5 posts

Christmas presents – sell/recycle for charity

Before and on Christmas most people think about people in need, and hopefully donate something. Not necessarily money, but presents as well.

But after Christmas there are lots of unwanted presents and things you don’t need, don’t like or will ever use. In most cases these items end up in the trash, at some shelf or, at best, being returned to the store.

Now just think of a different way. If you could just put those presents up at E-Bay, in a charity special. You start an auction, put up your unwanted presents and select some registered non-profit organization that will received the money. E-bay won’t charge you for the transaction, at least for those charity auctions.

Sounds like a great idea to me.

The ConPanion

While preparing for EclipseCon Europe 2015 (a few weeks back I have to say, it was a great conference) I again wanted to a have a small mobile helper. So instead of forgetting (again) about it, this time I briefly wrote it down. So here it is.

Going to a conference I do want to have the schedule in advance, I want a nicely rendered view on my mobile phone, offline(!), making plans which talks to attend while riding public transportation. Clicking together a plan. Now for this to work, the conference itself has to provide some sort of data set to make this happen. I really don’t want to have a specific mobile app for each conference. Also adding all the features I do have in mind would crash all budgets which might be available for a single conference. No, the basic idea is to make one tool and let the conference publish the information itself. So the tool simply picks up this … let’s say, XML file, containing all the information necessary for the mobile helper (ok, use JSON if you like that better).

So the effort for the user is to download the app (once) and the conference simply has to provide (and update) an XML file. This is “Tier 1” or the “Free Tier”.

Now we do have two additional tiers (groups of services) which could be used to bring in money, but in any way they will cost money for hosting.

The first group of extensions is some sort of default, additional services around the conference. Like ad-hoc meetings for example. Type a hashtag and create a new ad-hoc meeting and gather a interested persons to have a chat (an easier version of EclipseCon’s BoFs). This requires some backend service, to money has to be spent and in the other way round it has to be earned. Of course it would also be possible to offer car rentals, hotel reservations etc.

The second group of extensions to the app would be the service to host the content for the conventions. Not all conventions are softare developer conferences (at least I heard that), so maybe the conference does not want to fiddle around with the XML data set itself, but have a beautifully designed web UI which does all the magic.

I did write up the ideas in a PDF file, but don’t expect too much additional information. This is the basic idea.

Read the PDF: ConPanion.pdf

You left your phone!

Dear Google,

Today it happened again. I left my mobile phone at home. I realized that before entering the train, so I went back, grabbed it and went back to catch the next train. This gave me a few minutes to think about that ;-)

You got Android Wear/Watch and already have the smart unlock functionality where your watch (if it is near your phone) can unlock it.

Now you also could detect the opposite scenario, my watch detects it lost the “visibility” of the my mobile phone, so an alarm could pop up on my watch, notifying me about the fact that it left my phone. I can dismiss the alarm, and decide if I go back.

This might cause a few false alarms, but with a small set of additional rules (like “only do this at home/work”, only do this around 8 am and 6 pm) these could be reduced quite a bit.

Please let me know when you are ready.

Kind regards


PS: Actually I do need to buy a watch for that …

Searching for lyrics in Google Music

google music logoDear Google,

as a subscriber of Google Music I often search for music I listened to in the past. In many cases I do know the title, artist or sometime the name of the album.

But sometimes I just remember a fragment of the lyrics. However, searching for a fragment from the lyrics brings up nothing useful in Google Music.

So please Google, allow me to search not only for meta data like title, artist or album, but also for lyrics.

And while you are at it, please also let me limit the search afterwards, like a time period (the 90s), a genre (Rock), a language (some German bands do use English album title, but produce German lyrics), a country of origin (yes, German bands are capable of singing English lyrics).

You are the search giant … aren’t you?

Calling from Google search

Dear Google …

Bildschirmfoto 2015-08-15 um 17.18.49

… I just did a search for some business an Google and actually the first hit and the suggestion box on the right side is the perfect match for what I was looking for. The info box contains all the relevant information, including the phone number, which is a clickable link.

Now I did the search on the desktop computer and not on my mobile phone. Clicking the link automatically starts Google Hangout with a call to that telephone number, without asking for confirmation. Too bad that the computer does not have a microphone attached.

So please…

… instead of dialing from my desktop computer, with Hangout, I would rather want to see a small confirmation box, which (once pressed “OK” or “Yes” or whatever) sends a message to my mobile phone, triggering the call to this telephone number.

Since I was already logged in with my Google Account when doing the search, there should be no problem detecting my Google registered Android phone, and sending a Google Cloud 2 Device Message which triggers the call. You can do the same using “Chrome to Phone” for web pages.

Hopefully you can add this in a future release ;-)