Sunday, July 10, 2011

Random Weekend Thoughts About Creative Computer Use

I'm going to lay off the super serious stuff this evening as I have a little list of "items" ripe for a creative computer scientist to evaluate.

  • A GPS system might have been useful for the small child I saw this afternoon on the beach who was happily walking about a mile away from his parents. My friend followed the toddler, who was totally unconcerned, and with the aid of a lifeguard got him back to his mother. Her only comment about how far away her kid had wandered on the packed beach was an unconcerned "there are a lot of people around". Who do you think most needs the GPS system? a) the child b) the mother c) the lifeguard d) all of the above e) none of the above ?
  • I have jury duty next week and San Diego Mass Transit's software connection to Google Maps is determined to route me to either Tijuana Mexico, Monterrey Mexico, or Paraguay. Where do you think the problem lies? (I truly believe I will not be crossing the international border tomorrow, regardless of what the software system insists)
  • A friend was very concerned about the fact that software was not being used to more efficiently assist in food redistribution to the homeless. He described in great detail what such software would look like and asked why no one had created it. I realized as he spoke that the software to do what he says does exist, but is used in other applications. Last week I spent a good hour with a visiting family member at the harbor watching a Dole (as in bananas and pineapples) tanker unload box after box of food and load them onto trucks off to destinations all over the western US. The plaque on the harbor walkway briefly described the complex distribution system  used to get those bananas I eat every morning from Central America effectively and efficiently and in just the right state of green to all the places they have to go. What would it take to get such a system into the hands of large scale non profits doing essentially the same thing?
  • While I am sitting in the stuffy courthouse waiting room (NOT in Paraguay) I am going to be on the lookout for just how computerization is or isn't being used...and how it could be. I might even get a bit inquisitive and ask questions. This would not be unusual behavior for me. As long as it doesn't result in my landing on the other side of the court system than was intended.
Have a nice Monday everyone. Think creatively about good things.

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