beast however, and will require a more intimate knowledge of pathological processes and normal retinal functioning.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) * on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:18AM (#7346845) Journal
    A flash/thumb drive that can store 4.2 gigs.
    Imagine all the space Blockbuster would save. Rent movies on a flash drive, go home plug it into your home entertainment center or PC and watch the flicks. Probably save Netflix a ton of money on shipping too. Or, just go to Blockbuster with your own 4.2 gig thumb drives, plug into the USB 3 (this is the future ya know) port, download right there. Movie somehow self destructs and no need to return it.
    Of course the MPAA would find some way to relate all of this to the Boston Strangler [] I'm sure.
    • by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:24AM (#7346886) Homepage
      They already have 4gig Compact Flash [] cards.

      • They already have 4gig Compact Flash cards.

        True, but they don't have a particulary realistic price (2 gig = $700, 4 gig = $1500).

        It'll be a fair few years before the 1 gig one becomes a sensible price and many more before you can pick up a 4 gig one without remortaging your house ...

    • by kruczkowski ( 160872 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:28AM (#7346910) Homepage
      No late return fees?

      You know that companies make a lot of money of silly things like that.
      • You know that companies make a lot of money of silly things like that.

        Yes, but someone, somewhere, would open the store that uses the Flash devices, and it would be a hit. The Flash device would be given free and act as the customer's membership card. The store could be automated with just a couple people on site for technical help and system maintenance. Eventually, when they franchise the thing, their database of films could be sotred at a central location and dowloaded over the network. You could walk

    • By the time you can squeeze a dvd into flash memory, it won't even be necessary. I think that within a few years, cable providers will be offering on-demand programmint out the wazoo, and companies like Blockbuster and Netflix will either go out of business, or change their business model from moving physical data containers (dvd) to their customers, they will host data instead, so ppl can download it. The idea isn't that far off -- you can already order movies in your home/hotel room just by browsing some
    • by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:54AM (#7347129)
      4.2 gigs? That's not nearly enough space. A single movie, stored in 1920x1080 @ 23 fps is around 8 gigs when compressed using Media Player 9's codec.

      Even a 480p movie will take up 4.72 gigs for every 120 minutes, that's uncompressed tho.

      I'm fine with the physical size of the media out now. I doubt a flash card costs less in materials than a DVD, since all a DVD consists of is a small plastic wafer and metallic film. That boils down to much, much less than a penny in materials. Then you've got that added benefit of people already having CD and DVD storage devices.

      I'm a lot more concerned with what's considered acceptible quality right now. Movies need to be encoded at 1280x720 and 1920x1080 with the original audio data on the disc. Currently, anyone with a decent 36", or larger, display is stuck watching artifacts and seeing about 1/4 of the detail the original film was recorded in.

      It's much like comparing a 128K mp3 to a CD Audio track. The effect isn't really noticed until it's experienced.

      Microsoft, which I've hated for years, has managed to be the only ones being proactive at bringing decent quality movies to home theaters.

      For a demonstration of this product, click here []. Be warned, you need Windows and Media Player 9 to view the site. If you have these, then you can download some video demos in 720p and 1080p. Yeah, it's not much content, but I'm all ears if anyone's found a better demo with more actual products out.

      Sorry about the long-winded response. One only has to browse back through my comment history to see how upset I am with the industry over HDTV issues. We can put a damn man on the moon, but we can't seem to get a system in place to have high-resolution video entertainment in our homes.
    • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <[moc.dosbeht] [ta] [dairym]> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:37AM (#7347629) Homepage
      A flash/thumb drive that can store 4.2 gigs.

      Let me get this straight... you want an electric thumb that happens to hold 4.2?

      I think Ford and Zaphod would be proud!

      Blockwars []: multiplayer and free!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:19AM (#7346850)
    An honest-to-goodness cluebat for the manager that Just Doesn't Get It[tm].
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:20AM (#7346855)
    The New York Times asked 11 prominent people to write about a device that they'd like to see invented

    Hmm, if they can think of something to invent, didn't they just invented it? I thought an invention was essentially something new that nobody thought about before (and no, it's not the same as something that's patented : you can patent something everybody wants).

    Here's the invention I'm working on : a machine with a dictionary of technical words, verbs and old english expressions, that spits out random descriptions and diagrams, staples everything together, puts it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it and sends it to the USPTO automatically. It then sits on google, waits for pages with a lot of similar words, and automatically dials my attorney's number when it finds one. I expect to reap great profits from such a machine.
  • I always dreamed of the "solvemyproblem" program:

    Just one big button saying "Solve My Problem", press it and voila....

    No more phonecalls, no customers, no deadlines and ofcourse it autoinstalls gimmemoney 1.0 at the same time. :-)

  • Personal taste... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gago ( 720274 )
    ...ending up defining standards for new inventions does not sound all that much surprising. Wasn't Walkman invented because Sony's director wanted to hear music while playing golf, or something similar ? Sounds quite similar to the definition of the hacker by Eric Reymond. The only thing is you want people with good taste making these decisions (unlike "the Sun" or Fox News defining the standards of journalistic quality).
    Besides, there are objective criteria that can define constraints; for instance, fals
    • That the capacity of the world's most popular music format was defined by one man's musical taste should not be all that surprising. Necessity may have once been the mother of invention, but these days convenience is the likely surrogate, or at least the midwife.

      They make it sound like the 9th Symphony is somehow an erratic thing to have such a high opinion of; in fact, the 9th Symphony is pretty widely (though of course not universally) regarded as the finest piece of music ever written, and a reduced v

  • "I would love to see recreational drugs that aren't bad for you and that aren't addictive."

    Drugs. The other white meat.
    • by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:48AM (#7347071)
      "I would love to see recreational drugs that aren't bad for you and that aren't addictive."

      Well, there is a problem with that. You see, the anti-drug puritans have basically defined "addiction" as "liking something and doing it regularly". Soon we'll be hearing about Internet addiction (oops too late), sex addiction (oops too late), chocolate addiction, McDonalds addiction and psychologist addiction.

      Let's face it, when people like something, they often do it frequently. When people really like something, they really do it frequently.

      To put it a different way, is skiing good for you? It might help your mental attitude, and might help your conditioning, but it could also land you in the hospital or the morgue (ask Sonny Bono). So, is someone that skis every day an "addict"? Should skiing be illegal because it's dangerous? Should Big Macs?

      My answer to all of that is no. People should be held accountable for their behavior, with the freedom to do what they please even if it is "partly bad for them". If someone uses drugs and kills someone they should be tried for murder. If someone uses drugs and eats a pizza, well...let the punishment fit the crime.

      • by cloudship_tacitus ( 709780 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:36AM (#7347624)
        there are two kinds of addiction - physiological and psychological. that was a distinction that moby left out, in my opinion. he seems to be preoccupied with physiology. technically (and i'm remembering as best i can here, so might be a bit off), addiction is considered bad if it's maladaptive - i.e., it negatively affects your ability to attend to basic needs. so for instance, while there may be no physiological addiction to LSD or THC (could be argued either way in some cases), there can definitely be psychological addictions to the feelings/perceptual changes.
        • "be psychological addictions to the feelings/perceptual changes."

          I hope you're speaking from personal experience, because it doesn't match mine.

          "there are two kinds of addiction - physiological and psychological."

          Yeah, but both can be argued to be linked to the endorphin/dopamine reward system to a certain degree, which keeps you going back despite nasty experiences during withdrawal or knowledge that it is maladaptive

          The problem is that you can't split narcotics so neatly from anything in the pharm
      • There is a difference between having a behavioral addiction and a chemical dependency.

        I'm generalizing here, but if you intake something that looks like (or is) a chemical your body produces, your body will basically say, "Hey, I'm making too much of that - better cut back." When your body no longer produces enough of that chemical to be of any use, you do need a substitute for it in the short term. Not having it causes withdrawal.

        Any pleasure drug that works on this principle would probably make you
      • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:43AM (#7347694) Journal
        Sorry, but most addictions have absolutely nothing to do with liking something.... Rather, the brain just hooks onto the addiction, regardless of how enjoyable it is. Or isn't. Think of all the Everquest and Counter-Strike addictions, games that are addictive but not actually fun. Or couch potatoes who watch sitcoms that aren't funny.... Or slashdot posters that are want to get a point of view across no matter how futile or unenjoyable it is.
      • by Builder ( 103701 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:46AM (#7347727)
        Well, there is a problem with that. You see, the anti-drug puritans have basically defined "addiction" as "liking something and doing it regularly".

        Rubbish! Addiction is commonly accepted to mean being so dependant on something that you just can't give it up. Addiction is normally accepted to mean that an addicted person trying to stop whatever behaviour or substance they are addicted to will suffer severe repurcussions and be unable to function during this period.
      • Liking something a lot and doing it freqently is a lot different than liking something but not being able to stop doing it without intense discomfort or struggle. Addiction isn't just doing something frequently. Cigarettes, alcohol, caffiene, and "harder" drugs all have physical and psychological (brain chemistry) effects that cause addiction in the sense of not being able to stop without (sometimes extreme) discomfort.

  • As far as Moby is concerned regarding highs that don't hurt: think back to the days of everyone's first LEGAL high: spinning around and around.

    Huey Lewis first brought this up []
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:25AM (#7346894)
    Donald J. Trump... I would like a computer chip that I could attach to the brains of all my contractors so that they would know exactly what I wanted, when I wanted it, and at what price I wanted it. This would save me a lot of time and a lot of yelling.

    Heck with contractors, I'd attach those chips to my wife and kids. For pretty much the same reasons. (Admit it, Donald, you'd do the same.)
    • is it just me or does that sound too "book of Revelations"esque??

    • Two small problems...

      one...your kids almost certainly know what you want but have no intention of doing it. Back to yelling

      two...what if they get to implant the same device in you. Imagine never being able to ignore them, never to say "Sorry love I didn't catch that", never to say "If you keep quiet about bloody McDonalds for five minutes you can have one".

      If you want to imagine the future, imagine a five year old whinging for an ice cream...for ever!

  • My Favorite (Score:5, Funny)

    by geeber ( 520231 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:28AM (#7346911)
    Margret Cho says, "The computer should be powered by solar energy, which could be from any source, not only the sun, so that even the illumination of the screen could keep it going."

    Holy Crap! Patent that before someone else does!
  • The cat locator really would for me be the proof that we have truly Arrived at the era of High Tech. I mean, if we can locate a cat, what can't we do? It's embodying the intelligence of the cat in an electronic device. It's just one jump from Star Trek tech levels ("check the tricorder; scan for life signs!"). And it's finally a link between the two most arbitrary and capricious elements in my life: Cats and computers (they're brothers in spirit, or at least in league with one another, I'm sure).
  • by StarEmperor ( 209983 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:30AM (#7346931) Homepage
    Hey, we don't need 11 prominent people to come up with ideas. Everyday folks do just fine. Check out [] for a variety of clever solutions just waiting to be implemented.
  • The article, as written, seems to be one pageblock after another. This has to be the most annoying slashdot article I've seen to date.

    I would like Slashdot users to invent a strategy for posting articles from sites that require login/passwords... sites like the New York Times. You can't have an article that requires this, and the google link leads to a hacked-down version of the article.

    I have a NYT account somewhere, but it's going to take me fifteen minutes to dig up my old username and password. This i
  • Michael Powell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gallen1234 ( 565989 ) <{gallen} {at} {}> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:32AM (#7346944)

    I would love to have a small device like the Apple iPod in a small relational database to store virtually everything I would need for family and personal records, including health records.

    Why am I not surprised that the chairman of the FCC wants to come up with a way for forms to be filled out quicker? Why am I not surprised that a senior government beauracrat wants to take all of my personal information and put it in one easy to subpoena location?

    • Why am I not surprised that a senior government beauracrat wants to take all of my personal information and put it in one easy to subpoena location?

      Which is also one easily erased or disposed of location if you think about it.

    • "I would love to have a small device like the Apple iPod in a small relational database to store virtually everything I would need for family and personal records, including health records."

      Why am I not surprised that the chairman of the FCC wants to come up with a way for forms to be filled out quicker? Why am I not surprised that a senior government beauracrat wants to take all of my personal information and put it in one easy to subpoena location?

      It is pretty clear that this would contain strictly t

      • I would also recommend strong encryption for the device. Apple's already got FileVault for your home directory on Panther...if they did come out with a "MePod," I'm quite certain they'd include it here, too.

        This device probably wouldn't be all that hard to interface, anyway. I'd imagine XML could to the job quite nicely.
    • Why am I not surprised that a senior government beauracrat wants to take all of my personal information and put it in one easy to subpoena location?

      You're paranoid?
  • - I want a cool thing to gimme more cotrol over me.
    - I want a cool thing to gimme more control over YOU.

    Watch the YOU sayers...

    Chips in contractors brains, sjeeez, is this Trump guy STILL not in jail?

  • Trumpy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hampton2600 ( 654273 )
    From Donald Trump's response, I think that he should personally donate $5 billion dollars into circuit/brain interface development... you know, since that will be feasable in the near future... right?

    A comment on Moby's harmless drug idea... That's impossible. Several drugs are not physically harmful. They do not horribly scar your brain chemistry or anything (LSD, for example... save for flashbacks). Though, the problem with them is that they may not be phsyically addictive, they are psychologically addic
    • Yeah, just think of sex/masterbation. It doesn't screw up your brain cells or your physical body, but it induces a pleasurable high so of course you're going to want more. Same for chocolate and so on.
    • Addictive or not, drug prohibition is a topic completely divorced from how good or bad the substances actually are for you; I'm not pro-drug or anything, but it doesn't take a neurobiologist to think that it's a little strange that cigarettes and alcohol are legal, but recreactional drugs are not.

      Not to start on politics, because I'm not interested in debating the particulars of who and why, but I doubt that pharmacuetical innovation is going to change the way they write laws concerning these things.

      All t

  • if there are no new sex toys or no new ways for viewing porn listed?
  • Pathetic! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geeber ( 520231 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:36AM (#7346974)
    Pat Russo, CEO of Lucent, at one time a supposed leader of the technology revolution (Lucent, not Russo, that is) says she would like "One Gizmo to Supplant 15," a laptop, cellphone, and pda all in one. Wow. Amazing. I can't believe no one else has thought of that.

    Shouldn't someone leading a giant technology company be able to come up with something a little more clever than that?!? It could be at least a little more interesting - like an all in one device where the power comes from an organic photocell for photosynthesis. Jesus. No wonder Lucent isn't going anywhere!
    • Based on a misreading of your post, I've come up with a great new idea.

      I want a PDA powered by Jesus.

      Sure he died for our sins, but what has he done for us _lately_??
  • Mod Idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by jabbadabbadoo ( 599681 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:38AM (#7346987)
    I want a device that gives me a hug when someone mods me up.
  • by cschmidt ( 89733 ) <[cschmidt] [at] []> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:41AM (#7347017) Homepage
    I thought Michael Powell had the most interesting and useful idea -- standardized data formats. Technologically, it wouldn't be difficult to do (XML for example), however it would be very difficult to get everyone to agree on a standard. It's hard enough to reach a consensus on DVD formats -- imagine trying to get every doctor's office, community rec center, grade school, church, retail store, etc. in the country to abide by the standardized formats. Not to mention providing the necessary hardware to communicate with your 'MePod'. Yikes!
  • #12 (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:41AM (#7347019) Homepage Journal

    GAWS: The Advanced Warning System

    A heuristic neural network which would flash large warnings on a computer screen when an obfuscated link would lead the user to
  • That cat tracker idea is a great idea, and wouldn't be hard to build. (I have lots of friends who own cats and complain about similiar problems.) The problem is though, if I make it, will I be forced to pay Scott Adams any type of royalties for giving me the idea, or can I decide to donate whatever percentage to him on my own?
  • by Fratz ( 630746 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:47AM (#7347059)
    Doesn't everyone just velcro them to the wall above the litter box?

    Why is everyone backing away from me?!
  • by ( 547663 ) <<haas> <at> <>> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @10:56AM (#7347143) Homepage
    I must say that some of the suggestions are far from being interesting enough to warrant a page in the NYT ... or a Slashdotting for that matter.

    A hand-held relational database [] containing the personal information of you and your loved ones?

    A surefire way to tell if a tennis ball was in or out []?

    A combination of laptop and cell-phone [] that works in both Europe and US?

    The only really interesting piece, is in my opinion that of William Gibson. The rest seems very much like something a person would come up with after being given only 15 seconds to think of a novel new idea.
  • As a vaguely athletic and health conscious person, I want a HUD that will allow me to see my current vital stats.
    I want to know my testosterone/estrogen/progesterone levels. I want to know my serotonin/tryptophan/dopamine levels. I want to know my platlet count, and I want to know my red blood cell count.
    All in charts and graphs.

    Along with that, it would also be nice for the old standby of a system that would allow me to look at someone and then have everything I know about them on screen so that I don't have to feel bad for not knowing their names.
    I am absolutely terrible with names.
  • People seem to be commenting on some other article. It seems I can only see the introductory page. Maybe I'm a stupid grandpa, but there seems to be no "next page" link. The "printer friendly" version gives me just the one page too.

    Then again, this wouldn't surprise me. This is after all, the New York Times, and not some source of journalistic excellence.

  • 1. Lightsabers 2. My flying car dammit! 3. Holodeck (tho, once perfected and available to all, human advancement would GRIND to a halt!) 4. Teleporter, beam me anywhere!
  • Just some comments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:14AM (#7347348) Journal
    Some thoughts on the ideas presented in the article:

    1) "Dump the Doodads, and Retrofit the Brain"

    I'm all for brain implants, but I think a cell phone ringing in your head day after day would drive anyone insane. Hell, the cell phone in thier pocket drives some people to the brink as it is!

    2) "Laptop, Butler and Virtual Mom"

    I understand that this is probably an eggageration for humor's sake, but a laptop powered by the glow of it's own screen would be a perpetual motion device. Although otherwise this does seem to reflect a "fewer, more useful gadgets" concept that seems to be pretty common.

    3) "Lies Exposed in Telltale Colors"

    I like the concept a lot. The only problem is... who is in charge of the system that determines if it's a lie, spin or misperception?

    4) I think Trump's telepathic zombie chips speak for themselves...

    5) "Zap! The Form's Filled Out"

    I don't think I'd want all my personal information, let alone the informatino of myself and my entire family, in a single, pocket sized device with WiFi download capability. I'd stick with a datebook and a pencil... at least they'd have to go through the trouble of confronting (read: Mugging) me to get the info!

    6) "One Gizmo to Supplant 15"

    Again, another uber-gadget to make for less things to carry around. It's also putting all your eggs in one basket sort of speak. Personal preference I guess.

    7) "TiVo Replay Power, on the Road"

    I suppose a quick-fix alternative would be a portable DVD player and a DVD-R device at home. But overall it's a good (but not very impressive) idea.

    8) "The Ball Is In, or Out. Period."

    I could've sworn they had this already... but the best inventions are usually the ones that seem the most obvious in retrospect :)

    9) "Can Run, but He Can't Hide"

    Get a dog!

    10) "A High That Wouldn't Hurt"

    It's hard for me to imagine that any drug (or anything, really) can be made so that it's 100% non addictive. Maybe not chemically adictive, but psychologically. Even so, I think the last thing society needs is another chemical diversion from Real Life(tm) no matter how mild. Best to accept your lemons and do your best to make lemonade than to try and hide from it... just my take on it, though.

    11) "Memo to My Borsalino: Quiet!"

    Anyone else reminded of Peril Sensitive Sunglasses []? It's bad enough people turn a figurative blind eye to things they really don't want to be bothered with... but this is going a bit far.

    Personally, I'd like to see a mix of #3 and #11... a device that, upon sensing that someone is full of shit, will bleep them out for everybody within range. I can see such a device being banned from political debates...
  • by smagruder ( 207953 ) <> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:15AM (#7347366) Homepage
    For us mere mortals who've got cool inventive ideas, check out []. This web spot could very well become a great breeding ground if enough good minds participated.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:16AM (#7347378) Homepage Journal
    (myself included) The story about CD length is debatable: here [] and here [].
  • Snow Crash! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ObjetDart ( 700355 )
    Donald Trump: I would like a computer chip that I could attach to the brains of all my contractors so that they would know exactly what I wanted, when I wanted it, and at what price I wanted it. This would save me a lot of time and a lot of yelling.

    Yikes! Anybody remember the Bob Rife character in Snow Crash who did this exact thing to all of his workers? He was supposed to be a parody of Ross Perot, but now it sounds like Donald Trump is the real thing!

  • by benzapp ( 464105 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:29AM (#7347542)
    "I would love to see recreational drugs that aren't bad for you and that aren't addictive."

    The man just doesn't understand drugs or the human body. Not surprising for someone who is a vegan... All substances are toxic, it just depends on how much. Drink enough water, it will kill you. Eat a big enough salad, and your stomach will explode from all the gas being released by bacterial decomposition of the plant fiber. Many intoxicating drugs ARE relatively safe, at least safer than alcohol. Safety really isn't the issue when it comes to drugs of abuse. Amphetamine overdoses are rarely fatal, even when someone takes 100+ times the recommended dosage (which is at minimum 5 mg).

    Further, he obviously doesn't understand addiction. Addiction is our body's way of conditioning us to behave in ways which are beneficial to us. What is good for life is pleasurable, what is bad is painful. We are hard wired to crave pleasure and avoid pain. It is impossible for anything pleasurable to NOT be addictive, especially when it is a foreign substance mimicing naturally occuring ones in our body.

    That being said, there are some good ideas for minimizing addiction and death. It is entirely possible for instance to create a narcotic drug which only reduces pain and causes pleasure, but does not cause respiratory suppresion. Addiction would still result, but at least you couldn't overdose.

    But, such hedonists always make me remember this Nietzsche quote:

    "You want, if possible - and there is no more insane "if possible" - to abolish suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it higher and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand it - that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and contemptible - that makes his destruction desirable. The discipline of suffering, of great suffering - do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far?"
  • by Exantrius ( 43176 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:31AM (#7347566)
    but I've had something rolling around in my head that I would just love to see, and it seems quite feasible in a couple different ways with modern technology...

    I want a keyless keyboard-- I want something that I just position my hands on a flat (or not so flat space) and start typing.

    I would prefer to have it using like gloves with some type of sensors (RFID's anyone?) in the fingers, and a couple sensors for tracking, or even the original idea, which was something that fit over your arms and tracked the muscles that you used to type something. It would be something totally for computer users that know how to touch type, and it could (optionally) sense how your fingers are positioned, and in a certain position, it could be used as a mouse. This would also be cool as a 3 dimensional "mouse", for those upcoming 3d desktops (yes, I know they already exist, there is no good way to interface them that I'm aware of.)

    Over the years I've gone from a computer on the ground, to a computer on a desk with no room for KB/mouse, and at times a desk with no chair, forcing me to either sit on the ground or on my bed. Also, I've gone from periods of carpal tunnel so severe I couldn't look at a keyboard without my arms cramping up, and I believe if it allowed the amount of freedom I'm looking for, it would be great for treating that (your fingers would have to be in the same relative position to each other, and probably your wrist, but it would provide you with the ability to shift your position quite a bit and have still be able to type.

    Just something that's been bouncing off my mind for the past couple years... I started developing something to this effect... Then I got depressed and started working on another project that was doomed to failure... /Ex
  • The computer should be powered by solar energy, which could be from any source, not only the sun, so that even the illumination of the screen could keep it going.

    Oh, and I'd like a Perpetuum Mobile, please. And while we're at it, X-ray glasses and God-like powers.

  • by kisrael ( 134664 ) * on Thursday October 30, 2003 @11:49AM (#7347763) Homepage
    Anyone know about the John Perry Barlow quote, "I keep thinking about the Aborigines, who decided very early on, like 50,000 years ago, that they had five tools and that was all they needed and they didn't develop any more." Google didn't come up with very much on that, anyone got a cite on what the five tools are?
  • by Cy Guy ( 56083 ) * on Thursday October 30, 2003 @12:03PM (#7347921) Homepage Journal
    Here's my* idea:

    A mobile phone and/or PDA cradle that is located right inside the front door to your house or apartment (or anywhere you want, I guess) that connects to your current POTS** phone wiring in your home so that you can continue to use the existing POTS phones throughout your home. Essentially the mobile phone or PDA would provide the dialtone service for your home and/or IP connectivity for ethernet/wifi connections throughout the house - all calls (or IP traffic) would be routed through the existing wiring to the phone and onto your wireless providers network.

    My priority would be the POTS telephony device, especially given that commercial WiFi that PDAs and 3G phones connect to is still prohibitively slow and expensive compared to wired broadband service for residential users. With the POTS cradle system, you could disconnect your current landline phone from the RBOC's** and just get an unlimited minutes mobile phone plan that would give you a single number that is always with you (the ability to switch your current POTS/landline phone number to your mobile phone is one of the benefits of recent cell phone regs reform). You could throw out your current answering machine and/or drop your landline voicemail since you would only need the voicemail that comes with your mobile phone.

    Remember, as the RBOC's remind us anytime we have phone problems, the wiring in your your home belongs to you. Once you drop your RBOC account, you would be free of their charges (and the accompanying taxes) entirely.

    I figure the unit could be built with off-the-shelf components for about $25, and could easily sell for $90, given that it should be able to rapidly pay for itself. The cradle would be designed to act as a charger for the mobile phone, but in the case of power outage, the battery of the phone would ideally be able to power the POTS dialtone wiring for up to a day. A speaker phone version of the cradle is a possible upgade, as it would be nice for retrieving voicemail, but I don't think it would be needed for the basic unit.

    * If any tech firm wants to use this idea contact me via my Slashdot Journal. I'm sure we can work out a mutually agreeable arrangement. The ideal development partner would be a Cell phone provider, or an IP telephony provider.

    ** POTS = Plain Old Telephone System, aka Landline.
    RBOC = Regional Bell Operating Companies, the former AT&T subsidiaries that run the POTS, aka Verizon, SBC, PacBell, etc.

  • by crazyphilman ( 609923 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @12:10PM (#7348015) Journal
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I want a robotic nymphomaniac. I want her to look like Milla Jovovich. I want her to talk like a New Yorker. I want her to curse like a truck driver. And, I want her to have an aggressive "bodyguard mode" in which she goes absolutely POSTAL if anyone messes with her or me. Her signature move would be grabbing an enemy by the ankles, swinging him around in a hyperkinetic hammer throw, and going for distance! "Wow, honey, I think you cleared a hundred meters with that one, he almost made it to the river. You would have had much better distance if he hadn't have hit that billboard..."
  • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @12:16PM (#7348077)
    A use for the Segway [].
  • by caveat ( 26803 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @12:26PM (#7348180)
    So just as we've taken the sting out of space travel, why can't we eliminate or ameliorate the toxic qualities and effects of recreational drug use?

    because it's bloody likely the toxic and addictive qualities of a drug are also the same ones that produce the high. sheesh...i would have thought he'd at least brush up on the subject before talking about it.

Why won't sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.