Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mixing & making music

Just listening to the 'axis of awesome' performance, red nose day '11 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw3eYsnl31c&feature=player_embedded). Interesting mix! It would be great to extend that a bit; why not sample from multiple songs the way they did, but maintain a story. Not sure how easy this would be, not very I suspect.

- Genetic algorithm that just selects random lines form songs and I tell it if it does a good job, i.e. just tweak weights that rate the overall quality of the song.
- Align sentences: X% (e.g. 10) of words from line x need to match line Y, with Y% (e.g. 80) alignment accuracy.
- Assign 'seeds'. These words will guide the overall 'feel' of the song - love, dark, anger, USA or teenage, school etc. Then, 'expand' this set of words using synonyms and/or a list of words that are found to group regularly with these words based on analysis of thousands of random internet pages.
- We could do things using a sort of 'domino' strategy, e.g. start with 'apple' and only sample from songs with that word in it (sorting with best matches)...might be interesting. We could also extent this to a starting set, e.g. car, man, USA and sample from best matched songs. The idea here would be that these sets will now have things in common and that this ascertainment will be more likely to product meaningful songs.

Just thinking, this might be a good strategy for just writing songs in general! The mixing bit is useful only if we want to keep sentences intact, for sentimental reasons (i.e. the audience will feel a connection with this).

Starting point
- get a good dataset, e.g. download a bunch of songs form songlyrics.com or something.
- code something quick up in perl. This this should be fairly handy.

We'll revisit this again...when I have something besides a stream of consciousness...!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


God, watching a concert video for some some by avril lavigne (don't ask why!) and it struck me how many idiots just stand there with their hands in the air recording the gig on an iphone or whatever. Why don't they buy something like http://www.techlocation.com/camera/looxcie-wearable-bluetooth-camera/? Better yet, it would be great to have a Bluetooth headpiece for iphone that streamed images to your phone (or something simpler like a fiberoptic camel directly connected to a specially-designed iphone case for analogue streaming..). People will look way cooler then!

Monday, March 7, 2011


I wonder how many people sit there with their laptop looking at t.v. and, when the advertisements come on, the start playing with their laptop to pass the time. I sometimes look up a website after seeing an add. It would be great is Google or someone were to collaborate with t.v. channels and simply correlate specific web searches with a list of adverts currently being shown. We would obviously have to adjust for e.g. web usage volume, various cultural stats, frequency of advert, time of day, popularity of program (as a proxy for likelihood of watching the ad) etc. I'm sure various stats are out there.

One possible confound is that those searching the web are a specific class of individuals and not representative of the total.

Another interesting application would be e.g. Hulu, where it would be more beneficial to make targeted advertisements based on how the users search the web.

Finally, we could look at extending this feedback not only into user-tailored adverts, but also feed this information into social networking sites; your tv shows ads that are relevant to you, facebook shows ads that are relevant to you, etc.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Intelligent cruise control for cars

There are millions of inventions out there for cars, so just sticking this out there. Cruise control has been around for years, but I don't this it's that efficient. A more intelligent system would be to give a +/- speed margin of flexibility and the car uses gravity to accelerate to the max when going downhill, and eases slightly on the throttle to minimize laboring when going uphill. GPS information might maximize efficiency further.

Endothermic jelly/jello

Well, not quite. Just some general ideas about endo/exo-thermic products.

- jello takes a while to set, generally overnight. If the jello had additional endothermic ingredients, it would set faster. Cool!

Use that stuff that heats your gloves up when skiing - great things! - for other uses also:
- an exothermic tea bag (great for camping trips)
- self baking beans: open can and the material reacts with the air to head up
- etc.

(obv. making the assumption here that the material isn't toxic!)

Airport wifi access

It always bugs me how airport wifi access is so limited/costly/rarely available. A few ideas:
(1) All free wifi, but "surround" the internet window with adverts and also with the occasional ad popup. Can advertise local business etc. in addition to general adverts.
(2) These days, downloading a movie onto e.g. iPad before boarding a plane is desirable. Apple could allow free internet access at airports so that people can download their movies, then give a share of the profits to the airport. Possible restrictions of e.g. itunes store etc. could apply.


Walking around Boston with my g/f, I noticed a bunch of public areas that did not contain auto-open doors. Not very wheelchair friendly. It would be helpful to have a wheelchair where you could lock align both wheels, allowing single-arm wheeling, so you could use the other arm to open a door.