Open Source Ideas

There are a lot of ideas floating around on the Internet. In fact, the Internet seems to be the single most important communication medium that got people’s voices out in the open. Most of the ideas that we see on the Internet are in some state of execution. People have thought of services, networks, tools or just fun topics and have built websites around them. Those ideas are in a great state. They have been conceived and brought to some level of fruition. But what about ideas without a parent? In other words, what about ideas that have been conceived, but the conceiver doesn’t have the resources – time, money or programming knowledge, to execute them? Do these ideas lay dormant or is something done about them?

A general trend on the Internet is that of asking help. In fact, most earliest forms of the Internet were based exactly on this – scientists, engineers or geeks looking for help to achieve a goal. The Internet thus is a great place to go and ask for whatever it is that you need. If its money that you need, there’s a solution for that. If you’re looking for knowledge or experience, you’ll get that too. So what do you do when you have an idea but lack one of the few things needed to bring that idea into the world?

Money

Kickstarter

If money is what you’re after and you have all the technical know-how and the time to do it, you’re in luck. Just head over to a website like kickstarter and you can start your own project. Then, depending on how much of a following you have or the interest you can generate about the idea, you’ll get the money you need to make a wonderful reality from your fledgling ideas. Mind you, kickstarter is just one out of a thousand crowdfunding sites that will get you the money that you need. A quick search on one of my favorite software search websites reveals a comprehensive list of sites you can go to with your idea.

Kickstarter and its alternatives

Learning

Of course, money isn’t everything. Some times you just don’t have the technical know-how of how things are done. This too, is a simple task of putting the time in to learn what’s needed. Don’t know how to code? Head over to Codecademy for free lessons in programming –

Codecademy

Want to make your own cabinet? Learn some carpentry –

Learn Woodworking Videos | Howcast.com – Learn carpentry and how to do simple woodworking projects with the step-by-step instructions in this Howcast video series. Expert Featured Guides

Perhaps you’re not good with DJing but want to learn. You can head over to YouTube… You get my point.

Executing

That covers learning new trades to get things done. But what if after all of this learning and finding the funding, you just don’t have the time? Well, perhaps you need to visit the Digital Point Forums. You can find someone to do your job for you and you can agree on a price too –

Digital Point Forum

Or perhaps, you want someone local. Then how about just advertising in Craigslist or issuing a call on Twitter for help. People do come forward.

Ideating

That all talks about how easy it is with the Internet to find the right resources to actualize an idea. But what if you’ve hit a block right there? What if you’re out of ideas? You’re creative genes are bursting, you want to go ahead and make something magnificent. But, what? What to make? That’s one of the biggest issues you’ll face if you’ve not dipped a toe into creative problem solving ever before this.

Most would suggest to look around you. Indeed, this is the best way of getting ideas. Find a problem around you and start working towards a solution. It may not be original, it may not be perfect, but at least you’re doing something. Maybe you’ll approach it differently than others and something of value will come out of it. Maybe not. But at the very least, you’ll have learnt something and you would have solved a problem that you yourself or someone in your friends or family faces everyday. They’ll be thankful.

But what if?! What if you look around don’t find anything worth fixing? Perhaps people around you are already working on problems and you don’t want to disrupt their work. Perhaps you live in Utopia where everything is awesome. Then what? Once again, the Internet to the rescue!

When software first got written in the world of computers, it was done by large corporations. The kind which, at the end of the day, look at the balance sheet and decide if they’ve done well. All of this software was thus, hidden from the public’s eyes. No one should know what was the code lest they steal it and make their own software. Then someone sitting in an office, bored out of their life, had the brilliant idea to write code and release it freely and openly to the world. This was the birth of OpenSource software. Open source software comes with a special license. You as a user can look at it, run it, modify it and then pass it on, with attribution. It’s a gift to the world because way too much stuff on the Internet now happens on open source software.

Just like someone had that brilliant idea, a couple of people had another brilliant idea. They were busy people, working, building, coding or just living on. They wanted to see things happen in the world, but did not have the time or the inclination to get cracking on their ideas. Thus was born, the Open Source Idea. People on the Internet, giving away for free, the single most powerful thing in the world – an idea.

Where can you find such ideas? Everywhere! From cynical blog posts about what’s wrong with social networking to news reports about the latest problem the world is facing, it’s all about ideas. Ideas that people know need to be matured into a product, but do not have the time or the knowledge to do so. Some examples are –

Please Steal This Idea

When I saw this website, I was instantly struck by the name. The author is an entrepreneur and makes a living off of bringing ideas to fruition. Then why would he be asking people to steal his ideas? Simply because he has too many! Every now and then you meet a person who has his life so full that every day brings new ideas to the fore. But a person can only do so much in a day, so Andrew Magliozzi lets people have his ideas, in the hope that they’ll create something useful out of them and the world will be able to enjoy that idea in its matured form.

Dribbble – Show and tell for designers

At the risk of sounding like a hipster, I’d say that Dribbble is one of the best things to happen to the Internet. People, in their infinite wisdom, make really crappy software. The software itself is actually nice, but the interface is so bad that one doesn’t feel like using it. By letting designers have a permanent place on the Internet, the makers of Dribbble have given a marketplace to ideas that look great. So, the next time you’re looking for an icon for your next great app, look around on Dribbble. You might find something worthwhile.

Ideas We Like | How To Split An Atom

This is another great site. Though not officially an idea source, reading through Steve Spalding’s blog will literally open your brain to some new ideas about the Internet. It’s really worth a read.

Last, one of my favorite websites just to look at what people are doing in the world –

OpenIDEO – Home

OpenIDEO is the epitome of open source ideas. People come together to look at a problem and everybody gives their input. In fact, you can look at their latest problem and can start contributing right away. OpenIDEO lists all their challenges and the level at which each challenge sits right now. So, you can contribute by saying your two cents about how to solve a problem or can help them along the way at any of the many steps it needs to take an idea from inception to realization. The beauty of it is that every problem takes on “big challenges for social good”.

Everybody has ideas about how to fix things. In the world we live in, it is the completion of an idea that is valued and thank god there are so many resources to help us on every step, from seeking the money to bring the idea to fruit to seeking the inspiration to develop an idea itself. I hope all my readers enjoyed this post and I hope you will look at the world as I see it – a series of problems and solutions, each following the other, until an idea becomes a reality.

The Two Internets

Theories in Physics tell about the possibilities of infinite dimensions and infinite Universes. Compared to that, the fact that there are Infinite Internets within the same Internet is a reality we all face every time we login to our devices. Of these, I’d like to address two Internets – The Anonymous Internet and the Identifiable Internet. Continue reading

Internet Addiction

I was sitting at dinner with a few friends of mine, most of them Masters students who have excellent communications skills. They were all talking about something. On closer inspection, I realized that most of what they were talking about was the topic of the single most important communication revolution of this generation – the Internet. To be specific, they were talking about two things, memes and Facebook. I pointed out a few lines ago that most of them had excellent communication skills. The importance of that is the vocabulary in use in the conversation. They were talking about “liking” things and getting the best pic so that it can be their next “profile pic”. They were talking about flying cats and Loki-bashing memes. It seemed that all of these people were talking more in terms of Facebook features and popular memes instead of that once popular language, English.

Who am I to talk about this? I’m as much a part of this meme culture as anyone else. But some times I worry about why simple English is being replaced by Internet lingo in dinner tables across the world. Or maybe that’s not the case? Maybe I’m looking at a group of highly educated individuals who wish to break free from the rigid language-sensitive world of academic papers and presentations and the best way to let off some steam is by using some bad language and talking in some silly and distorted lingo. I certainly hope that’s the case because otherwise the world is doomed to one day just talk in terms of “like”, “comment” and “forever alone”. This does not bode well for expression. Because drawing cartoons and using lingo to accommodate original thought is a good idea as long as the cartoons themselves are originals. A few building blocks can easily form millions of complex structures but they are, in fact, limited by the types of building blocks to begin with.

What’s worse is that the force of Facebook and memes is so strong that it is changing the way the whole Internet interacts. The original game changing communication medium is now being forced into careful coercion by a social network and a silly set of characters adapted from 4chan. I can only hope that another tide brings some other social network into the lime light and that one will not be forced to define a person’s image with a “cover photo” alone.

Graduation

I graduated yesterday. I am officially a Master of Science in Telecommunications. It’s a surreal feeling, one that’s making me very giddy this whole time. This degree in MS is, for me, the last time I’ll be in an academic setting for a long time. The reason I’m feeling so weird is because that’s where I’ve been my whole life. Leaving this behind is a strange feeling and it’s something I’m afraid of. Continue reading

How to be awesome…

Some of you out there read LifeHacker. It recently covered an awesome story about Jerry Seinfeld’s method of being awesome at what you love. Seinfeld says, what ever it is that you’re supposed to be doing, do it everyday. If you blog, do it every day. If you want to improve on your health, run every day. That way, once you’ve been doing it a while, you’ll not want to quit.

To read the actual story go here

and to read it’s effect, go here

I read this second post yesterday morning and I thought, “Hey, I can do this with my blog. I can simply, blog everyday!” But it’s a lot more tough than that! I sat down last night, hoping to write this exact blog and starting my 366 days of being awesome. I couldn’t. It takes a lot of conviction to start something you know will take a full year and will need your attention every day. That scared me. I couldn’t even direct myself to the blog, wasting time elsewhere and hoping I’d never need to write this blog post.

When I got up today, I decided that I just had to do this. No point in dilly dallying, I’ve just got to do it! So here it begins, my 365 day trek towards a fuller blog with a lot many more posts and a more awesome me 🙂

A lot of you will think, this isn’t possible/whatever/”I can’t do that!”. Trust me, you can. The two posts above have changed my way of thinking and I’m glad for it! Here’s to hoping I pull through it and I know for sure, you’ll all be watching! 🙂

Image Courtesy – http://www.starpulse.com/Television/Seinfeld/gallery/Seinfeld-tv-sp13/