« November 2003 | Main

The Official Date Files

FROM: Stein von Reusch

What NEED does this meet?
Everybody wants to contribute to the world of science, I guess, if they can. Not everybody has all the credentials, contacts, energies and so on available to go through the entire process of getting something formally published in a paperbased scientific journal, or even an electronic scientific journal. They may hesitate to put it out on their own website in an electronic format for one BIG reason: that they have no obvious way of providing an official date to their document; they may write the date themselves but this is hardly official as it may be just made up. We need to give electronic publication an official status which includes an official date approach.

What is the APPROACH?
The plan is radically simple, and radically efficient: Offer the possibility of anyone anywhere to freely register themselves with full name and other contact information, alongside an electronic publically readable file. They can themselves describe the content of this file in terms of keywords and a descriptive heading. They may even be granted the possibility of keeping the file at least temporarily secret. The file will be stored in a vast archieve that is also backed up on permanent media reguarly, with a date provided by the server; this date cannot be changed by anyone, although the file perhaps can be marked for deletion.

This is distinctive in that anyone may provide any type of file and get an official "backup", which can be searched by others, without having to do it in the context of, say, exchange of programs or whatever; it is distinctive from, let's say, the eminent SourceForge.Net, in that the date cannot be set nor changed by the user. It should also be incredibly simple to use.

I say that it is 'distinctive' in these senses because I have not heard of this solution as yet, but if it exists already, please tell me; I have much use for it myself also...

What are the BENEFITS to people?
We would get an even freer world in that electronic website (even home website) publication can get a far more official status; we would get a sense of permance to the electronic world at those spots which we deliberately seek it (rather than merely taking an overall 'backup of Internet', which seems to be of somewhat dubvious value to my mind...). We will elevate that nature friendly and rather anarchistic approach of exchanging documents without chopping trees for paper, into something that can have a value in terms of providing references when one is doing research; if Mrs Smith, Arizona, solves David Hilbert's last unsolved mathematical problems and publishes it on MrsSmithArizona.com, she can simultaneously supply this document to FreeDateStamping.Com or whatever it is called, and make a link to this place so as to tell the world: "I did this, and I did it just at the date that I say I did it; and so perhaps I'll get credit for this in some decade, meanwhile I'll go on tending to my other activities."

The benefits of this may be to enhance what is really good about the Internet so that many aspects of the hierarchical dense structure of the academic world of publishing may have a healthy competition from a great diversity of fantastically creative individuals who has less official credentials than needed to get the works properly through the old systems. It may in fact contribute to changing the world and our societies just a little bit, if not even more...

What is the COMPETITION?
I'd love to hear of similar services; the closest thing to my mind is SourceForge.Net but you need to be a programmer (like I am, fortunately) to put files to this network and you can change the date yourself; and it is not something that you really should use for other publications than those involve software.

When we make the Official Date Stamp Archieves, or whatever we call them -- The Internet Free and Open Electronic Publishing Archieve -- we must have a certain sense of integrity to the organisation or assocation or network running it; so that the programmers so to speak control each other so that they do not change anything behind the scenes. Ideally, a state committee or something should overlook it; perhaps even a United Nations office or something; and the making of permanent backups would help enhance the security aspect of it.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It will be no more expensive than running an archieve like CPAN.ORG or SOURCEFORGE.NET, in fact less expensive because there is no obligation to provide additional facilities; perhaps a search engine at most. The file type can be any of a number of preselected standard alternatives, like Adobe Acrobat and even Ascii .txt. It may get so widely popular that a great deal of servers will have to be set up and so sponsoring in form of hardware should be acquired from a big hardware vendor; the computer software companies, like Sun Microsystems, might want to give money; this can also be the case for Open Society Foundation by George Soros. The most expensive part will be the official security element -- that the programmers are indeed having full integrity in running these servers. There is no difficult apart from just getting together and doing it. The programming takes nothing more than a week; setting up all the servers in terms of physical space and so on is the thing that together with providing organsational facilities for overlooking it what takes most time and therefore also budget money.

I'd say $100.000 would get it beautifully started, and then there will be a portion of this money devoted to getting time and resources to contact a large number of big organisations and companies to get sustainable funding. But experiments of this nature could be made, of course, without hardly any funding. The fun is if it is official, though, not just nearly official!

December 10, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Car parking made easy

FROM: Edward Riley

What NEED does this meet?
Does away with purchasing car parking tickets/ feeding parking meters. No need to remember to "pay and display" or "pay on exit" or worry about traffic wardens. Frees up time, reduces fines, saving administrative costs and personal aggravation.

What is the APPROACH?
Creation of a smartcard payment system (existing technology exists, and costs little) compatible with all car parks/ parking meters (here's your obstacle). User would either pre- or post-pay onto the card, which is then swiped on entry/exit of parking, and voila, the user is billed.
Better than credit/debit card as (a)not everyone has one (b)not everyone wants to use one for this (for practicality and security).
Extension to parking meters; again, either swiped or a displayed badge / RFID token to identify user.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
No need to worry about having loose change No need to be aware of differing ticketing/ parking restrictions No needless tickets = less litter = less wasted paper = green benefits Efficient system - time saving and small administrative cost burden
Existing technology and infrastructure (smartcards and parking machines exist)

What is the COMPETITION?
As far as I'm aware, no similar device exists. Could be extended to residency parking permits (RFID tag idea as above). Unifies a currently complex and fragmented system (nationally, councils, organisations, others have varying ticketing demands/ systems). Could be extended internationally.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Relatively inexpensive longterm, considering the revenue stream already exists, the infrastructure etc. is already in place and the need is growing: more cars = more parking = more money.

December 9, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

University Entrace Psychological Questionnaire

FROM: Kate Samuel

What NEED does this meet?
17% of students in the UK drop out of University before completion. At some universities this number is around the 40% mark and it's growing yearly. This website will help people applying to University to find a location that suits their personality as much as their grades.

What is the APPROACH?
When you are at school you are told where you can go according to your grades and given basic facts, e.g. some universtities are campus based and some are city based. There are also books which tell you about uni's. Uk Universities vary hugely in location and the lifestyle they offer. For students to get the most out of university, or in some cases remain in education at all, they have to enjoy their time at the establishment. What this approach will do is allow all students to access a questionaire which will ask them personality based questions about their interests, lifestlye, future plans etc. These will lead the questionnaire to a conclusion about which universities they would be suited to. A number of options will be given, each offering different grade requirements. Basically, instead of being told facts about universities, the influence of which aren't explained, a student will have an understanding of why their personality profile appears more suited to certain universities.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
It will give students (and their parents) a wider understanding of the choices they are making when they decide on universities. It will help schools give focussed career and future advice. Hopefully, it could significantly reduce university drop out rates.

What is the COMPETITION?
Although there are services which partially cover the same area(prospectuses, university guide books, alternative prospectuses etc) there is no comprehensive service which links your choice of university to your personality as well as your grades and your future aspirations, explaining the reasons for its decisions. This site would allow schools the opportunity to deal with a multitude of individual problems and questions at once, hopefully over a short period of time, maybe even a class. At present studenst aren't aware of the multitude of choices they are making when selecting a university and how much making an incorrect choice can influence their future.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Expense wise there are a number of things that would have to occur: A professional would have to be hired to write a questionnaire on student experiences to send to student unions at every university to get, c.100 reponses from each. These results would have to be tabled and another professional would be hired to write a personality quiz based on these findings. The quiz could then be put online. However, it would be easy to market - as there is a definate need /niche for a service which provides a greater understanding of further education choices. Hopefully schools would use it in school hours. It would ahve to be updated yearly, but only with minor adjustments to figures like entrance grades/male to female ratio.

December 6, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Are you still searching for a winner?

FROM: Teresa Fritschi

What NEED does this meet?
Increasing market opportunities for cottage industry products (sole proprieters, small manufacturies, family owned businesses) made in Scotland. Percentage of net profits to be reinvested in various philanthropic efforts to preserve, protect or restore aspects of Scottish culture, history or architecture. The concept has multiple benefit in that it provides an outlet for the continuation of work by skilled artists to utilise renewable (organic) resources, enhance their incomes (fair trade) and ensure reinvestment in under-financed aspects of Scottish national interest.

What is the APPROACH?
There are 35 million descendents (globally) of Scots forced to leave their native lands during the Highland Clearances. Many individuals in this group proudly proclaim their heritage and belong to various organisations such as St. Andrew's Societies, Herbridean, Celtic and Gaelic organisations. There is an aubundance of retail outlets focused on the delivery of kilts and clan jewelry but none that collectively addresses the preservation of a culture while embracing commercial outlets.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Increased income for participant artists from a market that is cohesively approached through both catalogue and web sales. Reinvestment to national treasures ranging from the re-forestation of the Scottish Highlands (through appropriate not-for-profit already engaged in this effort) to preservation of ancient Pictish forts and rare breeds farms.

What is the COMPETITION?
Not one. This will do for Scotland what has been done so successfully in Ireland, tap a population with disposable cash and strong emotional ties to their "homeland" driving purchases of thoughtfully made products and tourism alike while enhancing the over physical well being of a country.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
First Phase includes product sourcing (underway) and production samples for developing imagery for both web and physical catalogue, database development (underway), web development, legal set up, packaging, fulfillment partnership. With the successful sale of a single round of products (identified) to a targeted and respective audience (identified)-- 150,000 GBP should cover all start up costs including computer hardware and software purchases.

December 2, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Child Operating System

FROM: Pavcules

What NEED does this meet?
The idea of COS (Child Operating System) is to enable children from an early age to learn about computers and be educated as well. The idea is to allow parents to easily upgrade the software to suit the child needs.

More information and a very early demo can be download from my site at: http://pavcules.fun.to (Software -> COS)

If you have trouble reaching it, you can try this link instead: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pav.jim/software/cos/index.htm

What is the APPROACH?
First stage would be to develop the COS architecture. The software needs to be adaptable for future expansion. A standard interface would need to be designed, to allow other developers to create new modules (e.g.: educational titles, etc.). COS will need to be run on top of the existing operating system.

Second stage would require some of the COS and education modules to be written. This is to demonstrate the functionality of the software.

In parallel with the second stage, the website will need to be designed and developed to host COS and the modules. The website will need to be easy to use, so that parents can download and provide feedback. Developers would need to be able to upload their modules for review and processing.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Benefit to the children:

- The COS software will have an easy to use interface. Children will be able to use the keyboard and mouse relatively quickly. - In time the child will gain confidence in using a computer.
- They will not need to worry about damaging the computer or underlying OS.

Benefit to the parents:

- Be able to easily find educational modules for their child, ranging from easy to hard. - Be able to monitor the child's progress. Each module will contain tests. If the child passes those tests, then parents can decide to upgrade to the next level module. - Will not need to worry about their children ruining COS or Operting System its running on.

What is the COMPETITION?
The only competition I've found is on the following website: http://www.osdata.com/children/children.htm

The author is trying to design a complete Operating System for children. This approach would take a long time to do. And the idea has not been updated for 2 years now.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It would need a few developers in designing the architecture. Once the system has been designed, information will be provided on the website on how to create further modules. Then other 3rd party developers will be able to easily create the software.

A couple of more people would be required to design the website.

Parents and children from very various ages would be required to test the software and pass feedback.

December 1, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack