Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sliding Scale Bridge Tolls

On a trip across the bay to San Francisco, I hit huge traffic at the toll plaza before getting onto the bay bridge. It also happens that my parents are trying to catch a flight. It occurs to me that there should be lanes with different toll prices for individuals with different time constraints who want to get across the bridge. And I think it should be a sliding scale.

What I mean is, there should be a lane on the bridge (let's say there are five lanes) that costs $10, one that costs $5, two that cost $2 and one lane that's free. Those who have an urgent need to get across the bridge in record time can choose to pay a higher toll for the luxury, or if you have time to spare (which I indeed have on some trips), I can choose to pay little or nothing for my toll. It would better distribute the traffic flow based on urgency, while still raising income to pay for the bridge in proportion to how much it's actually used/needed.

Of course, there are management issues, like keeping people in their prescribed lanes, distributing traffic into those low-cost lanes, etc. But hey, it's just an idea.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Which Bottle Is Mine?

As my family resides in my apartment this week, we have managed to drink lots of bottled water. Having bought a case from Costco, this inevitably leads to plenty of identical-looking bottles strewn about the apartment. With a sister who is germy and sick, this poses a problem unless we go through the trouble of labeling each bottle as we drink.

I thought to myself about how, at McDonald's, they have those little bubbles on the lids that let you mark Diet Coke vs. Coke vs. Root Beer vs. Other. I thought that this would make a perfect addition to today's water bottles. Add a row of fifteen or so bubbles with different letters on them, and each person can then mark their bottle with a unique identifying combination to make identifying bottles easier.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wireless on Digital Cameras

Why don't digital cameras have 802.11 or more extensive wireless connectivity? It would be cool if digital cameras could easily beam pictures over to other digital cameras, especially when taking group photos. How many times have I witnessed some poor sap having to take the same photograph on 10 bajillion different cameras? With wireless, the group could just pick the best camera, take one picture, and beam the picture to the rest.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Moving Advertisements

This is one I've had for a while...

I thought of this when I was sitting on the BART, going through the transbay tunnel. It's a pretty uneventful ride, and when you look out the window, you just see the dark wall of the tube flying by at high-speed. With advertisers' desiring to inundate the public with ads during their spare moments, I thought, "Everyone looks bored. Can we use this time where most just sit or read or listen to music?"

So here's the idea. Put up ads along the walls of the transbay tunnel so that when the train flies by, the ads come together to form a moving ad. Each individual ad serves as a frame in a commercial spot, and since the speed is pretty stable going through the tunnel, the ad should appear to move smoothly.