The dreaded ‘Idea’ — Part 1: Twitter and iPhone/iPod

July 30, 2010 – 12:23 pm

Ah, the “Idea.” Hardly will we find anything more polarizing.

For seemingly half of us, just the word “idea” alone seems to conjure high-mindedness, nobility and is lauded up above so much else. The other half snubs/thumbs their noise at the word and “ideas” hardly even register as a time-waster anymore because they are automatically dismissed, ignored.

Nevertheless, this series of posts are a veritable dump of notions, products, services, improvement and “ideas”. I don’t really want to approach any developers and entrepreneurs I know with any one, all, or any combinations of these. But I also tire of waiting. Blogging them seems a more proper place to toss them out and see if anybody — known or unknown to me — bites.

If interested, I prefer you contact me first before pursuing, but at this point, I want most of what you may read to get on some sort of track that I almost want you to just take them and run.

The following vagaries may undergo many published updates and revisions. The intent is to get them out there. You may scratch your head on some, but hopefully they could lead you, and us, to betterment.

Click below to jump into a slew of stuff. Part 1 concerns Twitter and iPhone/iPod iOS & Apps.

Twitter

  • Auto-changing (custom) twitter backgrounds

Skip being stuck with the same old, single Twitter background. And who wants to manually change it all the time. Start a service with a bunch of better, ready-to-go twitter backgrounds; allow users to upload several of their own; and give the option to have your background change every so often at set times.

  • Tweet by snail mail — (Printout) postcards

Pictured is an actual paper notepad for sale. But I mean something like similar on a mailable postcard for the elderly, the Internet challenged and the Internet restricted (like Pulp Fiction writer Roger Avery, tweeting from lock-up.) Instead of a joke, a new service — set to receive the snail mail — would get the TweetCards in the mail and post the messages on Twitter.com.

Print designers here you go. TwitCards would likely need a space for one’s Twitter name or desired twitter name. Also a disclosure that the service provider may pick your Twitter username and manage your password.

Bonus: a double use, Netflix-like mailer, with room for a forwarding address to send the TwitCard elsewhere after the message goes on Twitter.com.

Maybe even a simple TwitCard web interface — in case the snail-mailers ever get to a computer with Internet and decide to Twitter the normal way themselves.

  • Twitter Tool: Re-following (after they start tweeting again)   [http://twitive.com (or http://twitivity.com) = Twitter plus Active (or Activity)]

This is for all the Twitterers signing up and then pretty much abandoning their account.  This service could allow a different, less harsh way to temporarily unfollow and send a subtile message that they should not expect to get followers if they’re lazy.

The service would send out a can tweet, something like: “@name you’ve been unfollowed by @dipps for inactivity with @twitive. You’ll be automatically refollowed when you start tweeting regular again.”  It would then grab the unfollowed’s twitter RSS feed and monitor it. When their Twitter account became “active” (again), this service would re-follow them for you.

Something similar could be offered for temporarily unfollowing when someone goes overboard during an event, season, etc.  Set a refollow date and the service sends out an explanatory tweet.

This notion is more of a feature to build into an existing Twitter client or Twitter service rather than its own standalone thing.

iPhone/iPod: iOS & Apps

  • Getting Flash (video) to work on iPhone

After tapping on broken flash link — instead of nothing — provide an option to watch flash vid that is pushed to you from the Cloud and viewable in iPhone’s Safari’s QT player.

An Apple and/or an open source solution/platform would be developed and made available — to either content providers/hosts; to a 3rd party, intermediary service; from an Apple created and hosted service; or built-into OS X server; etc. — to push converted Flash (video) into something you can watch (in a QT playable format) in Safari on iPhone — like you can now with .MOV files.

This Flash content conversion and pushing it to iPhone would ideally be done simultaneously — and on the fly, as needed — to speed viewing. Also (some) caching, on servers, of completed conversions could maybe help.

Note: Apple’s Gianduia may make this idea null and void, but something like this may be viable until Flash dies.

Note2: Ripcode.com may already do this, but I don’t understand it enough to say yes or no.

Note3: Skyfire and your done?

  • iPhone Video podcast improvements

Allow an option to play audio only (to allow multi-tasking and after pressing power button to black-out screen.)  Right now there is now way to multitask while watching video podcasts.  Or even lock the screen and keep the audio playing like with audio podcasts.  Video podcasts are currently all or nothing.

And dump, or fix, the video shuffle button. It does nothing.

2x playback like audio podcasts already have would be nice. Kthx.

  • Add ability to keep podcasts updated using only iPhone/iPod

Why not allow podcasts to be updated from the iPhone via Wi-Fi?  You can can already do this manually with the iTunes app, but it seems simple enough to include an automatic update option in Settings >> iPod, or a “Keep this Podcast Updated” link under each podcast in the iPod app, or a “Subscribe” button in the iTunes app, something, instead of just a “Get More Episodes…” link.

Or even just do this by default like iTunes on a computer does.  I do not see the need to hinder this functionality.  It would only update on Wi-Fi and maybe only while on the podcasts tab in the iPod app.

  • Un-gray search button on Google search within iPhone’s Safari (when left blank)

Un-gray the “Search” button — the one in the lower right on the Google search bar screen — so pressing it without typing anything will go to Google.com.  This is an easy “fix” and a great way to quickly get to Google.com for the newish “Near me now” & links to other Gstuff/Glinks.

  • Use iPhone/iPod as a keyboard/mouse for a regular computer (in a pinch) via USB cable, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

Recently bought an old flowerpot iMac and found myself without a mouse and keyboard — since I only have a MacBook Pro and iPhone — and I needed to get this old computer ready for my parents.

Well surely an app developer could turn the iPhone’s touch keyboard into a virtual keyboard to use on a regular computer.  Bonus point for turning the touch screen into a trackpad/computer mouse substitute too.

At the very least this app would work for Macs; not sure about how challenging it would be to get it to work on Linux and Windows.

  • Auto-disable Wi-Fi discovery while traveling (app)

This popped up while driving on the Interstate

My iPhone already knows I’m moving when I’m using transportation — I see the blue GPS dot moving in the Maps app.  So why can’t it figure out how to keep from endlessly asking to join Wi-Fi networks while driving?

Someone could come up with a code snippet to allow all iPhone/iPod app developers to block this annoyance when using their current apps already in the wild.  (And maybe all those complying would proudly display a badge saying “Traveler Approved App.”

At the least, someone could make an app to auto-disable wi-fi discovery if traveling (over 20 mph).  Call it TravAta or something.  Press the app and it immediately starts disabling wi-fi discovery when moving over 20mph and an option screen comes up to adjust the speed at which Wi-Fi is disabled; option to enable discovery if stationary for a certain amount of time; and option to stop the app after a certain time or when arriving at certain locations.

  • iPhone apps that also launch/open computer programs

For example:

  1. Boxee.tv‘s iPhone remote control app would also automatically open Boxee on your computer.  The whole idea of the Boxee remote control iPhone app is to control Boxee on your TV.  All of Boxee can now be shut down with its remote control iPhone app (when the app doesn’t crash) but you must go to the computer to start the main Boxee program.  The computer I run boxee on is in an awkward place.  It would be so nice to sit down on the couch to watch TV with Boxee and not have to go over to F with the computer.
  2. The iPhone app that allows remote control of iTunes should also open iTunes on the computer at the same time you open it on the iPhone.
  3. Any exsisting computer program could also offer a simple iPhone app that when launched on iPhone will also open the main program on your computer.
  • iPhone app to download anything — save it all to the cloud to get your downloads from anywhere

Time and time again we come across something on our phone we want to download but can’t.  We need an app that will queue up and start downloading to the cloud anything that can be downloaded: MP3s, torrents, PDFs, documents, web pages, images, etc.  And all of our downloaded stuff becomes instantly accessible from any applicable electronic device.

In other words, Put.io needs an iPhone app.

UPDATE 1: 8/10/10

Additional parts of this post will include Media, Music, Reading, Computing/Internet/Telephony and various Miscellaneous ideas.

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