Smartphone app for calculating queueing time

A lot of queue nowadays are better and more automated, you can get your number and approximately estimate how much time you need to wait. Sometimes approximate serving time is even written on the ticket.

- it's difficult for a regular person to estimate well time in the queue
- data about queueing time in particular location is not gathered

Smartphone app where people can "check-in" to a place where they are in the queue, provide their number and current time. Since it is usually quite boring the queue, people can mark when people with specific numbers called and which window they go to (if there are more than 1 serving windows/counters), this would help make information more precise and show some interesting facts, e.g. on Tuesdays window 2 is the slowest while on Thursdays it's window 4 (it might lead to the same person :)).

In places without queue ticket numbers people can count people themselves and just press the button every time queue moves by one, or just do updates once in a while.

In the end we have a smartphone app which is:
1) Fun to use, make queue less boring
2) Crowdsourcing geolocated queue data
3) May potentially lead to improved service, faster/smaller queues (places, especially businesses, might be embarrassed to have slow/long queues displayed publicly)
4) Can much more precisely estimate when is your turn, so that you can do some other things and return to your queue later

People in the queue can work together, so that you would get up to date information even if you left your  queue for a while.


Universal Visa Application in the Cloud

Pain which led to this will be most understood by people who require visa for a lot of their trips.

Currently all embassies have slightly different application forms and either online or offline they are most of the times very painful to fill-in. US visa requires IE and Windows, and you need to save the backup file almost every 5 questions (out of around 100 I think). All these steps for all embassy web-sites I used contain usually highly unusable form elements choice. :)

Imagine you fill in application form only once online with all questions asked in embassies of countries you are planning to travel to. Imagine this form is very usable and has nice features as auto-saving etc.

Then ideally embassies would support this format and just get the data they need, they could do it, for example, using OAuth used by Facebook, Twitter etc. Of course, it's much faster not to wait for that :), so there there should be an API for developers to create conversion tools to formats of different embassies. Ideally of course this tool would be open-source.

This idea could be pushed much further outside of this scope, imagine you are in control of all of your data and you have online passport in the cloud. You should be able to have an easy control of what web-sites/applications should be able to get what information. Separate web-applications are already implementing that approach - Facebook, Google's Android Market, Apple's App Store, but this should be much more unified in my opinion.

Image courtesy of: Lady the Tramp

Fun/Social: Custom Brain Graph

Most of you have probably already seen this:

My guess is that creating a simple tool for people to express main topics they think about may get quite some hype in social media. You could also have once which would look at your updates/tweets/buzzes and generate the graph completely automatically. Or even get actual profile photo, autoidentify face and brain on it and place the graph right inside.


Free Standardized Education Package

Please do read previous idea (here) which is a preface to this one.

Straight away I would like to share my life's biggest dream which is: for every person in a world will have a free access to well-organized world's knowledge.
Please note this proposal is a draft for now, which will hopefully be improved

PROBLEMS with current world's education:

- Education access is unequal and unfair, for example, amongst people of different:
  - levels of welfare
  - country of residence
  - gender
  - religion
  - ethnicity
  - etc
- Education is disorganized:
  - different countries have different education systems
  - courses with the same name can have very different content
  - same degrees can contain very different courses
  - employers cannot easily compare job candidates
- Education is difficult to access:
  - most of the education is based on books, which comparing to electronic format are much more expensive and less portable
  - educational materials in some languages can much bigger than in other and are slow to be translated
- Education is closed:
  - most educational books are licensed and copy-protected what makes them not-free even in electronic format
- Education is innefficient:
  - employers tend to require specific degree which takes more time to get actual relevant for the job courses
  - since education is mostly based on books, it's very slow and expensive to modernize it


Used terms:
- Package - the whole knowledge repository and software to use it
- Module - piece of knowledge on a topic, e.g. English Verb Formation or Exponentiation with Integer Exponents
  Module contains following properties:
  - Author(s) - anyone should be able to create a module
  - Author organization - some modules will be created by organizations
- Course - subject, e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Arabic language
- Degree - collection of modules. Different degrees will be approved/accepted by different organizations and countries.

PROPERTIES Education Package should have:

- free, equal
   - all people should have equally full access without exceptions
- open
   - package content should be fully public
   - processes which lead to knowledge collection and organization should be fully public
   - software, both package and tools, should be open source
   - all people should be able to contribute
- universally accessible
   - translated to as many languages as possible
   - electronic format should be the main one, but should be easily printable for people without electronic devices
   - should support as many electronic devices as possible
   - should have support for people with disabilities
- simple
  - software should be very simple to use for students of all ages
  - software should allow to simply create own educational modules
  - should be optimized for self-learning since having teachers increase price of education,
    of course teachers will help largely in the system, but they should not be required
- standardized, organized, modular
   - people should be able to personalize their education by choosing parts they are interested in
   - people should have a more clear sense of what parts of world's knowledge they covered and what parts are left
   - modules can be made by anyone (see property 'open') but should follow the same predefined style and organization
   - there should be a system to rate usefulness of a module including normal votes and experts votes and commentary
   - modules can be organized in subpackages as small more precise degrees, different countries and organization can approve different subpackages


- Student downloads the package or uses latest online version
- Student with possible guidedance of parents and teachers decides what courses to take and what degree(s) aim for.
- Student starts learning.
- Student will have an option to take big supervised (but still possibly online) examination after different levels similarly to annual school exams.
- Supervised exam result will be reflected in person's exam history in the online repository, employers could request from students (alumni) to review the results.


- Gather feedback (your feedback) to finalize the proposal
- Create a team to found an organization
- Find supporters and sponsors
  Possible candidates: Wikimedia Foundation, UNESCO, MIT, Google, 1 Goal
- Create a committee/panel of experts to define standards
- Design software, standard and system
- Implement, release and iterate


Prioritize Universal Education among World's Biggest Tasks

From start I want to share my biggest idea with you, but as a preface I would like to express my opinion and idea about education in general.

Here are some links to some world's biggest challenges and problems:

As you can see Universal Education is one of the UN main goals. I believe it should have a special priority though since in my opinion better education in the world can help with all world's biggest challenges, like:

- environmental sustainability
- global collaboration, stopping wars and terrorism
- financial markets stability
- ending poverty and hunger
- human rights protection

Simple concept behind this idea is: Smarter people can solve their problems better than duller ones.
That is of course if you agree that education makes us smarter. Anyways, we should ensure it does.

I don't see any other big task which can help solve all world's biggest problems. Some of the humanity goals can even contradict each other: for example, ending hunger will definitely not help environmental sustainability.

Environmental sustainability by the way is definitely an exception due to it's highly urgent nature, it simply cannot wait for global universal education which has only long term impact. I will try to write about this topic as well.

(My main idea around this topic is - here)



Why blogging your ideas?

Because I realized that: Not sharing ideas publicly is a crime against humanity.

In my case, for example, most of my ideas I either forgot or I will never have time to implement myself. And having full understanding that none of my ideas may be useful for humanity, I still think it's very much worth trying. Smart people can make use even of half-baked ideas.

What do you think?