I'm an ideas kind of guy - I tend to have a lot of ideas and no time to implement them. Since ideas are a dime a dozen, and there's no way I can find the time and resources (i.e. money) to make use of most of them, I'll just dump them on this page. Of course, most ideas are garbage, and the same holds for those on this page.
The small print: If anyone actually manages to implement an idea presented here, I'd appreciate I get mentioned in credits (also, I won't refuse money :) ). If anyone wants to implement an idea on this page and really wants me to remove the idea from the page, I can be persuaded (let's trade).
Anyway, here's my idea dump, in no particular order:
Oval displays? In the almost-traditional over-the-top "what will Apple do next, designer-vise" discussion with a friend we came up with an "interesting" idea - round / oval displays. Of course, it's a stupid idea. Or is it? Technologically, an OS that has such advanced display features as OS X shouldn't have any problems with maintaining an oval display region / desktop. The one major technological problem could be waste area during production, if the displays are to be "cut out" of a rectangular slab of LCD. That leaves us the UI / human interface problem. Does it have any benefits here (aside from being unusual and sexy given current technology design standards)? The human field of vision is oval, so it could be argued that an oval display is more adjusted to it. Except for blocks of text, I believe that most other design elements can be modified to fit an oval shape.
2x 2.5" drives in a 5.25" bay I want a 5.25" case (internal HDD enclosure) like it's used for holding 3.5" hard drives in a 5.25" bay, but one that holds two 2.5" drives (one above the other), with proper cooling and hot swap ability. I want to do create a RAID1 array from the drives (hardware RAID optional, but forget it if it's not smart enough to handle hot swapping properly). Computers usually have more than enough 5.25" bays so why not use them?
"Auxels" The problem: Star-trek interface (i.e. touch screen) is cool, but the ape descendants using them (e.g. people) like tactile feedback. I think this kind of feedback could be provided by low frequency acoustic vibrations from behind the screen, Since these must be localized to where the user "clicked" with his finger, the audio sources or conducts must be spread across the surface, pixel-like. Hence "auxels" - acoustic pixels.
P2P mp3 streaming Many people within the office listen to MP3 streaming "radio stations", and many of them listen to the same ones. Wouldn't it be great if the clients themselves became sort of repeating stations? Each client listening to a stream could offer the same stream to the other computers in the office, possibly via mDNS or similar discovery protocol. In effect, this would save enormous bandwidth on the Internet.
This could as well be generalized to other types of traffic, such as web pages. BitTorrent is a right step in this direction.
Imaginary RPG Imagine a CRPG which is not much tied to the physical world. In it, events and environment depend on the imagination and the "willpower" of the participants. Let something like Solaris (from Stanislav Lem's book) or Limbo (from Planescape RPG setting) grant participant whatever they wish for, and let it be real. Let people have their wishes granted, and get in conflict with the wishes of other people!
I guess I'm after a sort of game with tangible (to make a pun) duality between the real and the unreal. If a man walks the desert and wishes it, he could perceive the desert as a forest, and as far as he is concerned, it WOULD be a forest. But unless he's powerful enough, a wall in real world will appear as wall in his own reality.
Or maybe a more interesting thing would be "reality by consensus", where actions and the environment up to a point in future are implicitly or explicitly "agreed upon" by the participants, and everyone's wishes have a certain echo in the reality-to-be.
This looks like a primarily non-combat CRPG, but there's space for combat too - I'm thinking of something like the ending combat in the Star Trek novel Spock must die, where the combatants "wish" various (mostly environmental) cataclysms on each other.
Occasionally, I just get random ideas that are best classified as SciFi stories' plots :)
Loophole for FTL? Photons have momentum but zero rest mass. What if you try to STOP photons as-is, would you get infinite energy?
A non-linear universe Consider how light spreads through glass: photons are constantly absorbed and released by the atoms in their path. Suppose that releases are not strictly in the same direction, but *always* vary, either constantly (always x deg from the entry point in a certain direction) or randomly. Could lens-optics be possible? Is it happening now? By a very slight amount related to the alpha constant?
Blinded by the sight of God? God said in the Bible: "no man shall see me and live!" - what if God is everywhere and everything, and this is the reason for mortality? Would the sensory deprived from birth live forever?
Perpetual catastrophe Oldish couple looking at sunset over a skyscraper city. So beautiful, so fragile. It's discovered that the galactic core has exploded (with a nod to Larry Niven), and the shock wave is coming just behind the light (or some other random catastrophe - volcanic winter?). Most people are despairing and rowdy, some (the couple is one of them?) are building a room - cubic room with many layers of shielding, to contain a monument (a stone slab) with writings, and cultural treasure around it. The room's shielding is a marvel of technology. Out of boredom, someone sets a satellite/s searching for the room signature and finds there two almost identical sites! When dug out, the second room looks almost destroyed, but in there are writings in it that look like they talk about sudden discovery of "the second one", which are dismally copied again, on the newly finished monument, before it is sealed.
Nagging suspicion "There's something sinister when a accomplished and fruitful writer receives, every week precisely, one of his own books by mail." Each book is neatly wrapped in decorative paper, with a paper card containing the preceding sentence attached with a piece of plain string to the wrapping.
(The writer goes mad and kills the postman :) )
O Fermi where art thou? What is the easiest way for a long-living (immortal even) race to discover, in a galaxy full of stars each of which could have it's own system of planets, where the best mining areas, rich with needed (and expensive) substances are? How about this: bio-engineer an evolution, starting with several thousands of possible life-starting structures, and culminating one day in beings marveling at their intelligence when they discover radio, and seed the galaxy with it. After that, they'd only have to listen for beacons appearing, beckoning from spots across the space.
The late race The cosmic background radiation is low, around 3 kelvins. Imagine how much time does it take for a universe created in a Big Bang to cool down so much! Regarding the Fermi paradox: this universe may be dying - all the civilizations have come and gone, and those who remain would be saddened and depressed looking at the night sky that is mostly black. Our civilization is mostly dark, almost depressed and disinterested - were the youngest civilization happier, sparkling with the enthusiasm of a newborn universe?
Does the Matrix have debuggers? Hutchison Effect (various weird Tesla+Philadelphia experiment+anti-gravity effects) was not repeated by Hutchison since 1980ies - he claims that it simply doesn't work now. What if something has changed since the time he did it (and possibly when Tesla did it) and now? Was a bug fixed in the Matrix?
Zero point energy? Zero point energy of the vacuum has been proven and theoretically calculated. In relativity, energy and mass are almost interchangeable. So zero point energy, which has extremely huge densities, could "produce" enough gravity to visibly bend space. So far, no fiction. But we're not noticing any space-bending in random blocks of vacuum. What if matter and its effects we notice is actually the LACK of (zero-point) energy?
A realistic Matrix Imagine a world heavily interwoven with digital information and presentation-enhancing technology, for example where words in books get highlighted when people touch them, automatically bringing on a view of encyclopedia that defines it, etc. People are happy and always young. Then a reality is revealed: it's a Matrix-like world where people painstakingly save money IRL to have a few hours of virtual happiness, and IRL live in dirty conditions in what are practically sleeping pens not homes. (Hmmm... cf. Gibson's Matrix)
Randomness as a positive evolutionary trait? Some "Dark Enemy" or Force or whatever is preying on all intelligence, it's attracted to intelligent creatures and kills them/turns them into itself/does something horrible. It is fought, defeated and exiled into another dimension/galaxy/some dark place thought uninhabitable. Certainly, no intelligence would arise in such a place. But it does, and eventually is attacked by and defeats the Dark Enemy, by evolving to be as much random as possible, never going in straight lines, always doing multiple actions at the same time, which seem unrelated and purposeless, so it isn't perceived as intelligent behavior. Its actions result in a Rube Goldberg-style "incredible machine" sequences with far-reaching consequences. Then it goes exploring "Our Place"... would we notice before it's too late?
Security by obscurity In ancient books, names of demons and other Scary Things were often deliberately misspelled in order not to provoke their manifestation by accidentally speaking such a name. The practice went on for a long time and at the end no one really knew the right names to speak. What if some loser finds such a book, tries to pronounce a name for fun and accidentally stumbles on the right pronunciation? Instant dark ages - a demon appears, all science suddenly stops working or malfunctions...
Background/setting: Earth in slavery An asteroid is detected to be on collision course with Earth, will be there in some small number of years, like five. Soon after, aliens from somwhere nearby appear and offer to remove it or change its course, in exchange for a big payment. "Nations of Earch" agree and subsequently humans are practically slaves to the aliens, providing them with either workforce or mining the Earth for them. It's a tough problem since the aliens obviously have significantly more powerful technology, and since everything is going to the aliense the economy and technology are stagnating.