"Babe Ruth did not steal home 10 times."
"Yes he did."
"No he didn't."
Unfortunately, in most bars, this is where the conversation ends due to the lack of verification methods. Of course, as a bar, you want to encourage these bets to end in fruition. Why not install an internet terminal? There is one club in San Francisco that has internet terminals, but the blaring house music is makes it difficult for any bar betting.
There are several ways of implementing this:
1. Have a pay terminal in the bar, like the ones at the airport. Unfortunately, the chances that the patrons have correct change or are willing to type in their credit card (if not kept hostage for a bar tab) information are minimal.
2. Add it as a feature to those gaming machines at the corner of the bar. While this plan requires less set up cost than option 1, it still faces the same problems from option 1. Further more, those machines are usually occupied by one person for hours, giving ample time for bar betters to move onto something better.
3. Have a cheap computer with just a browser. Simple solution, but it might get abused by people thinking it would be fun to put up nasty images from bizarre European fetish sites.
4. Put it behind the counter, and make it a feature of the bar. Name the bar “Bar Betters” and encourage people to make bar bets amongst each other. Make sure the bar tender is a Google ninja (or a Google retiree) so that he/she can quickly settle the bar bets and deliver the prize. Of course this wouldn’t work at every bar, but it would be a nifty little feature to some of the more worn down dive bars.
Sooner or later, mobile internet will become ubiquitous to the point where drunkards can whip out their cell phones and uncover the solution.
Side note: There is a bar in San Francisco called the Buddha Bar where the immigrant bartender will accept any challenges at liar’s dice. You lose, you buy a drink, you win, the drinks on the house.
Bonus link: Slightly off mark, but 5 ways to hustle free drinks.
While I don’t intend to sell my car any time soon, an itemized list of all the repairs done on the car should scream responsible owner. This is a good way of distinguishing yourself from the thousands of craigslist posters who declare themselves to be responsible owners and their cars to be in perfect condition (which I would never declare about my car). Of course do keep your original record for proof.
Interesting things I noticed from my data aggregation:
- Contrary to my belief that my car is a lemon, I didn’t have any problems in 2006. While that counteracts the disastrous 2005, it makes me feel somewhat OKer about my current troubles.
- The previous owner (my good friend from college) had serious problems during the three months before he sold me the car. No wonder he seemed so glad.
- There are myriads of things that hasn’t been changed in a while that I should look into.
“The best ideas are always next to the crazy ones” but that doesn’t mean the crazy ideas are good or feasible.
This idea comes from someone (Julie? Tiffany?) I met at a seedy bar in Mountain View called the Cocktail Lounge:
Car and train companies should work together to tune their products so that traffic noise will instead be music. This way the sound of mass mobilization will not be the cacophonous white noise as we know it but something more soothing and entertaining.
Where I think this will break down: What's more annoying than traffic noise? Listening to the same song over and over again! I once played Rocky Raccoon on repeat for three days in order to drive people out of my dorm room. It worked. What song would you pick anyway? Is there a song in this world that we can all be happy about? Elevator music? Ride of the Valkyries?
I think I would rather have a quieter car and pick my own music, but this does bring up an interesting point about designing for artifacts. If your product creates a undesirable or unavoidable artifact, why not make it something positive?
After all, this is just an introduction of new technology (that’s not quite ready) to accomplish what people have been doing with paper and sticker overlays for years. Primarily an industrial and graphic design firm, they do design sleek and beautiful form factor for existing products:
However, what distinguishes them are the iconic forms they give to products
When function requires no specific form, why not play around a little bit?
I’m sure everyone’s had one of those days/nights where you park your car in a gargantuan parking lot and end up spending twenty minutes finding your car. While the problem has been partially solved by remote key fobs that allow one to roam around the parking lot aimlessly trying to unlock the car, car companies have been limiting the range as a security issue (it’s a lot easier now for anyone who steals your keys to steal your car too). With many manufactures adopting some form of On-star-like services, here’s an idea:
If you really can’t find your car, call up On-star, give your password or some way to distinguish yourself, and ask them to momentarily turn on the car alarm. If you aren’t close enough to the car to hear the car alarm, maybe you shouldn’t be driving.
This would be the easiest idea to implement as it requires no extra hardware or software besides On-star’s ability to remotely activate the car alarm (not sure if they have this capability right now). The one issue would be if the car is parked underground and cannot receive the activation signal. Higher tech solutions could involve the car’s navigation system and a cell phone interface that displays your cars location on a map, but this becomes a problem in multilevel parking lots. Of course you could just be responsible and remember where you parked your car.
Although I work for an automotive company, I know very little about racing and care very little about Nascar. However, when Michael Waltrip’s current scandals appeared in several of my RSS feeds, I decided to look further into it. Apparently, Waltrip and several other drivers were penalized for having a “foreign” substance in their engines, most likely some variant of jet fuel to increase their cars’ power output.
Why is this a problem?
I can see how athletes using body-destroying steroids can set a bad example for aspiring kids, but why must one prevent cars from juicing? One can go down to the neighborhood hardware store and do what these people are getting busted for. As a member of the audience, I would want to see cars running at their peak performance pushing the limits of science and engineering.
My guess as to why they limit the cars are:
1. Safety - If baseball players are willing to inject performance enhancing drugs into their body, I’m sure drivers will use fuels that are dangerously too powerful.
2. Money - If there aren’t any restrictions on the vehicles, people will spend as much money as possible to design the fastest cars. Of course you could just limit the money teams can spend like Basketball and Football. Salary Caps for NASCAR: not a bad idea.
(via SciFi Tech via Boing Boing)
Toto Apricot F5A (toilet seat named after a fruit…)
(via Newlaunches via Gizmodo)
Music for those rainy days
singing playing “Back in Black” in the rain…
Labels: convergence watch
99% of my searches are on Google, and that’s the default on my quick search as expected. However, that last 1% of my searches are on Wikipedia or IMDb (and sometimes Gmail or The Face Book), requiring me to select those search engines from the pull down menu instead of hitting the Enter key which takes .01 seconds.
Here’s my idea: Instead of traversing the menu to look for the correct search engine, hold down enter, push the first letter of the search engine, then let go of both triggering the correct search engine. Currently, the search is activated on the down stroke of the Enter key, but changing that to the up stroke could add a whole new level of interaction (similar to how mouse clicks are typically registered when you release the button). While this would probably cumulatively save me four minutes through out my entire life time (which I’ve spent writing this), it would be nice to see.
I’m sure there is an obscure Firefox plug-in that allows me to accomplish this, but I’m too lazy to look for it. Heck, I’m too lazy to even use Firefox. Blasphemy, I know.
It's commonly accepted knowledge that customer retention cost is cheaper than customer acquisition cost. Getting a new customer requires commercials, rebates, discounts, and time which are all very costly. So why not spend some of the money and advertise to your own customer?
I got this idea from VW when they started pushing the Jetta Report where they compared Jetta drivers to everyone else. While the commercial wasn't entirely targeted at current owners, many owners are probably happy knowing that they are in a group of people that do cool things.
The cell phone industry is starting to resemble the automotive industry with its extremely high market penetration rate (who doesn't own a cell phone? car?) resulting in companies trying to steal customers away from each other rather than developing a new customer base. This sucks for the consumer because the companies are playing a cat-and-mouse game with your money (going to advertisement) which in the end is a zero-sum game.
Sprint might have had a slight chance of retaining me as a customer if they automatically upgraded my account to include the fair-and-flexible which they are marketing heavily. Instead, they only allow me to add the feature with another 2 year contract, which I’m not signing. If Sprint introduced fair-and-flexible and announced that they are applying it to all existing accounts, they would have a much higher retention rate, not to mention the respect from current and potential customers. But no, they'd rather destroy me with their unfair-and-inflexible $.40/min overage.
Keep your customers happy. Drug dealers do it, you can too.
So what’s the best solution? Besides asking your roommate and friends to pick up this down time necessities: online grocery delivery. Of course I didn’t realize this until I started writing this (toughed it out until I could comfortably drive), so I didn’t utilize it this time around, but I’m sure I will in the future. The delivery charges are hefty, but you could consider it a don’t-really-want-to-bug-a-friend-fee.
On the other hand, there really needs to be another alternative to the pizza Chinese food delivery monopoly. Burrito anyone?
If you don’t know about Product Red, I suggest you check out the website, but in short:
(RED) was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver, Chairman of DATA, to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund by teaming up with the world's mosticonic brands to produce (PRODUCT) RED-branded products. A percentage of each (PRODUCT) RED product sold is given to The Global Fund. The money helps women and children with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Currently, (RED) products are available from Motorola, American Express, GAP, Emporio Armani, Converse, and Apple making one think that only metrosexual yuppie can help cure AIDS in Africa. What can you do if you want to subscribe to the Product Red manifesto but not necessarily buy those products? Sure you could just donate money, but where is the fun in that?
While I would never actually do this, one could spray paint existing products red and sell it on eBay while donating a certain percentage of the sales to Product Red. It’s been proven that people are willing to pay a premium for some elegantly modified one-of-a-kind products out there (probably not an anodized hammer), and the added social cause may increase the going price. Of course some people will doubt if you are actually donating part of the sales. It’s also likely that Bono and Bobby may send you a cease and desist letter for hijacking their brand even if you are cutting them checks every month. Anyone want to try this?