Friday, 24 April 2015

How small can a dishwasher get?

I think it would be possible or beneficial to create a little in-sink automatic dishwasher rack that connects to your taps. It couldn't hold much, and it probably wouldn't do such a good job, but think of the space savings. For small apartments or small kitchens, this could be a real benefit.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Or maybe, by then, the benefits are just too small.
PPS - Because, really, you'd only fit a couple of plates in there, wouldn't you?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

To achieve a meaningless first

I want to be the first person carried up Mount Everest on a sedan chair. Sure, it's a kind of achievement, but I could easily be replaced with a sack of potatoes and it would make no difference. I like that kind of weirdness.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - That is all. I'm tired.
PPS - Which is the perfect time to be carried around. Anyone interested?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Making online workspaces for teams

To bring together the widely-dispersed teams of the future, we need people who can build virtual office spaces as much as today we need people who fit out physical offices to the specifications of clients. The difference is that today's business says "we need space for 60 desks, each with two computer monitors and a phone, plus we need three eight-person meeting rooms" or whatever, while tomorrow's global business might say "we need a connected workspace for a team of 20 people, including easy video for private meetings, plus of course some shared file storage, and we'd like people to be able to work offline and re-sync later". The virtual architect of that workspace will need to know how to bring together existing and new software seamlessly so that the virtual office just works. That should mean that nobody needs to think about the where and how of talking to each other after a 5-minute tutorial.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Very small businesses may have off-the-shelf solutions for online work.
PPS - Very large corporations will be an altogether different beast.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Autonomous sensory meridian response, if real, might just be the pleasure centre of the brain reacting to a feeling of intimacy generated by whispering, plus the blessed relief that comes with finally getting some peace and quiet from the noisy world for once. The white noise represents that quiet nicely and, as a bonus, comes with the high-gain settings necessary to capture whispering on a microphone.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not completely convinced.
PPS - I haven't had it myself, anyway.

Monday, 20 April 2015


I've always thought, if I could have a super power, that super-speed would be pretty great. I just think I'd get a lot done, plus the opportunities for messing with people are huge. We discussed this at a recent dinner with friends, because I have awesome friends, and we bounced back and forth different ideas of what you could do with such power if, say, someone was giving a speech. With a couple of props, you could make it look like they were trying to avoid giving the speech at all by performing a bunch of magic tricks. Imagine putting ping-pong balls in their mouth any time it opens up, releasing doves from their sleeves every time they gesture widely, then replacing them with a monkey in a critical moment. Hilarious.

Of course, this assumes that the force and speed don't disintegrate anything, create sonic shock waves or superheat the air, which is a real danger with super-speed and not at all fun. It has to be a weird kind of magical, non-destructive speed power. Quicksilver, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, holds Magneto's head so he doesn't get whiplash, then runs at a speed that would disintegrate a human body anyway. You want to avoid that, if you're super-speeding about. Just a tip.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'd probably get a lot of reading done.
PPS - Then I'd probably get super-bored, to be honest.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Are backer rewards worth it?

Do backer perks kill or at least bog down creative projects funded through Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sites? If I were attempting a project like that, I'd be surprised if I didn't spend half my time signing things and shipping them out, rather than doing the actual project. And a significant amount of the funding would have to go to those backer rewards, too, which leaves less available for the actual project. That could easily be a trap that creative people fall into when asking for crowdfunding money. If you think you'll need $100K to complete your project, and you reach that goal, but you have to spend $50K on backer rewards, you're going to fail, because you're really only half-funded. Or if you're making some new device and you promise one to every backer, then you fund your whole first production run, send them all off to backers and you're back to square one.

While I realise that backer rewards are something people can easily comprehend, I think crowdfunding should probably work more like ordinary venture capital. I invest in your project, you make it happen, I get dividends in return from your sales. If I want a copy of the movie, TV show, nifty gadget, I can buy one like anyone else. Freebies for backers work pretty well if you've got two big investors. Throw them a bone to sweeten the deal. Why not? But if you're funded by ten thousand of your biggest fans, then you give away the work to them afterwards, I think the money would all just form a complete circle and cancel itself out.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Presumably, though, you learn some stuff.
PPS - And are in a good position to start a second run, if you made any profit.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Calorie counting made easier

Counting calories is a massive pain, especially when cooking for yourself or eating out. Who knows exactly how much of each ingredient has gone into a meal? All the charts and tables are really, really precise - often listing individual meals from popular fast food chains down to single-digit accuracy. This means you need to find the exact thing you're eating, not a reasonable facsimile, and if you can't find that, then you're kind of screwed. Calculating calories for your own home-cooked meals means measuring each ingredient, finding that on the chart and adding it all up. If you're eating out at a unique restaurant or little cafe, you'll be guessing more than anything.
My idea of the day is to draw up a rough-idea grid of calorie counts in different classifications of food - not "chicken", "pizza" and "beer" but "bad", "so-so" and "good", with a breakdown of portion sizes, "small", "medium" and "large". From this, you should be able to get a good enough idea of your calorie intake without needing to look up the difference between white rice and brown rice. We're sacrificing some precision for better usability. You do need to know enough to say whether a meal is good or bad, and that might get subjective, but how much difference does it make to your system if you think you've eaten 50 calories instead of 60?
So here's my chart. Consider it a work in progress, able to be tweaked if you want, but remember the goal: simplicity over precision, but maintaining accuracy. By all means, adjust the values, but if you start trying to add in the difference between chicken and beef, stop.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's weird, but I put off writing up this table for weeks.
PPS - I guess I thought it would be hard.