Random Ideas

I played the Iron Realms Entertainment games(mostly Achaea) into the mid-2000s, for kind of the inverse reason of why you didn’t play WoW - I couldn’t afford it, and my internet connection wasn’t good enough for it. But MUDs are free, and you can practically play by whistling down a phone line, so for early-to-mid-2000s Australian internet, that meant I could play on my shitty home connection.

I still check things out every once in a while, though I don’t play any currently, partially for nostalgia, partially because it’s just interesting.

Aside from the bigger players like Iron Realms(who not only have their own cross-platform client, along with browser clients, mobile clients, open connectivity for all other clients, and the ability to connect via terminal if you wish - they’re pretty much the gold star for MUD interfaces), that’s because most MUD players these days use their own clients like TinTin, Atlantis, or Mudlet. No point spending the time and resources - especially considering how thin most of them run - on something that most players already have their own solution for.

Really simple, but possibly very good, idea I didn’t want to forget.

A 3d video game. I think first person view would work best. You can walk around, you can look around. You can also zoom in and zoom out. The twist is that when you zoom in, you don’t actually zoom in. You just get smaller. And when you zoom out, you actually just get bigger.

That’s all there is to it. No thoughts beyond that, but with some work it might be able to become Portal-esque puzzly.

Have you played Superliminal? It’s full of very much the same and many other ideas, usually based on such perspective shifts. It’s even very Portal-like, as you expect:

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A search engine, like Google.

It collects no info about you, like DuckDuckGo. No personalized search results or anything.

However, it also only allows web pages to enter into its index if they meet strict criteria:

  • Pages with ads are not allowed to be indexed.
  • Pages that don’t meet accessibility guidelines are not indexed.
  • Pages with awful unnecessary JavaScript nonsense are not indexed.
  • Pages with content that is evil/scam/awful are not indexed (no nazis, no MLM, etc.)

TL;DR: The idea is that if you use this search engine you are searching the current web, but only come up with pages that are reminiscent of the “good old” web.

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Probably wouldn’t be a search engine and more like a list of a handful of websites that meet that criteria.

There are a lot more of such pages than you realize. It’s just that nowadays most content we see online comes from one of three places.

  1. Directly posted on social media
  2. On the web site of a journalistic organization of some type.
  3. In a walled garden (Netflix, Spotify).

And all three of these places primarily link to each other. And since they have so many inter-links, which is what Google still uses primarily for its ranking algorithm, they are the highest ranked on most searches.

The rest of the web is out there, and it’s huge, but it’s as hard to find as it was the '90s and early '00s. There are a lot of trees falling in that woods not making a sound. There are just so few, if any, links to those woods from the place you are in that the only realistic way of getting there is to just know and type the URL directly.

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Who pays for it?

Wikipedia donation driven business model.

Second time you came up with the idea.

Build it already!

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My memory is clearly getting worse.

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It’s currently tax season in the US. We talk all the time about how you shouldn’t even have to file taxes. The government should just know how much you owe. And even their attempt to make a public digital filing system was lobbied against and defeated by TurboTax, etc.

Anyway, I was just thinking. Is there anything preventing a state or even a town/city from offering free public tax filing? NYC knows how much I made because they’re getting NYC tax out of all my paychecks. If they wanted to, would it be legal for them to provide a municipal competitor to TurboTax that would handle filing your state and federal taxes for you? Could they even take the extra step to where you didn’t even have to file, you could just say “yes, please take care of it for me” and then they do, and you never have to think about filing taxes again (unless you move)?

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H&R Block threatening to repossess their knees

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Right now in NYC when developers build big residential buildings they are lucky to force them to make 25% of the units in the building “affordable”. Affordable means those units still cost a fortune, just less so.

Obviously housing as a guaranteed human right is the answer, but here’s just one tiny idea that gets us a little closer.

When they build a building, force them to build it 50/50. For every unit in the building there must be a matching nearly identical unit. For situations like a penthouse, they don’t have to build two identical penthouses. They can just pair the penthouse with another unit or units that have a combined square footage equal to the penthouse.

Whoever pays for the first unit must also pay for the matching unit, effectively doubling the price. However, the matching unit is absolutely free public housing for someone.

This is effectively a tax on the wealthy. If you can afford this fancy luxury apartment, then you have to buy an equivalent apartment for someone less fortunate, and also live in the building with them. And also all amenities in the building must be shared equally between all tenants.

If it’s a situation of gentrification, people who already live in that area and are being priced out get priority for the free units. This doesn’t solve gentrification, but it at least allows those who are being displaced to stay and share the wealth a bit.

Far from perfect, but I think it would be cool to at least force one big building to do it to see how it goes.