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‘ideas’ Category

  1. how to carry luggage with a bike

    September 15, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    Recently, I needed to carry a small suitcase with my bike. I always have a some bungee cords attached to my bike for when I do grocery shopping. So instead of walking with both suitcase and bike in each hand, I did the following:

    carry luggage with bike

    carry luggage with bike

    You’ll need the suitcase’s wheels to be robust, so I would expect that this only work with quality brands; I went quite fast with mine without a problem. Another issue to be aware of is that the cords should be a bit loose in order for the rigid handle poles not to break; this also helps while turning.

  2. Inspiration from the young and disadvantaged

    October 3, 2006 by philip

    (By guest blogger Philip)

    This was a great idea and a great interview. People are amazing. It is a shame the process of growing older tends to blunt so much of our ability. It makes you think everything might not be as bad as it sometimes seems if we could just expand our ideas.

    Summary: An Indian entrepeneur exposes Indian slum residents to a free PC and internet connection with no training. The results are described and an interview with the entrepeneur follows. About 5 minutes reading.

  3. two text entry boxes for instant messaging

    August 26, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    I’m not much of an instant messaging (IM) user. But, I use skype for messaging and now briefly used the GMail embedded Google IM.

    When I chats with people, they often take so fucking long to reply (there is no excuse for not giving me their undivided attention, btw.) Now, I don’t know if they are going to reply to the last thing I wrote or not (Google tells you the other person is typing, which helps). So, I need to wait. Not wanting to waste time, I start typing something about another topic after a reply doesn’t arrive within a few seconds… but then they reply to the “old” topic and I am forced to delete (sure, I could, inconveniently, CNTRL-X it) what I’ve written and respond to the last topic, then retype. Sucks!

    I propose another entry box on-top of the existing one, so I could keep what I’ve written and respond in the top one to the new reply. This way, I could “multitask” two topics in the same session. Is that clear? I’m too lazy to draw a diagram, so I can clarify in the comments if need be.

    If Skype developers are reading this, please take note of my other Skype suggestions and qualms.

    (There might as well be an IM client that does this already, I haven’t gone through any of them.)

  4. leighvoice

    July 20, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    I’m going to attempt coining a new term now (if you are aware of an existing one, let me know.)

    leighvoice: The change in voice pitch men have when they talk to their significant other over the phone.

    You know what I’m talking about. I’ve noticed this before, but certain members of our group have reminded me of this phenomenon as I eavesdropped for my research. The “leighvoice” is named after the wife of a certain member who exhibited the most pitch differential I’ve had the privilege of hearing.

  5. how to fix the world cup

    July 8, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    I’m not a World Cup follower… but I can feel the pain of people who care about it when it comes to penalties. Penalties suck! They are downright unfair. So here’s the fix:

    1. After extended time, there is another 20 minute extension in which offside is cancelled.
    2. Teams start with 9 players each and every 5 minutes a player is taken out from each team.

    If they can’t score then, they both deserve to leave the cup!

    There, problem solved; I require no royalties, only credit.

  6. conference clicks

    July 1, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Last week I attended most of the WEIS and PET sessions. The topic is a bit removed from my interests but it was good to hear what is out there and chat with all the interesting people. The most valuable thing I learned, however, was that I am happy where I’m at, as far as research interests goes.

    I have a Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop, better described as a “desktop replacement.” It’s a great computer, but not for hauling around. I don’t take it to conferences or workshops; some of it has to do with the weight of the thing, but mostly, I believe that if I am somewhere, I should be fully there and give my undivided attention to the person on the podium–they deserve it.

    As an experiment, I tried to phase out the speaker’s voice and listen to what I’ll call “conference clicks,” it’s quite astounding, you should try it. Looking around, I see that many people stare at their screens, meaning that they are not fully there; I can only imagine how the speaker feels (I have not spoken in front of this large crowed before.) I’d feel quite insulted, to be honest; I’d rather people not be there at all than not being fully there.

    My solution? Cut the WiFi during sessions and have cabled ports outside the hall for people who choose not to attend the lecture. This may sound outrageous to some, but I think this is where we are headed.

    To tie in one of my other rants, I’d ban laptops from business meetings too. When I am king/CEO, that will be corporate policy and I think this will become more wide spread soon as well.

    Say no to “conference clicks”!

  7. mapping zombies from comment spam

    November 10, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    Spam mostly come from zombie computers. Weblog comment spam comes from zombie networks as well.

    I am getting about 40 a day now; all of which are put in my moderation box because they contain words that are in my blacklist (these people are not very creative on the content front.) The IP address that the comment came from is recorded and contained in the email I get notifying me a new comment has been posted. Although it won’t point to the spammer, I though it would be nice to map where the spam is coming from using the Google maps API. In a more effective and useful form, bloggers may send a dedicated webpage their comment spam and it will add the IP to the map/database. WordPress or other tools can be made to send a copy of the email to this website automatically upon detection of comment spam (there is really no privacy issue here.) I think that would be neat and may help in some way to identify spammers. If anyone is interested in making this happen, let me know, I’ll contribute what I can.

    SM pointed me to which is a on-time-e-mail service that is very cool… and also to for getting IP information… go there and see if they got your location right.

  8. another interesting internet fad

    September 12, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    A 21 year old came up with a clever idea to cover his university fees and still be left with (lots of) change. The result is theMillion Dollar Homepage. This is another one of those internet fads that have an interest spike that quickly trails off. However, the original innovator gets to make a good sum of cash in the process, while the imitators don’t get to make much, if any, money. I doubt that the guy will be able to cash-in more than $20K or so before the interest dies out. (This prediction excludes the chance that would buy a banner size ad from him, of course; they are the ones who bought the 10 year old “virgin mary grilled cheese sandwich” and other crap on ebay for publicity.) Still, that’s good profit for a good idea like that. I wish him all the best and once again, disappointed that I did not think of it myself.

    (imitators here and here.)

    Maybe I should have my own “The $1000 For Your Name On The Thanks Section Of My PhD Thesis Homepage” to fund my studies. You think that would work?

  9. the “saar method”

    June 25, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    It is always a hit to the ego to call tech support (TS), isn’t it? In a fact, one is publicly admitting the need for help, and that is hard. Much like asking for directions.
    Back in the day, when I called TS, I wanted to demonstrate that I knew more than them. I had the attitude of an expert that got into trouble with a very hard problem and that the TS guy/gal would be unlikely to be knowledgeable enough to help me, but I am giving them a shot at it. Well, in most cases I was the one with the red face at the end of the conversation. Most often it was just a check-box, or some other pedestrian setting.
    After a while, I decided to take a different approach that proved to be much, much more effective: playing the newbie.
    I call in and gracefully describe the problem and follow their instructions without resistance, sighs or “I’ve tried this and it doesn’t work!”I found that this way, you get the problem fixed faster. First, I call the TS sooner instead of trying to get it on my own (finding the right check-box is hardly a challenge I would be proud of, so I’d rather have the answer given to me) and second, they have the procedures to find the problem fast and they might know of issues that I will never find on my own.
    Some time back, I’ve given this “secret recipe” to my neighbor. Yesterday he told me he used the “saar method” of tech support and was very satisfied. Another happy customer :)

    In a related story: during my very first peer-to-peer LAN setup I ran into trouble; well, it just would not work. I labored for a whole weekend, called friends, tried every protocol, switched cables… no go. I finally gave up and called Netgear TS. They concluded that the problem is with the ethernet card (!) and gave me an RMA. This was valuable lesson in my greenhorn days: hardware may fail, even though I naturally assumed it was my lack of knowledge or the software setup.

  10. the cost of an email

    May 3, 2005 by Saar Drimer

    The company I work for has about 3,000 employees. I am always amazed at the cavalier attitude people take towards sending emails to or I am also surprised that the company permits anyone to send emails to any and all distribution lists (DL.) That got me wondering about how much it costs to deliver an email? From pressing ‘send’ to the arrival at the recipient’s mailbox (not including the time to write or read the content) of say, a 1K size email. I could not find any analysis that quantifies this cost, considering infrastructure, IT personnel and so on. I also have no real knowledge to estimate this cost… $0.000001? $0.001? If that cost was known, maybe companies would pay more attention to the amount of inter-mail spam.

    The goal is to minimize unwanted emails and to reduce the traffic in the pipes. I think that permission to send emails to DLs should be tiered according to the sender’s hierarchal position in the corporation and to the size of the DL. For example, only VPs would be able to send emails to; Sr. Directors to and so on. Me? I’ll be able to send emails only to neighboring cubes :). This will prevent people from sending unwanted emails to uninterested people, protect people from themselves from “reply-all” fiascos, and reduce infrastructure and support costs for the company.

    The other aspect of restricting people from sending email to DLs is information security. For example, the company has an incentive to prevent a disgruntled employee sending out confidential/sensitive/incriminating/vindictive information to every single employee.

    * The guy from “Internet Security” has other related ideas I agree with.