The ideas page of vinceunlimited - Part of the strange world of an Ideas Man
They say that to develop truly original thought and ideas that you should open your mind from normal restrictions and develop blue-sky thinking. I am not content with this, after all the sky is always blue. I strive for thinking in a green sky. Out of my box? You bet.
I have always seen myself as an Ideas Man, a conceptual designer. I am often working out solutions to problems or devising ideas. My weakness is that they are rarely exploited. The best idea in the world is just a pile of poo if it doesn't get implemented. And believe me, when you look at these ideas you will probably think I am right. They are just a pile of poo. But as they say where there's muck there's brass. So if you see something of interest, which you may want to develop, don't hesitate in contacting me. Before someone else does, and cleans up.
I have never seen anything like these ideas before. At publication they are genuinely original. Admittedly some are published because they are amusing. Please advise me if they exist elsewhere.
A word of warning though. Basically I'm a lazy git with no obvious trust in my ideas, so I haven't patented any of these. I have however, posted them on a website at a given date (you are reading it at the moment) so I can prove ownership. If I see these ideas in reality I will pursue any rightful claim to any profits made or credit due. If however an idea is tried and causes untold injury and distress I will of course deny I had anything to do with it and say you should realise that the author can accept no liability whatsoever for any use, authorised or not. Heads I win, tails I don't lose. You have been duly warned.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.142 29 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
See individual article notes for specific dates added
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Please note that some of the following links are not yet functioning and will be updated in due course...
Let's face it, working with computers all day long is really stressful.
Despite their promises of releasing us from the tyranny of work they have created an environment where the best companies use their PC's speed to trounce the opposition so creating a world that moves more efficiently using speed rather than smartness.
All at the cost of the PC operator, you and I.
To combat this relentless drive for efficiency we have devised cunning ways to relieve the boredom of computation such as surfing the net and playing the odd game of Solitaire.
The only trouble is that employers, under the guise of flattening work-structures and technospeak like flat-management and empowering, have increasingly opted for open-planned offices.
This means that the Pac-Man game on our screen can be seen by Sally from accounts across the room and she is one hell of a bitch when it comes to snitching, mainly because her own screen is facing her boss in that glass fronted office.
So what we need is a release from work without it being apparent and I think I have the idea - Excel Battleships.
Microsoft Excel is such an ubiquitous programme that we all have a copy, so if Sally spots a spreadsheet she doesn't have to get apoplectic.
And Excel can be worked on by multiple users simultaneously so dual gaming will be easy to set up.
Plus using tabbed sheets you could develop a real sense of depth.
Are you starting to see the attraction?
So if you want to distribute this concept send me a mail and I'll outline the details.
Obviously this idea may already be out there, that being the beauty of it we would never know.
But if it isn't I'll start - Try level 6/G54.
Did I hit your submarine?
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.109 30 Apr 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
The image is of the United States aircraft carrier USS George W Bush [CVN-77] anchored off Alverstoke Bay, Gosport in the English Channel taken by the author on 30 Jul 2017 and was added in Version m5.109 30 Apr 2018
The Big (Issue) Idea
You were begging for it
By some standards I am not an overtly charitable person.
I don't set fire to Oxfam shops or kick Labradors or anything like that but equally if a 'charitable' group deluges my post-box with empty envelopes hoping that they may be filled with silver and returned then they will be sadly disappointed.
And I'm not the first to dig deep in my pockets to give money to the needy on the streets.
It is not that I dislike charity I just believe that as a society we handle the situation wrongly. The more that individuals give the less the need for society to contribute.
I do not object to my taxes being used to help those less in need but do think that it should be a government or council body deciding on distribution to meet genuine needs rather than rely on the success or otherwise of money raising campaigns. Why should a charity with a cute mascot or one with a big budget get the healthiest return?
Inevitably, one set of losers from my stringent policy is street beggars. And there must be quite a few like me as begging has developed to become high tech to compete. Well, I mean high tech in the comparitive world of scruffy tramps.
Now, instead of asking for money in a menacing fashion homeless people can now sell a service, a magazine called The Big Issue. It even has its own website - I told you it was high tech.
Now I have often passed these one product newsstands and seen the vendor struggle to sell their magazine, despite some high profile guests and modern looks. The problem is image and the thought that it is cover to cover with dreary stories of despair, which it isn't.
But being me, I had an answer.
Once, when a scruffy lad asked if I wanted to swap one of my hard earned pounds for his magazines I initially politely declined and started to pass by, when an idea dawned on me.
I stopped and suggested he could either take the price of one magazine in exchange for said article or I could give him an idea to sell hundreds more.
Being a thoughtful, considerate man he mused over the offer for a second or two then demanded his pound.
Then announced in a slur "You're my best friend, you".
Alas, he had missed the opportunity of his lifetime.
In a charitable manner I am now going to give out the advice I had to anyone reading this article.
You see, it occurs to me that the street magazine sellers are missing out on one of the most populous parts of city society - the tourists. And my idea will make the magazine appealing to all of them.
Add a map of the city
Now, when you have recovered from the shock of such a simple idea and wondered why you hadn't thought of it you might start to consider the pitfalls.
Copyright is the major downside. Some companies make quite a profit out of selling 'disposable' maps of cities to tourists so they are hardly likely to allow their map to be used. And our national map supplier is not known for it's charitable work.
But this is where the idea still holds ground. Why not draw the city from scratch?
I know that would be a labour consuming process but hey, isn't that what these people do? Walk the streets all day?
The only other pitfall I can see is the image issue.
Do our town mayors want all the tourists approached by a scruffy urchin offering a rain sodden map and a promise that "You're my best mate, you"?
But to deny the scheme for this reason alone would be uncharitable, wouldn't it?
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.063 31 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
The Big Issue magazine scheme was launched in London in 1991 to help rough sleepers move from street begging to selling a service and now costs £2.50 per copy with 50% of that price going directly to the vendor. Their website is www.bigissue.com
A Terry's Chocolate Orange. The rare brown version
For years my favourite colour was brown. Even now I cannot decide on a suitable replacement.
Red seems so obvious and more interesting colours like burnt orange are too obscure and would mean I would spend all my time explaining why I chose that hue.
But brown is considered so bland. It is the colour of the country when all the lovely greenery gets trampled and the washed out colour that multiple shades of plasticine turn to when mixed.
Mind you, real fresh conkers are the most beautiful tone...of brown. And brown is the colour of chocolate, one of the best discoveries man ever made.
Chocolate is traditionally brown presumably due to the natural colouration of its main constituent, the cocoa bean. But most other foodstuffs can be coloured so why not chocolate?
And I know by now you are probably screaming at the screen that white chocolate is as common as the Milky Bar Kid in a top ten list of cheesy, spectacled children in TV adverts. But one alternative, sickly option is hardly a rainbow of choice.
Why can't we buy red, blue or even purple chocolate?
Why isn't a Terrys Chocolate Orange orange?
Kids would go crazy for the new hues, tempting them back into a snack that has been increasingly sidelined due to the modern obsession with skinny [I think chubby oiks are like that due to lack of exercise more than bad diet].
So Cadburys, Nestle, Terrys et al get your cochineal out and colour that choc.
Incidentally, I'll know when my idea has fully matured. Not when I can get strawberry chocolate in red but when I can specify my own shade.
And at that point I'll choose fresh conker. A gorgeous mix of browns.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.127 5 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 in Apr 2006
The photograph shows a Terry's Chocolate Orange and was taken by the author and added to the website on 11 Jun 2018
Escalator Etiquette Idea
It's a nice idea to be able to set a trend but I'm having a little difficulty getting this one going all on my own. After all my influence on thousands is fairly limited so maybe all readers could help here.
I say all readers but in truth this only really applies to those in busy metropolii[*]. My personal experience is of the metropolis called London but I guess that this could be a worldwide idea. Though not so much use in the Outer Hebrides.
On escalators it is now normal for those that are too fat, unfit or even have too much time on their hands to stand still and let the moving stairs do the work.
This is appallingly lazy and frankly a hindrance to all those who are too stressed to stand still for thirty seconds.
This lacklustre attitude causes mayhem in many places and as such it has become commonplace in big cities for those that stand to occupy just one side of the travellator allowing others to rush up the other side. This system works quite well so I can't express improvement here.
However, what I do find though is that the escalators are just not quite wide enough for this difference in speed.
Maybe we have all become wider? I know quite a few that would fit that category and some so wide they would have to fit in the next category up.
And the problem is exasperated in winter when everyone dresses like they are in Siberia. Big people in big coats mean a big problem.
But I have a little solution.
I thought of the idea whilst trying to hare up one of the escalators in London. I had travelled halfway up and realised I was adopting a contorted angular shape with my torso. Not easy in public, I assure you. I had this strange forty-five degree gait to avoid crashing into every stationary pedestrian. After all, crashing past with impunity is not only sometimes painful but so terribly rude.
And there is a simple solution that doesn't involve shutting down the underground systems for years on end - sorry Unison.
Why don't the stationary people stand at a jaunty angle?
This would aide all parties with very little effort. The hares could charge up and get to their heart attack with ease and the tortoises would not have their left shoulders dislocated.
This could be reinforced with signs such as 'Stand on the left, at an angle'.
As an inventor of ideas I am of course duty bound to look at the pitfalls as well as the benefits but I am at a loss as to think of them.
There are even added benefits for the businesses that provide these escalators. All those stood at an angle will be turned toward all the revenue giving advertising. And those that stand still on rising escalators will not have to have their face buried in the bottom of the person in front.
I'm sold, I'll be doing it from now, will you?
After all, as I said at the beginning - I can't do this all by myself.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.064 2 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
* Question: What is the plural of Metropolis? It is a Greek word so it should be metropoleis. However the word comes to English via the Latin so perhaps should be metropoles. Google cites a common spelling as metropolises. This is why I am not correcting my own spelling as Metropolii. Let's see who wins here
The long and shiny road
The road could be painted a lovely blue colour. To match the car
The technology that brings us reflective white paint to help guide us on our roads at night is one of man's greatest achievements. Obviously not in the league of the wheel or Penicillin. Or even bicycle clips. But pretty much up there.
As you hare down a country lane at night a pair of brilliant white lines guide you from one curve to another. The experience is surreal.
But, as usual, there is a limitation. In many cases, whilst we enjoy the reflection from the central lines sub-dividing the carriageways there isn't always an edge marker. And let's face it, the less unnecessary white paint embellishment on our country lanes the better.
Now, we cannot just paint the whole road surface because then we wouldn't be able to see the central white dividing lines. Plus the grip (for those of us who go quick enough to need it) would be severely reduced, particularly in the wet, the cost of paint would be exorbitant and, quite frankly, it would be an eyesore.
Unless the paint could be made black. And reflective.
So, we need a solution. How about making the roads fluorescent.
Add a luminescent compound to the Tarmac* mix. That way all the light absorbed during the day will be magically converted to a bright ribbon of road at night.
Just think of all the gorgeous colours that could be generated. Plus, the motorways could be coloured blue, the main roads green, the minor roads red and the little lanes yellow. All to match my road atlas.
We'll never turn onto the wrong road at night again.
Admittedly, as far as I know, luminescent paint is slightly radioactive. So all our cars will need lead underseal (lead underpants for cyclists). Then the handling and performance will be affected. So we won't be able to go quick after all.
Come to think of it, it's a silly idea. I tell you what - let me take another look at that bicycle clip concept again.
Added Version 2.04 Dec 2006
Some cad has been reading this page. I really don't see why the parents can't be held responsible but there you go. He even suggested that carrying out the florescentising of our roads might be a bit confusing to airline pilots, a consideration that I clearly overlooked. With such fine forethought you would have thought he would have his own website. Smartass.com or something. Ooops. I'm meant to be encouraging feedback.
Author: Vince Poynter *Little known fact: Tarmac is a registered name used in a generic way, much like Hoover
Version m5.142 29 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts a Peugeot 406 Coupe travelling on a typical British A-road, taken by the author in April 2016. The image was added in Version m5.024 24 Nov 2017
Football - Extra Time
Pelé, Maradona, Ronaldo, Messi, Müller, Lineker, Poynter. All could kick a ball. Only one is known primarily for his skills on an Isle Of Wight beach
I'm male and English so statistically speaking I should be a football supporter.
Football is described as the national game and in any group of men numbering greater than two the subject is raised within 18 seconds of discussion. The only exception to this is groups of homosexual men or serious music buffs. And as the only place I'd like to see 'three tenners' is in my wallet I conclude that I am gay.
However I attempt to confront the serious issue of soccer and do try to follow the prospects of my local team. The trouble is that recently they have been demoted to the second best division which for reasons only known to Neanderthals and men in sheepskin coats is known as the First Division.
You see, football can be a complex issue and I haven't even breached the 'offside rule'.
But the most controversial part of any modern match is often the ending. A point where there is some similarity with serious music buffs - unfinished work.
As football is so pervasive in the modern era the opportunity to string out an inconclusive match over several re-visits is near on impossible. Couple this to the advanced skill level that the players perform to and the situation arises that it is almost impossible to differentiate between two sets of eleven overvalued prima donnas so match results are often stagnant.
Or to put it in simpler football terms - Modern knockout matches often 'go to penalties'.
Penalties are undoubtedly an exiting form of entertainment. The suspense of the situation, the simple errors that change fortunes and the personalised guilt all add to a thrilling conclusion to an otherwise dull result.
The problem with penalties is that they are not representative of the game that preceded them.
The game is a rich mixture of fitness, skills, strategy, challenges and tactics involving specialised components led by an on-field captain and supplemented by the wise knowledge of an off-field coach or manager. Whereas penalties are just whacking a stationary ball.
An alternative end-game scenario has already been used many times before, known as 'the golden goal'.
Here, both teams play a set extended time but if one team scores then they win, there and then. The disadvantage is that very often the goal never comes so the match ends again in unsatisfactory penalties.
The reason golden goals aren't scored is that teams are reluctant to attack as any failed offensive often leads to a reduced defence, so making an aggressive playing team vulnerable to counter-attack.
So called 'silver goal' options have been tried that continue a match at least to the half-way point of extended time to counter this negativity but teams are still reluctant to play positively. However, developing these themes I think I have the answer.
The 'golden' or 'silver' versions are fine but an added element is needed to guarantee an outcome.
My idea would involve all members of the team including the coaching and managing staff and is relatively simple. During extra time, every five minutes the coach should have to withdraw a player.
Eleven becomes ten, becomes nine etc. Eventually a goal would be scored because if just two opposing players were on the pitch one would be able to outwit the other.
Long before that though there would be great suspense at each five-minute period when the teams are rearranged and each opposing coach is forced to make tactical changes. For instance, at what point, if any, do you remove a specialist like a goalkeeper?
This idea would truly challenge the coach's skills as well as the players adaptability and fitness all in a footballing context.
Whether this could be adapted to other sports is debatable.
For instance if it were applied to American Football by the time all four hundred* specialist players were withdrawn one by one at five minute intervals the Superbowl final might last until December!
And an alternative option on female beach volleyball match conclusions could involve the addition of an extra player every five minutes until the beach was full. But is that just fantasy running away with me?
Still, it disproves the gay theory.
*I might be a bit out on these numbers by the way.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.111 2 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
At the time of first publication the author's local football team, Southampton FC, were being relagated to the Championship League following a poor showing in the Premiership. They wouldn't return until 2012
The image depicts the author on Sandown beach on the Isle of Wight. It was taken around summer 1967 and was added in Version m5.111 2 May 2018
Thinking on your feet
The world of fashion footwear is a major business. Each season top name manufacturers compete to produce more outlandish designs than their previous models and peers. There must be millions spent each year on designs to wow an eager public and develop bold, innovative ways of capturing the cash of a world-wide audience.
So why is it that I can come up with a novel idea and offer it to anyone whom cares to patent it? Along with suitable commissions of course.
It's because I'm such a nice guy.
Although training shoes seem to have developed to their zenith there are still ways to make a version stand out from the crowd and like all good ideas it is just an amalgamation of two previously unconnected current products - hence easy to develop and market.
My idea is to mix footwear with pedometers.
Pedometers are simple counting devices that work by a weight shifting about on each movement. After basic data is inputted the wearer of the device can calculate the distance covered and often more, such as calorie use and average speed. All this data is important to an image conscious fitness fan.
And techno fans would love a pair of shoes with an inbuilt LCD panel.
Of course, restricting the idea to training shoes would be underusing the technology so a range of different shoes could include a mini-computer.
As is the pattern of idea development it is wise to consider the downsides.
Cost shouldn't feature as pedometers often cost just a few pounds and shoes, in particular training versions, attract buyers even when the cost soars.
So the only downside is the potential big-brother factor.
Consider for a moment that the Post Office likes the idea and supplies all its postmen with versions. The daily trips could be monitored. Bonus paid on distances covered or deducted for skipping a street. Although in fairness skipping does take more energy! We already have spies in our vehicles do we want them on our feet?
And one last thought. Could this develop into the chastity belt of the 21st century?
Develop the idea into other areas of clothing and put a monitor on the spouse's underwear. Then check when you get home how often they have been up and down.
Now, sex, that is a major business.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.116 21 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
At the time of writing my idea was genuinely novel. However with the passage of time the idea of attaching pedometers to sports shoes now seems commonplace. In fact the first and most notable example of integration between sports footwear and a pedometer came in the form of the Nike+iPod Sports Kit which was announced on 23 May 2006 and released on 13 July 2006, three quarters of a year after I published my idea. Coincidence?
Lane discipline is good here. Probably. If you ignore the empty lane on the left, that is
I'm a fan of driving. Sure there are many reasons why I shouldn't be. Take a peek at my opinion on driving habits if you need to see a few reasons why. But I am also an optimist, if things are bad they can be fixed.
All we need is the will and a bit of clever thinking. And that is a speciality of mine. I have worked out how we can reverse one of the worst habits of British motoring by changing some simple rules.
Why not let people who drive correctly, drive faster?
We all want to go quicker but need to do this responsibly. Here is the way.
Without changing the rules about only overtaking on the right, let us allow drivers to go quickest on the inside lane, then progressively slower in the outer lanes.
Sounds crazy? Well just think about it for a moment.
Imagine a three-lane motorway. When you are driving along with no other traffic (remember the seventies?) I propose that you should be able to charge along safely to your hearts content.
If you then come upon a slower vehicle ahead then you will need to move out a lane to pass. But you have to temper the speed a bit and go past carefully. If you again want to get going once past you will be encouraged to move back to lane 1 to be allowed to travel again at speed.
And when the traffic is so bad that all three lanes are needed then all the overtaking in lane 3 has to be so much slower, therefore safer. It is a self-restricting system. Slow when busy but with less restrictions when the roads empty.
And drivers will voluntarily move over to the left after overtaking. Simple. Like all great ideas.
Of course, the set limits would have to offer something if this is to be sold as a good system. If the government gets hold of this idea then some quango think tank will decide that on motorways the limits should be 70, 60 and 50 mph. Much easier to sell the idea to a sceptical public at 90, 70 and 60 mph.
Mind you it won't stop the arsehole cruising along at 60 in the centre lane, clogging up the whole system. For that I propose a simpler system. That I shall be legally allowed to carry a firearm and shoot him.
(Note: Americans and Europeans will have to read this page in a mirror to get the idea)
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.023 23 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts a typical British motorway scene and is used to illustrate lanes being used. There is no implication to suggest the vehicles are in the correct or incorrect lanes. The image was added in Version m5.023 23 Nov 2017 and updated in Version m5.024 24 Nov 2017
LCD Car Windows [Updated 2005]
The new black in car windows
Blacked out windows. They should have bought a van instead
Maybe it's because I wear glasses and so cannot instantly pick up the oh-so-fashionable Oakleys everytime the sun comes out.
Maybe because I hate it when all those pillocks keep their sun visors down long into the evening, or later. Or forever.
Or is it just that I hate that time in a winter's evening when the sun is right in your face, just above the steering wheel rim.
I think we need to do something about sunny days.
Why not use LCD technology to automatically black out car windows on a summers day?
It's a well-known science, relatively cheap and controllable. Look at the watch on your wrist (no, not you Mr. Breitling). Control could be light sensitive, or switched by yet another button with a strange logo on the dashboard.
Just imagine you've been out cruising all night, so your windows are clear. It's early morning and you are thinking of an excuse to tell the boss that you need a day off. You know, dead grannies, leaves on the line, working from home; that sort of thing. When you pull up next to a car and it's the man-boss himself, on his way to work.
Just flick the switch and your car becomes a haven of seclusion. Or a Mafia staff car. Yes, you too could look like a reclusive film star. In your twenty-six year old Datsun Cherry.
There is only one problem as far as I can tell. Legislation would prevent the technology being applied to front windscreens, so all the problems listed above would still irritate me.
I guess I'm gonna have to get that Laser Surgery done so I can wear the bloody Oakleys.
Plate Tech Tonic [Addendum]
A new thought has occured to me since writing this piece in 2003.
Why not apply the technology to the transparent surface of a car number plate? With a switch operation this could be utilised in the unfortunate event of being caught going a bit quick near a wayward speed camera - much safer than madly braking don't you think?
Put the device on a timer and it would revert to looking normal soon after passing said revenue collector.
The timer device wouldn't be so useful when fleeing a bank robbery though and it's all probably highly illegal, so don't say I told you to do it.
Braking Down [Additional addendum]
Another idea [here we go again] for avoiding those pesky fines from those unmarked cameras that spring up suddenly would be to mount a rear braking light around the number plate.
That way it will brightly illuminate just at the point the speed is being ... er ... corrected, cleverly obscuring the number whilst braking but remaining undetected whilst innocently parked up.
It would only work on rear facing cameras, if at all.
However, it is also still probably illegal but a defence, if questioned, could argue that plates are there for vehicle ID when driving off. If the brake light is on the vehicle is stopping.
I think my fees as a motoring lawyer have just increased, M'lord.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.084 19 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
Addenda First Published: Version 2.00 in May 05
The image was added in Version m5.025 27 Nov 2017. It depicts a blue Range Rover with blacked out windows, taken by the author in April 2012. That is, the photo was taken, not the car. That would be theft. And naughty.
Maintaining The Good Start
Although I never intended entries to be added daily the initial momentum carries me into the second entry under full steam.
However, I am already thinking that adding a [heading] next to the date may be an error. Often one of the most edited parts of my new pages whilst in preparation are the quick-fire headings. They have to be snappy and relevant whilst offering a subtle hint at the humour within the page. Not easy in a word or three.
It is a working day again but I grabbed a quick browse on the Internet within the BBC site (again) which led me to their h2g2 page. This is a growing collection of information that realises the ideas of it's founder, Douglas Adams, who envisaged such an information source in his novel 'The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy'. I'll no doubt return again to this ocean of knowledge in due course but today had a quick surf in the philosophy section where I discovered many fascinating gems.
One was a page answering the familiar conundrum about the chicken and egg (as I had already deduced it was the egg). This itself was not educational but a link to an alternative answer by Alice Kaswell amused me. In it she determined the result by posting both a chicken and egg to herself. You have to click the link [below] to read the amusing story.
Another article within the philosophy section briefly described transhumanism, which is the convergence of humans and technology to give us more than our three score and ten. Whilst reading this I had to suppress an urge to add a comment in a similar vein about an idea I have been working on. I'm often suppressing urges like this. It's been my nature since very young. Question and answer sessions following lectures normally see me asking probing questions.
In simple terms my particular idea envisages a future time when due to progress humans can live forever but as their reproduction would soon swamp the world a choice would have to be made between longevity and procreation. Most parents claim they would sacrifice themselves over to protect their offspring but if it came to it would they? And if they were given a choice of kids or long life what would they choose? I think this could make a fascinating subject of a film so didn't post it on the site.
It just goes to prove that when I spend time reading and regurgitating the thoughts of others I am not preparing my own. Just like the writing of this blog prevents me from developing fresh new pages on my site. So a genuine philosophical question arises, the sort that becomes harder to answer the more it is considered.
Is this website better without this blog?
Of course there are many other side issues developing here.
I'm reminded that yesterday I came to the conclusion that virtually no-one has an original idea and even the most original thinkers and raconteurs are merely re-stating in their own manner all things that they have previously absorbed. Or at least that's what I do!
Each person has a stack of knowledge that is in part passed on to a variety of others.
A few months ago I thought I might try to record all I know in some sort of database for no other reason than my ego thinks it would be useful to others. I was going to add it as a sub-section of this site, entitled 'The Knowledge'.
I procrastinated as it is a major undertaking that may take some time to develop into a useful database and the sapling versions would be hollow. Further it would, by its nature, lack humour, the underpinnings of this site, so it is still on the back burner. Barely alight to be honest and now almost extinguished by the discovery of Mr. Adams' BBC offspring.
My version had one feature not on the BBC site which is that I envisaged all my facts to be graded.
I figured that each subject should have three categories. Firstly, the basic explanation, almost a precise brief dictionary expression. In the second category there would be a few facts and interesting related asides, the sort of fact that would impress at a dinner party without appearing to be an anorak. Then finally the third level would be the full anorakal description.
So I have a choice. Develop my original idea - this will take literally years and may be superseded long before it matures. Secondly I could invite the formal BBC site to take on my grading idea. And thirdly just get on with my work again.
I'll take three.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.100 17 Aug 2018
First Published: Version 2.01 [updated] 26 Aug 2005
The BBC no longer maintains the h2g2 link. It is still live and can be found at https://www.h2g2.com
Wikipedia was launched in Jan 2001 and had about half a million entries by the time my article was posted from around 750 contributors. The lack of my mentioning this source leads me to believe I wasn't fully aware of this information source at the time of original posting
The Alice Kaswell link is https://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume9/v9i4/chicken_egg.html
I have not finished with my idea about human longevity and am currently working on a book called 'The Southampton Conundrum' which explores some ideas in this field.
The vinceunlimited Mobilevend Idea
Just a simple mobile telephone. But not simple enough
Let's face it they are here to say.
We moan about the silly annoying ringtones and poor reception, claiming that they are the curse of modern society but we all have one tucked away don't we.
A mobile phone, of course.
The subject of where they are tucked is another matter completely and not for these pages right now. But every now and then we get caught short.
Perhaps you forgot to take the little blighter with you.
Perhaps you are away from home, or on holiday where your current cheapskate reception doesn't reach. You may be on the beach, you lucky devil and didn't bring the phone because you hate that telling bulge in your thong.
And then you forgot that you needed to call aunty, to cancel the milk.
It's no good relying on BT.
They used to put a telephone on every corner but drunks got them confused with loos.
And it's no good asking anyone to lend you their pride and joy. They will only think you will run off with it and use the miserly 25p credit they have.
No, what we need is a 21st century version of the phone box.
So what about vending machines?
They are so ubiquitous that the chances are when you need a phone there will be one nearby.
And the costs? Mobiles are getting cheaper all the time and I'm sure they could be mass-produced for a few quid.
They wouldn't need memories, games, WAP connection and colour screens.
They may not need screens at all. All they need is a keypad. I'm sure I remember a design like this many years ago!
So how about it. Who's gonna be the first?
Oh, and by the way. Remember this was my idea. So use this new 'phone to give me a call and discuss terms.
I may be an ideas man but that doesn't mean I don't want richies beyond my wildest dreams.
And a new thong.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.055 10 Jan 2017
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004 and reproduced here in full
The image was added in Version 5.055 on 10 Jan 2017 and depicts a relatively simple Nokia mobile phone.
The [highly cropped] image was taken on 5 Feb 2008 on an original Apple iPhone. This helps to understand the idea in date context. The mobile phone vending idea was originally published four years earlier than this.
Mobile phone vending machines are now common in some parts of the world. But was the idea of a simple, single or so use, throw away design ever offered?
Interesting fact: Vodaphone introduced the Quickphone kiosk, dispensing cheap mobile phones, allegedly the first of this kind in Britain in late 2005. About 18 months after I posted this idea. Coincidence? [Source: The Telegraph website, article by David Derbyshire dated 27 Oct 2005]
A small monkey checking for signs of grey hair on a dominant female
It is fairly common knowledge that Kingpins in gorilla clans are called a Silverback.
These large males were, to my knowledge, silver in colour because of their age, because just like humans they go grey. However, a fact I discovered recently was that there can only be one Silverback in each gorilla clan.
If a new gorilla asserted itself on the group and successfully challenged the dominant male for the role then the newly demoted Silverback will revert back to being a black-back - He would loose the silver.
I discussed this with the misses and we had wondered why.
This was a few weeks ago I had accepted that I couldn't work out why and how this occurred. However it now appears that my other half had been mulling over this for some time.
Today she announced with great pride, as if discovering the cure for cancer, that this was in fact due to the gorilla realising it's dominance which promoted change. A physiological hormonal reaction.
If I am being honest I hadn't realised this in such clarity but I had given up considering the whys and wherefores because I realised that I wouldn't be able to answer the reasons on a chemical scale.
But her clarity did make me think that if gorillas can hormonally change their hair colour from silver to black then we as humans, being 99.9% similar on a biological level should be able to do the same. Or at least we should be able to artificially produce and use the same hormone.
Have we in our grasp the cure for age hair greying?
All we need to do is collect a hair from a Silverback and from a newly demoted ex-Silverback and make a DNA test for the difference.
All this supposes we can find someone brave enough to pluck a single hair off the back of (1) A dominant male gorilla who thinks he is the Lord of all beings and (2) A newly demoted gorilla who a few days ago thought he was the Lord of all beings and is now one very miffed monkey.
I deigned to suggest that I wouldn't be keen to carry out this next stage of discovery and got accused of being a complete lightweight.
Sometimes it really is hard being a superhero. The slightest crack in the armour and there are accusations of failure. I failed to be fully heroic over quite an insignificant matter and was accused of being a big girl's blouse.
My reaction? Typical Vince.
I likened the thought of being a blouse on a large girl as a positive thing.
But now she's not talking to me.
And I have to be careful, I've noticed she's going grey!
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.136 19 Jun 2018
First Published: Blog in Version 2.03 7 Jul 2006
The photo is of the author's wife, Lynda, interacting with a native, wild Barbary Ape in Gibraltar, in Oct 2005
The vinceunlimited PDA Crossword Idea
Please note that this article has dated due to technological advancements over the past decade(s) so should be considered in this context. The idea below was first published in Jul 2005, two years before the release of the iconic Apple iPhone, a Smartphone which revolutionised touch screen graphic displays. And a full three years before the Apple App Store.
However web based apps were around at the time.
The Useful PDA
Useful little things PDAs. Handheld electronic gizmos with nearly the same power as laptop computers. I really should get one.
With all the commuting I do it would certainly get some use.
Right at the moment I'm lugging a twenty-stone laptop backwards and forwards to work because my client doesn't provide adequate security at my place of work. I hate working on construction sites. I'm going to have to work some new idea to give me a more satisfying income.
But although novel, I'm not sure this idea will be the one.
PDA's in use
Seeing others tap away at their handhelds on regular occasions I often glance to see what they are working studiously on.
After all, with me I would be penning, if that's the correct PDA expression, my next website entry. It is all hand-coded using a basic text editor so that would be easy to use on the move.
But alas, I never see interesting work, just mainly games.
Tank Game proposal. No Shermans, Tigers or Churchills involved
Not that Tetris is bad, I find it highly addictive and wish I had invented it. Closest I've come to inventing PDA software is an idea I have about a game where the player has to fight to plug holes in a tank that is slowly emptying its water, whilst maintaining pressure by manually running a pump. The screenshot of my penned idea is on the right.
Birth of an Idea
Those on the train that aren't playing Tetris, sleeping or chatting loudly on their mobiles [If you struggle to hear them it doesn't mean they can't hear you dear] are usually seen reading the paper.
But when that runs out the pen is extracted and the Crossword on the back page is started. This is where my idea comes in.
I have never, ever seen anyone doing a Crossword on a PDA. Why not? Do they exist? If not, then the idea has now been breached.
So, all you PDA software developers out there get coding and come up with the world's first PDA Crossword software, but remember where you heard about the idea. I think commission should start with a shiny new PDA for me, bundled with all the usual applications and your new Crossword software.
But not Tetris, because I'll never use anything else and my website will shrivel up and perish.
Been There Before?
Please note that if you already know of a PDA Crossword software package let me know the details and I'll update this page.
That will be after I have checked out its development date of course.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.095 6 Apr 2018
First Published: Version 2.01 in Jul 2005
Screenshot of tank game added 13 Apr 18
The Radio Text Idea
Cheap Texting - Saving a fortune on text messaging
by Vince, March 2004
A typical budget texting mobile phone that was used around 2004
As a writer I am still able to wonder at the beauty of the English language and I derive pleasure from ensuring that my work is grammatically correct.
This is why I so despair at the gradual erosion of our beloved language into a staccato of symbolic minimalism that is the result of modern texting. I view the technique as a lazy result of our modern immediate society.
But all that will not prevent me from profiteering from an idea based on this new trend.
From what I read in the media one of the most common places to find texting on a frankly industrial scale is within schools and I understand that even the youngest of kids is keen to get going. The net result is a phenomenal profit for the big telecomm companies at the expense of the poor parent's wallets.
So I have devised a way of texting within schools for free.
The idea emanates from a two-way radio I purchased. The radio itself was pretty useless at the task that I wanted it for so it was consigned to the eBay bin but a feature interested me. The radio included a button labelled Morse.
After discounting the fact that this might summons a policeman from Oxford in a tatty Jag I thought it wouldn't be too hard to develop this into a simple radio frequency text facility.
A simple keypad and chip could translate the keyed entries into Morse Code and send them through the airwaves. The receiving machine could pick up the Morse and translate it bk in2 txt.
Dmn, I swor I wd nvr do tht.
There would be a couple of technical hurdles to traverse.
The first to spring to mind is the problem of limited transmission frequencies but the chip could incorporate a simple encoding key.
Another problem could be the relative speed of keypad entry compared to the standard speed of Morse Code but there is no reason that if it is an inter-electronic communication that the Morse couldn't be transferred at higher speeds. In a way the dashes would become mere dots and the dots a blurry dash.
Do you know what? I'm cming rd 2 this txtg idea aftr all.
In hndsite u cud cnsidr it a nw art form, clevrly constrctng new smpler ways 2 cmmunic8 evr mor rapidly. Englsh has movd on frm Shkspere an we shld mov on frm the stffy grmmar of r parnts.
Ys, Im hookd.
So, the options are as follows:
You are a budding Engineer and want to develop the idea and deprive the giant Telecomm Corporations out of millions of pounds making yourself a fortune into the bargain - Email me and we'll thrash out the patent details.
You represent a giant Telecomm Corporation and want to bury this idea - Email me and suggest a sum of money that would encourage me to remove this idea from cyberspace.
You are an expert in grammar and want to correct the syntax on this page - Email me nicely.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.115 20 May 2018
This idea was first penned in Mar 2004, well before the age of unlimited calls and texts. The lack of reference to Bluetooth functionality in the article suggests that I was unaware of this technology at this time. Bluetooth was first announced on 20 May 1988 and the Bluetooth 2.0 specification in 2004 with variant 2.1 not being adopted until 26 Jul 2007
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
Speak To The Nation
A voice for all seasons
Each decade seems to have its own individuality. Examples like the 1950s Rockers, the 1980's excess, even the 1890's engineering.
However the 2000's are too young and incomplete to judge but early indications are that the time we are living now may well be remembered as the time of celebrity.
In fact, a particular brand of publicly available, disposable celebrity that every young person seems to think is their inalienable right.
And I think maybe a little known Dutch company is to blame.
Endemol Productions devised Big Brother almost a decade ago but now its tentacles spread far and wide. The phenomenon continues unabated and promises the dream of 'being somebody' to everyday nobodies.
The never ending contestants' limitless desire to achieve a career [read richies] out of merely being known is almost eqaully matched by our own natural voyerism into these real-life soap operas.
So endemic is the problem that natural talent is being side-lined for manufactured pop-culture.
A good example of this is the huge list of singing competitions. In the past to be a songbird usually meant teaming up with a writer and creating something, not rearranging someone else's work.
And as a writer this gnarls at my groin.
It's time to fight back and I'll do it in my old traditional way - by joining them!
Although scathing about the concept of fame TV I actually have a desire to be part of it.
I too am seduced by the promise of eeking out an easy living and would relish the lightweight, unearned adoration that entails the lifestyle. Cheap, but desireable nonetheless.
But Reality TV producer's don't come knocking at the door, at least not mine, so I need to get positive and the way I propose is to propose a way.
My idea is to set up a few video booths around the country and invite anybody who cares to leave any message they want.
They would be stationed in public squares, parks and stations and be the twenty-first century version of speaking at Hyde Park corner.
The messages will be recorded and sifted by a team of editors to extract the interesting from the banal, with the best featuring on a weekly programme.
Some may choose to record daily dairies, others may vent their spleen, but most will just be childish giggling and vociferous slang.
Not to worry, talent and interest will shine through and there will be gold amongst the dross.
I know you are now thinking that this has been done before. After all, even the failed contestants of some singing shows get their chance to prove in a video booth why they were not selected the first time round. So why would this format be successful?
The answer is money.
The twist would be that it would cost a nominal amount to record the message. The booths would operate only on the basis of fiscal intercourse.
In the same way that TV companies love programmes that force viewers to pay by voting on a telephony device, producers would love a TV system that pays for itself to be made.
All I need now is a TV Production Company and I'll be able to share the decade with the Dutch.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.133 13 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 in Jun 2006
'Big Brother' is a fly on the wall style documentary TV programme whereby miked up participants, chosen by their personalities and looks are grouped to live close to each other in a house surrounded by cameras to capture their every movement and conversation. The footage is edited to entertain and as time progresses the viewers get a chance to vote out the least interesting characters thereby ending with a winner who receives a cash award
If you are thinking this idea is just YouTube which is a widely used free service please note that I offered this idea in Jun 2006. YouTube was only founded as a web address in Feb 2005 and it took a few months to get funding and wasn't formally launched until Dec of that year. In mid 2006 it wasn't that well known, certainly not by me. In fact it wasn't until 2010 that I uploaded my first video to YouTube
Is it a bird, Is it a plane. More importantly does it keep out the rain?
Coats - Can't really be improved can they? A few fashion changes, an odd button, pocket, colour or length perhaps. Even an exotic material. They have all been tried before yet our concept of a coat is still basically unchanged.
I have two ideas that may be of interest to the coat suppliers of the world and one is so staggeringly simple I'll wager that within five years half of all coats will feature it.
And this fantastic idea is presented here, published on the web, ready and waiting for it's first commercial customer to sweep it up and make the supplier and I rich beyond our wildest dreams.
Well perhaps not that rich, but only because of my fertile imagination. I'm not the sort who upon winning the lottery would suggest I buy my dream car then announce that it's a Ford Orion.
But I am going off at a tangent here and in danger of everyone thinking that I'm talking about a coat of paint. Which I'm not.
However, before we get to the staggeringly simple idea, how about another simple idea, perhaps just not so staggeringly so.
The idea came to light whilst on one of my unbelievably long commutes in the company of South West Trains.
A passenger nearby, carried out his daily routine of extracting a felt-covered neoprene collar and inflating it to support his head during the next hour and a half's sleep.
Instead of doing the same myself - that is going to sleep, not inflating a personal rubber ring - I started thinking that although he looked like a complete pimple he also looked very comfortable.
All I needed was to merge the idea of the inflatable collar with something less conspicuous.
It was obvious - my coat should feature the inflatable device.
That way I could discreetly give it a blow job [as it were] and rest in peace. Then on awakening from my slumber I could discreetly exhale the air and carry on with my day, fully refreshed.
There are a few drawbacks, such as the potential for leaks when some careless mutton pins a badge on your lapel when you visit the local convention, or the potential for farty sounds emerging when deflating your ring piece [as it were]
But on the whole it would be a good accessory for long distance commuters.
Another added bonus would be the potential to develop the idea into quickly inflated airbags for accident-prone pedestrians. Perhaps this aspect could be developed for motorcycle jackets, for accidents, not for resting on the motorway!
Further developments on the inflatable collar idea could be other parts of clothing with inflatable inserts.
A coat with additional comfort at the elbows perhaps, or a pair of trousers with a bum inflator for comfort. Although, if you are thinking of developing a patent on that one with me I think we ought to check out J-Lo first. She may already be on to it.
Sucker For Development
So, onto my main pièce de résistance in the redesign of the coat and as promised it is a simple idea.
As usual the idea sprang to mind when I encountered a problem and this one was where to put my jacket at the office I was working in at the time.
The usual places didn't suit the suit. The coat stand was overused and far to near the door for my liking and the back of my chair was too low to prevent the corners of a hung jacket dragging on the ground.
I wanted to hang it on the side of the cabinet but the office hadn't thought of providing a handy hook. Naturally, I went out and purchased, at great personal expense, a small plastic stick-on, white hook with peelable double sided tape.
Whilst waiting for the opportunity to purchase said item during that lunch-time I mused that it would be handy if the hook was already there in my jacket.
Thus came about the idea of a built in hanger and what could be simpler and cheaper than a built in rubber sucker.
So that's it. There's the killer device.
A simple inbuilt suction pad installed behind the collar in every coat.
It's O.K., no need for applause.
So who will help develop the supercoat?
With a built in inflatable collar and rubber suction pad.
Coats - evolutionally speaking just starting don't you think?
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.098 13 Apr 2018
First Published: Version 2.01 in Jul 2005
Inevitable note due to the passage of time: Unfortunately my second idea did not get developed in the first five years, or maybe not at all. Yet. So I was wrong. Sorry. I apologise, unreservedly. You can have my resignation letter from the internet by next Wednesday. But wait. Idea one, the inflation of clothing to protect motorcyclists is with us today. Someone ran with it and that's not easy in an inflated jacket. However both motorbike air bags and my idea are well pre-dated by inflatable personal buoyancy devices [life jackets to you and me] which were first developed in 1900 by French electrical engineer, Gustave Trouvé. Later on, 1928 in fact, or about half past seven at night, the idea was developed into the 'Mae West' life jacket. This fact led me on to checking Wikipedia to see when inflatable dolls were first invented but there is no record, plus I don't think carrying one of these on the train to take a nap on would be very convenient. Or socially acceptable
A Refreshment Revolution
One lump or two? I said, one lump or two!? Oh, never mind, it's turned out nice again
Admittedly, the way I take it - black, weak and with one sugar is a little unconventional. If it is an inviting, red, watery, sweet liquid where you can clearly see the base of the cup I'm a happy bunny. The taste is so subtle, not disrupted by the artificial thickness of bovine mammoidal fluid.
I learnt to appreciate the subtleness of tea as a drink after a Japanese restaurant supplied me with green tea. An oriental fusion of hot water with bits of their garden chucked in it. Strange to the eye but welcome in the mouth. The Japenese have been drinking it like this for hundreds of years before they told me. How inconsiderate is that?
This ancient heritage can be easily traced because in essence tea has hardly changed since the first chinaman boiled a pan of water in autumn. That is why the British love it. We are superb at tradition. So much so the developments in tea distribution have been few and far between.
For a start there was the tea bag. A major revolution. And then. Well almost nothing.
Except tea bags of various shapes offering dubious claims to increase efficiency. I don't even want my flavour to flood out. I take it red ferchrissakes.
So when I came upon this idea I thought I could claim a landmark. A revolution in tea making. A quantum step no less.
Will they name it after me?
Like all good ideas it is simple and comes from need.
Recently, I tried to make a cup of tea but there was no sugar. Someone had used the last of it and all that remained were a few grains amongst the coffee granules.
Little interim note, if you have coffee with sugar - put the sugar in first so the spoon doesn't contaminate the sugar. That coffee granule really spoils my weak tea. And I'm tea total, I never drink coffee.
Anyway, back to the case in point. I wanted a cup of tea and there was no sugar. I looked at the teabag. If only the sugar was already in it I thought.
One of those little lightbulb thingies illuminated over my head and there it was.
Tea bags, containing tea and sugar.
A marketing edge.
I even have the logo. "Sweet tea's the one for me".
Do you have the ability to turn this into a consumer product with me? Tea bag and sugar producers click away.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.039 15 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The tags were added in Version m5.039 15 Dec 2017, along with the image which depicts the author serving afternoon tea to some pensioners whlst some co-workers look on
Links to 'Tea' poem added in version m5.040 17 Dec 2017
Word Minutes Template
Take a minute to read this
I've been looking for over 120 seconds now. There must some minutes in here somewhere
The thing with big software applications is that they are so well developed that they are often hard to fault.
Thousands of pounds and man-hours go into producing a top class product worthy of the fortune you have to spend on it.
Or rather thousands of dollars, because let's face it. The yanks have got it all tied up.
So when I came across a need for an elementary layout in a powerful popular application I was surprised by its omission.
Microsoft Word '97 doesn't have a standard template for minutes.
How did this occur? Surely when they were beta testing the product they would have held meetings.
And minuted them.
Have I discovered a secret here? Do they use Lotus Ami-Pro in Seattle? We should be told.
By the way, I have created a template myself. If you need a copy, send me a request.
And if Bill Gates is reading this. Get in touch. You'll find my hourly rate very reasonable. Compared to yours.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The tags were added in Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017, along with the image which depicts a Windows XP desktop with multiple windows open