House husbandry, it seems, presents many opportunities for ideas to bubble to the surface of one’s mind, but few to drill down and implement them even roughly. So while I’m clearing out this side of my brain, here’s a list of ideas to read and perhaps riff on.
- 3d photos that ‘jiggle’. App takes a number of photos and presents options to merge through either onion-skinning, hologram simulation or stereoscopic manipulation. Instagram filters in 3d.
- Dictator app for text messages.
- Animated children's books for eReaders and the iPad \ Tablet computers
- Lego brick audit system. Key in which (and how many) Lego bricks your collection contains, and find out what existing models you can build with them...
- Lego augmented reality app for lego stores. Point your phone at a lego kit on the shelf and see a full scale completed model of it on your phone.
General Development Ideas
- Music playlist maker with minidisc mixing facilities. Essentially the playlist allows for additional metadata on each track allowing you to specify which parts of the track to be played down to 1/100th sec at start and end, and lengths of fades in and out. Also volume normalization values and beat matching. Effectively a playlist that defines all the characteristics of a mix, not just the tracks being used.
- Some way to filter ‘Too Much Medical Information’ on the internet for those of a sensitive \ hypochondriac nature. Perhaps a way to meta-tag ‘grey data’ such as medical symptoms for worried parents. As I found to my chagrin, throwing in a few generic symptoms for your child can have sites diagnosing them with anything from a slight cold to first-stage ebola.
- An Internet Music Database. We’ve had IMDB since year zero for movies, and I know that there are far more music releases than movies but would it really kill someone to try? Discogs seems to be about the closest there is, but it’s far more nerdy than IMDB.
- A full .net wrapper around ffmpeg
Online but Non-Development Ideas
- An internet version of the Mercury Music Prize.
- An online alternative to the various film certification bodies across the world. I watched the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Ratedabout the MPAA in the US, and it strikes me that an online board using a fresh approach to certification issues – violence, sexual content, language etc – might be a good thing.
- Audiobook versions for those books out of copyright. e.g. Those books on Project Gutenbergare being recorded at the volunteer project Librivox.
- A Social networking strategy for the 2012 Olympic mascots, and to a larger extent, the games in general. Exactly how open or closed the games will be has yet to be openly disclosed.
- 3d modelling from photographs - more specifically, a massively collaborative activity, resulting in an open repository of models of real-world objects/buildings/etc
- Once and for all, someone needs to define 'fair use' within the remit of digital copyright law (see discussion in http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/aug/10/newport-state-of-mind-youtube)
- An “Archers sequencer”. cref the ‘Shatenerizer’. Grabs individual lines from “The Archers”. Loads them into a sound font bank as samples. Use keyboard to perform an episode that may (or may not) bear any relation to real Ambridge life, but sounds uncannily realistic (or possibly surrealistic...)
- Many well-known songs follow similar chord progressions, as the Axis of Awesoe demonstrates here. But even the ones that don’t just stick to four chords tend to rack up duplicates. So where can I search for songs based on the chord progressions they contain? Where can I search for songs with similar progressions to a song I like, or one I’ve heard somewhere before? This site’s a pretty awesome start but is still a long way off going the whole hog...
- A noise reduction system for cots containing crying babies. Making babies stop crying doesn’t count. This is the proof of concept – you could scale it up to larger items.
- Why is software engineering not an actual chartered professional job? Anyone can call themselves a software engineer even if they picked up a book on HTML last week. There must be a way to standardize a set of rolling exams \ proficiency \ QoS tests and to create a suitable official body for the examinations with which the buck stops.
- Why do universities and schools seemingly insist on using non-.NET languages in their programming courses? It would be interesting to do a complete survey within the UK higher education computing departments to find out what languages they teach and why?
Hope they’re useful.
PDC09 is over and now the real work begins as we all take up ASP.NET 4.0, try and do what we saw in the sessions and cry when it doesn’t build. They try again… For those of us who didn’t get to Los Angeles but want at least some of that experience, all the session videos for PDC are now available. Tim Heuer has made a great list and feed for all the Silverlight 4 videos. Here’s what we got for ASP.NET 4.0 with some choice data-related sessions added too.
And don’t forget to browse through the Day 2 Keynote stuff presented by Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman either. Of interest elsewhere, the “M” data team have found a home in SQL Server and data realms and can do interesting stuff with it now. Additionally an interesting Live Labs session trying to find new ways to present and explore information on the web.
On Monday I gave a presentation at my local user group and I know I can do better. I know this every time I do it. Here’s my post mortem then on what went well and what didn't.
- Have Enough Material
Make sure you know how long your session is and have enough material for it. Keep an eye on the clock as you go through the session so you can speed up or add a bit more material as required. If you over-run, know where you can stop early and skip to the conclusion.
- Take Backups of Everything
If you're doing demos, be prepared in case the demo gods are angry and decide to throw you a curveball. Save a copy of your code as it needs to be at the start of the demo and as it should look at the end of the demo. Then take separate copies on a USB stick as well in case your laptop dies on you. If you're using VS snippets take a back up of those as well. After connecting to the projector last night, my copy of VS decided I had never run it before and reset itself. Oh that I had taken a backup of those settings and snippets.
- Projectors are not your friend
- If possible, find out in advance what resolution the projector being used prefers and try running your presentation and demos in that resolution. Last night's projector gave a 4:3 image while my display is 16:9 resulting in a rather squashed look on my mirrored display in favour of the attendees having the better picture.
- Make sure your demos can be shown without too much scrolling in the resolution you'll be using
- Also check in advance what connections the projector uses. The user group should be able to cover it, but it never hurts to be prepared with your own cables.
- Get There Early And Get Comfortable
- Make sure you are comfortable with your setup before you start. Get there early, set up and run through a quick demo to make sure nothing untoward has happened in transit.
- Don't be surprised if something does go wrong in a demo, but know in advance how to get out of it if something untoward should happen. Know that you can get yourself back on track (you did take backups of your demo code didn't you?)
- Pack a USB keyboard light in case, like me last night, you find yourself trying to type purely by the light of your display.
- Be Positive
Don't be too negative unless that's part and parcel of your presentation.
- Don’t Let The floor Lead You
Know your subject well enough to field questions from the floor but don't be afraid to ask your interrogator to come and talk after the session if the answer would hold up your talk or digresses from it, else you’ll over-run.
I hope you find these points useful when you have a go and present a session yourself.
Note to self, there are some good tutorials and 101s out there which should help a lot in a few areas. Make time to get through
[Update: Aug 1]
Clay Shirky gave a great keynote speech at the Web 2.0 conference this week, a video of which you can see below. Clay has also provided a slightly edited transcription of the speech on his own blog.