Cloud Backup…

I’m standing on the train platform where yet another cloud backup for your photos is being promoted. All great…but they just never seem to work as they claim.

So I’ve tried google photos and iCloud backup for photos on my iPhone. It’s a nice thing to have extra space, to have the ability to back them up in case my phone is damaged, and especially great to get to my photos from multiple places. But in my experience (so far) they have all added an extra toll – what is on what?

The moment you create a place to add/delete from multiple places, you have a synchronization problem. Now, this may not be a technical problem anymore, but it’s most definitely a UX problem.

Upload photo 1 from device A and upload photo 2 from computer B. Then go ahead and add photo 3 from device A and realize it’s not the photo you want to keep, so you delete from device A. Did it delete from everywhere else? And so on from there.

I think you have to go to a more forced approach to take away the confusion…either a system that will add any new photos to everywhere and deleting from anywhere deletes from everywhere. Or a system that will think of the cloud as “everything” and will allow you to add and delete from anywhere/everywhere but will never ever delete from the cloud. Perhaps you have a way to “hide” from the cloud, but they will always be there, everywhere. You simply choose which to “subscribe” to from any one device.

Now, I think many of the apps have options which might approximate this, but the moment you can switch between approaches, that’s the moment you can’t be sure what is where anymore. And heaven knows, when I trust my photos to something, I don’t want to be unsure about anything.

So instead of touting “unlimited storage” for your photos.. tout “forever” storage. Build a cloud that will never let you delete. Allow you to hide, sort, filter, etc. but it will always be there. “You can rest assured we will never Forget(R).”

The Reverse Umbrella

On a trip to a very sunny and hot location, I cleared my sweaty face in order to see a person shading themselves from the sun with an umbrella. A regular umbrella.

Shade helps.

But as anyone who goes to Disneyworld in the heat of… well, anytime… would see is squirt bottles paired with little fans. You get a little handheld mister to keep you wet and cool.

Using mist and water to help create a cooling effect is not new. Ancient architects and inventors had figured out ways to cool houses and food using water… things like swamp coolers and cooling chimneys.

This cooling works best with a breeze. If you’re wet from sweat or mist and have a breeze, yum – cool.

But on the hottest days, the sun burns. The breeze gets dwarfed by the burning sun. Without shade, that breeze is all but lost.

Enter the umbrella. But shade without much moisture won’t do much to help either.

Now, sweat alone will make a difference, but let’s say that shade of the umbrella has kept you from sweating too much… saved you from dripping in perspiration. What then?

Enter the Reverse Umbrella. It’s a normal umbrella with a twist… or should I say a mist.

Instead of the umbrella keeping you dry, the Reverse Umbrella keeps you wet.

With a little fan and a reservoir for water in the umbrella shaft – make it rain under the umbrella! Then the breeze will blow across your misty clothes, hair, etc. while in the shade.

Bliss!

My Order Code

With the prevelance of POS systems tied to the internet and available to anyone with a smartphone, why are we still ordering our meals like Neanderthals?

There’s always been an issue of with near infinite options, one has to repeat a long list of preferences to match the long list of options. No mayo, GF buns, with pork belly rather than pork loin…

My friend and I found a ramen place with not only gluten free ramen noodles but also a delightful number of options to make it tasty. We ordered two of the same. The woman understood and was making an effort, but it was a challenge to navigate all the screens and get right all the preferences.

One can’t simply expanded the 5 main ramen bowl options to included every preference… at least not on the menu.

But enter technology… why can’t I get a code that IS unique to my option. “The Matte” would be gluten free noodles, chick stock, slow cooked egg, no bamboo shoots, and pork loin. I may not be able to order “The Matte” by name, but I could give them a code (76gdhwid!6) or tap my phone or show them a QR code. Their computer could just respond that one time, store it at that restaurant, store or across the restaurant chain…

Would save them time on entering the order, would save me worry on whether they will get it right, and all that would make it that much easier/guaranteed I’d be back again rather than looking for some place a little easier to order from or that much more likely to get my order right.

Advanced Straw Technology

This one is an idea from the past, but it still hasn’t come to life yet. I’m sure a start-up named Sip(R) is right around the corner and will bring this into reality. Maybe with adverts or something, but alas, here’s the raw idea.

Ever been to a movie? Ever seen how large the soda glasses are coming? Ever joked about how big are they going to make them next? Ever then found yourself wondering how come you finish the super tanker of soda before the movie is even half-way done and you still are thirsty?

Well, your solution is the new advanced straw technology. One where your drink will never run out, never get cold, and you can switch flavors at any moment. How is this possible you ask? Well, with our new advanced straw technology, when you’re checking out with your tub of “buttered” popcorn, instead of a cup, they will sell you a straw. It will be an advanced straw. Not just a plastic (or now corn-based) plastic tube. Not just with a bendy part towards the top. But an advanced straw featuring a safety backflow preventing valve, and a proprietary locking joint at the bottom end.

Great, but where’s my cup?

No need. You walk to your seat and make yourself comfortable. Then you dock your straw in the matching proprietary locking joint in the armrest of your chair (you know, where the stone-age cupholder used to be). Once docked, the little led screen will appear letting you choose which flavor you would like, then just suck. Yes, just suck on it. And out will come your drink, plenty cold. And it will just keep on coming. No need to worry how much you drink. An unlimited amount of of your favorite flavors is at your elbow-tip. The credit card you have on file will be charged the amount of drink you have sucked by the end of the show. So if you just want a sip, you pay one price. If you want to drown your sorrows in syrupy goodness, you can another. And with special super-drinker club promotions, you can even buy an unlimited drink plan where each month you can drink a small portion of your overall allotment. Perhaps you bought the “drain the Amazon” size plan. Or “California is sinking” plan. Either way, you can just keep on drinking.

With all the advanced safety features built into the straw, you don’t need to worry about backwash, contamination or any of those needling worries you might have sucking nectar from an armrest.

But that’s not all. Given that we live in the world of smart phones and smart watches, instead of relying on a dinky 2 line LED readout under the arm of your Triple Goose sleeve, download our new app and you can mash up your flavors from our nifty app. Ever wanted Sprite Beer or Dr. Hi-C? You can now and it’ll all be served up in your nifty new advanced technology collectible souvenir straws. There’s the Straw Wars Episode VII straw featuring the return of Jar Jar Drinks. And don’t forget the new Alien Reunion themed straw featuring Sigourney Weaver’s scream that rings out every time you take a sip.

Aren’t you thirsty? What are you waiting for?

Driving Directions HOV

So I took a roadtrip with my daughter from SF to Disneyland. We went down the coast on US101. When I hit a break in the Oxnard area I plugged into Google Maps on my iPhone the destination and looked for its sage advice on the quickest route given traffic, etc. It told me my best bet was to take the 101 to the 5 down to Disneyland. And perhaps if I was driving on my own, that’s the route I would have taken. But I suspected that since I qualified as a carpool, there would be a quicker route.

Alas, as far as I could see, Google Maps didn’t offer an option for selecting that I was a carpool (or qualifying low emissions vehicle.) Perhaps I am missing something, or need a different app. But not having that feature (or that information) led Google Maps to giving me directions that would have been 30 minutes longer (on a 1hr 50 minute trip.)

I in fact took the 405 (who would choose to do that?) and because I knew they had done a lot of work to have carpool lanes on it, that helped make a lot of difference. Turns out, if you then take the 105 to the 110 to 91 to 5, the only stretch without a carpool lane is 110 (it’s a paid lane – free for HOV, but only with a SoCal FastTrack.)

So, anyone want to add this to their map/direction app?