high_rolla writes: "Whenever there's an election on, or some other good enough reason, I'm inundated with political advertising literature. I imagine everyone is. What a waste of paper. What if we could instigate a list and if you were on it politicians were not allowed to post you advertising literature but had to send it by email? We could save a lot of paper being wasted and do our bit for the environment. If you didn't want to receive the messages it would also be trivial for you to create a filter for it as well. So what do you think? Politicians would no doubt hate it but if enough people got behind it could we get it going?"
high_rolla writes: "3D printing is starting to pick up pace. There's no doubt that once it improves to a certain level and reaches a certain price point it has the potential to change the world and impact on many different market segments. Just as the entertainment industry is fighting heavily to protect their outdated business model through legislation, do you reckon that manufacturers and many others that could be in danger from 3d printing will start to push for legislation to heavily restrict and control their usage? We've already seen the potential to print weapons such as guns. Will events like this really just play right into their hands? Or do you foresee a different future?"
high_rolla writes: "Lately the fun and games in the smartphone market have been hitting new levels of silly. Perfect material for a spoof: A Game of Phones Instead of kings we have Apple, Google, HTC, Samsung etc. They each command armies of lawyers and have stockpiles of patents to defend with. The throne is ultimate market share and the destruction of other players. There also seems to be just as much treason, incest and adultery going on as in the books. It seems that we can draw plenty of parallels here so I thought I'd ask Slashdot: If you were tasked with creating this spoof, what material would you add? Who would you cast as which characters? What major events would play out? etc. Have fun and I look forward to reading what you come up with."
high_rolla writes: "I was recently asked, by someone wanting to get into programming, what they could do to help prepare themselves. I figured that working out what the underlying principle of programming is and then attacking that would be a good place to start. My initial thoughts are that it is problem solving. Pretty much everything you write will have the aim of solving a problem. So if you want to become a better programmer, start by becoming a better problem solver. Would be keen to get your opinions on this. Is there a flaw in my thinking or is there a better foundation that I'm missing?"
high_rolla writes: "Let's say that the US fails to reach an agreement and they default. This will obviously have a potentially huge impact on the economy globally. I'm wondering if this will push companies to evaluate cloud computing more aggressively as a means to cut costs. Given this could mean that there will be fewer jobs (as cloud computing allows resources to be centralized and a lot of work automated), and that those jobs will require higher skill sets, is Linux certification going to be more important in the future? Only 4% of job listings are seeking some form of Linux certification at the moment, is this an area that will see a dramatic change? If so, what Linux certifications do you think would be the most important to have?"
high_rolla writes: Science seems able to explain just about everything nowadays. What if someone discovered true magic however. They could fly or shoot fireballs out the fingers or levitate items or the like. And science had absolutely no explanation for how they were doing it. In medieval times it wouldn't have gone down too well.
What about now though. Has science and our increased understanding of things made us less fearful of the unknown? Have movies and computer games made us more relaxed in terms of this sort of stuff? Do you think we would react with the fear and hatred of previous times or would we treat it differently?
high_rolla writes: The recent developments between Nokia and MS have come as a surprise to many (and not to others considering Elop's background). What if this is part of a grand plan however for Nokia to become the exclusive manufacturer of hardware for MS phones and tablets? It is a strategy that has worked well for Apple and Nokia is big enough that MS could cut it's ties with all other manufacturers and still have a large presence. It would allow Nokia and MS to focus on one tightly integrated set of products.
high_rolla writes: Page rank is a great idea. Unfortunately it suffers from two small problems. People consistently trying to game the system and peoples natural tendency to click on the first result (or one of the first) meaning popular results tend to get more popular over time. Which means a lot of great content and resources potentially go unnoticed. How would you go about creating a search engine that had a focus on exploring as well as quality? On the linked article one suggestion has been to randomize the results on each page as well as inject one or two results from lower pages at random. I'm sure there must be better ideas out there however.
high_rolla writes: Smartphones are all the rage right now. Yet all the innovation appears to be in software. On the hardware side of things we are stagnating. Each device is essentially a touch screen that takes up most of the front face, maybe a few buttons thrown in and possibly a slide out keyboard. There are subtle differences in the implementation but essentially the features are the same. I would like to propose my idea for the next breakthrough in smartphone design. Why not put a full touch screen on both sides of the device? It would afford many possibilities for new interaction methods. What are your ideas for new hardware designs for smartphones?
high_rolla writes: There are an estimated 247 billion emails sent every day. Of that they believe about 97% are spam. Have you ever thought about the energy involved in sending and processing this vast amount of spam? Spam is leading to increasing energy requirements (though spammers would have you believe it leads to a huge increase in something else but we won't go there). Could it be that putting an end to spam is one of the best things we can do for the environment? If we were to take this challenge seriously, how would you achieve it?
high_rolla writes: Creativity is an important skill. Yet it is something that is somewhat lacking in our current education systems. Sir Ken Robinson presents some rather strong opinions on the subject. Edward de Bono has also been involved in research suggesting that teaching thinking skills as a separate subject will improve performance in every other subject between 30 and 100%. Given evidence such as this, why are we not putting a greater emphasis on creative thinking in schools? To what extend do you think technology is hindering or encouraging creativity in education? Is the emergence of mobile/ touch sensitive devices having a positive impact on the ability to encourage and promote creativity?
high_rolla writes: Could renewable energy have adverse affects that we are not yet aware of? For instance is setting up solar panels over increasingly large areas effectively starving the land there of heat that it would normally receive and absorb? If so, how is this going to affect that surrounding environment long term?
high_rolla writes: If you look at it, every one of the 5 main browsers has an icon based around the concept of a circle. Internet Explorer is a round E, Firefox is a fox curled around a globe, Opera is an O, Chrome is a round 3 colour disc and Safari is a round compass. What is it about a circle that is synonymous with the internet? Or is it just complete coincidence that they all share this trait?
high_rolla writes: Recently I have been helping teachers come up with creative ways to use the tools they have on Moodle (a VLE). They initially thought they would need custom tools developed for all the activities they wanted to do. We discovered that they largely didn't need to do this but could use the existing tools in creative ways. eg, we looked at holding student elections using the Choice activity and doing structured brainstorming using forums. It occurred to me that technical people do this all the time but it is not very natural for others.
I have two questions: What tools do you use in ways they were not intended? How do you think we can encourage others to think in this way?
high_rolla writes: It appears to me that a tablet is only part of what Apple is soon to release. I think that companies such as Toshiba were onto something when they had their tablet/ laptop hybrids such as the Portege M200. They were just clunky and didn't have an OS that could work with the tablet form factor well. Now imagine a cross between a 10" NetBook Air and a tablet with a sleek mechanism to transition between the two. This could have huge potential and be versatile enough to suit many situations.