Personal Blog

Product Idea - "Big Print" Games

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Mon, Jan 07, 2008 @ 09:01 AM

This year, someone close to me spent quite a long time in the hospital and in bed afterwards. One of the things I noticed was the frustration with passing long days when medication and pain make it too hard to read. Since many people in this condition are older, with some decline in vision and small motor dexterity, I decided what would really help would be a magazine-sized GameBoy type device. It should weigh about the same as a magazine (sick people are weak) and have a big screen and big buttons. There should be a number of games that don't require quick reflexes and where the sound can be turned off. Think solitaire and BubbleBreaker, not SuperMario or Grand Theft Auto.
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Product Idea - Spring-loaded hamper

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 @ 09:03 AM


It's no secret that the Baby Boomers have hit middle age and all of the little infirmities that go with it. There used to be "middle aged spread" but now we have "relaxed fit" clothing. Laser surgery can eliminate the need for bifocals. But, there's still chronic low back pain. One of the worst irritants is doing laundry. For all those folks who can't afford to pay for someone else to do it, why not offer a laundry hamper with a spring loaded bottom? Like the book-restocking carts in the library, the bottom should raise as items are lifted from the hamper. And, voila!, no more bending over.

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Product Idea - PC redesign

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Mon, Nov 27, 2006 @ 09:11 AM


I was working at IBM when it sold its first PC. At the time, I loved the technology but hated the design. There really was no comfortable way to place the keyboard, your paper, and your monitor. More than 20 years later, I am repeatedly struck by the irony that the solution was not to improve the design of the PC but to introduce an entirely new category of furniture.


I've always thought that the best design for a PC would be closer to that of a piano. Imagine a monitor that sits at the angle of a music stand, with space on the table or desk in front of it for paper or a book to lay flat, and keyboard that is hangs over the edge of a table or desk on a mechanism that's a little like a pair of legs and feet.


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Product Idea - Laptop redesign

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Sun, Sep 10, 2006 @ 09:09 AM


Here are the structural changes I'd most like to see in the construction of the next laptop I buy:

* Rubber Casing

Instead of making me buy purse, briefcase, and suitcase with protective laptop pockets, why not just give me a laptop that can take mild abuse? I'd like to see a laptop encased in rubber, neoprene, or something else that would solve the problem.

* Flexibility

One big difference between paper files and my laptop (that the laptop was supposed to replace) is that the files flex when I jam them into a bag. I've been thinking about what it would take to have some hinges in a motherboard.

* Guts behind the Screen

Everyone's written about the heat radiating from the underside of laptops. Since design and use are predicated on the theory that the portion of the box with the keyboard will sit on a solid surface (desk, lap, etc.), why put the heat generation there and then try to figure out how to disperse it? Why not put the heat behind the screen, the portion with the largest surface area exposed to the air? I know it would present some weight-balance challenges, but it would be worth it!


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Product Idea - Airport-Friendly

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Fri, Sep 01, 2006 @ 10:09 AM


I spend a lot of time in airports. Here's my list of airport-security-friendly products I think would sell:

· Clear plastic clogs

Maybe we wouldn't have to take off our shoes if airport screeners could see through them?

· Make-up Kiosks at Baggage Claim

Some cosmetics do not travel successfully in checked luggage. Maybe someone could sell miniatures of most popular products while we're waiting for the baggage?



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Product Idea - Email enhancements

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Mon, May 01, 2006 @ 09:05 AM


The Wall St. Journal today reported on a number of software products that could be added to email to enhance security. Here are the features I want most:

* Smart Threading

Since I won't read a Blackberry during meetings, when I come back to my office at the end of a day, there can be 200 new emails in my inbox. Often, there will be many emails on a single topic. Yes, I can sort by subject line, but I want more.


At the end of a long day, I don't want the inefficiency of opening and closing all the "me too" responses. It is already technically possible to have the software figure out the unique text from emails with the same subject line and let me read just the unique text and relevant headers on one screen. Then, I want to be able to respond as appropriate to any iteration and file all the copies at once.


Later iterations would be smart enough to pick out same subject emails with new subject lines and new subject emails that just keep using an old subject line.

* Recipient Tags

At work, I often send the same email to a group of people but I don't want the same thing from all of them. For one recipient it may be a work assignment, for another it's just an "FYI."


About a year ago, I experimented with beginning every subject line with an all capital letter tag indicating why it was relevant to the recipient and got very positive feedback. They could look at their inboxes and know what was due today, next Friday, and what could be put off to the someday pile. It was a lot of work, though, since I had to send separate copies of the email to each recipient.


* Social Network Security

At work or at home, I'm willing to share certain confidential information with certain people. After thinking about it a while, I realized that those groups of people generally end up on email copy counts. For example, people working on the same project get copies of material and drafts about the project. People who get pictures of my last vacation always get pictures of my vacations. So, why not be able to use the social network analysis of my email to identify the appropriate group with whom to share?


The technology already exists to give me an easy-to-understand and easy-to-manipulate drawing of my groups of contacts. So, how about something that lets me establish access permissions with two clicks - one click on a network and one click on a file folder or directory?


Later iterations could notice when a network changes (someone leaves the company and drops off of cc lists) and ask if you want to change corresponding permissions.


(date of blog altered; original 2006 prior to 5/1)
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