Random Ideas

This page includes some of my random and probably unoriginal ideas. I have no idea if they're worth money, or what not, but I hope they one day will become reality. If you like one of them, feel free to run with it. Of course, any credit would be nice, but I don't expect anything significant to come from these.

Writing a Dissertation in Latex

Making a Presentation in Latex with Beamer

This is shorter than I'd like it to be because I'm under a major time crunch. But, I need to document one of my procedures so that I can redo it in two days if needed, and I've forgotten what I did.

XCode for Windows

The main reason that I support Macs as a research platform (over Windows) is that all of the Linux tools run in their system. If Microsoft invested in a package (similar to the XCode package) that was available to developers via download, their Operating System product would be more competitive.

I realize that such a product would undermine their .Net business-oriented coding platform, but it wouldn't surprise me if such a product would be a long-term gain for MSFT.

Setting up SSH Keys

Here's a short guide I wrote to myself.

Song Ratings

Automatically derive a song rating based upon duration that we listen to it before going to the next song. Frequency of playback can be a factor too, but presumably the duration factor is only relevant when the song isn't often listened to.

Google Chrome

Help prevent me from having to use my mouse!

  1. Alt + D takes you to the search box (already implemented).
  2. Type in your criteria (already implemented)
  3. Enter takes you to your default search results (already implemented)
  4. Ctrl + Enter instead makes you feel lucky (not yet implemented)

GMail Suggestions

Add "archive once read" filter actions.

Dear GMail,

I think the first two ideas are really worth your while, as you attempt to capture the entire email market, including power users and pop3/imap fans. The third idea is good, but I can not claim credit for it and there may be legal reasons for not pursuing it.

Firstly, I noticed that clicking on "inbox" performs a quick check to see if there is new mail and only reloads the entire page if there is actually new mail. Good job! If you would like to capture the hearts of pop3 users, you should trigger that script to check for new mail automatically every 3-10 minutes and pop up a new browser window and refresh the page upon receipt of a new message. It is important that this refresh would not destroy a message in composition. You could also integrate this notification into the Google toolbar.

Secondly, it would be quite helpful if I could download all of my messages (including the "archived" ones) into a format readable by a common mail browser. 1 gigabyte is an enormous amount of space, but it will fill up eventually. I would like a way to pull these messages offline but still be able to access them. Unfortunately, this idea opens you up to abuse, where people download messages on a regular basis, but this circumvention already occurs and is also negligible compared to your large customer base. I would be willing to pay something small like $1 per archive. This $1 isn't really a way to make money, just prevent abuse.

Thirdly, similar to Opera's interface, give the user the option to move emails automatically immediately after reading. They can then be accessed via different "views" - either users, groups, subject prefix, etc.... This could be rather expensive in terms of bandwidth, because the navigation for accessing these emails must be very quick. Maybe you could partner with Opera to learn how they do it locally - a different problem but still some similar concepts.

Thank you for your time and contribution to unique ways of reading email. I have already sent my friends email messages with the words "cheap cheap cheap hard drive enclosure good customer service" in hopes that the right product will find me.

David L. Rager

Pop Fitness

I'm coining a new term... or at least one that's new to me. "Pop fitness" can be used to describe popular entertainment shows, foods, etc. that promote fitness. Dancing with the Stars is the best example that comes to mind. Something that guilts people into becoming more fit is not considered "pop fitness." Only those things which truly motivate people to become more fit count. We need more pop fitness in America.


Google could add a link to "non-similar pages" next to the "similar pages" link. It'd basically be a shortcut for the "-" search operator, but I'm guessing Google could better determine what keywords I'm *not* looking for than I.

Example search (derived from a debate with a friend about the strength of skyscraper glass):
Google: skyscraper bullet proof glass
Google: skyscraper bullet proof glass without obama

Really Misc

A useful link on how to merge changes in an svn branch back into the trunk. In particular, the second "1." applies

Stupid Lisp format example, which performs printing with a minimum width:
(format t "~20,S test" "hello")

Microsoft Outlook needs to offer a keyboard shortcut option that allows gmail users to use their software without getting as annoyed. It'd be easy to implement, because it's just shortcuts. Maybe I'll look into a hotkey or other keyboard macro solution.


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