A Limitless Supply of Great Character Names

April 28th, 2009 by Dan Waber

This wasn’t always the case, but, I noticed that lately the names showing up as the “Sender” in my Spam folder have evolved away from the ridiculous and towards the pretty kick-ass if you’re writing a book, short story, or play and need character names. Here’s what I have in there right this second:

Elizabeth Haskins, Leroy Whittaker, Mavis Darling, Brian Bergman, Rosetta Moore, Rachelle Burkett

All prime candidates for characters, I think.

Visual Metaphor Maker

April 24th, 2009 by Dan Waber

There are a few metaphor generators out there that exploit the fact that one form of metaphor can be abstracted to:

the [adjective] [concrete noun] of [abstract noun]

It’s a trivial matter to drop in lists of words of each type and then randomize them for fun and profit. I was thinking yesterday how fun it would be to convert the words to images, or visual properties, and instead of making an exquisite corpse sort of generator, make an animated image that fuses (or layer flattens) all the elements into one complete image.

Peripheral Vision Highway Advertising

April 14th, 2009 by Dan Waber

Tollroads could be subsidized by selling advertising space on the center concrete barriers if the advertisements were optimized for 65mph peripheral vision either:

by being streeeeetched to the proper distortion amount


it might work to make flip book style animation frames

Not that I want more advertising in my peripheral vision, but, hey, the ideas come and the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

iPhone App

March 27th, 2009 by Dan Waber

I find myself planning to talk to certain people about certain things the next time I see them. I’d love an iPhone application that lets me construct a kind of to-do list but organized around the names of people who may or may not be in my address book. I’d like it to have some scheduling abilities to, so that I could easily enter, store, and retrieve information clusters like:


  • talk about great idea
  • ask about his nobel prize
  • remind him about the $20 he owes

may see him at party next Friday

Then I’d want to be able to scroll though the list and have it maybe self-sort based on projected time of meeting.

Art Rescue Organization

March 20th, 2009 by Dan Waber

I’ve heard several stories of artists forced to abandon storage units or old apartments in a hurry who had to discard or otherwise leave behind large portions of their work.

Seems like it would be a viable business to form a non-profit organization that could go pick up the art and give the artist a receipt for a donation at some reasonable amount; this way the artist could at least get a bit of a tax deduction for the donation, and, the organization could then redonate the art back to community projects and use it in auctions to raise money for community projects.

Band Name

March 20th, 2009 by Dan Waber

The Cranky Cats

Form Meets Function

March 9th, 2009 by Dan Waber

Last night I thought of a cool book form that would be perfect for a long manscript of poems that ranged from the very short to the very long (gee, think I’m reading a mansuscript like that right now?). The book would have a custom trim such that the cover and beginning pages were small, even tiny, and it would gradually flare out (a diagonal cut rather than a vertical cut) until reaching full-size.

Side view of a normal book looks like this: |_|

Side vie of this book would look like this: /_\

So, from a top view, instead of being a rectangulare cube, it would be closer to a flat topped pyramid.

Rebus Maker

February 26th, 2009 by Dan Waber

An automatic rebus-maker that takes arbitrary texts as input and then converts certain words to pictures that have been pulled from Google images and then re-sized to fit the format required by the chosen font.

Social Website Responsibility Watch Group

January 31st, 2009 by David Hage

I have recently been hearing some pretty concerning things about how some popular Social Websites can use your private information. I think having a Social Responsibility Watch Group would be a great service to general Social Website consumers.

I realize that there is an individual responsibility on the part of the consumer to agree with these Social Websites terms and conditions and privacy policies. But sometimes they change and we may not keep up on them like we should, we may have been less aware of the importance of these policies, or misunderstood them.

Having a group that would monitor and report problems with how your identities and information are managed on popular Social Websites would be something I would be interested in.

Here are some links about popular Social Websites, that I found disturbing:




Group Show Series

January 19th, 2009 by Dan Waber

A series of art pieces specifically designed to be submitted (and hung) in group shows. The pieces would perform, as purely as possible, nothing but to recontextualize the pieces hung on either side of it. For example:

Two swoopy arrows, one that ends up pointing left, one that ends up pointing right, the title of the piece (or perhaps incorporated right into the piece) is: the one to the left is awesome, the one to the right, not so great.

An image of a person making a disgusted face. Title of the piece (or incorporated into the piece) is: eew, why do I have to be across from that piece?

Other phrases possible (I’ll leave the working out of the accompanying image as an exercise for the reader):

  • Definitely the best piece in this room.
  • Some of us may be upside down, I’m not naming any names, but, look at the one on my right.
  • The jury was really sleeping on that one three over, don’t you think?
  • What’s a nice piece of art like me doing in a place like this?
  • They only put me here because the artist left of this can’t stand the artist right of this. And vice versa. Oddly enough, they both like me.
  • The first piece in the show is always the best. The last piece is always the one that makes the least sense.