Half Baked Ideas

The Simulacra-cycle

Bicycling with a light-weight (and functional!) helmet embedded with with 360 fisheye camera coverage. Also collect rotation/acceleration data and post-process out movements to give a stable 360 video image which can be played back with 3D goggles (or a basic computer/tablet interface?).

Enhanced version would also record bike vibrations, pedal turns, audio, and handlebar positions, and this could be played back on an artificial bike.

Solar Autonoma

An audio “artifact”: a CD jewel case with a photovoltaic panel powering a generative digital/analog electronic music box which outputs hundreds of years worth of non-repeating audio to an 1/8” headphone jack.

One crude output algorithm could be the raw position of a turning machine (probably a busy beaver) tape position over time. Another is interpreting a meta-stable cellular autonoma’s cells as notes; perhaps the combination of these two ideas?

Should be engineered to last at least a few decades without repairs, which means compensating for PV cell degredation.


Robustly encode arbirary data into techno, similar to image-based stenography techniques. Should be able to recover the data from audio recorded live at a concert or rave; perhaps in real-time?

Leads to “verboden” music which is illegal to broadcast and listen to?

Robotic Mouse Cursor

An omni-drive robot encased in a mouse, controlled by a touchstick or touchpad. Should translate very quickly, so the user feels like they are “mousing” and selecting over the floor.

“Nest for Lighting”

Auto-dimming lights to react to ambient light levels. Could also do the opposite and stochastically vary the light level to give cloud-like effect in window-less rooms.


Open Hardware LabJack competitor. Compatible with wiring, Lua scripting, full free GCC toolchain. Support/drivers for Octave, Matlab, Mathematica, UNIX /dev points, EPICS, ROOT, ROS, RTEMS. “Industrial Quality” for $80-100, “Commercial Quality” $50. Characterized and well-documented analog interfaces.

General Purpose Laptop CardBus FPGA Interface

Computational acceleration (compression, codecs, crypto, real-time modeling/simulation), external digital interfacing (logic analyzer, USB debugging, HDMI, networking, etc), host debugging (watchdog, timing, console interface, bus sniffing, peripheral emulation, kernel unit tests). High-density pins to many different cable types (extra $$$) with logic-level shifters: “universal digital I/O”. $100.


  • similar to livejournal, reddit, slashdot

  • federated accounts (user@domain.tld) with petnames via contact list

  • RSS feeds of new topics started by individuals or for groups

  • no concept of “friending” built in, but do have ACL (can view, can comment) based on contacts list

  • head of thread can be a canonical URI/URL of external content

  • abuse/downvote gets reported to thread-hosting domain

  • by default all user content is crypto-signed by default

  • policy is left to domain servers: moderation of new messages, retainment length, max number of users in a given topic, etc

  • store-and-forward?

  • primary anti-spam: only display stuff signed by people in contact lists

  • need a URI scheme for discussion threads

  • oauth? kerberos-like?

  • domain keys used to vouch for messages and users

  • integrated or parallel keyserver stuff?

  • cross-domain karma and spamlist sharing?

  • built-in GPG encryption, keyring

  • notification via XMPP?

  • crypto can happen either on server or by the client?

  • “profiles” are a seperate issue (webfinger?)

  • status updates could go through this, or XMPP or

  • TODO: salmon?

  • would need to specify:

  • storyboard of how a post/conversation would go

  • message formats

  • protocols between user-server and server-server

  • ascillary technologies: authentication, notification, encryption, contact management

  • interop: HTTP website

Improved Email

  • “reliable asynchronous user-specific messaging”
  • same store-and-forward paradigm; same IMAP-like message archive paradigm
  • every core message signed by user and domain; unsigned messages get dropped
  • core message headers can be pseudo-shadowed/re-written by extention headers
  • user signing can be delegated to domain
  • domain maintains public keyserver for all hosted users
  • forwarded messages (mailing lists) signed by forwarding domain
  • users or domains can brand a user or domain as spam/abusive
  • domains maintain a web of trust/karma using announcements, refuse messages from blacklisted users/domains
  • special abuse@, admin@ “out of band” addresses for resolving blocklist issues, not blocked except for severe cases
  • attachments signed seperately, referenced by core message
  • standardize (via defaults) on compressed UTF-8 message body optional safe-subset of HTML
  • hook into system-wide cacert/web-of-trust; individual user agents can specify fallback policy

Small Electronics Projects

Wireless “Knob”: probably bluetooth; a much cheaper clone of the Griffin PowerMate Bluetooth knob. 3D printed or hand-made case. USB chargable. Could be encrypted with a USB dongle, or just encrypted in general.

Tiny wireless analog I/O jacks. For sensors; USB charging. I guess this is pretty much every IoT devkit ever, but lab-oriented (raw voltages/currents, characterized and buffered I/O).