Friday, August 15, 2008

Interesting Uses of YouTube

Here are some interesting things I’ve learned people are using YouTube for.

* Police use YouTube to solve crimes - Reuters reports that YouTube has helped Ontario police find a man they believe to be responsible for a murder at a local night club. (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source)

* Letting the public act as investigators - "It's our hope that releasing the audio to the public we can come closer to finding Mr. Wali's killer," said D/Sgt Pauline Gray. "I'd be interested in what the public thinks and whether they recognize the suspect's voice.". She said YouTube has been used to encourage witnesses or sources to come forward in past homicide investigations, but never with an audio recording. Click here to visit the YouTube page with the posted audio. "We're using all these great new tools at our hands," Gray said, of posting the audio to YouTube, and letting the public act as investigators. (source)

* Find missing children - By the end of the second week of August, when the McCanns marked the 100th day since Madeleine's disappearance by launching a YouTube initiative to help to find missing children, the Portuguese media had suggested that the McCanns could have killed their daughter, and the British press was not shy about repeating and even revelling in the "monstrous slurs". (source)

* Virtual bands - Three musicians that do not know each other recorded a song together. (source)

* Starting a global yawning epidemic - Mythbusters, which is a pretty cool show in it's own right, is using youtube to try and start a global yawning epidemic. (source) (source)

* Video resumes - Schnurman expects to use YouTube for mass distribution of the resumes and hopes to convince law schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to incorporate this project into their career development offerings. (source)

* Broadcast sentencing hearings - Judge James Kimbler might just be my hero. This crafty judge is using YouTube to broadcast sentencing hearings to help shame criminals for their actions. The Ohio-based judge has been quoted as saying he thinks it's a good use of technology. Kimbler's been known to use shame tactics in his courtroom before - the use of YouTube is new. (source)

* Crisis response - Based on how they are using YouTube and podcasts for crisis response , it is clear that the Romney campaign has an understanding of how to use the web in this day and age. (source)

* Using YouTube to “blow the whistle” - An engineer at Lockheed Martin used YouTube to blow the whistle on problems with a large Coast Guard project. (source)

* Mexican drug cartel has been using Youtube - More recently the Mexican drug cartel has been using Youtube, in a sort of cyber drug war, as individuals from rival gangs are killed or tortured the footage is then uploaded to Youtube. (source)

* Chain letters in YouTube comments - Don't know how common this practice is, but I just saw my first "chain letter" in a YouTube comment: (source)

* Doctors give advice to patients in rural locations - Doctors in rural Wales are using YouTube to give health advice to patients. (source) (source)

* Politician congratulates another - Blair uses YouTube to congratulate Sarkozy. (source)

* As a free method of advertising - So I come across a story on CNN about how a toy company used YouTube to create a Viral/Word of Mouth Marketing Buzz for a new remote control helicopter. (source) (source)

* Companies hosting competitions for users to create ads - H.J. Heinz Co. and AT&T Inc. have also used YouTube to host online contests. (source)

* CNN uses YouTube during presidential debate - CNN's use of YouTube for tonight's Democratic presidential debate is being hailed as groundbreaking experiment in democracy. (source)

* Discover new musicians - Video-sharing website YouTube has launched a major music promotion to discover unsigned US bands and musicians. (source)

* Video diaries - lonelygirl15 was a screenname attached to a teenage girl named "Bree" who used myspace and youtube to display diary entries predominantly in video form. (source)

* Cyber bullying - I think Youtube is a terrible website that enables teenagers to humiliate other children. (source)

* Host video walking tours of homes for sale - Real estate agent Krista Miller used YouTube to host a video walking tour of a home for sale. (source)

* Find passwords for FTP sites - The latest Google Hack is using YouTube to find users and passwords for ftp sites. (source)

* Literacy training - Use YouTube for story hours, gaming nights and literacy training. (source) (source)

* Streaming course content - While Berkeley's offerings on iTunes U are mostly available only for listening, and while its videos on its existing, proprietary webcast.berkeley portal are confined to the Real format, YouTube opens streaming course content to virtually anyone with typical bandwidth and a Web browser. (source)

* Teaching ESL - ESL teachers are using YouTube to illustrate the use of everyday English and to help their students improve their listening skills. (source)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Awesome site for cool gadgets

I found an awesome website with illumin8 for cool gadgets:

Interesting uses for Alarm Clocks and Interesting Alarm Clocks

Here are some interesting uses of alarm clocks and alarm clocks that do interesting, unusual things or wake people up in unusual, better, ways:

Alarm clock that wakes you up by wind chimes – The Wind Chime Alarm clock combines punctuality with the sound of metal pipes clinking against each other. (source)

Activating a hearing aid – The beauty of poor hearing is you can sleep soundly if you can just depend on your hearing aid turning on at the right time. (source)

Pillow vibrator – An alarm clock that vibrates your pillow to wake you up (source)

Alarm clock to alert students to take breaks – Many schools now use Alarm Clock-type desk accessory to alert students to take a break once or twice an hour. (source)

Alarm clock that hides itself so you have to get up - Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a roving alarm clock that finds a new hiding spot and waits to go off again when the snooze bar is pressed. (source)

Cure self-mutilating behavior – “Have the victim set a few minute time limit using an alarm clock to delay self injury and note how the intensity of the urge changes.” (source)

Awaken person through light – Oregon Scientific RM313PNA Projection Alarm Clock is an attractive blue atomic clock that beams a fixed projection onto the ceiling of a darkended room. (source)

Headset for sleeping on trains (cancels out noise and wakes you up) – It is an object of the invention to provide a combination noise blocking headset and alarm clock which is capable of blocking out ambient noise of a commuter train or subway in order that a commuter will be able to nap or read without distractions. (source)

'Reverse Alarm Clock' That Keeps Young Children Sleeping (source)

Alarm clock that deduces emotions – Our assignment was to see if we could come up with a concept for an alarm clock that would enable us to deduce a whole range of emotions from the way people use it.' (source) (source) (source) (source)

Remind people to be mindful – A second object is to provide an alarm clock system for facilitating a moment of mindfulness, awareness, stress reduction and quiet at random times during the day. (source)

Alarm clock to get out of bad dates – I myself (please forgive me Lord) have used the alarm-clock mode of my cell-phone to get out of bad dates. (source)

Improve voter turnout – A London-area municipality has launched a new Election Alarm Clock service designed to improve voter registration and turnout. (source) (source) (source)

Replicate sunrise – Philips has developed an alarm clock that replicates a sunrise to wake you up naturally, making you more refreshed when it's time to get up. (source)

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Just found out about a really cool new technology from Philips called Lumalive. Lumalive combines multicolor LEDs (light-emitting diodes) into textile fabrics. It allows you to create dynamic images on articles of clothing, furniture, and anything else covered in fabric.

Some obvious applications are advertising and art. But I haven't seen much else discussed about how to use this technology to solve important problems yet. I wonder if it could be used as a dynamic camouflage? As you walk past walls of different colors, could it detect the color changes and respond to them like a chamelion? Could it pass through enough detail to make you look invisible?

Another interesting application would be a mood shirt. Like a mood ring, it would change colors depending on your mood. To detect mood, the shirt could be combined with various biometric sensors such as galvanic skin response. Most people wouldn't want to wear such a shirt, but it could be really fun for people at a party who want to try something kind of edgy.

What else could the colors and images on these shirts be tied to in your environment?

I remember talking to people at nTag a few years ago. They had interesting social technology that would tell two people meeting at a conference what two or three things they had in common based on their profiles. They displayed this information on name tags. Maybe it would be more interesting to show it on these shirts?

Or what if at a speed-dating event, various algorithms for matching peole who would be interested in each other could make it so participants milling about a party would suddenly have their shirts turn the same color if they were identified as matches whenever they were less than 5 feet from each other?

What other problems are there with shirts and other apparrel that could be solved with Lumalive? What a fun technology. Thank you Philips!

Interesting uses of nail clippers

Here are some novel uses of nail clippers:

□ Remove burnt spot from carpet – "Use a good pair of scissors or a pair of nail clippers to cut the carpet fiber being careful only to remove the damaged section." (source)

□ Cut pills for desired dosage – "People have also used razors, Exacto knives, and nail clippers to make really small doses." (source)

□ Cutting yarn on plane where scissors are banned – "To cut your yarn inflight you can use nail clippers or a box of floss." (source)

□ Make a short card to cheat or do magic tricks – "You can use a nail clipper to make a short card. Just cut like a 16th of an inch off the corner, then round it with a nail file." (source)

□ Opening difficult bottles – "Childless DIYer Kyle describes how to use a thumbtack, a spoon and nail clippers to disarm difficult-to-open bottles of three varieties--the squeeze and turn, the push down and turn and the push tab and turn kinds." (source)

□ Open pill packages – " Just today I had to use a nail clipper to open a pair of cold remedy pills, because instead of using the "easy" way to tamper-proof a pill (plastic shell, peel-off paper backing, then push out the pill) they decided to put two non-peelable layers to seal the plastic bubble, then expect you to be able to cut the pack in half just because there's a 1/8" pre-cut in the plastic." (source)

□ Prove virginity – "Rodriguez uses nail clippers to draw blood from her own fingertip, swipes her blood on a cloth (without anyone but the bride seeing) and the bride presents the red-specked kerchief to everyone waiting - saving her reputation and marriage." (source)

□ Trimming candle wicks – "Use toe nail clippers to trim wicks in jars in which scissors won't fit." (source)

□ Trimming your beard in prison – "Strangely enough, trimmers are still regularly removed from electric razors, forcing inmates to decide either to buy a clear case model or simply use nail clippers to trim beards and mustaches." (source)

□ Trimming lashes uniformly – "I've also heard that a pair of baby-sized nail clippers is the best way to trim the lashes to a uniform length and curvature." (source)

□ Cutting an umbilical cord – "An 18-year-old woman who gave birth to a baby girl in the desert used nail clippers to cut her baby's umbilical cord before being rescued by U.S. Border Patrol agents" (source)

□ Cut fishing line – "Nail clippers are probably the easiest and most effective way to cut fishing line." (source)

□ Trimming extra wire hanging from kids’ braces – "You may also try using a nail clipper or cuticle cutter to cut the extra piece of wire that is sticking out." (source)

□ Nicking seeds to help them grow – "I started in mid March, used a toe nail clipper to nick the seed, soaked for a few days, then planted in a small black pot, which I kept moist." (source)

□ Trimming a beak – "A pair of sharp nail clippers may be used to trim beaks and nails, but care must be taken not to cut to far." (source)

□ Trimming teeth – "To trim those teeth we use large dog nail clippers or you can use a dremal tool with a small grinder attachment." (source)

□ Doing bonsai – "Use his toe nail clippers to trim your bonsai tree." (source)

□ Trim nose hair – "Women are better off not knowing that we eat with our hands the minute they leave the room or that we use their nail clippers to trim our nose hair." (source)

□ Break packing straps – "Use plastic mallets, nail clippers & sheet metal cutters for breaking the straps." (source)

□ Cracking beads for crafts – "A pair of pliers or a nail clipper is a really good tool to crack the bead in half." (source)

□ Escape from jail – "Using nail clippers to fiddle with a lock, Bobby Marcantel escaped from the Parker County jail." (source)

□ Use in recycling – "For GMA recycling operations, the company uses the Heartland Fabrication single-head nail clipper to prep lead boards and remove broken stringers." (source)

□ Marking turtles – "Use nail clippers to mark very small turtles." (source)

□ Remove lesions – "Softened, affected lesions were removed with a nail file or nail clipper." (source: Japanese Journal of Medical Mycology)

□ Remove burrs – "Mark, I use nail clippers to remove those burrs." (source)

□ Snip off blisters – "Suria decided to walk bare footed, her feet were still painful because she snipped off the top of her blisters with nail clippers!" (source)

□ Tighten screws – "He uses his nail clippers to tighten screws, cleans his fingernails with a pencil, and writes with burnt matches." (source)

In my research I also found a really cool site of all kinds of interesting uses of common everyday tools. The site is called ParentHacks:

Here was one I encountered: "The hum of the airplane put her to sleep (yay!) but random noises, especially the PA system, would wake her up. We found we couldn't be heard without speaking very loudly right over her, which we didn't want to do (wake-ups). So my husband got two little Dixie cups from the lavatory, and I used baby nail clippers to poach a couple feet of yarn from the end of my knitting project, and we made ourselves an old-fashioned "phone" that reached across her seat and let us speak quietly. I'm sure we looked like idiots, but it worked! Want more tips re: kids + planes?" (source)