Sunday, July 05, 2015

Original Disputable Ideas on Traffic Management

Air Pollution Control

Make sure that exhaust pipes open in front of the vehicle and not behind them. Essentially they should cause visibility problems for the driver, if the vehicle is polluting.  I will like to believe that most people pollute because they don't even know. This fixes the problem of at least knowing when to get things checked. Also with this approach pollution is no longer someone else's problem. It has some implications for the driver also (reduced visibility).

Noise Pollution Control

This is mostly caused by needless pressing of horns. And the reason some of the people keep pressing them most of the time is because it is so damn easy to press it. The idea is to replace the "button" for horn, with a "voice activated" horn. Essentially if someone wants to honk, he needs to shout. The "voice detector" will sound the horn and the intensity will depend upon the intensity of the "shout". Why does this works? How loud can one shout and how long can one continue to shout loudly? Basically we have made "horn" a finite resource, to be used judiciously. 

Lane Jumping 

Lane jumping is not really a problem unless it requires others to apply breaks. The problem with lane jumping is that the one jumping the lane is likely to end up appreciating his skills rather than being thankful to the thoughtfulness of the one who breaks. We have good breaks in cars and they don't make much noise. If we could add that noise back, may be a bit amplified, we at least let the lane jumpers know what they have caused. The silent breaks make it impossible to provide correct feedback to the lane jumpers. Honking doesn't quite have the same meaning because it has a questionable human element.

Safe Pedestrian Crossing 

Pedestrian crossings are safe when they exist. The problem is the absence of them at so many places, making it very risky for people to cross roads. The solution here is to have coin operated traffic lights for pedestrians - just like "sulabh souchlaya". Some way to generate enough money to justify investments from say pubic-private-partnership.

Please share if you think this makes sense. It might happen if enough people want it to happen.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shot on iphone 6

On commute to office, I saw some huge adds with good photos of nature. Title at the top said: "Shot on iphone 6".  

Some what related to my earlier post on Sent from my iphone

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Sent from my iphone

Assuming that number of people who read a given mail is less that number of people who will look at the photograph...
...expecting to see "Clicked from my iphone" soon on photos..

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Scroll Bar

The scroll bar is the universal answer to the problem of showing more content than the "window" allows you to display. Be it a webpage, pdf viewer, word document, audio/video players: scroll bar is used everywhere.

Here is the problem:
The granularity of change possible with scroll bar has nothing to with the granularity of the content it is working on, but only the size of the content relative to the "window". For example when we read a physical book, the granularity of change is page. We are either reading page 42-43 or 44-45. On a web page with all the content of a book, the "granularity of change" would simply be a function of total size of the book. If the book is too long, one pixel might map to multiple pages. For a small book, one pixel might map to half a line.

Interestingly, list views in mobile applications don't suffer from this problem. The role of scroll bar is simply to give a sense of amount of data, the scroll is controlled by length and speed of touch.

For most e-commerce sites and specifically for the product catalog pages, the "granularity of change" is simply a row of images. For text it should probably be a line of text, for airline summary of flights it could be each row of information. If "granularity of change" can be explicitly told to the scroll bar, it could be more natural for users to interact with it.

Here is a picture of how it might look:
|            |           |                           |
Start     Previous      Next                       End

Looks similar to audio players - next / previous is "song".

Friday, September 13, 2013

stuffido - the todo app

Stuffido, is a todo app for Android. Why on earth do I need a new todo app?

Long long time ago, people started forgetting to do important stuff in life. It was a world without apps and phones. And then someone invented, what we now know as a todo list. It was pretty simple. Just write down what you want to do and cross it once you are done. That worked for a while, but it had few problems.
  • It becomes too long, painful to look at.
  • It is hard to add further notes to these todos. 
  • If it is not crossed, it is not done. It didn't track progress.
  • After a while, you need to copy and create a new one.
Then someone invented calendar. The whole thing was now organised by time. Instead of making a list, people need to specify when are they going to do it and also how much time it is going to take. This worked extremely well for meetings and time bound stuff. But how do you track stuff that takes longer time? And stuff that doesn't takes much time.

So what is stuffido?
It is still a todo list, but takes cares of all the problems of todo lists.
  • Divide. You don't need to pick a time, just a time slot for a task. 
  • Focus. It will only show you tasks for the given time slot, based on current time.
  • Do. Each time slot can maximum have 7 tasks. Have more? Add it for later. It takes time to decide what to do next. It is NOW or LATER, but you don't need to do it every time.
  • Measure. Each task has a progress bar. Big things require small steps. Made some progress? Track it. Add a note, whatz next? 
  • Done. Know what you have been doing, each day.