A Twitter feature I’ve wanted to see for a long time is the ability to geo-tag (assign a location) to my tweet and have it only be posted to people’s streams who are in that location.

That is, I tag my tweet for San Francisco and only people who follow me and have set their location for San Francisco can see my tweet.

The tweet should be viewable to anyone who were to look at my profile and it can be retweeted and favored like any other tweet. The difference is that it wouldn’t be posted to people’s streams that haven't chosen to listen to that location. Giving me comfort in knowing I’m not flooding people’s timelines in snowy New England with photos of another ridiculous California sunset.

Anyway, feature requests are really easy to throw out at teams building products when you aren’t inside. It’s just a feature I would love to see someday. Twitter has always operated on one level and I think it would be a nice option to have a second layer I could feel comfortable posting into.


We were on a road trip a few weeks ago and I had an idea for an educational app I would build if I had time.

You start the app before you take your trip and set your current location. As you drive the app updates your location on a map so it is drawing a travel line.

The app contains a database of distances of things and short summaries about them.

  • Length of the longest bridge in the world
  • Width of Rhode Island
  • Length of Panama Canal
  • Distance between the Hawaiian island and Maui
  • Length of the San Francisco Bay
  • Length of dollar bills, laid end-to-end printed in the US every year
  • Diameter of the largest fungus in the world

As the app notices you pass these distances the phone would receive a notification to open the app and read the info about length reached. You could continue to receive notifications on your trip back as well.


  1. A small service that collects a set of vetted RSS feeds and looks for Twitter style @mentions. I noticed Jason credited me today and I didn’t notice until I saw it in my RSS reader. It would have been nice to get an @mention from a bot that was watching a large amount of weblogs.
  2. An iOS app that would let me create an event (like a conference) and then I can input all the addresses I will need during the event. When I was at XOXO I kept looking up the same locations when getting a cab or setting out to walk places. The distributed nature of XOXO meant that I really needed a list of about 5 places I could quickly call up and map directions to.
  3. Kickstarter with a $1,000 limit and a one month delivery date.
  4. A CRM that gives the support staff (or individual) a support and turn-around time rating. These stats can be used to determine if my support ticket is going to be answered quickly and if I will be happy with the response. Also if the manager of the CRM rarely answers messages on Sundays and Mondays then I would like to know that they will likely get back to me on Tuesday. I would also like to pay $5 to jump ahead in line.


Having a conversation with DantsyPants I had an idea .

A giant storage place like you see on TV and by the freeway, but every thing I check-in is scanned and I can affix a price to it if I want. The whole catalog is put online for people to buy things and the storage place will handle shipping or you can come in and pick it up.

THE BEST part about this is I could clean out my closets. THE SECOND best part about this is I can buy some more things! They could even just move the thing I bought into my pile of stuff. I need to get rid of this stuff.

(I know there are eBay drop off companies but I haven‘t been able to figure out what happens if it doesn’t sell. And what if I don’t want to sell?)


Do you remember Airtime? I like to think of it as the thing Olivia Munn, Joel McHale, and Jim Carrey use daily. These days Airtime is still working out their business but here’s an idea about how I would like an Airtime-like service to work.

I would like to be able to look at a directory of stuff. Things. A live-view of Niagra Falls. An original Star Wars movie poster. A 1976 Gibson Bicentennial Thunderbird. A living WWII Veteran. A demo of an OP-1.

Hell, I’d even love to connect to a Best Buy representative who could demonstrate the latests TiVos.

All these people or owners of these things could register with the site specifically for these things. I could call up the 1976 Gibson owner and have a look at it. Not necessarily to buy anything, though that would be nice, but just to chat about or get a review.

Currently Airtime let’s you designate interests (cooking), but beyond interests I would like to find experts or informed owners of gadgets and collectibles who have put themselves on the service because they want to take calls and talk about a life experience (WWII) or fanatic interest.


Every month I open my bank and credit card statements and do a quick scan of everything I was charged or paid for. Most of the time it’s what I expected, sometimes I have to spend a couple of seconds thinking what a “LMNOP**CORP**TACO” is, and once in a while it’s completely perplexing and I have to either call the phone number or do a fair amount of Googling.

Screen Shot 2012 06 09 at 4 21 34 PM

A few weeks ago there was a charge on my card with an entry like CONDENAST**SERVICES and a phone number. I called the number but nobody answered. I called back the next day and left a message. I called back the third day and the person on the line didn’t know, but we figured it out after she asked me a few questions. (it was my ArsTechnica subscription auto-renewing)

The process of starting up a new Quickbooks or Mint account and tagging and classifying my payments is onerous to me. But I also hate having to go back every month and get a glimpse of my money at one moment in time. I want something that will notify me when a payment or charge occurs giving me a chance to classify or make a note or even schedule a time to followup on the charge.

Just like carrying a Fitbit and having a quick way to see how many steps I’ve taken in a day, having a view into my bank account in real-time as money is deducted would be very welcomed.

So my question is: does anyone do this? Does anyone know how I could pull my bank and credit charges into one place to then fire off actions when something new is seen? I’m assuming OFX but if there is something easier I can simply plug into I’d rather do that.


This is a simple idea I am going to assume ad networks are already doing, but if they aren’t, they should!

When you first get online at work in the morning some ad provider should note that this is the first time they’ve seen you in a few hours. The assumption should be that you must have just sat down at your desk so…

An alert should be sent to email marketers that they should send you their daily email now. This is email you’ve already signed up for, just the delivery time is now optimal since you were just “seen” online.


Totally random idea I’ve been chewing on for, oh, 8 years?

Popup Yearbook. Page gets created. Everyone in a certain group is invited to upload one picture of themselves from the year. The page is locked after a period of time.

Stupid simple idea but a community site I manage does this every year and it’s a lot of fun to see the finished result.


I don’t think I adequately explained what I am talking about in my last post. Here are some simple examples.

  • The task: I need to pay my worker’s comp insurance.
  • A test: Is the date of my next payment to my insurance company > the current date?
  • The push: I accomplished my task and added a new test to my list of things to ensure are correct.


  • The task: I have to pay my mortgage.
  • A test: Is the price of my mortgage still equal to X where X is the previous payment?
  • The push: I have paid my mortgage and added a test to ensure payments are not consistent. (This happened to me once due to a drop in the amount and I didn’t realize I had been over paying, but not towards principal.)


  • The task: I need to sign up for a new mobile phone and was quoted $X/month for a year.
  • The test: Create a test that ensures I am not billed at more than $X.
  • The push: Submit new test to my testing suite. Perhaps also a test that the cost does go up to the new amount as defined by the salesperson.


Think “if this then that” for the businesses I use on a recurring basis. If the banks and mobile phone companies and gas companies and insurance companies aren’t going to make APIs for us, why not make them ourselves? Hold them accountable and provide stats to ourselves about the money coming in and out of our lives.


I’ve been chewing on the idea of how to share the satisfaction one gets from writing tests and pushing code with people who don’t write code. Every todo app or productivity app I’ve seen gets this part wrong. If one could bottle the satisfaction from testing and shipping into an app for doing things they’d be gold.

For the non-developers reading this&8212;writing automated tests is essentially writing a set of scripts that test paths in your application. If your code accepts user names and passwords with certain rules, then a type of automated test will attempt to log into your site however many hundreds of permutations that exist to test that the rules work. It’s a validation that your code does what is expected, and will continue to do what is expected even if you change other parts of your code.

Yes, accomplishing the task is important, but nobody (that I’ve seen) gets the other two parts right. Testing would be a verification that the task was completed and done. Pushing would be announcing or registering your daily completed tasks and getting the satisfaction of cleaning them off your plate.

ElevatorThis is still too geeky and stuck in my head. I think people are working on this idea. At least I assume that’s what The Obvious’ Lift is.

But even if they aren’t, I’m hopeful someone eventually makes this. Even geekier I would say my dream is to someday have a set of scripts that test and verify all the things I have set up in my life (insurance payments, property tax payments, savings to cover year-end taxes).

Essentially a set of tools to verify the processes I have done or need to do and a way to instantly test that they are all in place and working. Pretty geeky, but pretty cool to me.



So not only does my little idea exist, but they’ve solved some of the problems I thought I’d have dealing with films a user hasn’t seen. Flickchart takes a Hot Or Not approach to rating movies, and gives you a way to skip movies you haven’t seen.

I’ve been playing with it for an hour or so and it seems to be building a pretty good profile of the movies I like and don’t like. Check it out: http://flickchart.com.


Last night I wanted to watch a movie so I went to iTunes and started sorting by stars when I realized something: I don’t generally like the most popular films in theaters, so why am I using everyone else’s star ratings to find good movies?

What does a four out of five star ranking actually mean?

Then I remembered an old idea I kicked around a bit before MLKSHK that I hope someone will someday make.

I originally registered the name dropsort.com which describes how I think it would work on the front-end.

The one sentence way to describe it is this: Drag and drop movies* to order them from left to right, ranking them as good to bad. The data generated from these, what I call “taste fingerprints”, would be used to help find other movies that people have ranked above identical taste fingerprints of others.

That is, if I ranked some heist movies like this:


And you ranked some heist movies like this:


The service would possibly suggest Sneakers as a movie you might enjoy because we ranked The Getaway and Reservoir Dogs the same. (I say possibly because it should rely on a larger set of data, not just my single ranking.)

The assumption here is if people rank movies in a certain order relative to each other as you rank the same movies in a similar order, then there is a likelihood you might enjoy a movie they ranked higher than that match.

You could do this with genres, but also arbitrary categories like Woody Allen films or films shot in a certain location. As long as someone creates a set and enough people contribute rankings there would be enough data to make guesses for you.

I will build this someday if you don‘t.

* or books, or video games, or iOS apps.


I had an idea a couple weeks ago and so I tweeted about it:

Screen Shot 2011 09 25 at 6 59 10 PM

Nobody took up the challenge. So after finding a couple hours of my own, and wanting to get better with Backbone.js, I made it. (Wrote mostly with CoffeeScript because OMG CoffeeScript)

laterspam.org (note, this is on the most anemic, cheap, virtual machine Amazon offers, it’s not quite ready for heavy use so be gentle.)

It looks something like this.

In my experience there isn’t much of a spam problem on Twitter. Yes, it’s annoying to mention something about your iPad and have a spam bot or two tell you how you can get a free one just by “clicking this URL,” but I feel like that happens once or twice a month at most.

I normally just mark the thing as spam and move on. But the last time it happened I clicked over to see the account’s timeline and saw they had been at it for quite some time. Even tweeting innocuous tweets in between the mention spam which I guessed was to throw off Twitter’s own spam algorithms.

I didn’t make this because I am fed up with Twitter’s spam. I made it because after spending a few weeks now dealing with MLKSHK’s own spam problem I was curious about Twitter’s rate of discovery. For the most part I’m curious how long after I report spam that an account is deactivated. As I got deeper into my spam problem I found myself enjoying figuring out ways to deal with it, how quickly my algorithms caught and removed it, and mostly just because I‘m a sucker for seeing my code automatically take care of admin duties.

So I built laterspam.org because I thought people might get a little satisfaction out of marking something as spam and knowing Twitter did something about it.


I've had this idea in my head but I doubt I'll ever use it for anything, so I wanted to write it down.

When I pause a TV show, on TiVo or Netflix I assume the play head will stop exactly where I left it. When I hit play it starts from precisely that point. This is great for when I pause to use the restroom or grab a glass of water.

However, when I pause and to go to sleep or to take care of dinner, I wish the play-head would slowly creep backwards until finally stopping at a good 20 seconds before where I originally stopped the play-head.

I often find myself hitting the 30-second rewind button on my TiVo controller whenever I come back to something I've been watching. It'd be nice if that could be programmed into what I'm using.

This idea though isn't about play-heads, it's about cutting out those small interactions we inevitably find ourselves participating in when we don't need to. My iPhone knows that if I just locked my device and decided to restart it within a few seconds it won't ask me for my passcode again. The same happens with the OS X screen saver password.

In both cases time affects precision or control of a variable which in turn, I think, provides a comfortable interaction. I like that.


Joshua's post about unbundling the tools for deploying publishing components reminded me of a service I wish someone would make.

I want someone to build a user preferences service that would free up developers from having to re-implement settings and preferences in their applications. Something like Cocoa's NSUserDefaults that provides an interface for retrieving and storing user preferences in a user's local library.

update: Someone pointed out I wasn't completely clear with this. The idea is the service runs in the cloud and provides an interface for any application to query and store key/value pairs per user.

I previously wrote about this idea (five years ago!) and I still want it.


Lazyweb: A bot that scours the web looking for "@torrez" and then tweets a mention at me with the URL.


Set up a PA system on a street corner where morning commuters are walking by with their mp3 players. Offer to plug their mp3 players into your PA system for a few minutes.


Coming out of weblog retirement (almost one month!) to point to Availabot. Availabot is: a physical representation of presence in instant messenger applications, which means Availabot plugs into your computer by USB, stands to attention when your chat buddy comes online, and falls down when they go away.

I still want a USB enabled telegraph.


This is my philosphy. I don't have much more to add to it. Buzz has a bit more to say on it so I'll just link there.



Oh jeez, this is so obvious and brilliant. Put all your credit card, phone, bank, airline, and other customer service numbers in your address book which ultimately end up on your phone if you're syncing.

Here's a bonus tip I do at home with my fire-proof lock box: I leave the key in the lock. If anyone came to steal it they'd just open it, see all I have is a passport and social security card and leave it. Nothing worth stealing in there.


I would like an RSS reader with a button that says "Gimme 5" and it loads only five posts people with similar subscriptions are reading within the last 24 hours. Then as I read each one, they disappear so that I once again have a blank inbox which I can click "Gimme 5" or just go on to do something else.

Yes, I'm inventing a little treat dispenser, but dammit I need portions.


I want a river of news items generated by all the people in my company and what they're doing. Something like the Torrez Notes/Sippey/Facebook design where I can see that Frank just closed the build, Justin fixed a bug, and James sold a huge campaign.

Thankfully we have a platform where we can direct that flow to an XML feed if we wanted to, but does this sound like something anyone else would like at their job? I think so.


After finding this story on BoingBoing I thought about how easy my mom would fall for something like that. Now  that she recently retired and is on the web more, I 


Because it's easier to think up ideas than actually do them, today on the bus I thought it'd be a neat hack to take a Wii controller, and this code for detecting a Wii's location, tape a video camera onto it and then either scan in a 3d object by moving the Wiimote around it, or generate panoramas by moving your Wiimote from left to right.


I've had this idea for a while. I'm sure someone has already done it:

"I wasn't panicked until I saw the building," said Russell Grant, who showed up to take home his 5-year-old son, Justin, after hearing what had happened.

The damage was so severe some witnesses were in disbelief that everyone inside could have walked out. Two people crawled under the beams and wreckage looking for kids, but everyone already was out.

"She may have saved many of these children's lives," the mayor said.

The manager of the day-care center operating inside the building had made everyone get into the section of the building that survived the high winds.

"What I saw was just utter destruction," Slaughter said. "The children were scared, they were cold and dirty. They were crying and upset, but really they were calmer than I thought they would be."

Jon Slaughter, who owns two nearby businesses, arrived at the skate center with two employees about five minutes after the building was ripped apart.

Authorities were unsure whether it was a tornado that hit the skate center about 10:15 a.m.

Several states were battered by the storms, which unleashed tornadoes and straight-line winds that overturned mobile homes and tractor-trailers, uprooted trees and knocked down power lines. At least one person was killed and several injured. (Watch witnesses describe the storms' fury -- 2:15 Video)

"I'm amazed that anyone got out of there," said Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright.

One child suffered a broken bone and another a cut to the head. But everyone else emerged unharmed from the crumpled wreck of the Fun Zone Skate Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The facility doubled as a day-care facility.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Lines of powerful thunderstorms pelted the South with heavy wind, rain and hail Wednesday, turning a skating rink into a hulk of twisted metal soon after the 31 preschoolers and four adults inside had fled to the only part of the building that turned out to be safe.

  Storm destroys skating rink full of preschoolers

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