Lessons on the human kind

Kathrine Switzer running the Boston Marathon
Kathrine Switzer running the Boston Marathon

Woman decides to run the Boston Marathon, never run before by double x-chromosomed individual.

Lesson: thinking that women can’t or shouldn’t do something it’s stupid… sooner or later one will prove you wrong.

One of the organizers of said marathon is outraged and tries to catch her.

Lesson: there’s always going to be stupidity in the world; no matter how better we are there’s always going to be a few idiots out there.

The people she’s running with, the proud coach and the boyfriend help her get rid of the idiot.

Lesson: No matter how much stupidity a single individual can amass, the collective good will of human kind will prevail.

Five years later, women were officially allowed into the marathon. A few decades later, we can’t believe this actually happened because it sounds like a story out of the dark ages.

Lesson: the world is changing, it’s changing fast and it’s changing for the better. Move forward with the world or be left behind, don’t stand on the way or you’ll be run over.

Advertisements

An idea for a cinema company

I doubt any cinemas are going to implement this, because like airlines and banks, they seem to be very bad at making software. Nothing surprising there.

A few months ago I was searching for a room in London. There are about 4 big sites to do that, so I posted ads on all of them, and searched on all of them. Only one provided a web application that allowed me to see whether I contacted someone already or whether I marked a flat as not-suitable. It made searching so much easier that soon I was using that and only that site. The ads weren’t better per se, but the software was.

I like going to the movies with friends but I dread having to organize it. It’s such a pain because you have to balance the available time of each people, the timetable of the cinema, the shows in which there are still good seats, the fact that the seats might be going unavailable, and handling the money (I tend to pick the cool but expensive theaters).

If I was in charge of a cinema, I would make a built-in Doodle. Doodle is an awesome application that helps you organize an event. You select all the desirable dates and times, invite the people, and they respond yes or no to each slot. At the end you pick one and go for it. I thought of setting up a Doodle to organize going to see The Dark Knight, but I ended just picking a date and time that was convenient for me and inviting people. It didn’t work.

The built-in Doodle could work like this:

  1. I go to the cinemas website.
  2. I buy my ticket.
  3. I pick all the shows I can go to.
  4. Set a deadline (maybe, optional).
  5. I send the invite to all the people that might want to join me.

Notice that I paid for my ticket before picking the date and time. I’m not sure whether that’s a good idea, I would be okay with that but maybe not everybody. What do you think?

Then each person that I invited goes to the web site and:

  1. Look at all the dates and times I and others picked.
  2. Buy their ticket or tickets.
  3. Pick the dates and times they can.

Once everybody is in or I’m done waiting, I pick a day and time and I get all the seats assigned together in one action (even though the action of committing to the movie was individual and asynchronous). For those that didn’t get a ticket or those that changed their mind, they get their money back and/or the option to arrange the same movie, another day, with some of the same group and/or adding other people to it.

For the cinema it’s a revenue booster. It makes it easier for people to commit to going to the cinema. And even people than don’t manage to go one day are compeled to go another because they already paid.

Build it with nice Facebook and Twitter integration and that’s it, you’ll be the most popular cinema in town.

Remove your eyes before coming in

I took my parents on a virtual tour of London. It’s the second time I do it and I still can’t believe this actually works. We live in the future.

This is how I do it: using my phone, an HTC Desire, I call my parents via Skype and I enable video. This is over 3G, while walking the streets of London. I even boarded a bus and showed them how it works. It’s a lot of fun.

After showing them the Covent Garden market, I went into the second biggest Apple store and then it happened. A guard approached me and told me not to record video in the store, to what I replied that I wasn’t recording video. I told him I was Skyping. He looked at the phone and said “that’s video” to what I replied: “well, Skype can do video”. “But are you recording?” he kept asking. No, I’m not. I unplugged the headphones so he could say “Hi” to my parents. The security guard smiled and told me to go on.

First issue: he didn’t ask me whether my parents were recording or not and even I couldn’t know for sure. Now I’m wondering why is it wrong to record video but not to show a live stream to other people. I think the answer is rather simple: nobody thought of a live stream yet. The same way taking video recordings wasn’t forbidden anywhere at some point, live streaming is not forbidden yet.

I wish that instead of awkwardly holding my cellphone, I could be using a camera mounted on my head. There’s nothing new about that concept, but with products like Google Glass we might live in a world where almost everybody have an internet-connected, interactive, head-mounted camera quite soon. Are they going to ask everybody to remove their Google Glasses just in case they are recording or streaming?

What happens when something like the Google Glasses are embedded into my own glasses, the ones that correct my vision. Are they going to ask me to remove those? What happens when it is embedded directly into my eye. Are they going to ask me to remove my eyes too? Maybe they could say it’s my fault and treat me like people with full body tattoos. What if the interactive internet-connected device is the actual eyes that allow a blind person to see? Are they going to discriminate them too? Because that day is coming and the world is going to change.