haikoeLess than two days ago, Blondmonster asked me to review a haiku she’d written for (if I remember correctly) her employer’s Christmas greeting card. We both love haikus and we immediately started brainstorming. “Cow” stanslates as “koe” in Dutch, and we’d joked before about a “haikoe” (which is pronounced just like “haiku” in English). Sometimes you just need to act on impulses like this, so without further ado, I present to you:

The website is extremely beta, and was hacked together from Snapatar leftovers, the Twitter API and some great artwork by Blondmonster. It will break. Possibly even today. But I’ll fix it when it does, and I hope that in the mean time you’ll feed our little bovine friend some haikus. Simply tweet a haiku and tag it #haikoe. You’ll then need to refresh the page to update.

Roy | November 19, 2009 | English,ideas,Internet | Comments Off on Introducing
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Tweet your domain and win a MacBook or an iPod!

netfirms logoNetfirms just launched a contest to promote a pretty cool new feature they have. If you sign up with them you’ll be able to register domains by sending them a Twitter direct message. Not only does that save you from having to log into your account, it also allows you to snatch that cool domain name you just thought of anywhere you have access to Twitter. Clever. Here’s what you have to do to enter the Netfirms contest. You may just end up winning an iPod Touch or a MacBook.
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Roy | September 11, 2009 | English,ideas,Internet | Comments (1)
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Snapatar 0.9.5 adds a self-timer and mirror mode

Snapatar screenshotMy latest pet project, is nearly ready to be launched. It’s been online for a few weeks now, and we’ve been fixing little bugs and adding features users have asked us about. The latest version, 0.9.5, adds two of those features.
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Avartize: Easily add overlays to your Twitter Avatar

Avartize logoNot too long ago, a whole bunch of Twitter users made their avatar images green to show support for the Iranian people after the recent elections there. I’m not sure it had any effect, but it did (to my knowledge) introduce the concept of using a profile image overlay to communicate a message to your followers.

Recent startup Avartize picks up on this principle, and allows you to not only pick a predefined overlay (there are a whole bunch available already), but also allows your to create your own. Now everyone can start a campaign like the #iranelection one. All you have to do is become an ‘avartizer’.
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Roy | July 26, 2009 | English,ideas,Internet | Comments (7)

Introducing Snapatar: Update your Twitter avatar from your webcam

Twitter by it’s very nature is a very limited service. That’s what’s fun about it. Some people manage to be really clever and witty in 140 characters. But there’s only so much you can express in a tweet. The other main way to express your personality on Twitter is through your avatar image (or ‘profile picture’ as Twitter calls them).

Snapatar screenshot

Many of the people I follow have carefully designed avatars that they don’t change very often. But what if you could have your avatar be as current as your tweets. Showing you exactly the way you look today, doing what you’re doing right now? That’s where Snapatar comes in.
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USB hub with on/off switches: Buffalo does it right

Buffalo USB hub with switchesIt’s been over a year since I first posted the idea of a USB hub that would let you switch each port on or off. To save energy, avoid peripherals from waking up each time you fire up your PC or simply because you won’t be needing the USB missile launcher today. Soon after that, Brando actually released one, but it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned.

Buffalo seems to have done a far better job, with what look to be decent switches and a power supply in case you need to connect things that need the full 500 mW of power that USB can supply. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to think of this, especially since the Brando came out a month after my blog post. But it’s nice to see the idea catch on.

Idea: Corded DECT phone

Philips DC255 DECT phoneI bought a new home phone this weekend. Two of the extra handsets from my Siemens Gigaset setup had given up after years of daily use, and since new add-on handsets are nearly impossible to find (and very expensive), I decided to go for an all new system. One thing I noticed was that it’s very hard to find anything really nice. When DECT was a new technology, getting a new phone was exciting. There were lots of models to choose from, and some of them were really sexy.

It may be the current recession, but all three stores I visited had the same bland, boring and cheap models. None of them offered anything special, and the only model with a decent color screen was gathering dust in the back of the display and had only a single handset.
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TIME/SPACE experiment on YouTube

I’ve been meaning to convert some of the output of my TIME/SPACE experiment on YouTube for a while now. Unfortunately the current incarnation of that project is a Flash movie, and Flash doesn’t let you simply save the images you generate. At least not very conveniently.

I’d been looking into complicated stuff like mmsave, when it dawned on me that there are plenty of tools out there that let you simply record whatever’s on your screen. I ended up using Windows Media Encoder to grab these and VirtualDub to crop and convert them. Took just a few minutes.
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Idea: Folding vertical browser tabs

I have no idea whether anyone has thought of this already, so please don’t sue me. Folding vertical browser tabs. The idea is to be able to fold and unfold tabs, thereby dividing the horizontal space available. This would enable you to not only browse more than one website at once, it would also make copy-pasting stuff easier. Or looking up stuff in a dictionary whilst reading a page that uses fancy words. And it would allow you to fully use the screen real estate on large displays.

The image is a very very crude (it took me only 10 minutes to make) mockup of the idea, based on Firefox. It has four tabs, with two of them ‘active’ (unfolded) and two ‘inactive’ (folded). Click the small version to see a higher resolution one. It should give you an idea of that I mean. Let me know what you think.

Roy | October 22, 2008 | English,ideas | Comments (14)
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USB hub with on/off switches: It’s here!

Brando USB hub with on/off switches

I wrote about this a while back, and it seems someone had the exact same idea. Brando just released a USB hub with switches that let you turn the connected devices on or off as you please.

I’m not too fond of the design (which does little to hide the wiring and uses slide switches instead of more convenient push buttons), and a couple of more ports would have been nice, but this is a great device nontheless. Every time someone does not power up that little-used scanner and saves rain forests as a result is important.

Roy | December 8, 2007 | English,ideas | Comments Off on USB hub with on/off switches: It’s here!
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