Idea Of The Day. A new Idea Each Day. Some Don't Suck.

We post an all new idea every day. If you find an idea you like... do something about it. Make it happen.

Our Latest Posts About: Improvements

An End to Butt Dialing

Why do so many people accidentally dial you by mistake?

Back in the days when phones had buttons instead of touch screens, people would often make the mistake of putting their phones into their pockets without locking them, and find out they "Butt Dialed" somebody by mistake. You can tell when you've received a Butt Dial when you can hear the other person, but they can't hear you, because their phones aren't even in their hands.

Now that smart phones have touch screens, you'd think that problem would've gone away, but I still get quite a few of these kinds of calls, but people still call you accidentally, simply by touching the screen as they put the phone away. That's the inspiration for today's idea of the day.

What I'd love to see is an option for chronic Butt Dialers... [More]

Continue...An End to Butt Dialing...

Swiffer Needs This...

I love the Swiffer, but I hate the snap away pole.

When Procter and Gamble introduced the Swiffer system, it was revolutionary. Instead of pushing around a dirty mop or broom, you start with a clean pad every time. When you're finished, you just toss the away the old pad, along with all the dirt. Brilliant. There's one problem. The snap together pole is pretty short and flimsy, especially for men.

I have to admit. The snap together pole was a brilliant idea, and it's how Procter and Gamble managed to draw attention to it in the first place, by giving them the ability to place the Swiffer Starter Kit in prime locations in the store, away from all the regular mops and brooms.

That said, I think it's time they released a second version of the Starter Kit, that has a bigg... [More]

Continue...Swiffer Needs This......

How Apple Can Improve The Voice Memos App

The Voice Memos App has great potential, but it's not as useful as a traditional voice recorder.

I've used voice recorders for more than 25 years because it's one of the best ways to take notes on the go. With a simple press of the button, you record your thoughts so that you can play them back when you find the time.

I stopped using a voice recorder when the iPhone came along, but there's one thing that really bugs me about using the built-in Voice Memos App, there's no way to just hit a REAL (External) button to pause and continue your recording. That's a real pain in the neck, because I would love to be able to launch the App, then use the volume buttons, especially on the headset to pause and continue the recording.

While you're recording, the volume buttons are usele... [More]

Continue...How Apple Can Improve The Voice Memos App...

Paper Shredders would be more efficient if they had landscape sized slots.

When you shred a piece of paper, just about every shredding machine I've ever seen has a slot just wide enough to fit the paper in portrait mode, which is about 8.5 inches wide.

Wouldn't it be faster and more efficient if the slot was large enough to fit the paper in landscape mode, which is 11 inches?

It's hard adding up multiple numbers without a tape, like an adding machine.

You should never use a calculator to add up a bunch of numbers, because there's a good chance you won't notice if you entered a wrong digit in one of the numbers. That's why accounting people use Adding Machines, because they have a register tape that you can use to confirm all the numbers.

Unfortunately, the iOS Calculator App doesn't have a "Tape Mode", to show you a history of all the numbers you've entered.

I think the easiest way to implement it would be to make it an option when you put the calculator sideways. Right now, rotating sideways turns on the Scientific Calculator, which most people will never use. Rather than eliminating the Scientific Calculator, there should be a button to swi... [More]

Continue...The iPhone Calculator App Should Have a Tape Option...

Why does Siri ask me to unlock my phone when I ask to Launch harmless Apps like Audible?

Security is very important to Apple, so it's understandable why they don't allow you to launch certain Apps without unlocking your iPhone first, however there are quite a few Apps that are completely harmless that should be allowed to launch without unlocking.

For example, Audible, Pandora, Amazon Music, Shazam, Sirius XM, iHeartRadio and countless streaming Apps have no security risks whatsoever, yet you can't launch them from Siri without unlocking the iPhone first. That's a real pain in the neck when you're simply trying to launch your favorite audio Apps while running, walking, or driving.

All Apple would need to do to allow this feature is to confirm that the App has no potential... [More]

Continue...An Option To Launch Audio Apps Without Unlocking...

You can swap between the front and back camera when you use FaceTime, but they don't have an option to swap cameras while shooting video.

Wouldn't it be great to have an option to switch back and forth between the front and back camera while shooting video on the iPhone? This would be perfect for people who want to shoot a regular video, then switch back to a selfie and wave to the camera.

This biggest hurdle is the fact that the front camera still isn't 1080p HD, which means that until they eventually upgrade the front camera to full HD, the output file will likely end up being 720p. Of course, that also means that you won't be able to use some of the other more advanced back camera features like ultra slow motion, and 4K video.

UPDATE: Although you still can't do this

... [More]

Continue...Switch From Front to Back Camera on the Same Clip...

One of the things I miss most about old school camcorders is having a Pause Button.

Now that most people use their smartphone to shoot video, we no longer have a way to pause videos. Every time you hit the button, it starts and stops the video, but you end up with with a whole bunch of separate video files. Wouldn't it be great if you had a way to just pause the video, then continue using the same video file.

Right now, the only way to put together a video like that is to use a video editing program like iMovie, which is a lot more complicated and time consuming.

If nothing else, it would be great to have a second record button with a plus sign that essentially means "Add this to the last clip".

The main idea is to make it easier for people to tie together multipl... [More]

Continue...iPhones Need A Pause Button When Shooting Videos...

Why iPads Need User Profiles

Sharing an iPad with family members is a pain in the neck.

If you've ever tried to share your iPad with a friend or family member, you know the frustration with trying to keep your Apps, Email, settings, and Photos private.

Making notes and reminders with Siri is like pulling teeth.

I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with talking to Siri like a two year old, just trying to get it to create a note or reminder.

Ever since Siri was introduced, I've been making notes and reminders whenever an idea hits me. Unfortunately, Siri has an absolutely horrible track record for (accurately) transcribing whatever I said. I say something like "Remind me to get cat food", and Siri is likely to translate that into something like "Get snack food". Making matters worse, when I get home to read back my reminders, I'll scratch my head and say "Why did I put that on my list?".

If your reminder or note has somebody's name in it, you might as well give up. Siri NEVER gets names right. Just try to tell Siri... [More]

Continue...Why iOS Should Save Your Voice Recordings When You Use Siri...

Nobody likes videos shot in portrait mode.

With a regular camera, there are two distinct ways to hold your camera, "Portrait" and "Landscape". For a regular camera, Landscape is the default position, which yields wider photos. By holding a camera sideways, you get photos that are taller. Sounds simple enough, however when mobile phones came along, the default, natural position has always been Portrait mode... with taller images.

This means that most photos taken with a mobile phone tend to be in Portrait mode. With still photography, it's not a big deal, but for videos it's a complete mess. Whenever you play a video shot in Portrait mode on a regular (wide) screen, the video doesn't fill the whole screen.

Most screens today have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which means they a... [More]

Continue...iPhones Should Automatically Shoot Videos in Landscape...

There's no reason to trigger notification alarms when you've manually launched the Mail App?

Alerts have a purpose... to let you know you should check your email. That's perfectly normal, but why does the iPhone buzz and send you an alert when you are already reading you email?

Think about it. Is there any reason whatsoever for your iPhone to buzz or make a sound while you are literally reading your email... at that exact moment? It's not only pointless, but it draws attention to the fact that you're reading your mail.

For some reason, this is the default behavior. It should be completely eliminated, or at the very least turned off by default.

Nothing is private when friends and family use your tablet.

Whenever you allow a friend or family member to use your iPad or Android tablet, you're giving them complete access to just about everything in your private life.

So when guests come over and you allow them to see your photos, or play some games, you are also allowing them to read your email, and even access things like your bank account apps. That's pretty scary.

While the tablet itself has a password option, once you unlock it, you are basically giving the person holding it the keys to everything. The only way to block people from accessing your private information that is to keep the entire tablet locked with a Passcode, so there is no way to allow people to use some of your apps, while blocking them from usin... [More]

Continue...Lockable, Password Protected Apps for iOS and Android...

Daisy Chainable Monitors

Wouldn't it be great if you could plug multiple monitors into one device with only one cable?

Most laptops have only one HDMI port, which means you can plug exactly one monitor into them. Handling multiple monitors means your laptop would need additional HDMI ports.

My idea is to build monitors with expansion ports, specifically to add additional monitors. Technically, with a system like this, each additional monitor you add increases the number of total pixels, but not the number of monitors, so the computer will still see it as one monitor... just a bigger one.

So the computer, cable TV / Satellite converter won't need any special cards or drivers. The host system will see it as one screen with a resolution directly proportional to the connected monitors.

This also... [More]

Continue...Daisy Chainable Monitors...

Some YouTube Channels have way too much variety.

What YouTube needs is a way for people to subscribe to individual Playlists.

My old YouTube Channel was pretty diverse. I had videos with camera tips, product reviews, technology, science and even home movies all in one channel. That means that if somebody subscribed to my Channel because they liked a camera review, they're getting everything else too.

By letting people subscribe to playlists, subscribers can get just the types of content they want, without subscribing to the whole channel.

So if somebody was only interested in my camera tips, they would only get notified when I post a new camera tip... not when I ramble on about why Princess Leia didn't give Chewb... [More]

Continue...Why YouTube Should Have an Option To Subscribe to Playlists...

Right now, the only way to reduce your mobile data usage is to turn off mobile data on data hungry Apps like YouTube. Why does it have to be all or nothing?

If you're like most people, your mobile phone plan has a limit on how much data you can use each month. The trouble is, today's high resolution screens use 4-5 times more data than older screens, especially for full HD video.

Most smartphones have a crude solution to the problem, they let you decide which Apps have access to mobile data, and which ones don't. That's pretty lame. Why should you have to turn mobile data off when using Apps like YouTube, just because your new higher resolution screen uses too much data?

Instead of turning off mobile data, wouldn't it be easier to configure Apps like YouTube to use 48

... [More]

Continue...An Option to Use Lower Resolution Videos While On Mobile Data...

Isn't it strange that some of the most popular iPhone Apps don't work in landscape mode?

It's bad enough that some of the smaller independent developers don't support it, but some of the most popular Apps such as Apple's own Music App, Facebook, and LinkedIn still don't support it.

I'm sure some developers feel it's easy enough to just flip the phone over and use the Apps in portrait mode, but that's missing the point. The fact is some people prefer landscape mode, especially if they mount their phones on their dashboards as a GPS.

As a programmer, I know it's not that difficult to design an App that uses both portrait and landscape mode. Even a novice developer can do that. A more seasoned developer can not only support landscape mode, but take advantage of the extra sp... [More]

Continue...Why Don't More iPhone Apps Support Landscape Mode?...

User Defined Groups in Gmail

Gmail needs a way to quickly add senders into your own easily defined groups.

My inbox has thousands of emails in it, so it's easy to overlook an important email from a friend, family member or business contact. What I'd like to see is an option that lets me create my own categories, then assign a sender to one of these categories with a single click.

Then, whenever an email comes in it can be automatically assigned the category tags so I can find them.

Tags can be broad, such as Friends, Family, Business, or very specific, such as School Soccer Team Parents.

Technically, Google already has the ability to create your own tags, and they even have a system to let you create your own rules and filters to assign people into your tags, but it's not easy to set up. What they... [More]

Continue...User Defined Groups in Gmail...

Most states have a law that requires headlights to be turned on whenever you use your windshield wipers.

I'm not questioning the law itself. When it's raining, visibility is low, so it's critical that every car have it's headlights on. That's not the point here. What I find interesting is that most cars still don't do this automatically.

If a driver turns on his windshield wipers, but forgets to turn on his headlights, he not only risks the burden of getting a ticket, but he may cause an accident.

While there may be some cars that do this automatically, the majority of cars produced today still don't do this, and they should.

Why doesn't YouTube have an option to move videos between channels?

I have more than one YouTube Channel. I didn't plan it that way. Like many people, I started out with one channel, and I didn't really have any particular theme to the videos I posted.

So as it stands, my original channel, "CouponPages" has no particular theme. It's loaded with vacation videos, camera tips, product reviews and just about anything else, so I decided it would be a good idea to separate the videos into their own dedicated channels for each subject. The trouble is, YouTube doesn't offer a way for people to do that. The only way to move videos from one channel, and put them into another is to re-upload them, and delete the originals, which means they lose whatever search rank and view counts th... [More]

Continue...An Option to Move Videos Between YouTube Channels...

Have you ever printed an email using your iPhone?

If you print an email using any iOS device, you'll see that for some reason, Apple doesn't always put the date on top. Instead of the full date and time, as most email Apps do, Apple likes to use a more conversational approach for any date within the last week.

This means that a email received today or yesterday will say something like "Today at 8:52am", or "Yesterday at 12:02 pm" respectively. The other five days of the week will be spelled out like: "Tuesday at 7:05am". While that may sound less official than writing "Wednesday, January 5, 2016 10:27pm", it's infinitely more practical... WHEN YOU PRINT IT ON PAPER.

I discovered this when I read an email I printed that said "Today at 8:52am", on top. I had to stop for... [More]

Continue...Apple Needs To Print REAL Dates on Emails in iOS...

Apple TV Should Include a Web Browser

What good is using Siri on an Apple TV if you can't ask it questions about anything but movies and TV shows?

When I first heard that the all new Apple TV had Siri voice control, the first thing I assumed was that it would include a web browser. After all, if you ask Siri for something on your mobile device, most of the time the result is a web page. So wouldn't it make sense for Siri to return web pages on the TV? What's so complicated about that?

Apple TV is fundamentally an iOS device without a screen, so in theory it would be easy to port just about any iOS App, such as the Safari Web Browser to Apple TV, asa long as you work out a decent user interface. While I admit it may be a bit awkward without a touch screen, keyboard or mouse, it's far from impossible. The touc... [More]

Continue...Apple TV Should Include a Web Browser...

Why iPads Need User Profiles

There's one thing wrong with sharing your iPad with your family... nothing is private.

Most people today have their own email address and social media account. This means that a typical family of four will have at least four different email address, and at least as many social media accounts. In fact, each family member is likely to have multiple social media accounts for everything from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so there's a pretty good chance that there could be 20 or more accounts to juggle on the typical iPad.

Unfortunately, since the iPad doesn't have a feature that lets each family member have their own User Profile, anyone who uses it will end up using the same email and social media accounts.

This can be particularly disturbing if a child acci... [More]

Continue...Why iPads Need User Profiles...

Audible Needs User Defined Categories

Audible Needs a Feature To Let You Organize Audiobooks By Category, just like physical media.

It's a pain in the neck browsing my library of over 600 audiobooks because the only way to view your Audible library is by title, author, or date. While that may be useful if you are looking for a specific book, but it's useless if you're not sure what you're going to listen to next.

Let's say I'm in the mood for a mystery or a science fiction book. Without remembering each title and author, I'd have to scroll through all 600 titles and still not find something I like.

If they gave people an option to create their own categories, I would not only be able to find all my Sherlock Holmes books in one place, but it would also include some of the newer Sherlock Holmes titles that were... [More]

Continue...Audible Needs User Defined Categories...

Have you ever wondered what causes the wheels on shopping carts to go bad?

Broken shopping cart wheels are a real pain in the neck. It seems to me that 9 times out of 10, whenever I get a shopping cart, the darn wheels don't work right. You walk down the isles and all you hear is THUNK, THUNK, THUNK, THUNK... Not only is the noise annoying, I hate the way it shakes the whole cart.

The crazy thing is this problem is so avoidable.

Windows Remote Desktop Needs Improvements

Microsoft's Remote Desktop is a pain in the neck to use.

I hate the fact that Microsoft's Remote Desktop doesn't actually let you access your desktop from a REMOTE location. An even bigger problem is the fact that the majority of Windows PCs don't even have remote desktop software installed. There was a time when every version of Windows include remote desktop software, but for some reason Microsoft decided they would only include this feature in their more expensive versions of Windows.

What's even more frustrating is the fact that even the versions that include Remote Desktop don't have any functionality to let you FIND the address of your computer, which basically means that unless you're in the same building as your PC, chances are you won't be able to connect to it unle... [More]

Continue...Windows Remote Desktop Needs Improvements...

Don't you hate it when a file unzips when you double click it? What if you only wanted to see what was in it?

Zip files are a great way to store a lot of information in one little file. A single 1 GB Zip file could contain thousands of little files adding up to as much as 10 GB or more, depending on the types of files store inside.

The problem is that whenever you open a Zip file on the Mac, it automatically unzips the whole thing and stores all the files in a folder with the same name as the Zip file. While that may sound convenient, it's a real pain in the neck if all you wanted to do was see what was in it.

By contrast, in Windows, whenever you open a Zip file, it shows you what's inside and offers an option to UnZip the contents if you'd like. This is not only faste... [More]

Continue...The Mac Shouldn't Unzip Files When You Click Them...

More than half of the Faces on the Apple Watch don't allow you to show seconds.

Apple claims that the Apple Watch is one of the most accurate timepieces in the world because it's accurate to around a billionth of a second. The trouble is most of the watch faces don't give you an option to show the number of seconds, which means at any given moment, you could be up to 59 seconds off.

This means that if you look at your watch and it reads 8:59, it could actually be 8:59... and 59 seconds. To me, that's a pretty big gap considering the main point of a watch is to give you the accurate time.

Another key point is that a second hand on a watch isn't just to give you the exact second, but to give you the ability to quickly time things. For example, nurses will look at the secon... [More]

Continue...Every Apple Watch Face Should Allow You To See Seconds...

The great thing about Twitter is the way the 140 character limit forces you to get to the point. Unfortunately, links, photos and hashtags take away some of that space.

If your Tweets include a link, your 140 character Tweet drops to about 117 characters. Add a photo and it drops another 22 characters so you've not got less than 100 characters... unless of course you add a hashtag or two. To make matters worse, if you add 2 or 3 hashtags, you've got about 80 or less characters left for your pearls of wisdom.

To me, an even bigger issue is the fact that those links and hashtags often make Twitter Feeds hard to read.

I think the solution is to keep the 140 character limit for all Tweets, then give people an area to add one link, one photo and perhaps up to 3 hashtags, w... [More]

Continue...Making Twitter Better With Separate Links, Photos, and Hashtags...

There should be a way to mix your music by tagging more than one thing.

One of the most popular features of today's music players is the ability to shuffle your music. The trouble is you only have a few ways to do it. You can select an individual artist, album or category... or shuffle your entire collection. So in a nutshell, you don't have that much control.

Let's say you're in the mood for some Pink Floyd, but you'd also like to hear The Beatles and maybe Tony Bennett. Right now, you can shuffle any of them individually, but there's no way to create a mix that contains all three.

The solution is to offer a way to tag multiple items with a checkbox, then combine them on-the-fly into an instant mix. The only way to do that right now is to create a new Playlist, then i... [More]

Continue...Tag and Shuffle Multiple Artists, Albums or Playlists...

Dedicated Copy and Paste Keys


I hate using Control-C and Control-V to copy and paste.

One of the most innovative features of the original 1984 Apple Macintosh was the idea of a virtual "Clipboard", that allows people to cut, copy and paste things from place to place. It was a simple idea. Once you cut or copied something to your Clipboard, you could paste it someplace else. The trouble is Apple used an uncomfortable and often neglected keyboard combination instead of a dedicated key.

Although you can use the right mouse button to cut, copy, and paste, it's slower and more tedious when you need to copy or paste things like cells in a spreadsheet, where your hands tend to be on the keyboard arrow keys most of the time.

The biggest problem is that Control-C and Control-V are uncomfortable key combinat

... [More]

Continue...Dedicated Copy and Paste Keys...

Universal Volume Settings


Have you ever noticed that the volume numbers on TVs mean absolutely nothing?

I find it funny that most TVs today show a number on the screen when you adjust the volume, but the number itself is meaningless.

Let's say your current TV is set at 25, and you buy a new TV and set it at 25... will the volume be the same? Probably not. In fact, even on the same TV, if you measured the sound on two different channels, the volume could be dramatically different. Not only that, even on the same channel, on the same TV the volume in the commercials will be much higher than the show you were watching. That's pretty stupid.

That's why there needs to be some kind of standards. If nothing else, if the TV has numbers, they should move from 0 to 100, where each number is a percentage... [More]

Continue...Universal Volume Settings...

Restaurant Buzzers With Time Displays


Don't you hate guessing how long you have to wait?

The one thing that's worse than waiting for a table in a restaurant is not knowing how long you'll be waiting.

You know the routine. You walk into a restaurant and the host hands you a buzzer and invites you to wait in the bar or out on the patio. As time passes, you check it from time to time and wonder if it's broken. Eventually you go back to the host and make sure you didn't miss it.

Wouldn't it be great if restaurant buzzers had a digital display that gives you the approximate time left to wait? With the right software it should easily update the display every time a new table is cleared.

Then, instead of pacing the floor wondering when and if you'll be called, you can just check the display from time to time a... [More]

Continue...Restaurant Buzzers With Time Displays...

Plungers don't work as well as they should, because they don't make a good seal.

Just about every plunger on the market today is round. The trouble is, the drain area of most toilets aren't centered in the bowl, so the plunger doesn't make a good seal on all sides, so most of your efforts are wasted.

If you go into a typical home center, you'll see so many different styles and drain configurations it's hard to imagine a single plunger that would make a good seal in all of them.

The simple solution is for toilet manufacturers to include a plunger that fits the exact shape of each model and include it in the box when you buy it.

Because each plunger would be form fitted for the unique position of the drain, all your plunging troubles will literally go down the drain... [More]

Continue...Form Fitting Plungers To Fit Your Specific Toilet...

Fans With Chains Should Beep to Indicate Speed


Don't you hate guessing the speed?

The most frustrating thing about ceiling fans is trying to adjust the speed. It seems simple enough. Most fans have two chains. One chain turns the light on and off. The other chain adjusts the speed. What could go wrong? Don't get me started.

So you walk into the room and you decide you want to lower off the fan. You look at the fan and make a guess. If the fan has 3 speeds, you need to pull the chain either once, twice, or three times to get to the speed you want. That's where the frustration begins. First you need to figure out what speed it was on.

It drives me nuts. More often than not, turning the fan off involves pulling the chain, then waiting to see if it's actually off, or running at the lowest speed.

To simpli... [More]

Continue...Fans With Chains Should Beep to Indicate Speed...

TRAYS at Panera Bread


Why doesn't Panera Bread offer you a tray to carry your food to the table?

It's a real pain in the neck bringing food to the table at Panera Bread, especially if you've got more than one person with you.

If you've been to Panera Bread, you know the routine. You order at the front counter, and they immediately hand you your cups and any pastries you may have ordered. Next, you walk to the back to fill your cups and pick up your food. If the restaurant is busy, you're tempted to fill the cup, and put it down on a table, but there's a chance somebody will throw it out, so you carry it with you, along with your pastries. Now you've got a drink in one hand and the pastries in the other, so you'll have to somehow fit the pastries on the plate and try to hold the everything as yo... [More]

Continue...TRAYS at Panera Bread...

iOS Calculator Tape Display Mode


Why doesn't the iPhone and iPad calculator have a tape display mode?

The Calculator App has been included in every version of the iPhone and iPad since the first iPhone in 2007. Other than changing the look and color of the buttons, it hasn't had any changes since then.

One of the things I'd really love to see is a Tape Mode option, which would be perfect for when you hold your device in landscape mode. A Tape Mode would work like a traditional desktop adding machine, allow people to see a tally of the most recent calculations.

To me, there's a huge difference between an adding machine and a calculator, especially when you want to add a large number of numbers in a row. The tape makes it easy to confirm that the entire list of numbers was accurate, so you know you didn't... [More]

Continue...iOS Calculator Tape Display Mode...

Alerts When You Leave ANY Car Light On


Why don't cars remind you when you leave the interior lights on?

For drivers with kids, one of the most frustrating things is when the car won't start, because one of the kids left an interior light on. In an earlier idea, I talked about why Interior car lights should use momentary switches so you don't forget to turn them off, but if car makers don't do that, the least they can do is make sure the car warns you when one of the lights are left on.

It's pretty strange that in this day and age, people still manage to drain their batteries because one of their lights were accidentally left on overnight.

Warning drivers that they left their headlights on is a great start, so why not change the system to warn you

... [More]

Continue...Alerts When You Leave ANY Car Light On...

Alerts When You Leave Car Windows Open


Why don't cars warn you when you leave your windows open?

It's nice to know that most cars today have an alarm warning you when you leave your headlights on by mistake. That simple little alarm has saved quite a few batteries over the years. In fact I saved my battery just the other day. I got out of the car around dusk and forgot I even turned them on in the first place. That's the reason they created the option in the first place. They didn't realize they were on.

For the same reason, car makers should do the same thing for windows. It's easy for people to forget they left one of the windows open, especially when they have 4 windows. When child sitting in the back seat opens a window, odds are the driver won't be able to see it.

To eliminate the risks of leaving

... [More]

Continue...Alerts When You Leave Car Windows Open...

Why Does Apple TV Have a Useless USB Port?


Apple has a reputation of eliminating unnecessary features, but somehow the Apple TV still has a non-functioning USB port.

If you look on the back of the current and previous generations of the Apple TV, you'll find a USB port. According to Apple, that port is for maintenance purposes only, and it has no purpose for consumers.

If it's not there for customer access, why bother putting it there in the first place? I'm sure that if Apple actually needed to repair an Apple TV, they could simply connect to it using Wifi or wired Ethernet. Under the slim chance that whatever service they may need can't be done by connecting via the WiFi or Ethernet, they could just as easily placed a low cost diagnostic connector on the inside.

The most frustrating thing is knowing that the "U... [More]

Continue...Why Does Apple TV Have a Useless USB Port?...

Browsers For Apple TV


Surf the web from your sofa

I find it pretty hard to believe that the "Future of Television" doesn't include a way to surf the web. Isn't that strange?

A lot of people may be speculating why Apple didn't include the Safari web browser as a standard feature. Apple TV would be the perfect platform for bringing the web to your living room. You could ask Siri a question, and go directly to a web page with the answer.

Adding a browser to the Apple TV should be super easy. Under the hood it's basically an iPhone or iPad without the built-in screen, so there must be some other reason they didn't include it. Then it hit me. MONEY.

It looks like the only reason they don't include a browser is because unlike shopping Apps, they can't earn a percentage of sales when people

... [More]

Continue...Browsers For Apple TV...

Motherboards Should Store Drivers In Flash Memory


Don't you hate when you can't find drivers for your computer?

One of the hardest things about setting up a computer is finding drivers for all your hardware. A typical computer not only needs a driver for the main motherboard chipset, it also needs separate drivers for just about every component such as video, sound, networking, USB, and even the hard disk controller.

Even if your computer was pre-configured, there may come a time when you need to replace your hard drive or re-install Windows from scratch. When they happens, you need to re-install a bunch of drivers to get it to work again.

Sometimes Windows may find built-in drivers for some of the components, but more often than not, there are multiple drivers that you need to find on your own.

When drivers aren't bui... [More]

Continue...Motherboards Should Store Drivers In Flash Memory...

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum an villainy than inside the web browser on your computer.

As a tech guy, I get calls every day from people telling me their computer isn't working the way it should. More often than not, the problems are related to something that hijacked their web browser by adding either an extension, plug-in, or a toolbar.

Even when the problem has nothing to do with a virus, all those extensions, plug-ins and toolbars cause countless problems. The trouble is, typical computers are loaded with them and most people don't release how useless, if not harmful they are.

In the photo at the top of this post you'll see an actual screen capture of the extensions settings from my own web browser. The point is... there are no extensions, because... [More]

Continue...Browsers Without Extensions, Plug-ins, or Toolbars...

Adjustable Mac Boot Sound


Sometimes it's way too loud!

You're on your way home, and your favorite song comes on. If you're like me, you're going to crank up the volume as much as possible and maybe even sing along. Heck, it's your favorite song, make it as loud as you can and enjoy it. When you get home, you shut the car and head inside.

The next day, you start the car and your radio is still at the same maximum volume it was the night before, except this time, it catches you off guard and scares the heck out of you. This time, it's not playing your favorite song and you can't believe you had the volume that loud the night before.

If you own a Mac, the same thing happens every time you turn it on. It plays the famous "Mac Startup Chord"... at whatever volume you were at when you shut it down. I... [More]

Continue...Adjustable Mac Boot Sound...

Driverless Printing


Every printer should be capable of printing without drivers.

In the early days of computing, you could plug any brand of printer into a computer and it would print. Drivers weren't needed. You just plugged it in and it simply worked... sort of.

As newer models came along with support for fonts, graphics and various paper sizes, each manufacturer created their own proprietary ways to support their specific features, which led to the creation of printer drivers. This made everything much more complicated. If you use the wrong driver, you can't print. What a pain in the neck.

To make matters worse, whenever a new operating system comes out, the old drivers are often incompatible, and the manufacturer may decide not to create an updated driver, forcing you to buy a new pri... [More]

Continue...Driverless Printing...

Apple Photos App Guest Mode with View Only Access.


Is it safe to share your computer or iPad with friends or family members?

The cloud is a wonderful thing. Every time you add a photo to your library using your computer, iPad or iPhone, it's sent to the cloud and magically appears on every device you own, and can even be accessed from the web. How cool is that?

Conversely, if you delete a photo from one of your devices, it magically deletes itself form all your other devices, so if you pass around your iPad to friends and family at a party, and they accidentally delete some of your photos... they can vanish from your computer, and everywhere else and you might not notice it until it's too late.

That's why Apple should have a "Guest Mode", that only allows people to view your photo library, and not make any changes or de

... [More]

Continue...Apple Photos App Guest Mode with View Only Access....

Play From USB on Apple TV


Why doesn't Apple TV let you use the USB port for your own files?

When the first generation Apple TV was released in 2007, there weren't many streaming services, so they focused on the ability to store your own movies on it the built-in hard drive by syncing with iTunes. They originally offered a 40 GB and 160 GB version, but they eventually dropped the 40 GB version so people could store a lot more content.

When the next generation was introduced, they eliminated the hard drive entirely, so they could focus on streaming from online services. Without the hard drive, it became more complicated to play your own movies, because you had to setup your computer as an iTunes server.

Although there has been a USB port in every generation of Apple TV, it can't be used to play your... [More]

Continue...Play From USB on Apple TV...

Portable User Folders in Windows and Mac OS X


Almost everything you do on your computer is saved in a single User Folder stored on your boot drive.

Since all your files and settings are stored in one place, Microsoft and Apple should give you a simple way to move your User Folder to an external drive so you can take it with you.

The folder doesn't have to be permanently portable, but there should be a quick way to make it portable, then take it with you to another computer.

If your User Folder is permanently stored on an external USB drive, you could sign-in from any computer in the world, and have all your files and settings with you at all times. In addition to the usual sign in options, the login screen would offer an option to select an external user. At this point you insert your USB drive and it asks you for yo... [More]

Continue...Portable User Folders in Windows and Mac OS X...

Wireless iPhone Charging


I hate wires.

I went to Ikea the other day and discovered that they sell all sorts of wireless charging devices, including quite a few that are fully integrated with their furniture.

Wireless charging isn't new, but it was the first time I saw a non-tech company embrace the idea. Some of their chargers can be built into various desks, tables and lamps, while others were standalone units that look like drink coasters that can be placed anywhere.

All you have to do is place your phone on top of the charging pad and viola... it starts charging. There's one small catch, none of Apple's phones support wireless charging.

In order to use Ikea's chargers with an iPhone, you have to buy a special case with a wireless charger receiver, but that adds bulk to the phone. It w... [More]

Continue...Wireless iPhone Charging...

A split second distraction can cost you your life.

Most people know that it's unsafe to text while driving, but they don't realize it's just as unsafe to receive a text while driving as it is to send one. Regardless of how important a text may be, it's not worth risking your life for.

Resisting the urge to send text messages is pretty easy, but we don't have much choice about when a message comes in because most of the time the sender has no idea you are driving.

Although most smartphones have a Do Not Disturb option, very few people take the time to turn it on when they get in a car, especially since this would also block incoming calls. What SmartPhones need is a way to automatically block inbound texts whenever the phone is moving.

The key here is to turn off the ale... [More]

Continue...Speed Sensitive Texting Block (With Auto Response)...

TWO Hospital Call Buttons.


Wolf... Wolf... WOOLF!

If you've ever spent time in the hospital, you know about "The Button". The idea is pretty simple. If you need anything, hit the red button and your nurse will come running to see what you need. Right? Not exactly. In reality, it could take quite a while before anyone comes, and that's pretty messed up.

You can't exactly blame the nurses. The problem is the system itself. With a dozen or more rooms to cover, there's a good chance that multiple alarms will go off at the same time, and most of the time it's not an emergency. So whenever an alarm goes off, they have no sense of urgency.

Since there's only one button, a nurse doesn't know if a patient is on the floor gasping for air, or if they simply want another pillow for their feet.

Th... [More]

Continue...TWO Hospital Call Buttons....

A DropBox InBox. A One Way Link To Drop Files.


DropBox is an amazing concept. Here's how to make it even better.

DropBox was one of the first cloud storage systems that actually worked, because they found a way to make it easy. All you have to do is install their software, then everything you place into your DropBox folder on your own computer is automatically backed up to the cloud.

If you install the software on multiple computers, every file you put into your DropBox also gets copies to every computer linked to your account. They also lets you create links to individual files or folder, so you can share with friends, family, or collaborate with coworkers.

Taking it one step further, it would be great if you could share links that limit people to just "Dropping" files into your account, without letting them see or

... [More]

Continue...A DropBox InBox. A One Way Link To Drop Files....

Sometimes the audio is all you need.

For those times when all you really need is the audio, it's a shame to waste all that bandwidth playing the video portion too. In fact, many people use YouTube just to listen to playlists of music videos. Unfortunately, in order to listen to the music, you need to keep the screen turned on, and you can't run another App without stopping the music.

Although Internet bandwidth is getting dirt cheap, it's not free, and videos drain batteries faster than audio alone. So, why give people the option to turn off the video portion and just listen to the audio?

The obvious reason they block people from playing audio in the background is so they can see the advertising. The fact is, people who use YouTube for music won't see the ads anywa... [More]

Continue...YouTube Should Continue Playing Audio In The Background, Even With The Screen Off....

Browse Photos By Camera Source


Every time you take a photo, it records what camera was used to take it.

While this may not seem important, but the fact that every photo in your library has that information can come in handy, especially when you are looking for a photo somebody sent you. When you've got thousands of photo, finding a photos like that is like finding a needle in a haystack.

So, let's say you've got 20,000 photos, and your friend sends you a picture, but you can't find it. By browsing by Camera Source, you can narrow the choice down quite a bit.

With a photo library that large, a photo manager with an option like this would show you lots of photos taken by your own cameras and cell phones, then a few from cameras you've never owned. By browsing each of these additional camera sources, you... [More]

Continue...Browse Photos By Camera Source...

Amazon Echo as a Baby Monitor


Baby monitors are remote microphones and speakers... just like an Amazon Echo!

Continuing my series of Amazon Echo ideas, today's focus is on the idea of using an Amazon Echo as a baby monitor.

This idea is a variation of a previous idea... using Amazon Echo as an intercom. This one would be super simple to implement. All you need is an Amazon Echo in the baby's room to pick up the sound, and you can listen from a second one in your own bedroom or from the Amazon Echo App.

As a bonus, you could ask the Echo to play lullabies, relaxing music or nature sounds to help your baby fall asleep.

Hey kids... dinner's on the table!

As my third Amazon Echo idea, naturally I'm focused on the kinds of things you can do with sound, so to me a natural progression is to have a feature to let you use the Echo as an intercom system.

There are several ways they can implement this. If you have more than one Echo in your house, the easiest thing is for the Echo to automatically consider all of them as one common group, and simply allow any of the Echo devices to broadcast a message to every other device in the same network.

A more advanced method would be to allow you to assign names to each independent Echo unit, so you could start a private conversation with a specific room.

Taking it one step further, it should be possible to create a Buddy List option of people you may... [More]

Continue...Amazon Echo as an Intercom. Room to Room Communication, Even Across the World....

You can ask the Amazon Echo just about anything, and it gets the answer from the cloud. But what if you wanted to ask it something a bit more personal?

I love the concept behind the Amazon Echo. Among other things, it's a wireless speaker, a personal assistant, and an Internet search engine, but I think it can do a lot more. Since it has several high quality microphones, it stands to reason that those microphones should be able to capture your own voice, and play it back later, like a voice recorder, only better.

Unlike a traditional voice recorder, the Amazon Echo should be able to store your recordings in the cloud, then transcribe and index whatever you said, so you can find it later. Like all Amazon Echo commands, all you need to do is start each recording with the wak... [More]

Continue...Amazon Echo Should Actually... ECHO. Get Answers In Your Own Voice....

Remember AAA Trip Tiks?

Let's say you're Clark Griswold, and you've decided to take the family to Wally World. Of course, you could just get on a plane and be there in a couple of hours, but what's the fun in that? What if you wanted to not only drive... but take the scenic route?

For years, many people wouldn't even attempt such a trip without consulting AAA first, and getting a custom made "Trip Tk", mapping out how to get to and from each destination along the way.

Wouldn't it be great to have an option on your SmartPhone to send and receive downloadable routes that you can share with other people.

The first step in building this feature is for Apple or Google to create a universal file format that lets you exchange routes via SMS / Text or email. Once you've e... [More]

Continue...GPS Touring Mode for Smartphones. Send and Receive Scenic Routes to Multiple Destinations. ...

Refrigerator Vacuum Compartments


If vacuum packages can keep food fresh for months, why don't refrigerators have vacuum compartments?

Have you ever noticed how many things in the supermarket that can be kept at room temperature for months... but say "refrigerate after opening"? For most of these items, once you break the seal, you need to use the whole package within about a week or it'll become stale.

That's because they were vacuum sealed.

There are many ways to keep food fresh for extended amounts of time. The two most popular ways are refrigeration, and vacuum sealing. So, doesn't it make sense to combine the two?

I realize there are a lot of vacuum sealing systems out there that can create air-tight containers, but I think it would be a lot easier if there was a section in the refrigerator that... [More]

Continue...Refrigerator Vacuum Compartments...

It's a pain in the neck sorting through duplicate photos.

If you've got a large library of digital photos, chances are you've got a lot of duplicates. It's easy to understand why. Like most people, whenever your camera or your cell phone starts to run out of space, you dump a copy of the photos in a folder somewhere and start deleting photos from your camera. If you didn't delete them all, there's a good chance you'll end up copying a lot of duplicate photos in yet another folder at a later date.

If this pattern repeats a few times, you'll eventually have multiple versions of many of your photos. Making matters worse, if your friends and family share photos with you, there's a good chance they'll give you the same photos from time to time, adding even more duplicates to yo... [More]

Continue...Digital Photo Metadata Should Have GUIDs to Simplify Duplicate Detection...

Bumpers With Thicker Clear Coat


Why don't they use thicker coatings on car bumpers?

In the old days, bumpers were made of chrome, and they had big rubber pads so scratches didn't show. Once car makers started using painted bumpers, they were mandated to have bumpers that didn't cost too much to fix for any accident under 5 miles per hour. The trouble is, they still get scratched, and for some people, that's a big deal.

I've written in the past about how much I hate seeing cars with those big rubber protectors hanging from them... to me they look worse than any scratches you would get without them. It boggles my mind that somebody would rather make their new car look like it's held together with duct tape than live with the fact that their preci... [More]

Continue...Bumpers With Thicker Clear Coat...

What Happened To Siri Confirmations?


After a recent iOS update, Siri stopped offering confirmations before it saves reminders... Now it sucks.

Like most people, I have a love / hate relationship with Siri. I tolerate all the times that Siri misunderstands what I ask for because it at least gave me a chance to confirm what I asked for before it saved my reminders.

Confirmations of reminders are essential to people who use headsets to create reminders because you can't see the screen to make corrections if the dictation is wrong, which it frequently is.

Before the change, I said something like: "Remind me to get chips", and Siri said "Here's your reminder... it says Ketchup. Shall I create it?" If Siri was wrong, I said "Cancel" or "Change title" and I could fix it.

Now that Apple removed the confirmation... [More]

Continue...What Happened To Siri Confirmations?...

It drives me crazy that I can't make the display stay on longer on my Apple Watch.

One of the great things about the Apple Watch is that you don't have to hit any buttons to see the time. This is made possible by using a series of motion sensors that can detect when you are positioning your watch in front of your face.

In order to save power, this also means the Watch turns off the display a second or two later. The trouble is, that also means it turns off the display when I'm still reading it.

Not only does it shut the screen while I'm reading the time, but it often shuts the screen while I'm waiting for an App to load. That's an even bigger problem because whenever that happens, the App stops loading. So you shake your arm and the spinning dots that indicate the App i... [More]

Continue...Configurable Screen Display Length on Apple Watch...

Cook Time Option For Stoves


Did I leave the gas on?

One of the great things about today's ovens is the ability to literally "Set it, and forget it". Unlike older models where the only timer control was an alarm that rang when it reached the preset time, newer models can even turn off the gas when the timer ends. This simple feature is a great safeguard against overcooking. With a microwave, you can't even start cooking unless you set the cooking time.

So, why not have a similar option for the stove?

Most of the time, you won't need a feature like this, because you tend to stand in front of the stove, but it would come in handy when you simmer a soup or a sauce for an hour or more. If you can't hear the timer, you can ruin the whole meal.

Besides saving the meal, it could also save some lives wh... [More]

Continue...Cook Time Option For Stoves...

Splicing wires while holding a heavy ceiling fixture is a pain in the neck.

It's always bothered me that whenever I need to mount a fixture, I've got to hold the fixture in one hand, while I try to splice and cap the wires with the other.

Every time I've needed to do it, I open the box hoping to find some kind of quick connector inside, so I don't have to figure out how to splice the wires with one hand. The problem is bad enough for a small ceiling light, but it's even worse for mounting larger ones, or even ceiling fans. Unless you've got somebody else around to hold up the fixture, it's nearly impossible to splice the wires.

Wouldn't it be easier if you simply mounted a quick connector on both sides, then just plugged it in?

I realize the reason they don't us... [More]

Continue...Ceiling Fixtures Should Always Have Quick Connectors...

200 Character Tweets


Isn't it time they expanded the 140 character limit on Twitter... even a little?

When Twitter was first developed, their plan was to create a SMS based chat service, which had a 160 character limit. So they reserved 20 characters so they could use it to track senders, but they eventually realized more people wanted to use their web version so they ditched their plans for SMS. Even after the switch, they continued to limit Tweets to 140 characters.

One of the reasons they stuck to the 140 character limit was the way it forces people to truly boil their messages down to their essence. The trouble is, when you factor in the URLs, images and hashtags, the majority of Tweets these days look like some kind of cryptographic code, full of abbreviations, and poor grammar.

Another... [More]

Continue...200 Character Tweets...

Apple Watch is first and foremost an incredibly accurate timepiece... Sort of.

One of the first things Apple said about their new Watch was that it is one of the most accurate timepieces you could buy, with an accuracy of about a billionth of a second. The trouble is, most of the time when I look at my Watch, it's off by up to 59 seconds, depending on when I look at it, because the Face I use doesn't show the seconds.

Without the seconds, I find myself staring at the Watch when I'm waiting for an exact time, which of course could be almost a minute away. What makes matters worse is that the time only displays for a couple of seconds before it goes black to I keep dropping my arm and lifting or tapping it to get it to display again. By then, I often miss it.

Of the 9 exam... [More]

Continue...Apple Should Allow The Seconds On More Watch Faces...

Sometimes the Apple Watch eats up power doing absolutely nothing.

One of the BEST things about the Apple Watch is that it has it's own CPU and memory and it can run it's own Apps.

One of the WORST things about Apple Watch is that it has it's own CPU and memory and it can run it's own Apps.

This may sound strange, but the fact that the Apple Watch can run it's own Apps, doesn't mean it HAS to. The fact is, some tasks clearly take up more processing than others and are too much of a drain on the battery.

I've noticed that on the days I used the GPS on my iPhone, the battery was low on my Apple Watch. That's strange because I didn't even look at my Watch while driving, so why should it drain the battery?

The point here is that regardless of whether you ask for dir... [More]

Continue...Extending Apple Watch Battery Life Using Screen Only Mode...

Face tracking is a wonderful thing. The only trouble is it often focuses on the wrong face.

Just about every camera made in the last 10 years has some form of face tracking as an option. While this clearly makes it much easier for the camera to decide where to focus, it's not the best option when your subject is surrounded by other people that don't need to be in focus. When your subject is just another face in the crowd, there is no way to insure your camera will know which face to track.

That's where Face Recognition could come in handy.

Now that newer cameras have touch screens and a lot more computing power, it would be possible to design a camera that recognizes faces, then lets you determine which face to focus on. Then whenever the subject moves into the shot, it... [More]

Continue...Cameras With Face Recognition... Not Just Face Tracking....

Sending a Code To Bypass Silent Ringers


When you call for help, the last thing you want is a silent ringer.

Most phones have a feature to make them silent, but I've never seen a feature to allow a caller to bypass that feature when it's urgent that their call gets through, and that the ringer is as loud as it can be.

The key here is that when a truly urgent call needs to get though, the best way to insure the ringer is not only turned on, but at the loudest possible setting. To make this happen, the phone would have a feature to enter a password that will trigger the ringer, at the loudest setting.

Although Apple has a mode called "Do Not Disturb" that can by bypassed when a caller makes a second attempt within 3 minutes, this merely means that the phone will get through. So, if the recipient has set their rin... [More]

Continue...Sending a Code To Bypass Silent Ringers...

For people who love to tinker.

Sometimes when I sit down to write about one of my "Original" ideas, I find out that it's not original. While some people might think that would upset me, it actually makes me feel great, because it only serves to validate the idea. This is one of those ideas.

I recently updated my phone to the latest iPhone 6 Plus. The main reason was that I love photography, and the newest model has a lot of improvements to the camera itself... besides, my iPhone 5 camera has something wrong with the lens, so it's not as clear as it used to be.

The point is, just because I wanted the new camera, I upgraded the whole phone. So, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if I could just upgrade the camera?

That's where this idea started.

While it... [More]

Continue...Modular Cell Phones - Smartphones With Interchangeable Parts...

Group Mobile Phone Pairing


Remember one phone number reached everyone in your house?

Why not create a feature for all the cell phones in your house, to share a common number... at least while you're home?

Back in the old days, just about everyone had just one phone number for their entire house, and when it rang, whoever answered would often chat for a minute or two, then put the phone down and shout something like "Jan... It's for you. It's George Glass".

It sounds funny, but since cell phones became popular, everyone in the house now has their own direct line, so callers bypass the shared number and call each person directly. That's a shame. Today's younger generation were give cell phones when they were children, so they completely missed the opportunity of picking up the family phone and getti... [More]

Continue...Group Mobile Phone Pairing...

Time to stand?... but I'm driving!

Now that I've used the Apple Watch for a couple of weeks, I've noticed a few of the features don't seem to factor in things like speed.

The first time I noticed this was when I was driving for about an hour and the Fitness / Activity App sent me a signal telling me it was time to stand.

If you're not familiar with the Activity Apps, they keep you motivated by reminding you to get up and move when you've been sitting too long.

Since the Apple Watch is linked to your iPhone, whenever the built-in GPS detects that you are moving faster than a human can walk, run, or even cycle, it should know when you are in a car or bus, and suppress or change the alerts to stand up. If nothing else, it should change the alert reminding you to stand, t... [More]

Continue...Apple Watch Needs More Speed Sensitive Features....

I love the Apple Watch. I just wish it was easier to see the time.

One of the features that people don't talk about with the Apple Watch is changing the faces. I've tinkered with most of them, but the one that seems the most flexible to me is called the "Modular" Face.

The Modular Face essentially has 5 customizable zones:

- The upper left has a small box.
- The center has a large box that spans the whole width.
- The bottom has 3 small boxes.

You can change what goes in any of the 5 zones... except the time itself, which is always on the top right, and there's no room there to show the number of seconds. Keep in mind, the Apple Watch has an accuracy of within a billionth of a second, but using this face, that level of accuracy is completely useless, because I could... [More]

Continue...Better Options For Customizing Apple Watch Faces...

I'd better not buy that Banana Slicer, BillyRayValentine1232 said it's junk!

Every day, millions of people turn to Amazon to read the reviews of product they are thinking of buying. In some cases they pull out their smartphones while standing in front of the item in a store, just because they want to read the review before they go to the register.

That's because Amazon has the world's largest database of product reviews. You can find countless reviews for just about anything, and within minutes know if it's worth buying.

The trouble is, some of the reviews are fake.

Fake reviews hurt the entire review system, because they don't reflect the actual opinions of a real consumer. In some cases, the manufacturer will post a positive review for their own product, but wh... [More]

Continue...Amazon Should Show Reviewer Statistics Next To Each Reviewer Name....

Email would be drastically easier to manage if Google offered Gmail Aliases.

Whenever you go to a trade show, you get flooded with emails from almost every company you visited for the next few months. Wouldn't it be great if every one of those emails could be segregated, rather than piling up in your regular inbox?

Or what if you simply want to separate your business or social media emails from your personal mail? Right now, the easiest way to do this is to create multiple email accounts. Then, whenever somebody asks for your email address, you give them one of your other accounts, instead of your regular personal account.

The trouble with that is you have to keep all those other inboxes open a the same time, which takes up multiple browser tabs and resources.

A bett... [More]

Continue...Gmail Aliases. Multiple Addresses... One Account....

Why don't cars have a place for your phone?

It took a long time for manufacturers to start making cup holders in car. Even after Drive Thru restaurants became popular in the 80s, there still weren't many cars that had cup holders. Some say the tipping point was when a woman sued McDonalds after a cup of hot coffee spilled on her lap. She didn't have a cup holder, so she just kept it where many people put their drinks back then... between her legs. What choice did she have? There wasn't anywhere else to put it.

Fast forward a few decades, and we have a similar problem. In spite of the fact that car makers have added support for connecting with phones by using Bluetooth, people still don't have a place to put the phone itself. This is a particularly difficult problem for... [More]

Continue...Cars Should Have Built-In Cell Phone Holders...

Why Do Cars Still Use Cigarette Lighter Ports?


Cigarette lighter ports are just plain stupid.

Isn't it strange that cars still have the same cigarette lighter ports as cars from the 50's had... even though they don't even come with actual cigarette lighters anymore?

When you think of it, do you know of anyone who actually uses their 12V cigarette lighter for anything other than plugging in a 5V USB power adapter? So, why do they still use them? After all, cigarette lighter ports are not only bulky, but they're frequently unreliable, because the plug pops out.

The original design was made specifically to accommodate the spring loaded cigarette lighter coil, and every plug that's been made since then uses some form of awkward spring loaded contraption that easily breaks or makes poor contact.

Since the only thing p

... [More]

Continue...Why Do Cars Still Use Cigarette Lighter Ports?...

Smart Albums are missing from the iOS and iCloud versions of the new Apple Photos App.

One of the biggest problems with digital photography is that it's getting harder and harder to organize and find photos. That's why I get excited whenever I find a new way to organize my photos and videos.

Before Apple's new Photos App came out, one of my favorite tools for organizing photos was using Smart Albums in iPhoto, which allows you to automatically organize photos without spending hours sorting them by hand.

Unlike regular albums, where you have to manually add each photo to the album, all you need to do to make a Smart Album is set up a series of rules and filters and the Photos App does all the work.

For example, you could set up a rule that says "Month is July and Day is... [More]

Continue...Smart Album Support in Apple iCloud and iOS / iPhone Photos Apps...

Making Umbrellas Safer


I don't own an umbrella, Here's why.

I don't know about you, but I hate umbrellas. I'm not sure when my hate for umbrellas started, but whenever I see somebody using one, all I can think of is how unsafe they can be.

I know my view is in the minority. Umbrellas as a simple and popular way to keep you from getting wet, but the way I see it, I'd rather get wet than feel unsafe.

To me, there are so many unsafe things associated with umbrellas that I wouldn't know where to start, so here are a few of the biggest problems.

First, I hate the points, Whenever I see them, I can't help but worry about poking people in the eye, so a safer umbrella should use rounded points.

Next, with most umbrellas, I feel like I'm unable to see far enough ahead to be safe. I like seeing... [More]

Continue...Making Umbrellas Safer...

Why the heck do printers still ship with driver CDs? That's totally stupid on so many levels.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Back in 1994, Microsoft announced their upcoming Windows 95 would finally eliminate complicated drivers and switches for some devices by introducing what they called "Plug and Play". I had high hopes that this concept would eventually not only eliminate configuration switches and jumpers on cards, keyboards and mice, but eliminate drivers for common devices like printers. It's been 21 years, and I still haven't seen much progress when it comes to eliminating printer drivers.

Printer drivers are a pain in the neck.

As a tech guy, I help a lot of people with their computer problems. The strange thing is that most of the tech calls I get... [More]

Continue...Plug and Play Printers - Printers with built-in drivers....

Siri Should Be Able To Record Voice Memos


Sometimes, Siri has no idea what I'm saying.

One of the most popular uses for Siri is to create reminders. I love pushing a button and telling Siri whatever I want to remember and there it is... on my to-do list. Just a few years ago, that would've been science fiction.

My problem is if say something like... "Remind me to buy Tostidos, Salsa and Queso for Ray's party.", Siri will say "Here's your reminder. It says ... Buy toasty so Sal's ankle sorrys party... Shall I create it?" I say no, then I say it again and again and it never gets it right.

Instead of struggling to get Siri to understand you, Siri should give you an option to simply store the actual recording into the to-do list.

Technically, since the to-do list doesn't currently store or play audio, they w... [More]

Continue...Siri Should Be Able To Record Voice Memos...

The iPhone Contacts App does a horrible job of letting us organize contacts into groups like Family, Friends, or Business.

My contact list is way too big... and growing.

If you're like me, you've got a contact list that contains a mixture of family, friends and business contacts. I've had a smart phone since 2004. That's 3 years before the first iPhone came out, so my list has grown quite a bit in 14 years, and many of those contacts are older that that, because I had a PDA years before that.

Luckily, Apple has a feature called Groups that lets you place your contacts into groups, so you can see just the people in the groups you want when you go to the contact list. The trouble is that feature is completely half-baked. Frankly, it stinks.

First, you can only assign n... [More]

Continue...Contact Groups Should Be Editable on iPhones... And Easier to Select...

Quick... What number is the Ovation Channel?

I've never tuned of it before, so if somebody said there was something playing right now on it, there's virtually no chance I could find the channel, much less the show.

The trouble is, most cable boxes still use remotes that were designed back when even 57 channels was considered excessive. I remember a scene from Toy Story where Rex was flipping through the channels and one of the toys said, "you missed it", and Rex kept going and said it was quicker to just keep going and find it when it comes around again. Today's modern cable boxes can have thousands of channels, so you can't just hit the plus and minus keys to find the channel you are looking for.

Wouldn't it be easier if you just typed in the name of the network, inste

... [More]

Continue...Cable TV Remotes With Keyboards (on the back)...

Don't you hate when you don't know who's calling?

Almost everyone looks at their caller ID before answering the phone, in order to decide if they want to answer. Being able to screen calls is an essential way to eliminate unwanted calls from telemarketers, surveys, collectors, not to mention bosses wondering if you can come in on the weekend to finish those TPS Reports.

Suffice it to say, we all love caller ID. But what about those times when you simply can't see the screen?

For example, when I walk my dog, I wear headphones and keep my iPhone safely tucked away in a holster. It's even harder to see in the winter when it's pretty much buried under a heavy winter coat. If a call comes in, I have no way to know who it is, so I'm forced to answer every call.

A simp... [More]

Continue...iPhone Should Announce Caller Names When Wearing Headsets...

Wouldn't it be great to control your music with a remote control?

It's funny when you think of it, back in the 70s, that was science fiction, then in the 80s, it became quite common, but somehow it's science fiction again. How did that happen?

The trouble is, a lot of people set their iPhone or iPad down (someplace near a power plug), then stream music and videos directly to their entertainment system. If they're sitting on the sofa, that means they normally can't reach their devices to pause, or skip to the next track.

Apple makes a slick remote control for their Apple TV, which also can control media on some Mac models, but since it uses infrared to control it, it can't control things like iPads, iPods and iPhones.

An iOS Remote Control would not only make it easi

... [More]

Continue...Remote Control For The iPhone and iPad, with Bluetooth....

TouchScreen Macs


Isn't it strange that Apple still doesn't make a Mac with a touchscreen?

Sometimes when I post a new idea, it takes me quite a while to explain why it makes sense. After all, I'm the guy that says we should be able to drop a package off at FedEx, UPS or the Post Office, with nothing more than your email address or phone number on the box. Yes, I still think that's not only possible, but will eventually be mainstream. Let's just say, you read it here first.

Anyhow, do I even need to explain this? Touch screen computers have been around since the early 80s.

While it may be true that they were mainly used on things like point of sale computers and kiosks, when the iPhone and iPad came out, touch screens are now mainstream. Every SmartPhone and tablet on the market us... [More]

Continue...TouchScreen Macs...

Facebook would be a lot better if we decided what we wanted to see in our timelines... and what we didn't.

You click a "Like" button, and Facebook gets a good idea of what you like, so they can decide what to show in your timeline, but unless they know what you don't like, it's still a random mess.

My solution is adding three new links under posts you see online. "More", "Less" and "None".

The concept is super easy, those three links tell Facebook exactly what you want to see more of, less of, and what you want to completely ignore. Want to see more stuff about Clint Eastwood, click more. If you don't hate Katy Perry, but frankly you're seeing a bit too much of her, click less, and you simply don't want to see any more posts about Justin Beiber or Lindsay Lohan ever... c... [More]

Continue...Better Facebook Like Buttons... More, Less and None....

Many car radios don't have a button to bring you back to the last station. That stinks.

If you sat in my Jeep and looked at my radio presets, you'll see I repeat the same stations over and over because the radio has a button that takes you to the next preset, but nothing that lets you go back. So for me, with over 18 possible presets, if I pass my station, I have to hit the button 17 times to get back to the one I just left.

To complicate things, if you've got satellite radio, there are hundreds of stations. If you hit a preset, then decide to go back, you may not even remember what station you were on, so you could potentially scroll through nearly 200 stations to get back where you were. By the time you do that, there's a good chance you'll pass it by mistake and start a... [More]

Continue...Last Station Button on Car Radios, Like a Cable Remote....

Bath Towels Should Always Have Sewn-In Loops


A few years ago, I got a set of towels from Ikea with loops sewn-in for easy hanging. It blew my mind.

Once in a while, something very simple hits you in the face and reminds you how there's always room to improve just about everything. For years, I would hang my towel on a hook behind my door, without thinking there would was a better way.

I like to use a big towel, so I had to tinker quite a bit to make sure it didn't fall off the hook. Eventually, I started putting the towel on a regular hanger, then put the hanger on the hook.

Then I brought home those Ikea towels with a funny name and wondered how on earth I managed without them. I was able to get rid of the clothing hanger, and simply hang my towel using the sewn-in loop, directly on the hook. Imagine that. Ju... [More]

Continue...Bath Towels Should Always Have Sewn-In Loops...

It's bad enough that car headlights don't turn off automatically... at least you can see them when you walk away.

The fact is, kids love to play with the buttons and switches inside cars. Inevitably, they hit the interior light and nobody notices it. Actually, you eventually notice it the next morning, when the car won't start.

The strange thing is this is entirely preventable. Manufacturers should always use electronic momentary switches, that don't have an on or off position. You just push the button and it turns on, push it again and it turns off. The difference is that the circuit can't be left on. It will automatically turn off shortly after the power is turned off.

Sounds so simple. Why would anyone want an interior on/off switch that can stay on indefinitel

... [More]

Continue...Interior Car Lights Should Always Use Momentary Switches (So you don't forget to turn them off)...

Happy Birthday Alice. Here's a $6 card with a blurry message from me on the inside, Ralph.

Let's say Ralph Kramden wants to give his wife, Alice a beautiful card to go along with that special gift he's been saving up for (perhaps a horse with a clock in it's stomach).

He goes to the store, and heads right for the expensive section, after all, Alice is the Greatest. He spots a truly special card. It's expensive, but she's worth it. While she steps away to visit Trixie upstairs, he takes out his pen and starts to fill out the card. Seconds later, the whole thing is a big blur, and it's too late to fix it.

Because of the slick paper inside, that expensive card makes the ink blur like a rorschach test.

Why on earth would an expensive card use slick coated paper on... [More]

Continue...Greeting Cards Shouldn't Have Slick Paper Inside...

Longer, Stronger Swiffer Poles


Who says one size fits all?

I'm an average sized guy, and I find that the Swiffer poles are a bit too short, which means you have to hold it funny, which could lead to back and shoulder strain. To make matters worse, when you use the wet pads and need to scrub something, you get the feeling that you're going to break the pole, because it's divided into 4 segments.

Before I continue, let me say this. I love Swiffer. I've had one since they first came out and I immediately saw the value in a simple disposable cleaning system. It's a great product, and I love the fact that they keep introducing new features. But somehow, even after all these years, the pole itself hasn't changed much.

I can understand why they made the choices they did. I'm sure they did studies to find... [More]

Continue...Longer, Stronger Swiffer Poles...

It's your day off and eMails are piling up. You want to reply, but you don't want everyone to see you're active and keep the conversation going.

For many people, having access to mail while you're out of the office is a blessing, and a curse. Even on your day off, the more you clear out your inbox, the more people respond and you're back where you started. What's worse, now that they see you're writing emails, why not just call you too?

The solution is to hold all your replies, until you are ready to release them. The best time for that could be at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning.

There are ways to do this using programs like Outlook, and using a Blackberry, but it's not easy using Gmail.

Using Gmail, you can reply as usual, then close the editor wi... [More]

Continue...Send Later Option in Gmail... Hold Mail Until You Release Them...

Print to PDF Should Be Built-In On Windows


Hey Microsoft... It's time you accept the fact that XPS didn't catch on, and offer PDF instead.

So you just bought a brand new Windows PC, and one of your first tasks is to send a client a PDF of your proposal. But wait... there's no built-in option to print to a PDF. This means that only some of your programs can create PDFs.

Microsoft was nice enough to give you an option to create an XPS file, but the fact is, nobody cares at all about XPS files. PDFs are the industry standard in document sharing.

First, let me admit that some Microsoft programs come with a menu option to create a PDF. The point is, the operating system itself doesn't, which means that only a handful of program will be able to create PDFs. So if you want to create a PDF from your browser or thousan... [More]

Continue...Print to PDF Should Be Built-In On Windows...

You're at a wedding, and you just realized you forgot to turn off your cell phone. Don't bother, it'll make even more noise turning it off.

File this under "Stupid", "Pointless" and "Huh?"

I can't understand why some phone manufacturers insist on playing a sound whenever you turn them on or off, especially off.

Yes, Motorola, your Android phones are nifty. Does it have to say "D-R-O-I-D" every time you hit the power button?

It's pretty simple. Most people keep their cell phones on 24/7, but there are rare times when you've got to turn them off, because you don't want to distract people when it rings. In fact, that's the only time people turn them off.

Since the ONLY time people use the power button is in places and times when we don't want the distraction of... [More]

Continue...Cell Phones Shouldn't Make Sounds When You Turn Them OFF....

A while back, I dig a blog post about avoiding bad passwords, security questions and PIN numbers. Today's post is about an alternative to all three, Two-Step Login Security

As a recap, many people are using passwords, PIN numbers and security questions that are easily guessed. Some of the are so bad, it makes you wonder why so many major corporations use them.

If you were a hacker trying to break into somebody's account and were given one of these security questions... do you think you could hack the account?

"What was the brand of your first car?"

"What's your favorite sports team?"

For "What was the brand of your first car?", even if you don't know, there are truly only a small number of brands. So, after a dozen attempts, at the most, you would clearly find it,... [More]

Continue...Enable Two-Step Login Security on Every Important Account...

Before tabbed browsers were first introduced in the late 90s, our desktops were filled with dozens of windows. Why don't we see tabs in other mainstream places, like Office and the desktop itself?

Before you read any further, look at the top of your browser. If you're like most people, you most likely have at least 4 tabs open in your browser. This window, your email, Facebook and / or Twitter, and possibly a blog or two. Could you imagine going back to the days before tabbed browsers, when each of those windows took up a separate space on the desktop?

But when we open more than one document in Excel or Microsoft Word... we don't have tabs there too? It's a pain in the neck moving from document to document in Office without tabs. Sure, they have tabs at the bottom of an... [More]

Continue...Tabbed Documents in Microsoft Office, Tabbed Desktops in Windows and Mac OSX...

Session Undo. Groundhog Day For Your Computer.


Can I use your computer?

For many people, that's one of the scariest questions since cavemen first asked... "Does that tiger bite?"

Put it this way, even if you restrict access to your private files, there's a strong chance that giving access to your computer to a stranger, or even a close friend or family member can lead to more trouble than it's worth.

An inexperienced user may accidentally change settings, install unwanted programs, and even completely crash your system by moving or deleting system files.

Apple has a great "Guest Login" option, that pretty much gives your guest access to the Internet and not much else. I applaud them for that, because for many guests, that's all they need. However, some guests may require access to other programs and features. That... [More]

Continue...Session Undo. Groundhog Day For Your Computer....

3 Ways Apple Can Improve the Clock App


The Clock App is one of the hidden gems on the iPhone and iPad... here's how it can be made even better.

The Clock App doesn't get any headlines and it's never the subject of any big Apple events, but the Clock App is one of the most commonly used features of the iPhone and iPad.

The Clock App was one of the first Apps included with the original iPhone and it soon became the perfect replacement for an alarm clock, especially for frequent travellers, because it was always accurate, and you could easily configure multiple wake times and sounds.

Apple didn't just re-invent the Alarm clock, the Clock App also included slick timers and stopwatch features that are popular for timing speeches, sports and cooking.

Here's a few ways to make the Clock App even better.

... [More]

Continue...3 Ways Apple Can Improve the Clock App...

3 Ways Smoke Alarms Can Be More Pet Friendly


Why most smoke alarms are not pet friendly

Smoke alarms save lives. There's no doubt about it. But I think the majority of smoke alarms made today are poorly designed for people who have pets, for three reasons.

1. False alarms scare the daylights out of most pets

You know the scenario. You burned some toast and the alarm goes off. As you run for the broom, the dog runs for the hills.

2. When a battery runs low, most smoke alarms trigger high frequency chirps that scare many pets.

Since most smoke alarms only have one speaker, they use that speaker for the alarm... and to let you know the battery is weak. That short chirp scares my dogs so much I spend the next 20 minutes trying to find them as they hide under the beds, in closets and behind the washing... [More]

Continue...3 Ways Smoke Alarms Can Be More Pet Friendly...

Did you ever forget to take your wash out from the night before?... Hello, Mildew Stink!

It's been a long day, but you decide to do one more load of laundry before bed. All you need to do is move your load from the washer to the dryer and then it's off to bed.

Somehow it slips your mind. You fall asleep and in the morning you dart off to work. Lunchtime comes and you get some ketchup on your shirt, and just then, you realize your damp laundry is still in the wash from the night before!

By the time you get home from work, your laundry has "That Smell" and a scattering of dark mildew spots. You run the wash through again, but since it wasn't a white load, you can't bleach out the stains and there's still a bit of the mildew odor. There are a variety of ways to get... [More]

Continue...Washing Machines Need a Mildew Guard Feature To Rinse Automatically If You Wait Too Long to Empty Them...

When we check the weather, what do we look for first?

The answer seems too obvious to me, but I'll answer it here, because apparently some of the people at Apple's sunny Cupertino office haven't thought this one out.

9 times out of 10, it's because we want to know what to expect when we go out.

Here's the thing. Before stepping out for lunch, I grab my phone, hit the button and drag down where I expect to see the current temperature.

Currently Sunny. The high will be 70, the low 59.

Yes. I have a window. I can see it's sunny. I just want to know if I need my jacket.

With an 11 degree split between the high and the low, I have no clue if I need my jacket. I've got news for you, when I do a quick check like that, I don't care what t... [More]

Continue...Mostly Sunny Currently - Why check to see that? What's the temperature?...

Hey Apple! Now that the screens are bigger... Give us the option to put numbers on the keyboard!

This one is a no brainer. Let's face it, everyone needs to type numbers, and it's a pain in the neck having to hit a button that turns on the numbers... then hit another button to change back to letters.

I realize that even with the larger screens, when the iPhone is sideways, there isn't much room, but when it's upright, these larger screens have plenty of room for the number row.

Now that iOS lets you have multiple keyboard options, make the number row an option. Some people will want it, some won't. At least give us the choice. In fact, instead of going into the settings menu to turn it on and off, just create an on-screen toggle where the International keyboard option i... [More]

Continue...iPhone and iPad Keyboards Should Show Numbers Too...

Apple Should Add User Accounts to iOS


Do you share your iPad with other family members?

If you do... how do you keep your kids from reading your email?... you can't.

What about Apps... do you hate sorting through screen after screen of Apps about Justin Bieber just to find the Weather App?

Here's an easy fix.

Apple needs to add User Account to iOS, just like on a regular computer.

By creating a User Profile for each person who will use your iPad, they can have their own password, Apps and settings. This not only makes it easier for you to find and arrange your Apps, but it also keeps your data private.... so your teenager won't read your email... and you won't read hers.

It boggles my mind that after all these years, Apple hasn't introduced User Profiles to iOS devices.

Top 25 Posts

* Note: The ideas on "Idea of the Day" were posted without any formal research into existing inventions.

In some cases, patents may already exist for these ideas, in other cases, there may not be any existing patents and you are free to develop and explore the viability of developing and patenting the ideas.

The authors make no claim that any of the ideas are safe, practical, or suitable for any particular purpose. You are responsible for the results of trying, developing, patenting or using any of the ideas on this site.

For some people, our ideas are just an interesting read, but our goal is to encourage you to take action. If you see an idea that you like, do something with it... Take action.

- Joe
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