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Computer Earth! Printer Friendly Version
Steve says in a Comment on the idea “Wireless Digital Camera” by Maskone (posted Thu Mar 25 2004): “There are so many millions of mobiles around, maybe it would be possible to build some kind of walkie-talkie technology into them, so the data could hop from one mobile to the next (and not via the phone company), much like the data on the internet hops from one network point to the next, until it reaches the destination.” (posted Sun Apr 11, 2004).
I pondered Steve’s interesting and challenging idea. Suppose we expand this idea a bit to include the transfer not only of digital images but of all the other kinds of information we currently send over the internet. We put a transmitter-receiver on the roof of each house on the planet, and we attach it to a relay computer in each house that is permanently switched on. One of the tasks of these relay computers is to receive files etc. from nearby transmitters and forward them on to other transmitters in the directions of their destinations. We would also connect everyone’s home computers to the relay computers. And either specially adapted mobile phones or tiny portable relay computers would be the mobile component of the network.
Are we beginning to create one giant computer here stretching right around the planet? Could this be the next big step beyond the internet? Many have imagined the internet as providing the way to create a giant world-wide computer. Steve’s idea suggests a different way to do it, and if a few technical problems could be sorted out, perhaps a potentially much more powerful way.
This giant Computer Earth would have two quite different kinds of interconnections - the present type of wire and optical fiber, and Steve’s all-encompassing wirelessly communicating short-distance hopping connections. Reminiscent of the brain with its long distance nerve fiber connections and the numerous short-distance connections between each brain cell and its neighbors.
I presume the idea of connecting computers around the world wirelessly has already been considered and researched in some detail, but so far it has not advanced (as far as I know) beyond local centres of activity, linear connections between computers, and applications such as Bluetooth. There are clearly plenty of challenges for inventive minds to solve here. Creating a fully interconnected network of home computers right around the world which can act as one giant computer is surely one of the great holy grails of our times. The internet is a great start but it lacks the intense and intimate connectivity of the human brain. Could Steve’s three dimensional and ubiquitous wireless hopping connections turn the present-day cold and linear internet into Computer Earth?
Reward: A free connection to Computer Earth! 

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Choose your path/ interactive history book Printer Friendly Version
Always loved the "Choose your own adventure" books. Very much fiction but I thought it would be great to have a book with the same format but your decisions/choices would be ones that our world leaders are currently faced with, were faced with and the book would lead you to a path that was exactly what had happened or something totally different as a result of not choosing the choices that actually were made from these power figures.
Or if you chose a different path what may have happened as a result?
Think about it. What if Hitler was shot, what if the bomb was not dropped on Hiroshima, what if Abe Lincoln had not signed the Emancipation Procalamation?, what if a decision made resulting in the South winning the War?
Would the world come to an end? Would there be a different world power, what if Castor was succesfully killed during the Bay of pigs invasion? etc. etc. This could be applied to so many world (past and present) decision making points that could really have changed or will change our way of life.
Reward: Not sure but would love to read them 

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Where should we go mobile application Printer Friendly Version
Imagine this, you find yourself in town with friends without any planning and the question gets asked "whats on tonight, where shall we go".
How about a mobile phone application that uses your GPS information in conjunction with event info posted on the web and suggests events or locations you might wish to go to based on the user selecting an activity type.
For example, we decide we want to go and eat Chinese, then onto a bar to see a live band playing hard rock. The app scours the restaurant / gig guides on line and gives you options based on your physical location and the type of activity you select. It doesn't just serve up a gig or restaurant guide, but selects appropriate ones based on descriptive metrics and your current location and the time. Particularly useful if you're not in your home town.
Reward: Advice about a good Chinese restaurant and hard rock gig in my present location... 

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