An app that lets you share photos of songs


Instagram lets your friends see what you see. Foursquare lets them be where you are. Pinterest lets them bookmark what you bookmark. But what about when you find yourself having lunch looking over the bay and Otis Redding comes on? Or you walk into a cafe that plays Just Dropped In? Or you put on a hat and blast Willie Nelson out?


It would be fun having an app that lets you not only share what you see, but also, you guessed it, which song you hear. And not in a bootleg-ambient-noise sound quality mess kind of way. Full quality. It would recognize the music with a technique similar to Shazam and find a version online, maybe using Spotify, Rdio or Hype Machine.


Users of the app would then be able to use the stream as a mixtape of carefully hand picked songs.

Nutrition Facts for printers


I spent 15 minutes staring at a Brother multi-function printer today. “No network connection” while the wifi symbol said full signal. “Go to web admin page” without telling me the URL. Defaulting to fax, despite being bought in 2013. Wondering how a printer like this can ever make its way to the market, let alone why anyone would buy it, my eye caught the box it came in. The printer on the box actually looked good.

In the supermarket almost all the products are light and healthy if you ask the packaging. But there’s a Nutrition Facts label, standardized across all the items in the supermarket, telling it like it is.

In the electronics store, all you see is carefully crafted copy and photoshopped images. There’s a guy walking towards you right now, you could ask for his recommendations, but you know where a big portion of his salary comes from.

Like food has a Nutrition Facts label, electronics should have a Usability Facts label. The contents should come from an independent organization or even the government. I first thought of a full disclosure of the user-centered design process the product had gone through: These are our personas, these are the high-priority tasks, these are the scenarios. But maybe that’s too vague. A boiled-down version of an ISO usability report could maybe work. But why not just let the product go through intensive user tests?

Getting good numbers on the Usability Facts label would have an obvious effect on the sales. But being really easy to use could go from being a branding and word of mouth instrument to a factual, quantified selling point. We could get things started by bringing our home-brewed Usability Facts stickers to Best Buy today. At least I would feel slightly better about the 15 minutes I spent staring at a Brother printer today.

Evernote without Evernote

If you’re like me, you have lots of numbers and snippets buried deep in your Evernote.

As an example, let’s say you have this contract number in your Evernote:

Now, when you need it, you’ll have to do this before you can paste it into an email:

Launch Evernote > Click the search field > Type ‘contract’ > Click the right note > Find the place where it says ‘Contract’ > Select it > Cmd-C it (7 steps)

This would be faster:

Press Cmd-Space > type ‘contract’ > press enter (3 steps)

I wonder if this could be done as a plug-in to Spotlight. If not, it could easily sit in the space Evernote is already occupying in the topbar.

This could work for your code snippets, phone numbers, emails, addresses, all those things you spend time on hunting down every day.