That's What I Call Spiced Ham: Volume One

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Archive for March, 2010

Complex Movie Plot FAQs in real-time on your iPhone

Wednesday, 17 March, 2010 | Posted in Good Ideas by Andrew Coker

If you’re like me, then you have sometimes gone to the cinema and become completely and utterly confused by the plot, unable to keep up with the astonishing number of characters, shifting allegiances, and non-linear narratives. What I need is some sort of dynamic FAQ that I can download to my portable computing device before going to the cinema (or watching a DVD), and when the movie starts I hit “go”. The application displays answers and reminders about questions that other viewers (or the film producers) have anticipated might be troublesome, but only once the events relating to the question have been revealed – so as not to telegraph spoilerific information early.  So any time you think some important detail has passed you by, a quick glance at your device allows you to catch up on important details that you should have already noticed, but were too confused to properly absorb.

Frictionless sports

Friday, 5 March, 2010 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

While discussing a game of tennis two of us were playing this morning, we got into talking about the backspin and topspin making it trickier to hit the ball. Then someone proposed the idea: Tennis played on a frictionless surface!

Okay, this means you can’t run or anything, so you need to surround the court with walls that you can push off. You need to time your push so that you slide to where the ball will be in time for you to hit it. And then of course when you hit the ball it changes your momentum, so you end up sliding in a different direction until you hit another wall and push off again. It could probably work.

Then one of us had to go the step further and imagine it in 3 dimensions. Basically, you have a prolate spheroidal court in zero gravity, with each player starting at one of the foci. That way the first serve is guaranteed to pass near the receiving player after one bounce on any surface, and the player can return it. By this stage, both players have gained momentum from hitting the ball and can start bouncing off walls. A player who can hit the ball so it bounces off two (or maybe three) walls before the other player can reach it wins the point.

Another variant scores the game by the players’ momentum. If you ever push off a wall or hit the ball such that you don’t have enough speed to reach another wall within, say, 10 seconds, you lose the point.

There are lots of other variants you can build on these concepts.

2D glasses for 3D movies

Monday, 1 March, 2010 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

So here’s the idea: Take two sets of 3D glasses and remove the left lens from one and the right lens from the other, and swap them into the other pair of glasses. So one pair now had two left lenses, and the other two right lenses.

Why would you want to do this? If you’re one of those people for whom the whole 3D movie experience is a bit meh, or you actually find it annoying or disorienting, you can still go to a 3D movie with your friends and wear your new 2D glasses. You now get the same image in each eye, exactly like a regular 2D movie! And without the double-vision effect of just watching the movie without glasses. So you can sit back and watch the movie in glorious 2D while your friends next to you watch in 3D.

Even better, you can successfully argue to the ticket sales counter that you are only watching half the movie, so you should only have to pay half price!