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. This is the collective ideas page for the vinceunlimited website - Part of the strange world of an Ideas Man.
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, then 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, in fact you are reading it at the moment or could have done so in the past should you have chosen to do so, therefore 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 cannot accept any 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 m5.320 1 Feb 2021
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
Fomatting updated: Version m5.301 11 May 2020
See individual article notes for specific dates added
I missed out on Bitcoin. I remember when it was at an early stage, around 2011, a curiosity in technical articles and I was intrigued by the idea. I wasn't confident enough in computer programming to work it myself and would have had to use a third party to purchase some but I did have an amount of spare money I could risk so I thought of trying. I even discussed the idea with my wife and recall talking of trying out a £500 risk. At the time that would have bought me a fair number of Bitcoin, around 3,000 if I recall correctly. The real problem was the lack of knowledge of how to do that. It functioned on a Windows PC system and my own PC had been getting old by then and I had already migrated to using an Apple device. Traditional routes such as banks were not available to use. The only sellers were unknown to me.
When Bitcoin returned to the news again, such as when I first heard of Laszlo Hanyecz buying a couple of actual pizzas for ₿10,000, I was pleased I hadn't paid out five hundred quid for the equivalent of a pizza slice, no matter how tasty it may have been. However this was the first purchase of actual, physical goods but Bitcoin had been generally weaving its own path, trading and rising for services amongst reprobates particularly on the dark web and the subsequent value climbed and climbed, fallen then climbed again. I didn't like the sound of trading with people in the dark with the real potential to become prey to criminals, so once more I didn't invest.
Had I bought the first coins I considered and then had I kept them, an unlikely probability given their often meteoric rises, my portfolio from such a £500 investment back then would be worth around £45m now. Or about seventy five billion per pizza. It seems I may have missed out on this one because of my valid concerns about values going down as well as up.
The same happened on other occasions. For instance, when I read of more technical or specialist news regarding other embryonic cryptocurrencies including the second one issued, Lifecoin in 2011. Again I thought of investing but faltered due to the potential prospect that mainly they were not Bitcoin leaving me wondering whether the market would surely only need just one cryptocurrency. Again I didn't know who I was dealing with, knew that these markets seemed highly risky and anyway, surely the bubble of growth is about to burst. And have subsequently lost out on every opportunity in this field since.
Even as recent as a few weeks ago, on news of more Bitcoin trading reports going up to record levels once more then settling back down again I was considering perhaps spending a sum on buying a small stake in every known cryptocurrency available in a spread bet on the suspicion that even if most of them faltered the probability was that one or two may rise enough to counter any loss. I would have been risking my investment so would only gamble what I could afford to loose. But I didn't. However, shortly thereafter there was the situation with GameStop being over egged by early speculators via Reddit which took traction, sending values through the roof and inspiring thousands of small investors clamouring to invest via micro investing stock market Apps, which then encouraged major mainstream traders to join in the stupidly overvalued rising mini bull market. Then, inevitably, the Apps were pulled creating a sudden distrust in the main stream stock market by all the micro investors and a subsequent rush by some into cryptocurrencies driving these currencies up an average 20% more. I really should trust my instincts. But again caution held me back.
In reality I only want to participate in such a trust based market if I can be in at the beginning, fully understand how it works and where it offers reasonable protection against criminality. I am not educated enough in complex computer programming to start and develop a new cryptocurrency that I can be in at the tier one level so have to think outside the box to come up with something that I could actually make work for me by making it work for you. I think I may have the answer but I will need some time.
Thankfully for me history has already provided this and it has been patiently waiting for me to market it all. After all it has lain unclaimed up to now and I formally stake my claim on it all. Plus because time is limited and only progressing slowly it could become ever more valuable plus it is also easily divisible into commonly recognisable and simple to understand divisions and so become marketable units. Allow me to explain.
Now that I own time, or at least the notion of it as understood by us all, I shall put an initial value on every year since year 1. And to date we have 2021 years since then. If you are not clear on my mathematics here check your calendar. I will value each year at, say, £100 and you are welcome to buy from me as many as you want or can afford until all the years are sold. I will obviously invest in a couple of years myself and give away some more to family members plus a few as gifts for worthy causes or for marketing purposes etc but most will be available to buy. Let's say 2000 of them. At £100 each I will personally gain £200,000 before tax. Well I did come up with the idea.
So why would you buy these years from me? Well, simply because you might be able to sell them on for more. Which is why we invest after all. To speculate. Just think, all those who own years, including myself, will have great incentive to help drive up their value. All you need to get payback is subdivide your own year and sell the individual components for more overall than you paid upfront. Let's say you divided your year by, what shall we go for?, I know, days. You have 365 units to sell and could price them howsoever you wished, but lets say you choose to sell your days at £100 each. With a potential gross return of £36,500 at that valuation. For each of the years that you originally bought.
And naturally as momentum builds all those next level day keepers will turn to subdividing their days and selling off their hours. Why? Because by then these will now be recognised off grid trading devices much like cryptocurrency units are now and consequently likely have a market based trading value. Particularly as the price each time is set by the seller and the market now limited in supply.
The great news is that up until this point the majority of the investors would likely be up on their deal. The others may have less potential to make more but will have a trading currency outside of mainstream banking
And then comes 2022. And I will sell that too or issue days in that year all of which could share the same excitement and newsworthiness as finding new bitcoins do now.
The mathematics mean that in truth it is unlikely that each year, day and hour would be fairly equal in value. I used the £100 examples as a guide to represent how each sector would return on the risk. At first I suspect it would be expected that a year would be worth roughly 365 times the value of a day and so on but as interest grew speculators should quickly realise the advantages of getting in early and subsequently drive the market naturally up across each division. With the higher tier levels containing the most lower tier units they would naturally be the most coveted. That year you initially invested in could be worth quite a lot more than you paid for it if you held on to it because there will only initially be 2021 of them.
I should set out a way to show how I envisage it would all work in principle, which would basically amount to these few rules shown below. Please note these are guide lines and have not been legally checked to ensure the correct phrasing so must be considered proposals at this time issued with good intent
It shall be known as Thyme [a working title for the purposes of this idea] or a similar name registered as a legal business and chosen to facilitate an easily discovered url where initial transactions take place, a name reserved for a future App if that is wanted and various social media sites
It must be a legal system. I do not want to create an underclass system that people are afraid to deal in. It should be transparent and open within reason yet subject to privacy plus any tax due on any gains must be paid by the seller
Any investment can be a risk and no recompense will be made due to not meeting expectations of performance. Caveat emptor
Thyme units shall be known as Years, for the top tier, then Days and Hours. The subdivision of which would match common understanding, i.e. a Year would consist of 365 Days or 366 in the case of a leap Year and a Day would be 24 Hours
The common place to go to check values and to confirm ownership, would be the Thyme url, initially maintained by me or the company I form to administer this, subsequently known as the Top Level Administrator and would have sole ownership rights of and control over issue or sale of the original top level Year time periods
Year zero or any negative year such as 1 BCE will never be issued which would ensure a limited supply of time units available
The minimal divisible unit will initially be the Hour, again to limit the supply of units available
Thyme units shall be fixed and only be traded whole or broken into their constituent parts. For example if you own a Day it can be traded whole with another person but once part of that Day, i.e. an Hour, is sold then it becomes a collective number of the Hours remaining, no longer a Day
Thyme units can be collated to form larger values only if the specific Thyme unit values are concurrent. For example you could purchase 24 separate Hours from up to 24 different sources but that will not become a Day unless each of those Hours are consecutive from the same day
There is no maximum or minimal value limit on any unit of Thyme
The value of any one unit at any given level shall not automatically alter the value of any other units of the same or any other level. This is a purely market driven system
There is no maximum limit to how many units of Thyme of any level that can be held by any individual, group of individuals or businesses
Administration costs at the year level will be borne by the Top Level Administrator. There shall be no fee in addition to the sell price for purchasing any original Year unit transaction. However, subsequent transactions of any Years will attract a 1% of traded value commission fee or a minimum of £10, whichever is greater, plus relevant taxes payable to the Top Level Administrator to cover database maintenance costs
Administration costs at the lower tier levels such as individual Years or Days will be borne by the original purchaser, who shall become a Level Admimistrator and they must be administered in accordance with the way described directly above. At the discretion of the Level Administrator similar updating fees may be applied on an individual basis. Any Year or Day Level Administrator should choose and declare such processing fees, as has been done in the paragraph above, in advance of selling
Owners of Hours are not Level Administrators
Level Administrators shall be responsible for maintaining accurate records of their units and subsequent sales until such time as they are fully dispersed of and then must maintain their transaction records for a minimum of seven years afterwards. This way buyers will only trust sellers if clear and accurate, historically traceable information is available
Subsequent years from year 2022 onwards will only become included in the system as they occur at 00:00 on 1st January of each year and shall immediately become owned by the Top Level Administrator. They can then be sold, gifted or broken into constituent Thyme parts at the discretion of the Top Level Administrator at the time of his choosing and in the manner in which he shall decide
The value of any Thyme unit and when it will be available will be soley market driven, either set by the seller and subsequently accepted or auctioned however-so the seller wished it to occur. For example, I, as the Top Level Administrator, shall decide when I will issue my Thyme Years for sale and at what price. As a result each buyer can then choose what their subsequent sell price is and when to sell
Ownership changes should be reported back to the Level Administrator for the particular unit level for verification to ensure records of ownership can be maintained
So how do I propose administration should work? As stated earlier my skills are not rounded enough to run a fully safe encrypted database, which would be needed if this took off due to its potential value and susceptibility to interference by computer savvy near do wells. So I have come up with a neat solution to recording legitimate ownership using readily available equipment which anyone could use. I will simply hand write the data down then scan it to distribute as a record, subject to data protection limitations.
I recognise your first thought may be that this method is fallible. After all scans can be manipulated by photo editing software. But this is the solution, the scan would be an oversized image with the scan data resting on a unique background, for instance a random newspaper sheet, then cropped to fit thus hiding the background. If there were any subsequent disputes in the data record the Level Administrator would be able to cross reference any disputed scans with the original.
The scanning idea came from the fact that when I scan a document with my smart phone it photographs the general area then automatically zooms in on the document. All very smart but never quite perfect. If I save it unedited the over scan may include some of the table I have placed it on and possibly my feet. Actually, usually, my overhanging belly but this is a detail you didn't need to know and I really must fix. I can correct the zoom more perfectly myself by dragging the scan perimeters more precisely and save it in a more cropped way but the original still retains the outermost details. This is the security needed to verify originality. In fact it is a common way of identifying expensive art copies. If a good fake is painted it can be made to look very much like the original but it would not have the same details that are wrapped around the framing rails and hidden by the outer frame.
Obviously there are other things that would need to be addressed such as data privacy issues but full legal compliance would be set in place to take care of this.
So are you interested? If so what are you going to offer me for a year of my Thyme? And which years would you choose to buy? Hint, leap years may be fractionally more valuable. And in case you are wondering I am keeping year one, my birth year and the year 2021 for myself, plus a handful of significant date years. See, the supply limitation is already happening so helping drive the value up.
I welcome any comments you have and if you wish to get this thing off the ground with me please make contact. If there is sufficient interest I'll update on this website first as soon as I set it up. So it could be a wise move for you to keep checking back for future updates
Why not take the Thyme and get onboard now?
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.320 1 Feb 2021
Lots Of Little Ideas - Part 2: Apps
Last month I introduced my series on 'little ideas', that is all my big ideas but in bite size form. I continue that theme here in this article where I provide a number of other little ideas but this time all with a similar theme. In this case, all my digital app ideas. So now they are in print and no longer hidden out of sight on my hard drive.
The usual caveats of copyright apply and I note that I believe each to be original in their concept having not seen any like these before. However I would note that on the iOS app store alone there are millions of app variations and I have no intention of checking through each one to check this. Let me know if you have seen or are using anything the same and I'll correct as required. Then feel proud that the concept I invented as well was indeed sound.
The App Ideas
Let's start with something silly. A toaster app for iPhone. It will be pointless and of course not work but your friends with Google Android phones won't know that when you turn it's dials to make the setting and watch as the bars glow 'hotter and hotter'. For the full fun effect ask them to get some bread and try it out. Variants will include the hot-plate, the ceramic hob and the five bar electric fire. Now what about getting sponsorship from a company like Dualit? If you think this is just too out there remember an early app on the iPhone was the larger drinking simulator. No beer but it was sponsored. And extremely popular
ValueMyStuff. A valuation site with sections for houses, automotive, furniture, tech, paintings, antiques, clothing, animals etc. Each item for valuation has a photo, condition percentages and links to sponsored 3rd party sellers and buyers sites. Ideal to get a value on that old watch in the cupboard or the rare toy car from childhood. Interactive ability to have viewers' stuff valued by the community
Short Films. Pitched between the might and mess of YouTube but with the quality and seriousness of Netflix. It would only have short films of up to 15 minutes, both professionally produced and amateur made providing they are of sufficient quality. Sections to include showcasing of new film producers, directors and talent. It would be a subscription model, say £2 per month with unlimited viewings
Mirror Drawing, a tablet app where you can draw one side of an object and the other side appears at the same time. Ideal for plans such as car, boat shapes etc.
Live Podcast Finder. An app showing when live worldwide podcasts are happening. Able to filter for favourite podcasts. Podcasters encouraged to input data. Possibly also other livestreaming events as well from YouTube, Instagram and Peppar as well
Car decorating. Photos or drawings of plain coloured cars provided with paint colouring tools to allow the user to customise at will. Would include options for two-tone, shading, metallic paints, graphics and crazy decals, which could be purchased, earned or sponsored for a race car look. The app would feature best user section where people rate their peers' efforts
Twitter grammar correction. Type in a Tweet and the app changes it to become more gramatically correct or even hip. Incorporating a range slider from Professor, through business like, cool, hip to phat. Plus in app purchases for cockney, Yoda, Data conversions as well
Collections. A photo collection service, e.g. Cars, trains, celebrities, sports stars. Collect photos into pre-set albums. Can purchase and trade content
Colourshift. Convert your own photos into component RGB with sliders to reconstruct or move around. Additional sliders for contrast, light etc
Clone camera. Make the display on your smartphone resemble the [top and] back of a serious DSLR camera. Not so useful if the clone you are copying doesn't have an LCD display
Averages. Before you check into a restaurant see the lowest, highest and average prices of the main meals. Would also convert nicely into an app that does other comparison items, such as cars
Gigging App. For bands and comics. The app can show where talent is performing on a particular date with links to booking websites etc. Perhaps a subscription model to include travel arrangements so car sharing can be accommodated
And finally a few Navigation or Map based Apps
En-route app which specifically highlights things en-route. Using a route selected from the your favourite Maps app. Find food, fuel, attractions etc. Better than the normal radius based systems
Retrace route function on Sat Navs
Petrol prices by location incorporating a calculator using your own vehicles mpg to assess whether it's worth diverting to get a better place to fill up
Train Sat-Nav. Not for the drivers, they know where they are going and cannot deviate off those parallel steel lines anyway. My idea is a map showing where you are on the network because normal maps aren't good at this. Would also clearly show key rail features such as stations, crossings, junctions and odd interesting information, perhaps also the speed you are going. Could be integrated with rail planner and train finder services perhaps?
Attractions, a list of places to go in an area, such as National Trust etc. Plus an element of gamification by getting a score based on the percentage of an area, country, or the world explored
These are just the ideas I have come up with so far for apps. In part one I had already listed a bunch of miscellaneous ideas and have yet to set out my other themed ideas sets covering Games, Technology and Transport. If you have a particular desire to see one of these subjects next let me know.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.317 28 Jun 2020 [First Pubication]
If you want me to expound on any of the above ideas just let me know
As usual if you know of any of these ideas actually existing in the real world please let me know so I can update my page. If not and you wish to exploit these concepts and commercially pass them off as your own just consider this, you have accessed this webpage so I may be able to trace and claim copyright. If you want peace of mind just let me know beforehand and we can probably come together and agree on a mutually acceptable arrangement
Lots Of Little Ideas
Part 1 - Miscellaneous Ideas
Sometimes an idea or concept can be summarised in just a few lines. In fact as an example I can tell you an original thought I had using only three words - Chocolate coated crisps.
In fact I can do it in just two words - Black Wine.
Or I could use three words but add a bit of humour - Square Chocolate Eggs - Cluck, cluck, Argh.
I had considered collating the above three tiny ideas together under one banner of food concepts and publishing an article for this website. But if I did that the other dozen or so ones listed below would fester for longer on my hard drive still awaiting the light of day. So I had another idea. Why not just publish a whole list of my one or two sentence concepts? Each has no particular association with any other, except emanating from deep within the recesses of my imagination.
The Miscellaneous Ideas
Various sports series for the over fifties. For example: An over fifties track racing series using something like a simple space frame car with an off the shelf engine
A self contained mist sprinkler set for fire protection. Containing all the components for easy installation with localised control, all ready to plug in with an option to extend with simple pipe work and push fit fittings
A short range defence gun firing large soft missiles designed to knock over targets without permanent damage. Legal to carry by non firearm trained police and possibly the public
A boat underwater damage repair device. Magnetic doughnut ring with neoprene centre that secures on the outside around the hole with the rubber skin providing the seal by means of external water pressure. This could be developed for military use by incorporating permanent awning style attachments that could quickly roll out from above the waterline to the damage below
Weight watcher or dieting cards - Congratulations on reaching 70... kg
Base speed limits on car standard fitment tyres using the aspect ratio between width and height. Vehicles with wider tyres could travel faster than those with skinny tyres. It's a safety issue. Fatter tyres have more road contact so corner and stop quicker. Plus the types of vehicles with wide tyres usually have uprated brakes
People should take their rubbish home but too many don't respect supplied litter bins or use them because they cannot be bothered to get out of their cars. So why not have highway litter troughs? Open troughs alongside the road for people to simply dump litter incorporating a standardised size to aide scoop collection from predesigned trucks
Print a premium line number to on the back of a van to be called if the vehicle is driven badly or in the wrong lane. Then drive along in an outer lane without moving over
On comparison sites rank restaurant menus based all of their items on the menu as cheapest, standard and most expensive averages. The same could be done for other comparisons such as car prices [entry level model, average specification and fully specced versions]
A solution to the housing crisis. Build more suitable family homes, designed to accommodate multiple generations of the same family. With separate living spaces within the same footprint of a normal house. Multi storey, individual facilities, shared spaces, joint ownership etc.
Shared car park and apartment building structures in city centres. Designed like a multi-storey car park but incorporating apartments as well as the many parking spaces
Films set in space often utilise spinning structures to provide gravity. Why don’t they hang something the mass of Earth, although not the size of it, under the ship. A custom built black hole, powerful enough to draw everything towards it but not so big it would suck the whole thing up
Table Tennis played on an hexagonal court with radial nets. The idea is to have the least losses in your sector. If one good player starts to win all the others should attack them. This would keep the scores even
A dictionary of collective nouns
Large or mid size water bottles the shape of large hip flasks to enable carrying in rucksacks
A headset designed like the bottom half of a a full face motorbike helmet with attached earphones, allowing private web based communication in open office environments
These are just a few of the ideas I have come up with and I indeed have many more. So here is another one. At some point I shall revisit this concept for all the other sectors that I haven't covered above including Apps, Games, Technology and Transport. If you have a particular desire to see one of these subjects first you know what to do. If not let me give you one more idea - Contact me.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.308 26 May 2020 [First Pubication]
If you want me to expound on any of the above ideas just let me know
As usual if you know of any of these ideas actually existing in the real world please let me know so I can update my page. Also, if not and you wish to pinch these concepts then commercially pass them off as your own just think, you have accessed this webpage so I may be able to trace and claim copyright. If you are concerned just let me know beforehand and we can probably come together and agree on a mutually acceptable arrangement.
Solar Panel Innovations
We live in a fast moving world. Fast both in development and motion. And traditionally we have powered all this with fossil fuels. We have long known that this energy supply will come to a natural end and now global warming and climate changes have accelerated to a point where we must act much more quickly to avoid further, costly environmental damage.
A sea change in finding alternative solutions for this has been the rapid recent development of electric power. Although some of this is generated by traditional fossil fuel sources a growing amount is being powered by cleaner and greener options such as wind, wave and solar power.
For transportation to embrace this power source there is a reliance on batteries, from early developments in heavy lead acid technology, through modern Lithium Ion versions which provide greater storage and even new ideas still on drawing boards and in the test tubes of many industrial chemical institutions.
Presently getting the electric power to the transport medium is a bit of a faff. High power electrical charging networks have only recently been planned and built also recharging batteries takes either massive amounts of time or massive amounts of power along with super cooled refrigeration mechanics. This is because fast charging generates huge amounts of heat as a by-product which can seriously damage or impair the equipment of the charging process.
For this reason a good compromise is solar powered battery recharge. Often readily available this is generally a fairly low powered constant supply, providing the daylight is present.
However, providing sufficient electric output for a high powered transport device such as a car is currently almost impossible to achieve other than for extremely lightweight prototype concepts. This is why no attempt is made to cover the roofs or panels of fully electric vehicles with solar panels and why all these vehicles are creeping quietly around the country looking for a fixed high amp electric charge point which they can sidle up to.
And providing sufficient panels for more energy intensive vehicles such as trucks, lorries, boats or even massive ships is even less likely.
Unless you are an ideas man like me and can see a way to beat this problem. And I present here a number of innovative concepts that may assist.
Solar Powered Cars
Let’s start with cars.
A couple of extremely light weight, prototype, hyper mileage, single seat, pram wheeled, ultra low drag vehicles with a streamlined plastic covering have been produced. These concepts were built to prove solar power concepts or challenge for self invented high mileage travel records, usually carried out in perfect solar producing conditions.
However, as discussed above our standard, fully equipped five seater electric cars need too much power storage and are used far too often in too many differing conditions to benefit from a charge source via just a few square metres of solar panel on their roof, even if you did add in the bonnet and side doors. There is just no more space to mount the panels.
This is why they are charged from a static point, either a mains public charger, from a parked charging space at home or something similar at a destination. This system works fine, providing the owner remembers to plug the car in to the mains and isn’t going on an extended journey. If such an undertaking is attempted a time consuming electrical fuel stop or two would be needed to be factored in.
So, the problem is the square meterage available of solar panels. So why not just tow a solar panel array? The increased surface area may just keep a car going for the number of miles needed for a longer trip. Imagine a trailer being towed behind the car, stretching back as far as an articulated lorry, quietly sucking up solar rays and sending the charge back into the cars battery via an attached coiled wire.
This is obviously all well and good on main, open, multiple lane roads and shouldn’t be too much of an issue but that’s not the only place cars need to go. On smaller, twistier, single carriageway roads, local suburban areas and cities a long trailer may be unruly and difficult to handle by the average driver so further innovation is required.
In these instances it is clear that the trailed array of panels needs to be shortened. So why not have an unfurling array? A twin axle trolley which automatically stretches out and also retracts to suit the road conditions.
The arrays will either have to be flexible enough to retract into a large roll or perhaps be designed to stack over and under each other in order to suit the trailer wheelbase length.
Maybe the ultimate version of this system would be a roll out trailer actually incorporated into the boot or within the rear bumper area of the car, which automatically deploys, dropping out and extending dependant on road suitability. Neat and tucked away for parking in congested cities and adjustable enough to suck up some sunshine dependant on the situation. With the advantage that the most effect will occur on longer runs on main roads, which is the weak point of electric propulsion systems.
Is it possible that this idea is so innovative and indeed needed that current, existing cars may be modified to remove the oily, noisy fossil fuel sucking engine with an electric powered transmission system and fitted out with an inboard, deployable towed power station?
Another associated thought may be that a future roadside recovery vehicle would be equipped with a trailer load of deployable, pre-charged, arrays ready to hitch to cars that have inadvertently run out of sun juice and are stranded on the edge of the carriageways? 'Eh, eh', I hear you mutter.
But enough of cars for now, what about other means of vehicular transport?
Vans, Trucks and Lorries
A similar system could be adopted for vans and trucks. But with these larger vehicles there is additional unused roof space for fixed panels and more space for incorporating a slide out additional array. Already many vans and lorries incorporate rear mounted equipment such as fold out load lifting platforms and even especially designed slimline forklift trucks.
For larger lorries already incorporating articulated designs an additional fixed or roll out trailer would be too unwieldy however their roof space is even more generous in the first place so should be utilised.
And in the case of the many articulated lorries which are just independent truck and trailer models with the cab owner hitching up the trailers of others the two parties would need to work to a commonly agreed system to ensure compatibility. Which makes me think that maybe the universal container design needs remodelling to incorporate solar arrays? And to avoid having to bolt on ill fitting solar panels to the corrugated roofs why not ‘paint’ a solar panel direct onto the corrugations? Surely this must be possible using laser etching?
But what if we consider other means of transportation?
The idea of roof mounted solar panels on trains is not required on much of the already electrified network. However the rail network system certainly lends itself to miles of fixed solar panel arrays alongside or between the rails for use of the rail network or to feed other non-rail infrastructure, homes and businesses nearby.
Notwithstanding the above, much of the network is not yet electrified and to convert it may be very expensive and require a lot of disruptive construction often in remote and environmentally sensitive areas. In these cases adopting roof panel mounted arrays on the long trains could be a good option and the towing of multiple, long, linked additional arrays is certainly a feasible thought.
And why isn’t wind power harnessed as the trains pass by? If you are unfortunate enough to be close to a passing high speed train you would feel the rush of wind created. Put up vertical fans near to the edge of the train which would spin up when a train passes and convert this mechanical energy back into electrical energy to help power the network points, lights and other infrastructure.
Canals have some similarity to the rail networks. Some of the bends may be a little tighter but it is still essentially a system that suits elongated design. And much like the rail system many miles of it are very open to daylight.
Already many canal boats, usually those that house live aboard residents, take advantage of a few solar panels along with the necessary electronic systems and batteries to power their onboard electrical needs. However, their roofs are often too congested with guy ropes, poles, brightly decorated watering cans and other useless ephemera to be fully equipped with major arrays.
This is because few canal craft rely on full electric propulsion. Most instead rely on fossil fuel powered engines. But if one considers that these engines are usually very low powered they could simply be replaced with a similar power output electric system.
It is doubtful that with current technology that a single boat, even one that extends a full 72 feet in length, would be able to site enough panels on its own roof, even if we utilise my earlier idea of spray painted arrays. So instead, why not tow an additional hull packed with a full set of solar arrays?
I would add a couple of other extras onto this big fuel cell to make the system more easily manageable down the cut. I would add a small seating area at the rear and a deployable electric outboard type motor, powered from the array, to make the craft individually controllable when needed. This would be required when the towed power source is detached from the main boat in order to pass through the standard locks on the canal system.
Finally why not incorporate onboard the hull array a mechanical or electrically automated pivoting system to steer the individual array panels towards any light source to increase efficiency of the system?
The ideas are just flowing out now so let’s scale this up.
River Boats and Ocean Yachts
Already there are fully electric powered catamarans on the market taking full advantage of their generous roof and deck spaces being covered with solar panels which feed battery systems and electric propulsion. At present their power is limited compared to other more powerful, faster boats and yachts but they can apparently sail continuously in the right conditions at a modest cruising speed.
The trouble with non catamaran design is the lack of roof and deck space. Plus many yachts are designed with open flybridge cockpits and many, many more are already built already incorporating big, heavy, fuel sucking engines. So I need to find a solution for these craft as well.
The natural energy source can be the same as the model suggested for the canal boats. Towed solar panel arrays, powering an onboard battery storage, electric propulsion motor system.
Yes, I can hear you already picking up on a couple of key points. Calm down I have already thought of these and have them covered.
Firstly, yes some modifications have to be made to the original watercraft. The current diesel or petrol engines will need replacing with electric units. But these will be much more compact and whilst being fitted likely to incorporate updated innovation such as steerable pod propulsion to increase low speed manoeuvring around the harbours and marinas.
The balance of the boat design caused by the reduction in engine weight from big heavy fossil fuel engines and gearboxes with huge fuel storage tanks to more compact electrical motors can be offset by judicious positioning of the necessary battery and charging equipment.
Alternatively just build new boats with design incorporated, electric motors and battery storage systems.
But, you exclaim, what about having to tow a massive solar panel array craft behind us whilst trying to pose around the Mediterranean beaches and tearing about in pointless but addictive high speed turns? My answer is don’t. The power source doesn’t have to go everywhere with you. Just tow it to a convenient bit of empty sea, anchor it from tidal movements, disconnect and go off to have some fun whilst it sucks up some sun, only to return at the end of play to recharge from your own self sufficient ‘fuel’ station.
And if you wish to harness even more power why not incorporate some wave energy technology into your floating power station as well? I'll explain how when we really scale this up.
Ocean Going Ships
You may think that this article has developed from my ideas on road vehicles, adapting some of these basic ideas onto small water craft and now I’m going all in in an attempt to exaggerate and scale up a basic concept. In truth it was the energy efficient powering of ocean going liners that made me come up with these ideas in the first place.
I have been on a few cruise trips, including ocean crossings on some magnificent vessels and enjoy it too much to want to give it up for the sake of the environment. But I have a conscience and want my actions to impact the world in which I live in the most sustainable way. I heard that cruise ships have an enormously disproportionate effect on natural resources and they are getting ever more popular so I wanted to come up with a solution to save the industry. I know, it's all me, me, me.
But how do you electrify a huge cruise ship without if being tethered to a large cable attached to shore? The answer lies in utilising wave and solar power whilst out and about. And much like smaller boats and craft the onboard surface area is not sufficient to meet the needs of the many decks of energy hungry occupants below.
I therefore envisaged an idea that the vast surface area of a massive solar array could be towed behind to power the ship, all fitted out with steerable panels to zero in on the source of light power. Overall size and space taken up need not be a consideration due to the environment in which these vessels operate. Why not tow massive panel sets over a mile in length? If size requires it to be unhooked and anchored temporarily whilst the ship puts into ports then shore power can be used whilst the ship is there.
Yes, the towed power source will need some battery storage for harvesting power whilst unhooked, it would be best served with independent motors for manoeuvring and probably incorporate a small manned onboard control tower [and lifeboat for emergency], particularly if it is a mile long!
Finally add in some wave energy harnessing technology as well into this power station, possibly by articulation of sections of the craft and hey, I may just have had an idea that could help save the industry and our planet. And more importantly, my future cruise desires.
And finally, as a call back to the section above entitled Vans, Trucks and Lorries, remember my idea that all standardised containers incorporate solar panels. These adapted containers can all be linked whilst transported on massive container ships to provide more self sufficiency and even more planet saving. I’m starting to wonder whether I could actually be saving the equivalent of two planets by now.
Oh, and as for powering all the oil tankers chugging around the world. No need, they will all become redundant.
Summary Of Ideas
Wow, what a lot to think about. Just in case you have been overwhelmed by the number of innovative ideas in this one single article let me summarise them below.
Towed solar panel arrays for vehicles
Adjustable length towed arrays - Retractable roll out and stackable
Adjustable towed arrays stored within the rear of vehicles
Roadside recovery vehicles carrying spare, pre-charged roll out towed arrays
Redesign of the universal container system to incorporate solar panels, adaptable enough to be joined up to help power a container ship
Spray painted on solar panel arrays with laser etching
Fixed solar panels within or without the parallel rail lines to power electrified trains and infrastructure on electrified and non electrified routes
Harnessing wind created by high speed passing trains to power the network infrastructure
Floating, towed solar panel arrays for canal craft, boats and even big ships
Floating, towed solar panel arrays incorporating wave energy harnessing technology
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.284 15 Jan 2020 [First Publication]
These are conceptual ideas, untested and made without engineering calculations. For instance I have no idea how many more miles a towed array would make to an electrically propelled vehicle or craft. I do however surmise that it would be more with than without
I have not overly emphasised the additional components of solar panel and battery systems. I do understand that there would be other components such as solar charge controllers, inverters, wiring and isolation to consider. I also understand that all these things would add both weight and cost and be needed to be incorporated in either the vehicle or towed array or both. An unaccompanied, towed array left to soak up some sun whilst drifting quietly at sea would do no good to its owner when it returns if an onboard battery etc is not included
At the time of publication I had not fact checked whether any of the ideas listed above have already been produced, developed, patented or are in the process of development. All I claim is that I have not come across them naturally. If you know of such innovation already out there let me know and I’ll amend and credit accordingly.
I place these concepts into the wild as I feel it wrong to keep them to myself and I also hope to inspire others and generate interesting discussion
As ever, my many ideas are never commercially exploited nor formally patented by me but I would like to see them used. I presume if you are the sort who takes up the ideas of others and passes them off as your own you would not be the sort who credits the original inventor or chucks them a bit of financial thanks. If however you are not such a dreadful monster my name is shown above. Find me, thank me, credit me, reward me. You’ll feel a much better human
These innovations have not been fully developed, tested, proven via prototype, safety tested, manufactured or fully engineered and are just conceptual ideas therefore the author cannot accept any liability for loss or damage in the use or manufacture of any of these conceptual ideas
In April of this year I posted an article proposing the concept of a novel range of mashed potato based take away outlets, arguing that it was more healthy and offered greater choice than traditional burger, curry and fish & chips franchises.
I even attempted to differentiate my idea by suggesting a slight change in the packaging of the take away product by proposing a circular polystyrene container. However this change is not radical enough. It still has the unpopular use of a one time wasteful box. So I set about attempting to find a solution to appease environmentally minded people.
I found a solution to this by merging two traditional take away ideas - Fast food and ice cream.
The original concept for a MashTop showing the edible cone cut away revealing a tasty sweet internal treat
I propose the uniquely novel idea of a brand new food product which I have called The MashTop.
The basic concept is a scoop of mashed potato atop an edible wafer cone.
With the mashed potato top additional elements can be added to complete a tasty meal such as the use of frankfurters shown in the adjacent close up photograph.
Other toppings could include slices of various cooked or processed meats or even fish fingers. Samples are shown within the banner photograph above.
Carrots, baked beans or sprinklings of peas could be vegetarian options or even be included with the meats.
Toppings could include peppers, gravy or selected sauces.
The other novel concept, which really sets this idea apart from what is already available, is the hidden sweet treat internally held within the cone.
The large photograph shows a filling of red jelly with chunks of dark chocolate and a Malteser plug. But many other mixes could be added such as illustrated by the banner photograph.
Other sweets could be utilised such as Smarties, Jelly Babies, chocolate raisins or maybe healthier options like apple, orange segments or grapes.
The major benefit of The MashTop is the complete lack of environmental waste because the toppings, internal contents and the 'container', the wafer cone itself, are all edible.
Additional benefits include ease of use, convenience, the ability for customers to select their own choice of fillings and being quick enough to prepare to be called fast food.
As the original designer and so first user of this concept I am uniquely qualified to report on the success or otherwise of this concept.
For the purpose of this article I simply used products that are easily available at large supermarkets and I used no more 'cooking' than boiling a kettle.
I used a freeze dried potato mash option and warmed the frankfurters by emptying the water from a tin and adding boiled water.
With more effort in a full kitchen fresh potatoes could be peeled, boiled and mashed but the end result would look little different.
Because I like the way I prepared the food I was personally satisfied with the taste and texture of the mash based topping.
It was as easy to eat as a classic ice cream and didn't spill anywhere.
The interaction between the mash, frankfurters and the room temperature cone was admittedly a bit unusual because this is not the normal way of consuming food. However it was perfectly acceptable.
The only change I would make is a thicker wafer cone as the moisture from the mashed potato was easily absorbed around the cone perimeter. This would be less likely the quicker the product was consumed. Alternate thicker, stronger cones were not available in the supermarket that I used.
The internal treats were lovely as expected and no such differentiation between the cone and sweet filling was experienced.
When reselecting a different more substantial cone I would also seek a larger size. The standard small cone wasn't able to accommodate much filling and the mashed potato based topping was only a small meal. Ideal for a snack between meals or for children but probably not enough for a main lunchtime meal. Maybe cone size options could be offered at the retail outlet.
Overall I feel the product has serious potential as a new fast food option.
A complete meal in a take away cone. Two courses, no waste.
Do you like this idea? Perhaps you have some comments. The idea is not patented and therefore free to use. Try it. Enjoy it. Sell it. Sell millions. Make millions. Thank me later.
And finally if you think I haven't also thought of serving other fast food meals such as burgers in a wafer box then you really don't understand the breadth of my inventiveness. Another great idea, just dropped in as an afterthought? You're welcome.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.270 11 Jul 2019 [First Publication]
The header image is a compilation of eleven photographs showing the concept of the MashTop product, along with the author holding one of the cones, taken by the author and his wife on 23 Sep 2017
The additional image is a close up of a cutaway MashTop, taken by the author on 23 Sep 2017
I had the idea of mashed potato based fast food outlets a few years ago but only publicly posted this as an idea in April 2019
The idea of the MashTop was fully developed by me by 2017, as can be seen from the date of the photographs. This article is the first public airing of the idea. Had I created the article immediately and not spent ages updating my website as a vehicle for such thoughts I suspect that by now there would have been a sea change of fast food container use and as a result there would be no plastics found in our environment, Polar Bears would have been brought back from near extinction and David Attenborough would be having a nice quiet retirement. For this delay Mr Attenborough and all Polar Bears I am sorry.
I seem to come up with several ideas including many for businesses across many sectors. Occasionally my mind has to bat them off because they come at me so furiously at times.
And they appear suited to a variety of places but the best need to be sustainable. After all, in commerce, why sell one of something to someone when there are options to sell and resell and resell all over again to customers.
The best business example of this is of course the food industry.
But the food industry is as mature as a stock of forgotten Stilton. And often as impenetrable as a stock of forgotten Edam. However I must stop these silly cheese based analogies to concentrate my best business brain cell on finding a chink in this already well developed market.
So let’s take a look at who does best here.
The most successful must be the high volume, massive turnover, big brand supermarkets. Unfortunately to take on these giants would take a lifetime of hard work originating from a small base and this is where my forte falls unfortunately short. By about thirtee-nyne.
The next most successful food based businesses must be the big brand burger and chicken establishments and it is here I see a possible way to sneak a crack into the firmament.
You see these fast food emporiums concentrate mainly on the meat part of the meat and two veg combo. A burger outlet will mainly offer burger and fries or burger with salad or even burger alone. The chicken outlets do the same only replacing the term burger with the phrase fried chicken. And the Asian variants do the same this time invariably leading with the curried meat. Even the original fast food outlet in this country leads with fish and whatever.
What is missing is the option in these places to vary the ‘meaty’ or ‘fishy’ bit. So, I think it’s time to lead with the chips.
I could propose a chips shop, offering chips with fish, chips with burger or chips with chicken, all within one establishment. But chips are as unhealthy as fries so let’s drop the whole frying thing and offer a simpler, basic potato option.
My proposal is to start a chain of take away food outlets with the emphasis on the potato. And as jacket potato outlets already exist and new potatos are inconsistent and have a habit of rolling all over the place I suggest trying the mashed potato option.
Imagine a smart new food outlet headlined by a healthy, tasty mashed potato choice. With a variety of additional side extras from meats like burgers and chops, via sausages to curries and stews. Plus a variety of vegatable choices such as peas, carrots, beans etc. All topped as desired with butter, black pepper, gravy or sauces.
Mashed potato is simple to produce, there are automated potato peeling machines, and cooking is a simple boiling and mechanised mashing procedure. The product can even be mass produced in a remote location, freeze dried, easily stored and transported then enlivened by simply adding boiling water.
An illustration to show how a take away serving of a Ring-o-Mash, served with sausages and peas, might look. Note the unique circular design of the polysterene container
To further identify this idea from other more established branding and presentation I envisage that mashed potato based take aways should be offered on a circular platter with the non-mash options added within the circle.
This design would help with containment of any looser items such as peas and for liquids such as gravy during transit.
Additionally the design has some familiarity, resembling the classic rice and curry presentation and allows for simple mixing prior to consumption. In fact the brand Ring-o-Mash was inspired by such a take away design concept.
This concept would be unique, tasty, healthy and could be marketed as suitable for vegetarians, vegans, followers of halal choices or those with allergies.
Setting up a business like this would be relatively simple. As a basic cottage industry it could be started from home, providing you have a working kitchen. And on a more industrial scale the concept could be expanded or franchised.
And the best bit is that it is premiered right here.
So are you looking for a new business idea? Do you have the skills to set this up? The necessary food hygine certification? The kettle? If so please feel free to go for it.
I only ask that you show credit where credit is due by acknowledging me as the person who came up with this idea. And for about 3% of turnover when you are established in more than three counties.
And a free lunch on Wednesdays. Because I love mash. Covered in sprinkled cheese.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.258 16 Apr 2019 [First Publication]
The header image is an original sketch drawn by the author to illustrate how a new mashed potato outlet might look on the high street
The additional image is an original sketch drawn by the author to illustrate how a 'ring of mash' take away meal comprising mashed potato, sausages and peas might look if presented in a uniquely designed circular polystyrene take away box
Through The Round Window
Take a look out of your window. What do you see?
The chances are that unless you are on holiday, you live on a ship or are currently slumming it in what the Americans call an “ArrVee” the view is exactly the same as the one you had yesterday. And the day before.
And unless you are about to complete a property transaction or do a moonlight flit from the landlord it will be the same again tomorrow.
I for one find all that a bit monotonous.
And I won’t accept the changing patterns of trees in the winter/spring/summer/autumn argument. The trees never move and for my money offer less distraction than a city-scape skyline. At least with a city you may get the chance to live opposite a hospital nurses’ changing room during a curtain closing drought.
So I have devised a cunning way to relieve the monotony. Let's all share our views.
I propose that all windows be replaced with a big LCD screen backing onto a networked webcam.
Tomorrow I could be looking out of your lounge window and you could be looking out of mine. And noting that Mrs Miggins across the road has just painted her front door green.
Obviously certain outlooks will be of more interest than others. I’ve seen several windows that back onto the neighbours wall and others with fine vistas.
Which gives me the name. Let’s call this ‘Windows replaced by Vista’.
Although I may need to do some research to see if this infringes any patented trademarks first.
Perhaps we could use a system where we state the number of viewing options available. I have 7 windows in my house so I could call my place Windows 7. You see Windows 7 really is my idea.
The system could even be monetised with the most popular views commanding high viewing figures and attracting ad breaks.
And guess which curtain drought outlook would be the most popular?
There are a couple of drawbacks.
In winter you may switch to a nice sunny outlook only to have your Hawaiian shirt thoroughly dampened when you step out into the real world's shivering rain.
And, being the twenty-first century all soothsayers will immediately rally around the old chestnut of energy usage. After all these screens would use more energy than a simple plate of glass.
But there is a response. Ask yourself how a lot of the heat escapes from a well insulated property - through the glazing. And with this system all windows will be bricked up and insulated.
I foresee that one day you will be able to say “That outlook is so much more improved”.
And that’s no bad thing.
However that potential trademark is also being considered.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.170 10 Aug 2018
First Published: Version 3.0 in Mar 2010
Windows Vista is the name of Microsoft's computer operating software released in 2007
Windows 7 is the name of Microsoft's computer operating software released in 2009
When Windows 7 was released Microsoft updated their 'I'm a PC' advertising campaign, which had attempted to counter the Apple 'Get a Mac' advertising campaign, using the tag line "I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my idea"
Microsoft's Outlook, a personal information manager, incorporating email, was initially released in 1992 and has since had many improvements made up to it's current version
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
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
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
Click, click, BOOM!
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 5.109 30 Apr 2018
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 5.111 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
Article entitled Supershoes in Version 3 Mar 2010
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?
Maintaining The Good Start [Graded Facts Website]
From the Blog Section of the website
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 restating 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 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 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
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
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
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 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 m5.171 12 Aug 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
An image was added in Version m5.055 on 10 Jan 2017 and depicted 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]
The Radio Text Idea
Cheap Texting - Saving a fortune on text messaging
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 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 encompassed so willingly in modern texting.
Other times I may view this mindset as a bit grammatically pedantic. More French than our ever evolving English. After all, as a writer a changing language gives you many more tools to construct with. So why shouldn't I abbreviate abbreviate to abbrev8 or abr?
So my real concern is not the flexibility that abbreviation gives but the fact that in truth the technique is developed as a lazy result of our modern immediate society.
Notwithstanding all that it will not prevent me from profiteering from an idea based on this 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 m5.171 12 Aug 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 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
Text updated based on Version 3.0 Mar 2010
The image was updated to a photo of a Virgin branded Philips Savvy DB mobile phone kit in Version m5.171 12 Aug 2018
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 and was added in Version 5.024 24 Nov 2017
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
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.
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 image was added in Version 5.039 15 Dec 2017 which depicts the author serving afternoon tea to some pensioners whlst some co-workers look on
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 image was added in Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017 which depicts a Windows XP desktop with multiple windows open