The Worst Ideas. Updates every Monday!

Your weekly source for terrible ideas.

Tag: weird tip

The three weird buttons that will stop procrastination forever! You will shriek and wail when you think of all the procrastination you did before you had these!

The issue:

Sometimes, it’s difficult to avoid being distracted by the wide variety of enticing modern entertainment options. It’s always possible to physically unplug your Internet router and turn off your phone, but most people aren’t going to do that on a regular basis.

Proposal:

An individual could purchase a set of wireless buttons that would have various effects, for example:

  • Turn off the Internet for a set period of time, forcing the button-owner to actually work / read a book / interact with other people (Fig 1).

  • Turn off the lights until the next morning, preventing the button-owner from staying up incredibly late (Fig 3).

  • Lock the fridge and kitchen cabinets for a certain period of time, preventing casual snacking.

Here are three buttons that may be of general interest:

do-work-button

Fig 1: This is basically a “NO INTERNET” button—it’s time to do work with no interruptions! When you press this button, your phone locks you out entirely, your TV refuses to turn on, and your router blocks most Internet traffic (i.e., video sites, social media traffic, instant messaging) and temporarily stops fetching incoming emails.

This one also doubles as a “read a book” or “actually interact with other humans” button!

hold-my-calls-button

Fig 2: Work is over! Time to relax. Your work email won’t be checked until the next morning and any work-related phone apps are paused. If you have any work-only contacts, their calls to you go straight to voicemail. I hope you have a 9-to-5 job and aren’t on-call, or else you will definitely get fired if you push this button!

sleep-button

Fig 3: This button returns your house to caveman times, because it’s time to actually go to sleep! Your computer and phone now refuse to let you log in until the next sunrise, your TV and stereo refuse to turn on, and your house’s lights are limited to 10% of their normal brightness.

PROS: Allows you to behave as if you  have self-control!

CONS: Requires installation of phone and computer applications. You might become so dependent on these buttons that you forget how to survive without them!

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The “butterfly” poster design: if you have the misfortune to be carrying a rolled-up conference poster at this exact moment, or are a caterpillar, this idea will resonate with you

Background:

Conference posters are frequently 4 by 6 feet, which means that in the best-case scenario, they will still be four feet long when rolled up.

This is still quite cumbersome.

Although relatively few individuals are plagued by the difficulty of handling rolled-up posters, their plight has not gone un-noticed.

The state of the art:

It is theoretically possible to reduce the cumbersome dimensions of a poster in many ways.

  • Wad it up into a ball (renders poster unsuitable for viewing and/or re-use)
  • Fold it into squares, like a map (creases are generally visually unappealing)
  • Fold it into an enormous origami crane

The most common method, of course, is:

Roll the poster up along its longest edge.

But even a 4″ poster is quite annoying to carry around (it definitely won’t fit into any standard luggage) or transport on an airplane. Plus, it is easy to mislay and forget about such a cumbersome and infrequently-carried object.

Poster_roll_regular

Fig 1: A typical conference poster is unwieldy and can only be rolled up to a minimum length of around four feet.

ad-hydraulic-press

Steps toward a new poster design:

One first might consider folding the poster several times along its shorter edge before rolling it up.

This would definitely reduce the poster’s rolled-up dimensions, but testing reveals that the doubled-over sections resist rolling and result in unavoidable crinkles along the long creases when the poster is unrolled (in addition to the unsightly primary creases themselves).

Poster_3_fold_issue

Fig 2: Folding the poster before rolling it, as shown here, would decrease the length of the rolled-up poster, but the doubled-over sheets resist rolling and result in visually unattractive primary creases and secondary crinkling along the primary crease-fault-lines.

Solution:

But the solution is simple! By simply pre-cutting the poster (along what would have been the vertical creases), we can end up with a “butterfly” poster that is functionally three independent sheets, except for a narrow structural “bridge” element in the middle.

Testing reveals that this poster is quite easy to roll up, and any creasing is limited to the narrow “bridge” elements.

By applying this technique to a 4×6 poster, the final poster can fit into a (potentially oblong) cylinder a few inches in diameter and about 1.3 feet long, which could potentially be carried in standard luggage, or crammed into the side pocket of a laptop bag.

Poster_butterfly_fold

Fig 3: The “butterfly fold” poster is pre-cut along a few crease points.

PROS: Transport is made easier, and poster-losing opportunities are minimized.

CONS: Potential for tearing in the “bridge” region. Also: why not just print three narrower posters in the first place?