The vinceunlimited Ideas Page

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.

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 m5.065 5 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
First published in this format: Version m5.021 20 Nov 2017
See individual article notes for specific dates added

vSearch by Title

Please note that some of the following links are not yet functioning and will be updated in due course...

Big Issue - Escalator Etiquette - Fluorescent Roads - Lanes - LCD Car Windows - Mobile Vending - Sweet Tea - Word Minutes Template

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

Escalator Etiquette Idea

Mounting Excitement

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?

Simple eh?

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

Fluorescent Roads

The long and shiny road

Image of a light blue Peugeot 406 coupe travelling on a road
The road could be blue. 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.


Author: Vince Poynter
*Little known fact: Tarmac is a registered name used in a generic way, much like Hoover
Version m5.024 24 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
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

Lane Discipline

A motorway scene
Lane discipline is good here. Probably.

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

The new black in car windows

Image of a blue Range Rover with black out side windows
Blacked out windows

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.


Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.025 27 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
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.

The vinceunlimited Mobilevend Idea

Quick Ringing

An image of a simple mobile phone with small dot matrix type screen
Simple. 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]

Sweet Tea

A Refreshment Revolution

Photograph of the author in a suit serving tea to a table full of pensioners whilst some workers look on
One lump or two?

I love tea.

But then again I am supposed to. I am British.

I even wrote a prose on the subject.

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

Image of a Windows XP screen with multiple windows open
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