For the odd moments I can manage to think of something.

“Ideas suppository”

Two ducks in a helmet and a chicken in a bra.

I had an idea, what do you reckon?

I have the great fortune to know a great many creative and technically talented people who work with the internet every day. I connect with them often on social networks and they have the grace and time to put up with my stupid questions and ideas over impromptu Gchat sessions and lengthy strings of DMs over twitter or FaceBook.

I also occasionally get time to go to meet ups and conferences where the usual suspects turn up and I get to meet new and inspiring people. It’s not breaking news that in this environment a great many ideas come up. Sometimes we talk seriously about the feasibility of a business strategy, sometimes we gossip about minor eruptions within the network and sometimes we chase down ideas that are so dumb that we keel over with giggles and grin at our own tenacity to think something silly through to a theoretical conclusion.

Often these ideas can be a foundation for something more important. Things that we might work on for our “real jobs”, stuff we get paid to do at work. Other times they are a dalliance, something to chat about or refer to as in-jokes or social references. It struck me that many of these ideas are actually good ideas, even if they are not worthy of creating a start-up and generally most of us are so busy that there is little chance that we can actually make something from them or realise their potential on the internet.

There are also ideas that are discussed and whipped up that have no basis in some of the work we do separately. For example: as a journalist, my ideas for games are not something I can dedicate time to, but that does not mean I am not interested.

Personally, I don’t have the coding chops to make something exist on the web, unless a platform is presented to me in which I can do so. I also lack the time generally to eat properly and sleep enough. So where do these ideas go and isn’t it a bit of a shame that they never come to life?

I would rather share some of these things in the hope that people with more time and better smarts can have a go at making things if they want to. I’m not about to flatter myself to the point of thinking that all of my ideas are worth pursuing. But I’d also rather not let them fade away like whisps of smoke, never proven or shared. So, I’m thinking about an “Ideas Repository”.

I chatted it through one evening with @Papa_Knight. Much to his amusement I was in my usual state of tired confusion and managed to fluff the words and call it an “Ideas Suppository”. I know there are some that might think that is quite right as a label. But y’know, it sort of has a ring to it (dirty pun acknowledged…) Maybe it’s better to share it than shove it.

So, how to?

There’s an element of openness and trust within an idea like this. People interpret ideas in a different way, like the open source community, the data is there for you to work with however you please, or like a creative commons attribution share-alike license, please take the idea and use it, but please credit the source.

There are bound to be cross overs. The hive mind influences itself and heck, I can hardly remember where I heard things sometimes so I am willing to admit when I am corrected that I probably was inspired by something long forgotten. But at least opening ideas to discussion might lead to better things or even put an idea to bed if the issues are thought out properly.

But if there is an idea you have no time to chase after and don’t want to forget it. Write it up. Drop it on your blog, or if you don’t have one, send it to me and I can paste it here in quotes to share. Send blog posts this way if you like and I can jot a summary and point to the details at your place. Like a networked uh, suppository… If this turns out to be something that needs more room, I am prepared to open up a separate blog area or a Posterous or similar to add things. I’m not the most prolific bear, but I have the odd moment. Maybe you do too.

Maybe this is a bad idea, but I’d rather share it than shove it, right?

Throw comments, messages etc in the box below as usual.


j4m1774h at gmail dot com

19 Responses to ““Ideas suppository””

  1. jemimahknight

    I should kick this off at least….

    I went to a feminist tweet up, I was nervous, but everyone was really nice.
    We got to talking about fear of being out at night and the Hollaback idea.
    I look at a lot of geomobile stuff for work and I was thinking about geotagging places where women are harrassed or attacked. Even if you are not comfortable taking a picture of the person harassing you, you can put a pin on a map to show where things happen and we might be able to find out why.

    This also linked into the news story in London where women have been raped in a particular area and a warning has gone out to avoid that palce –
    Seems that there is no CCTV around there as a possible connected issue.

    It looks as though Hollaback might be heading in this direction as they are looking to find people to help them with particular data.
    It annoys me that women should have to avoid any area. But to look at an area where this happens, it could be changed if we find out why maybe it can be changed.

    Is this already happening elsewhere? Can anyone help Hollaback? Is the data reliable? Is it even possible to collect data in a situation where you feel threatened?
    Already lots of questions and already something I wish I had more time to work on.

  2. Patrick

    I think this is an excellent idea.

    I should use my blog more to stick random ideas, too.

    Thanks for the prompt!

    • jemimahknight

      Yes, that is exactly what a suppository is and therefore exactly what I mean, in both cases…

    • jemimahknight

      That’s pretty much what I mean and an excellent resource (exploring more….)
      It’s also kinda code heavy which is a bit frightening to some (okay – me…I’m not yet there when it comes to understanding all of the issues behind making interwebs ideas work…)
      It might be a place to look at things and learn though. Maybe people like me never see their ideas through for fear of not knowing how…or thinking that things might be unfeasible when it comes to the back end.
      *turning over ideas….I like that template…. šŸ™‚

  3. benedict

    i think this is great. i’ve got my own private “idea suppository” but like you say, it’s hard to find time to pursue them. sharing it in a friendly space/within a community may be how we can give these ideas wings.

    liking that idea of geotagging places that women should avoid, how that ultimately funnels into changes in those locations is what makes it exciting and powerful.

    • jemimahknight

      Just need time to make it happen I guess…or cheer on Hollaback if they do it…or hope that someone with time and skills likes it enough to try it themselves?


  4. Rob Spence

    Excellent suppository offer. šŸ™‚

    Checked out hollaback

    I think its a great idea but one of the posts I read made me wonder if sometimes it is an overcorrection. Kind of ties in to having a video camera on you at all times. Something I have thought about a lot. As an Eyeborg and all.

    Read this from that blog and tell me what you think:

    ~On my way home last night, another man approached me in Times Square station. He said “Nice” as I walked past him and then he followed me to the platform. When he tried to talk to me and tell me he thought I was beautiful, I screamed and waved my arms and told him to get the fuck away. There were so many people and police around that he ran off. I didn’t make another complaint, but it scared the shit out of me.~

    To be fair there is a context here – this is what happened to this poster a little while before the above incident from a different guy.

    ~Again he told me I was beautiful and whatever and I yelled “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” He called me a bitch and followed me on to the platform. I tried to stay close to groups of people and slowly sneak farther down the platform, but he kept following.~

    Look, I have gone up to a woman in public before and told her I thought she was attractive. If she isn’t in to it I politely bugger off. A lot of it is tone. If you get “please don’t bother me” body language – then its a no go for sure. And BTW I don’t hit on a lot of women in public at all. But I have done it at least a couple times in my life. And they didn’t scream for me to fuck off either. šŸ™‚ In my case things were very pleasant.

    I think its well within gentlemanly code to approach a woman in public and tell her she is attractive. And I wouldn’t much care to see my photo on a sexual harrassment blog for doing so.

    Point is that a woman who has been scared has every right to freak out a little. She’s scared. But the tone of the blog sort of strikes as saying “never ever hit on a woman in public.”

    And maybe that’s its job. And maybe I shouldn’t. But I don’t think so.

  5. jemimahknight

    I read that post too.
    I think the problem is that as a lone woman out and about sometimes, I am wary of being approached. In fact, going out after 9.30 pm for me means keeping an eye out and it also changes what I choose to wear. I am not so sure that this is the case for most men my age.
    In that post, the problem seems to be a repeated approach. It was part of the discussion I had in the pub with other women recently. You can politely say you are not interested but many, many times, no matter how clear you are about this, guys don’t stop. Then when you repeat this, more forcefully you are a target for verbal abuse and aggression. So, even stating your position clearly can lead to a really unpleasant situation.
    I don’t think that the tone of the blog is quite what you say, but I certainly appreciate what you are saying from a different point of view. After all – if men and women didn’t tell each other when they find people attractive, the end conclusion would be pretty dire. But thinking a little bit about a woman’s position – are they alone? Are they just walking down the street? and the angle of approach, is kinda useful.
    I’ve dealt with nice guys saying hi in public places as well as really frightening attacks that left me home and scared and unwilling to go out for a while.
    There is always a possibility with a site like hollaback that there could be false accusations. This not only is a terrible situation for the accused, but does not help women who are genuinely harrassed as the faith in their statements is undermined.
    It’s complicated no?
    But as it stands, I’m still glad there is some way that I can be less afraid when I go out and that I should be able to say that I am uncomfortable with a situation. Much as it is my right to say hi, like guys do, it’s their right and mine to say, no thank you or speak up when someone oversteps a line that is not always easy to identify.

  6. OniDaito

    Wiki meets Online White Board? There’s never really been a good combo of digital notebook and Collaborative Wiki.

    • jemimahknight

      Yeah, I want to love wikis more than I do….I find them generally unattractive and a chore to navigate. (Yes i’m that lazy – yes I admit there are better examples too)

      But something simple where people can drop things. Maybe a Ning network? Or the torrent that Rainycatz listed above.

      Just something where a bit of thought can be written out – even for just for sake of noting the idea to point to another time. Also to encourage people to formulate ideas to a point where they can be discussed with others. (hopefully not a big flame war – but y’know, helpful ideas or ideaswaps…)

  7. jemimahknight

    So – we have another idea if anyone wants to jump in –
    My friend Tim doesn’t have a blog to post this on – so i’m cutting and pasting this here for him and for you lot to think about if you like.

    “Ok, here’s one.
    This has been bugging me for some time, mainly because I’ve never heard it discussed by anyone, yet it seems so obvious.
    Energy consumption, as we all know is a big problem. Usage is through the roof, prices are sky high, and the cost to the environment potentially crippling.
    It’s frequently mentioned that we all use many more electrical devices than in the past, but one thing that isn’t mentioned very often is the huge discrepancy between the power rating of those devices, and the enormous amount of power available from a standard UK plug socket.
    The Macbook Pro I’m using to write this requires a potential difference of 18 volts. My plug sockets output a potential difference of 240 volts. That’s 13 times the amount I need to run a pretty powerful computer! The result is that almost every device we plug into the wall requires a step down transformer, that converts electrical energy into heat in order to provide the computer, or phone, or Hi-Fi, or DVD player, or anything else you have in the house with the correct voltage. As the unnecessary production of heat and wasting of electricity are both things we want to avoid, I’m surprised how rarely it’s mentioned.

    My question is this – why aren’t all UK homes, fitted with two sets of power outlets? The Standard 240V AC sockets we have now, for Washing machines, kettles, ovens, and toasters, and additional 20, or 24V DC outlets for all the other stuff we use. The stuff we leave on for HOURS.

    Yes, it would be a pain in the arse to implement, but the amount of energy saved would be incredible, plus you wouldn’t have to have an awkward transformer attached to the power cord of every little gadget you own.
    In fact many types of goods would be cheaper as a result.

    Why have I never heard any mention of this EVER?
    I did ask a friend who wrote a best selling book on the environment about this, and he said he’d ask Al Gore, but that was a while back and Al hasn’t got back to me so I’m asking you.

    One for your suppository?

    T x”

    One for the idea suppository indeed. Thanks Tim.

  8. Richard Matthias

    There are a couple of things wrong here. Actual power consumption isn’t about voltage, it’s about the current as well. Power = voltage X current. Without knowing the maths involved, you know that lightbullbs use different amounts of power even though they are all attached to the same 240v power line. Different resistances allow different amounts of current to flow and that’s why they use 60W or 100W.

    The other thing is that converting from one voltage to another isn’t about ‘burning off’ the excess voltage as power. Transformers can increase the voltage as well as reduce it. They work by converting electrical current into magnetic fliux and back. The get warm because they are not 100% efficient – there is power being wasted, but that is largely unavoidable as it is in any conversion process. btw. many power supplies (e.g. for computers) don’t use transformers and instead use switching, but that’s too complex to explain in a blog comment (there’s plenty of information on wikipedia).

    As to the question of why we don’t have different voltage power rails in our homes: it wouldn’t make any difference to power consumption. On the national grid the voltage is 400kV. It gets ‘stepped down’ by various substations that all use transformers and by the time it gets to your wall socket, it’s 240V. If 12V or 5V were the ideal voltages for gadgets, it would just mean the power conversion happens in the understairs cupboard instead of in the equipment.

    Also there’s the issue that different equipment needs all sorts of different voltages, often multiple voltages in the same item. Your Macbook might take 18 volts from the ‘carpet carbunce’, but some of the chips inside run on 1.8V, others at 3.3V, other components at 5V and the motor of the harddrive at 12V. So there’s a lot of voltage conversion going on inside the machine itself.


    • jemimahknight

      Thanks Richard, this is like a cool science class for me.
      I have sent word to Tim as well so he can read replies.

      I must organise this a bit better I guess…but for now , v intersted in all the input.

  9. Benjamin Blundell

    A better idea is a cheap monitor system to gauge how much people are really using. Such things are available at present but cost a bit to install. Having something that allows simple monitoring of consumption to raise awareness is good.

    • jemimahknight

      Brill – soon as I get a break at home, I’ll be looking for good ideas on this wavelength – there has to be a way so that non-bloggers like Tim can post ideas for discussion – much as I love reading the ideas and all the great answers.


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