What if a highlighter pen could also scan?

While talking to Claus about strategies for saving words on paper digitally, this idea crossed my mind as a way of indicating what on a page is interesting. It might need a bit of stabilizing or snapping, but then again, your own highlights aren’t always that precise.

Remote help on non-desktop devices

I was helping my mum turn her iPad wi-fi on and off. Since remote controlling her iPad is not an option, I was dreaming of an app like this. It could probably work for repairing bikes and choosing the right meat at the supermarket, too.

It works like this: The person who needs help opens an app and connects to the helper person. Once connected, the app turns into a camera preview and streams the video to a client on a desktop, tablet or even a phone at the helper side.

The helper can then speak and point out subjects in the view. In this case, the wifi on/off switch on his mum’s iPad. To make sure the dot doesn’t float around, the app could use simple video processing (like contrast matching) to make it stay in place.

What I need from a shop’s website

I visit websites of real-life shops from time to time. They can be handy and they can be annoying. When I found this Oatmeal comic (that referred to this excellent xkcd diagram) I was reminded about an old sketch I had lying around.

Shop websites tend to look like this

UPDATE: I’m sorry, shop websites do of course look like this

In 99% of cases what I need is this

In the remaining 1 per cent of cases I want to search their inventory or look up stock status. If I need the address I’ll probably just search Maps on the phone. The phone number is at times an efficient way to do it. It’s a little more cool if you think of it as Siri with a lot better¬†pronunciation.

Nonetheless I sometimes spend minutes looking for opening hours.