A Camera Reflection

As I think about the progression of things towards “free”, I keep running into instances where “if only they added another” becomes ever more likely/practical.

I was trying to take a good photo of my baby girl as she sat in my lap today. I was using my iPhone and everyone knows how hard that can be to take a good shot with. An earlier piece pointed out how eventually, which the ever cheaper price of displays, that they’d have displays on both sides of the phone and in this instance, I would have been able to see what I had in the viewfinder. But I couldn’t.

The photo didn’t come out all that great, but as I emailed it to my wife back at home, I thought for a moment that not only did the photo show little of my daughter and I, but it didn’t show much of what was around us. So my wife had no way of knowing where we were.

So I almost took a picture of what we had been looking towards at the time of the photo, which happened to be Treasure Island here on San Francisco Bay. But when I stopped myself from doing that, I realized that with the decreasing price of camera lenses, why doesn’t the phone just do it by itself?

The new iPhones have cameras on both sides, so that should be trivial, right? Just a software thing. But what about other cameras? SLRs? Doesn’t have to be the same high-end lense/photo, but why not just add a bunch of smartphone cameras to all sides of the camera? That way you could get context for your photos. The camera could somehow store them in a way that software on my computer could connect the two. Just as they have GPS coordinates embedded in photos, why not photos of what was on either side or behind me?

Never know what you’ll see as things move closer to free.


After seeing yet another somethingVille billboard along US101, the thought struck me.. Why hasn’t Zynga catered to the goth/vampire/werewolf market? How about CemeteryVille where you come out at night and play your character (whether ghost, goblin, vampire or teenager trying to spark in your convertible after the prom). You can get points for sucking the most blood, spend your hardbought credits to buy garlic or a silver bullet.

Perhaps there’s only so many people this would appeal to, but as someone who’s never played an anythingVille game, I know I’ll enjoy the updates of my friends showing up on the Wall (Mr. Gorbachev tear down this Facebook Wall!)

Living Plant

The world is growing with devices that sense and respond to data available on the interweb or the real world. And with the fact that we’re now closely connected to people we couldn’t be further apart from, we’ll need more and more ways to show how we’re feeling at any one point in time with people who can’t always see or hear us.

Short of going online and ordering a physical gift to be shipped in a physical truck by a physical person to their door, how about some way to solidify the virtual?

How about a physical entity you sit on your desk at home. Maybe a cute, colorful plastic “flower” arrangement that I can connect to my computer and select for it to bloom with daisies. Every morning the flowers would open, at night they’d close up to sleep.

So that’s still just me and my expensive flowers that never need to be refreshed or rebought. What about the virtual shenanigans? Well, have a friend send a tweet, click on a link, post their feelings on Facebook, whatever and voila, they could change those daisies to roses (to show their love).

Little plastic petals extending and retracting to show you a physical manifestation of their remote and virtual feelings.

Possible names:
– Pokesies
– iBouquet
– ForgetMeNots

Possible other products:
– A smiley face orb with changing facial expressions
– a little flag pole where different flags get raised
– a lamp where friends can adjust the brightness and color

iApplause Meter

We’ve all seen applause meters on TV shows (an elsewhere) to measure response to something. This is following the imminently foolproof logic that applause level = popularity. Thus, in a world of distributed audiences.. How do we measure popularity? How about an app that uses the built-in accelerometer to measure applause.

You have an iPhone, dowload the app, put the phone in your hands, then clap. That’s simple. If you’re American Idol, create your event in the app, allow your audience sitting at home download the app, sign-in to the event, then wait for the clap. Measure claps from all over the world. Really know when something is popular.

Possible app names:

Next Step iPhone

I’ve been wondering for a while what the next next thing should be for the iPhone. If you think about where drops in hardware costs are going, you an start to see when certain capabilities start to virtually be free. That’s how we ended up with two cameras on each iPhone 4, as they are basically free.

So what’s next? How about drops in the cost of the touchscreens themselves? The nintendo DS has had more than one touchscreen.. They keep being able to make bigger/cheape screens.. So why not two? If you need to use two apps (or same app) at the same time, just turn to the back of the phone and power up the 2nd screen. Then just switch between them. Open that safari link to the other screen with the hours for your favorite restaurant and then pop up the google map directions on the other.

It’ll happen…