Hand Painters Network – An Idea

Hand Painters Network would be creative network of artists who would hand paint things of imagination, photos, ideas, concepts and thoughts. It would work in the following way.

  1. A user would submit a photo of his childhood to the website.
  2. You also specify the price you are willing to give and time you have.
  3. This would get posted to all the artists, some of them who choose to take up the project.
  4. Say, for example – 5 artists draw up your childhood photo using various colors and hand painted them.
  5. They get posted as reply to your photo.
  6.  You pick the best photo that you like.
  7. The artist gets paid the amount you specified
  8. You hold the rights to the painted photo. You can get it printed at any digital printers like Ink2.
  9. Or better you can make a poster of it.

What I like the best of this is – this is such a creativity task when you want to draw/paint up a idea or concept. Our figment of imagination, a community logo etc.

Whole Foods – a whole new experience

Today I visited a local whole foods store for the first time. I have been to one before in LA, but not the one in Oakland/Berkeley. I was so happy to be there. They had amazing array of food items, which are good and Satvic. I was very surprised to see “Kichadi” was being sold. The most interesting thing happened when I went to the hot food section. There was a guy at the counter, who was so friendly and amazing at customer service. He would talk nice to everyone, smile all the time. He would ask you, if you want a sample of anything. He was proud of what he was doing. He was striving for the best and he knew he was good. He loved his customers and we all loved him too.

This made me think about how we interact with customers in our work. My day job doesn’t even let me close to our customers. The customers for whom I write software. I know there are thousands of them and it would be impossible to know or interact with them. But I always loved the part where customer care would come up with a issue where some user has found a novel way of using our software. That’s as close as I could get to our customers. How can this be changed? Why would I want to change? I want to have more interactions with the users of my software because, the whole idea of writing software is to serve a purpose and thereby people. So, if I don’t take my user base’s feedback, then I am missing out something important.

How can I have more customer feedback for my software? A feedback form is a start. But how often do I get inspired to fill up a feedback form on any other site? There should be easy ways to get user feedback to me. The whole idea is to interact with my customer and get his/her input. The people who interact well with their customers are the people who base their software on the feedback. My thoughts went on and on as I kept thinking of how best I can interact with my customers.

Let’s take a look what kinds of feedback mechanisms are available in software world.

  1. Feedback form
  2. Comments on a blog
  3. Write to the editor
  4. Send email
  5. Live chat
  6. Forums (?)
  7. Mailing lists
  8. User groups
  9. Customer care – 1800 number

Looking at the list, I feel like feedback mechanisms vary depending on the user base. Forums, may not make sense if you have only 40 customers. Live chat would be useless unless you have staff assigned for that.

In any case, my perspective towards caring for the customer and valuing feedback has changed after my visit to Whole Foods. I would be thinking more and more on this in future.

Secure Passwords – An Idea

How can we have a secure passwords which are not easy to hack but also easy to remember? I was thinking about it and thought I would share a idea which I got recently. How about making the password a square root of some number? For example – I can  say my password would be square root of number 786 which is – 28.035691537752372695618339855308. This way, I don’t have to remember my password and it’s not hackable and a calculator is easily available on all the computers I access.

I know that different computers might give out different number in the fractions, so I can agree that I would just take first 10 characters as my password. That way I avoid all the problems with fractions. I can’t think of anything else that might be very wrong with this idea. I mean, yeah if people were looking over your shoulder they would know your password but this trick could be used for some extremely annoying accounts like online registrations for NYT or Fandango etc.

We can  expand it and make it Cosine of it or Tangent of the number. Or for an advanced user may be a MD5 sum of a number. We can build a Firefox extension which would computer a MD5 checksum of a number and give you the value and you can drag drop it in password field.

Montage – An Idea

Long long time back, (at least 2 years I guess) – I came up with an idea of how we can create software for creating a montage of images. I mean not just a montage, but a montage that would looks like some picture in a bigger perspective. So, the steps for this would be something like this..

  • You would pick a end result picture. For example – a close up of your favorite movie star.
  • Then you would go ahead and pick all the photo’s from your personal collection.
  • Then you would tell the software – what would be the size of the image you want to create.
  • Then the software would re-arrange all the images depending on the lightning and colors etc, in such a way that the bigger picture would look like your end result image.
  • The software can tune up the colors a bit if it can’t find an image that would match a corner of the montage, but it’s changes to the photos should be minimal.
  • You can take it up a bit if you want to get the images from public domain or from Flickr
  • The final Montage can be saved and printed at any print shop like Ink2

Just to give you a perspective of what I have in mind, if you have seen the movie – “Dream Girls” in there somewhere there is a scene which shows Beyonce’s picture on the wall. The whole wall is covered with her picture. Imagine, if we collected all our photographs and created Beyonce’s photo instead of lowing up a regular photo.

Update: What a coincidence? The day I blog about Montage creating idea, I come across something that does what I described. http://imagemosaicgenerator.click42.com/

Endaro Mahanubhavulu

I was trying to find some good music by M.S.Subbulakshmi and came across this Thyagaraja Kirtana “Endaro Mahanubhavulu”(So many great people). I was thinking how Gratitude is embedded in some of the Indian classical singer, thinkers. This is such an amazing song and made me so happy and grateful about the world around me. The meaning of the song is below:

Salutations to all those great men in this world !
those men will feel the moonlike beautiful form of God in their hearts and will be happy about it !
Those who worship you who is fond of Samagana.

They control their mind and worship you who is as beautiful as Manmada
They submit their hearts at your feet
Oh the protector of people they sing your praise with true devotion and they have good knowledge of swara, laya & raga.

They wear garlands made of gems that represent the quality of Hari and with mercy they see the whole world with love & affection.

They are so happy to see the beautiful gait of the God everyday and they are happy about it.

Surya, Chandra, Sanaka Sanadhanas, Dikpalas, Devas, Kimpurushas, Prahalada, Narada, Tumburu, Anjaneya, Siva, Sukar, Brahma, Brahmanas enjoy the Brahmanandha Swaroopa of God always. Apart from them there are others and salutations to them also.
They praise your form, name, valour, bravery, peaceful heart, true words. You destroy all bad thoughts that prevent people from praying you, they know that and they praise your qualities.

Those who know the secret of Bagavatha, Ramayana, Gita, Sruti, Sasthra, Epic, various religious thoughts, the thoughts of the 33 crores of Devas, bhava, raga, tala and they have a long life and enjoy all good things.

Those beloved of Lord Tyagaraja, when bakthi increases they think your name, they are Rama bakthas, they are devotees of the Lord of Tyagaraja who worships you.

Law of Attraction

I have always wanted an apple MacBook Pro. But backed out so many times. I always liked working on my IBM thinkpad, but MacBook is like a secret desire I have which I always want, but doesn’t want to betray my good old Ubuntu running on my T42. Now I have decided that I am ready for my new MacBook Pro. I am just starting to intend it and by the law of attraction I intend to manifest it. Here is my affirmation to attract a MacBook into my life! I am thankful for my brand new MacBook Pro!

Apple MacBook Pro

Dynamic Affirmation Maker

Listening to The Secret has changed my life. The whole idea how “The Secret” came to me was mystical. My brother-in-law talked about it to my wife and then I never heard of it till we were visiting one of our friends in SF and plan to spend an afternoon with them. They happen to have the movie and they invited us to watch it with them. I was immediately drawn to it. I bought the audio book and since then it has changed my life so much.

It’s a little bit difficult to follow it on a daily basis. It takes time and discipline. But as my day gets busier and crazier, I often lose perspective and get pulled into the day. I get controlled by circumstances instead controlling them. I was thinking on those lines as to how I can fix that. How can I be always aware? I need to tie that up with something which I do all the time. I work all my day on my laptop and I listen to my music collection all the time. Bingo! I know how I can be aware at least when I am working on my laptop.

So, the idea is to create a online affirmation generator. So, you basically build a site with pre-populated affirmations. You can pick one of the affirmations and then you can say whether you like a male or female voice. You can also pick a celebrity’s voice saying your affirmation. This needs to worked out and I am sure there are celebrities out there would lend their voices for such a nice thing. Then you can pick up your background music – this could be classical, guitar strings or some mantras – something mellow not over powering the affirmation. Pick a duration – how long you want your affirmations to last? 10 mins, 20 mins.

Then once you submit it – this would generate a .mp3 file dynamically with all the affirmations you picked and with all the settings you selected. Then I can save this mp3 on my iPod and listen to it whenever I want and reinforce my affirmations!

I have a sample screen grab, if you have no idea what I am talking about.

Affirmation Form