The FoRK IdeaLab.

I Find Karma (
Thu, 13 Aug 1998 11:02:34 -0700

Greg wrote:
> From Wed Aug 12 12:23:37 1998
> To: I Find Karma <>
> > You know, your stupid ideas of the day have all been pretty
> > good so far.
> 8-) Thanks! I am thinking about really doing it.
> If anything it'll be cathartic. My friend Nort
> is a marketing guy. If anyone can sell it to the
> corporate heads, he can.
> > Maybe you should keep em all in a web page and be an "idealab"
> > for wannabe startups...
> Maybe if we can come up with a couple more.

Well, there's one in particular I like, but I don't remember who came up
with it. It might have been you, or maybe it was Rohit or Dan Kohn.

The idea is a "desktop database" that maintains indexes of all of the
information on your desktop file hierarchy for advanced queries. If the
maintainence isn't done in realtime, it's at least done, say, at a
user-defined interval like once a day.

Come to think of it, I could also use an "advanced desktop caching
agent" that stores copies of EVERYTHING that enters and exits my machine
as I receive and send stuff in email, news, chat, Web... I guess it's
not so much a cache as a lifestream.

Add the lifestream to the desktop database, and suddenly everything
that's taken brain cycles away from me is indexed and queryable. A
"history" of all computer activity that is never deleted.


I wonder how much information on the Web is currently unsearchable
because it hides embedded in Powerpoint files or jpeg's or gif's or
PostScript files or compressed files.


I also like Dan Kohn's idea of real-time search engines:
> There's no reason a search engine can't keep up with the whole Web
> except for lack of will. Also, note that HTTP/1.1 cacheing headers will
> provide incredibly helpful info to spiders on how often they should
> refresh. (Since, for instance, all the posts in the FoRK archive should
> have a refresh setting of one year, while the current archive's index
> should be refreshed hourly.)

And Tim Byars' idea of the W.W.WebStore:
> The W.W.WebStore... God knows what you would actually buy in their,
> since we all know no one buys anything that is associated with the word
> Web. Maybe there are just going to let about 5K people a day roam
> through and take what they want...

And Anchordesk's four computing fortunes waiting to be made

included below...

> WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 1998
> Four Computing Fortunes Waiting to Be Made
> Jesse Berst, Editorial Director
> ZDNet AnchorDesk
> It's not too late to become a computing multi-millionaire.
> With Microsoft all-powerful in the desktop arena, with the obvious
> Internet territories already staked out, some people think the
> entrepreneurial era is over.
> Wrong. Plenty of big-money opportunities still await. As an
> illustration, I've laid out four fortunes just waiting for someone to
> cash in. One software. One hardware. Two Internet.
> Public Information Manager: Massive software fortunes are made when
> someone solves a "horizontal" problem -- a difficulty shared by most
> people regardless of their occupation. Personal information management
> is the single remaining horizontal productivity application that still
> doesn't have a universal solution.
> A while back, I described the need for today's personal information
> managers (PIMs) to morph into "public" information managers -- software
> designed to meet the needs of the connected world. Click for full story.
> The need is even stronger today, especially since Microsoft's Outlook
> has eviscerated the market for standalone PIMs. As a PIM, Outlook is
> mediocre. But it's free, and that has slowed down sales of most
> third-party products.
> Personal Notepad. The PalmPilot and similar products are great as
> electronic address books. The new CrossPad is great for taking notes.
> Click for full story. And, this fall, at least three companies will be
> introducing portfolio-sized "electronic books" that will be great for
> portable reading. Click for full story.
> Let's see -- I'm supposed to carry around a handheld, a CrossPad and an
> electronic book? Oh brother. What's needed is a product that combines
> all three. Easy recordkeeping and synchronization with desktop
> computers. Easy recording of notes and ideas while away from the office.
> And an easy-to-read, letter-size screen with storage for long documents.
> The technology is here. Somebody just has to stuff it all into one
> package that weighs less than three pounds and runs for days on one
> battery charge.
> Browser-based threaded messaging. Everybody wants to build communities
> on the Web. One way is through threaded messaging. Current browser-based
> products suck. They stink. I hate them. The ideal product would let you
> attach threaded messages directly to content -- for instance, directly
> to an AnchorDesk article. It would also let users sort replies by topic,
> date or author. Go build it. I'll buy it from you.
> Natural language searching. I can ask you for information in a single
> short sentence. Your brain applies a few rules and quickly understands
> what I want. If I ask "Tell me the history of the labor movement," you
> will respond with information about labor unions. You won't tell me
> about Lamaze classes or the trials of Hercules, because your brain
> automatically excluded those connotations from the "search results."
> Why can't Internet searching work like that? It should. And when it
> does, somebody will get very rich.

Yeah, somebody's gonna get very rich alright... maybe FoRK should just
start a think tank and come up with brilliant ideas for other people to
do, and take a small stake in each company we spawn. Sounds kind of
like IdeaLab, doesn't it?

Speaking of which, hey Rohit, what ever happened to ideaMarket?


Relationships like rehab, are for quitters.
-- Tim Byars, a year and a day ago, at