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Dating sites for the undead?

During dinner my son mentioned that he felt that online dating sites are lame. I am not quite sure how we got to it, but we started talking about zombie movies. Then it hit me, we need a dating site for zombies! Well, one for people like to dress up as zombies! Why limit it to one form of undead, let’s include vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the damned.

I went looking and found Zombie Harmony, but it is really an ad for a free dating service. Are there any other sites for people who want to date people who dress up like the undead? If not, does anyone want to start one?

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I came across this mug while having lunch with a friend.  I immediately thought about what would they do with the mug if one of the advertisers decided not to continue advertising with them.   Would they cross out the advertisement?  This of course got my mind working on a solution to this, likely minor, problem.
One possibility is to embed an e-Ink display on the outside of the mug, since they can bend, and update the advertisements wirelessly.  You could charge the mug using the new wireless electrical systems that are appearing now.  Too expensive at this time, certainly, but perhaps not in the future.
However, cleaning these mugs could be a problem…

I came across this mug while having lunch with a friend. I immediately thought about what would they do with the mug if one of the advertisers decided not to continue advertising with them. Would they cross out the advertisement?  This of course got my mind working on a solution to this, likely minor, problem.

One possibility is to embed an e-Ink display on the outside of the mug, since they can bend, and update the advertisements wirelessly. You could charge the mug using the new wireless electrical systems that are appearing now. Too expensive at this time, certainly, but perhaps not in the future.

However, cleaning these mugs could be a problem…

Rent a dedicated ssl pipe for a day?

We have a problem at work, how to get a large amount of data from one distant location to another.  We could dump the data one or more disks and either FedEx it to us or have someone carry it on a plane.  Either is pretty expensive and, if you are bringing it internationally, runs the risk of getting stuck in customs.

We could set up a dedicated line between there and here, but the lead time is a month or more and they want their customers to rent it for a while.

What is needed is a service where you plunk down your corporate credit card and rent a dedicated pipe between two locations for a brief time (a day or two).  The pipe would need to be SSL of course.  With all of the excess fiber rolled out in the late 90s, I would think that someone could pay for dedicated lines and then rent them out for a day or so.

Web service for "assemble-your-own-book" market?

My friend and former co-worker, Dave, writes:

Many years ago, when I was a technical writer, my team explored the option of moving away from writing the source files for documentation as actual document files (FrameMaker, Word, etc.) and towards writing them as heavily-indexed articles in a database out of which we could assemble documents as needed.

The idea being that if you wanted a manual that documented everything about process X, we could produce that; if you wanted a manual that documented operational instructions for all our processes, we could produce that; if you wanted a manual that documented operational instructions and technical reference data for all processes in a particular group, we could produce that. The three manuals would overlap significantly, but be distinct manuals written for distinct audiences.

We dropped the idea after a while, but I often think about it when contemplating the ways that the web behaves differently from published books. In some ways, it’s precisely that model — especially what the “semantic web” folks are trying to move towards — although people are still mostly talking in terms of search operations rather than filter/sort/assemble operations.

All of which has gotten me wondering whether there’s anyone out there marketing into the “assemble-your-own-book” market for reference materials.

For example, I can totally imagine a company that publishes travel books exposing a web service whereby you can identify where you want to travel, what price range you are operating in, and what sorts of things you are interested in, and they print up a nicely bound volume of “Exploring Nature Trails, Snail Farms, and Art Museums in France, West Germany, and Denmark on $50-$100 a Day” that you can take with you.

I wonder whether there’s actually a market for that sort of service.

A social network for close friends? [Updated]

Ok, last of the ideas for the night.

The thing I have noticed about social networks is that I have a lot of “friends”, but I cannot say I am terribly close to most of them.  Seems like the connections are shallow and not deep.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is nice to get status updates from classmates I haven’t seen in 20 years or co-workers who left the company a year ago.  As a Gub noted when we ran into each other last weekend, it is nice to have a finger in each others lives.  This is especially true after I found out that a friend of mine from my high school years died this year.

Still, perhaps there is a need to have a social networking site that limits the number of friends you can have.  Limiting your list to 3, 5, or 10 friends really focuses you mind as to who and/or what is important.  I have tended to only “friend” someone who is already on a site, and not invite people to a social networking site.  I would feel more compunction to invite someone on to a site where my friends were limited.

But what is the win to having the network of close friends?  What services should a site like that provide that would make people desire to visit it.  Certainly, its simplest competitor is email since anyone can create a list of people to send email to and then send a note just to them.

One serious downside is if you are limited to 3, 5 or 10 close friend slots, then how will someone feel if you take them off of your close friend list?  It strikes me that folks should not know who is on your list, in fact they should probably not even need a note if they are no longer your close friend.  They just stop getting your notes and updates.  Perhaps, even, close friends can be one way just like Twitter: except instead of signing up to get someone else’s status messages, you are signing up to send someone your status messages.  The limit of the number of friends you can have and the ability to block such incoming messages should cut down on spam.

What the added value is, I am still not sure.

UPDATE: A friend of mine pointed me to ASMALLWORLD.  It looks like a social networking site for the rich and/or influential and bills itself as:

… the world’s leading private online community that captures an existing international network of people who are connected by three degrees of separation. Members share similar backgrounds, interests and perspectives. ASMALLWORLD’s unique platform offers powerful tools and user generated content to help members manage their private, social and business lives.

Membership to ASMALLWORLD is by invitation only, which is part of what makes this network unique, and the connections, authentic. Trusted and loyal ASW members who meet certain criteria have the privilege of inviting a limited number of their friends to the network. If you know someone with this privilege, you can ask them to invite you. If not, please be patient and continue to ask around in your own personal and professional circles.

An integrated media company, ASW is an ideal match for advertisers seeking to target the world’s tastemakers and develop heightened mindshare with this sophisticated and influential group. [bold from site]

I moved Spontaneous Ideas again

I moved Spontaneous Ideas to another tumblr blog so that others can post to it and I can free up the old blog to be my lifestream.  The domain and feeds and the like should update.  If you get extra messages in your RSS feed besides this one, just ignore them.

A Consumer Controlled Credit Reporting Coop (C3RC)

With the various cases of credit data getting lost or stolen (Social Security Administration, TJX among others), I have found that if I want to keep tabs on who is accessing my credit history, I have to pay one of the credit reporting agencies a monthly fee.  This strikes me as strange considering it is my credit history.  I generated it, thank you very much, and where fees and interest are involved, I paid for it.

There is a serious need of a consumer controlled credit reporting bureau.  One where I get to see my data any time I want, have an easy way to correct problems and approve/reject requests to view it.  Perhaps I could get money back when someone wants to view it.

Such a coop should also use alternative data on a person’s payment history: phone, gas and other utility bills.  In this regard, at least Payment Reporting Builds Credit provides such an alternative.

I have snow idea

It snowed about twelve inches in the Boston-area.  Since we don’t have a garage, or indeed off street parking, I had to shovel out the car.  Especially the snow that gathers under the car since it turns to ice and that can be very unpleasant to get caught sitting on when you are in a hurry to get out.

All this shoveling gave me that idea that if I put a fence, preferably one without any holes, around the car before it snows, then I wouldn’t need to shovel under the car or move the car to get at the snow.

Additionally, since we have no off street parking, we tend to pile up the snow at every possible location.  As the piles grow bigger, snow rolls down covering over the area you just cleared.  Another useful product would be a flexible barrier, such as with some compost fences, that you could put up at the border of one of these piles and would keep the snow in.  It would need to dissolve within a day in snow, after the snow froze in place.

Research Topic: Does your blood type indicate how giving you are?

Thinking about my blood type got me wondering whether there is a relationship between your blood type and how willing to give you are.  To refresh:

  • A’s can take blood from A and O, but can only give to A and AB.
  • B’s can take blood from B and O, but can only give to B and AB.
  • AB’s can take blood from AB, A, B and O, but can only give to AB.
  • O’s can take blood from O, but can give to anyone.

Based on these facts, O’s are able to give to the most people, AB’s the least and A’s and B’s are in between.  So the hypothesis is “Do O’s give the most, AB’s the least and A’s and B’s somewhere in between.

One easy way to test this hypotheis, assuming that there is no skew towards finding O’s on the part of the blood banks, is to look at the volume of blood donated every year by blood type.

Other tests could be to select a random group of people, test their blood type and look at how much money they donated as a percentage of their income, or the number of hours they volunteered in a year.