Non-intrusive Advertising in Your Browser

Here’s a new  idea for non-intrusive advertising: T&S Advertising. It’s basically a way for your website to rent out space in the title bar of your browser and its status bar (the bit at the bottom) to outside advertisers. Like this at the top:

Ts1

and this at the bottom:

Ts2

The idea here is that such advertising doesn’t take up any extra space, isn’t intrusive and could be easily configurable. A website would rent out space there in the same way it would rent out space to Google Ads, banner ads, or whatever. It’s the brainchild of a 23–year old Dutch student called Johan Struijk, who according to a press release made available yesterday hopes that

at only $1 per 1000 views this is a low cost but effective form of advertising. “I think this will mainly appeal to modern, forward thinking businesses,” Johan said, “and perhaps some of the larger blue chip companies who have established brand names and slogans.”

I’m not as convinced as he that this would take off big time since those places on a screen are so unobtrusive as to be invisible, but I could be wrong. And it’s good to see folks exploring ideas like this which don’t involve hoodwinking the user. Johan might want to run a spell checker over his website and press release, though, just so the blue chips take him seriously.

How to be a Inventor

The Boston Globe writes about Ron Magers, a toy designer for the past 28 years. It’s no game:

Magers’s shop produces 20 prototypes per year; there have been years when he has sold none. His average is one to two toys per year, and there is a storage area filled with things that never sold. Included in that is a Merry-Go-Round, a radio-controlled dynamic one-wheeled vehicle, and a painting shooting gallery. ”There’s not a lot of enthusiasm about shooting anything these days,” Magers said.

And it is important to be prolific, he said. ”I always give young inventors a piece of advice: ‘Never marry one idea,’ ” he said. ”If you continue to put ideas on the table and produce, eventually an idea will sell. For every 20 prototypes that I do, I’m happy to put two into the marketplace that are actually selling and producing royalties.”

Changing the Way We Drink

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway has invented a device that lets him drinks his own urine:

Dean Kamen, famed inventor of the Segway vehicle, drank his own urine to the delight of a South Carolina audience. He was participating in a presentation of his latest gadget- a pee-purifying device that his company DEKA Research has developed.

He intends to solve the world’s water problem with this new invention– an energy efficient filtration system that can transform any water and convert it into drinkable H20. The device, still in prototype form, is ‘the size of a dorm-room fridge’.

Kamen owns one hundred and fifty patents and owns an island in the Long Island Sound. Bono is apparently interested in supporting this project and is being tapped for his high profile.

Actually sounds a great idea.

The Mobility Mouse

The mighty mouse has never really worked for anyone on the road — and those poor suckers you see who try and use the laptop’s trackpad need our help — but one or two folk have tried to ease the navigational pain. Here’s another one, out early next year: The MoGo Mouse:

Mogo

The website ain’t public yet, and I have yet to play with the thing, but I’m told it’s a business card, Bluetooth-enabled mouse that stores neatly inside a laptop computer’s PC slot when it’s not being used. It uses Bluetooth to communicate with your laptop, so no need for cables. The two indentations on its top enable left- and right-clicking, while a “kickstand” locks into place, automatically levering the full-width MoGo MouseBT into a natural position in the user’s hand. And in case you’re wondering, MoGo stands for “mobility on the go.”

I look forward to playing with it. Anyone who can make mobile mouse usage better has my attention. Launch is planned at CES in January.

The Risk Of Mash-ups

It’s interesting to see how jarring old-world business behaviour is in the new world of blogs, remixing, mashing and market conversations. But I guess it’s also a reminder that the durability of the new world is not to be taken for granted. The latest episode, from Slashdot is this: RISK on Google Maps Shut Down:

Hasbro owns the copyrights for the game of Risk, as the guy who wrote the google maps based Risk found out. This was featured on slashdot earlier. However, he does not seem too discouraged and asks people to submit ideas for other games using google maps that will not have such legal wrangles.” One thing this reminded me of is how cool Risk is. My office is now in its 3rd round… Africa will be mine!

The funny thing about all this, as One Tusk.com points out, creating the mash-up (using Google Maps for an online Risk-style game) was great publicity for the game itself:

As a result, he reminded everybody that there was a game called Risk and everyone had a great moment of nostalgia for board games as they paused from salivating over the next console game. But of course, we can’t have everyday people out getting people interested in our games–Hasbro’s probably gotten more play out of this than any advertising they cooked up themselves.

Hasbro, therefore, would have been much better advised to have considered the situation before leaping for their lawyers. Hasbro has made several variations on the classic board game: one Lord of the Rings version, one set in 2210 AD and one Star Wars version. There are two software versions, I and II. The latter was issued in 2000, a generation ago in gaming terms. Why didn’t they talk with the guy involved, thank him for reviving a near-dead brand, and either hire him or quietly tell him that by calling it something else, or a ‘Risk-like game’, he could keep going?

After all, there are several games out there that describe themselves as “Risk-like”, and, as far as I know they’ve not received any legal letters. There’s Attack! (which carefully only hints at its Risk-like nature), Mare Nostrum, Quest for the Dragon Lords and Empire XP (which decsribes itself as ‘a Windows version of the classic Risk board game’.) (More on Risk, and all the Risk clones, at Wikipedia.) All this makes the heavy-handedness even harder to understand.

Directory of MindMapping Software

Bubblus Update, Feb 15 2007. An online mapping tool that’s cute but questionable in its mindmapping credentials: bubbl.us. In fairness, it talks more about brainstorming than mindmapping, but I’m surprised that it’s not easy to add branches to all four sides of each little box. You can, apparently, share your work with others, which makes sense, but it’s still a little too rough around the edges for me.

Here’s some mind mapping software for Windows or the Mac. Additions welcome.

Some resources: