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Archive for the ‘Bad Ideas’ Category

Lift buttons

Tuesday, 10 November, 2009 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Coming back from buying lunch across the street today, we entered the lift and proceeded to go through the routine of pressing the buttons for floors 5, 6, and 7, since we each needed to return to our desks briefly and we are spread across those floors of our office building. We lamented the fact that the process of floor selection was so incredibly inefficient, requiring us to hit three separate buttons to indicate what floors we needed the lift to stop at.

DMc pondered the idea of having 128 separate buttons, each one wired to tell the lift to stop at a different possible combination of the 7 floors in the building. For example, button 74 might tell the lift that people want to get off at floors 2, 4, and 7. All you need to do is calculate the value of 21+23+26 to get the correct button.

And then we realised we could make this incredibly cool idea even simpler to use, if we just renumbered the floors, so instead of having floors 1 through 7, we have floors 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64. So all you have to do is add up the numbers of the desired destination floors, and press the button with the number corresponding to the sum!

Negative Currency

Wednesday, 19 August, 2009 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Here’s an idea we came up with over lunch: Negative currency.

As well as having coins and notes for various positive denominations of cents and dollars (or pence or pounds or euro, or whatever), also have them for negative amounts. So if you forget to bring cash to buy your lunch, the sandwich shop can just hand over notes and coins worth minus $3.70 (or whatever). You take them, put them in your pocket, and keep them nice and safe, just like regular currency.

Later, if a friend still owes you $2 for something and it seems like he’s never going to pay you back, you just go and give him a minus $2 coin! And – here’s a really cool thing – unlike regular currency, if you ever accidentally lose a negative coin or note, you win! It’s almost like finding regular money!

What a great idea! Something that enables monetary transactions in cases where you’d normally just be unable to do anything, and which doesn’t have the disadvantage of being a bummer when you accidentally lose it. We’re still trying to think of any unforeseen problems.

Wigs made of fish

Tuesday, 17 March, 2009 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

No further explanation needed.

Car ideas

Sunday, 8 March, 2009 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar
  1. When it rains lightly and variably, so the amount of rain on your car windscreen changes all the time, you have to keep fiddling with the wiper controls to ensure optimal clearance of rain from the screen, without having the wipers flapping and scraping the glass when it’s not really necessary. Why not remove the screen altogether, so it doesn’t get wet! You could have the windscreen retractable like the side door windows, and simply wind it down! You could even do this on a nice day just to enjoy the fresh air!
  2. Cars should be able to communicate with one another. You could put infrared receivers and transmitters on all cars, and send signals back and forth. Control signals. If the guy in front of you leaves his turn signal on, you can switch it off for him! If he’s driving stupidly and you want to yell abuse, wind down his window first so he can hear you! If his hip-hop music is too damn loud, turn it down!

Yes, I did a lot of driving today.

Bombs in ATMs

Thursday, 13 November, 2008 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

The convenience store across the road from my work installed an ATM. Within 48 hours, it had been ram-raided.

This got us thinking. How could you prevent ram-raiding? Solution: Install bombs in ATMs! With vibration-sensitive detonators. Someone tries to ram-raid that sucker… KABLOOEY! They ain’t getting away with any money.

Which reminded us of old-fashioned pinball machines. They had tilt sensors in them to detect when you were trying to jiggle the machine to make the ball do certain things to your advantage. They had a certain threshold level – you could bump the machine a little bit, but if you went over the threshold it would register a tilt and you’d lose your ball.

You could make pinball machines more exciting by installing bombs in them too! Bump the machine a little, you’re okay. But go too far… KABLOOEY! You ain’t tilting a pinball machine again.

But back to ATMs. This might actually work, you know. If you install vibration-sensitive bombs in ATMs, and advertise the fact, what thief in their right mind will even attempt to ram-raid an ATM? Nobody will actually get blown up because nobody will even try to steal one. Brilliant!

Just don’t mention earthquakes, okay?

You’ve been visited by the Internet

Friday, 17 October, 2008 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Here’s a half-baked idea:

  • Pick a random house somewhere in a random suburb/town.
  • Go there and take some photos.
  • Put a note in the letterbox saying, “You’ve been visited by the Internet!” and including a URL.
  • Post the photos at that URL.

This idea is actively bad, because you might upset people and you might get accused of stalking and even end up in trouble with the police. In fact, it’s the sort of prank that you might see over on xkcd. It’s amusing, but it’s not practical, and should not be taken seriously. Don’t do it.

But I’m sharing it because that’s what we do here: share our half-baked ideas, even the actively bad ones. Because someone might figure out how to turn it into a good idea. Maybe. (For an example of an actively bad idea turned good by sharing it, check what I wrote over here about wedding photography. See what I mean?)