Archive for the ‘Innovation’ category

Eating Healthy on $20 a Week

May 21, 2010

Image courtesy of RedJar

Last summer, my younger brother Tim and I tried to devise a way to eat healthfully for $10 a week. We didn’t quite make it, but a year later I’ve figured out a nutritious way to eat for 20 dollars a week, without cutting coupons are going on radically extreme diets. (more…)

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Yelp, The Next Best Social Network?

April 26, 2010

**The following is a guest post by Angelica Nava, an innovator, and social media marketer in San Francisco. Enjoy!**

I find myself in constant geo-location check-in / social media competition with a certain Dan W, @dpwalsh, and danw, depending on your social vehicle of choice. In the spirit of friendly rivalry, I decided to massively friend people on Yelp because, shame of all shames, he outnumbers me by an embarrassingly large number (even though, I mean, I don’t want to brag, but I’m Elite). I logged onto Yelp…and froze. Where to start? I tentatively clicked on someone’s profile from the front page, and started to read. Nope, this person seemed to frequent the Marina a little too often for my taste. I clicked another. This person seemed to barely give any real thought to his reviews; I couldn’t support THAT. My experiment ended with my issuing a single (and I like to think coveted) invitation. The experience got me thinking–how can Yelp become more of a social resource? I have an idea to start: (more…)

Stickybits Scavenger Hunt

April 16, 2010

Image courtesy of Fanboy30

Some of you may recall my affinity for scavenger hunts. Others may even recall my short foray into the scavenger hunt business. Regardless of how well your grey matter is operating, when I learned about the new iPhone app, Stickybits, I knew I could make something fun out of it. (more…)

Kick-Your-Own-Ass Guide to Finishing “Impossible” Projects

October 1, 2009

I recently got real with myself and performed an honest to goodness fault analysis. Among the myriad flaws I was finally straight with myself about, one in particular stood out from the rest: I leave a lot of things unfinished. Ask my roommate and I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to tell you about the many, many unfinished canvases scattered around the apartment. And let’s not forget about all the various remnants from ideas fully concocted but never fully realized.

This is a common occurrence among anyone with a creative streak. It is inevitable. Some projects will be left on the cutting room floor; not every idea is a good one. Pursuing bad ideas is a waste of time and the most obvious way to evoke the square peg round hole analogy I can think of.

Regardless, having half-finished ideas constantly swirling around you like the rings of Saturn CAN become a bit depressing. It also eventually begins to warp how other’s perceive you, and how you perceive yourself: you become someone who creates a lot of motion, but never has much to show for it. No one wants to be that person.

I recently launched the alpha build of TellMeItSucks.com, a website created to provide critique resources for designers who don’t have a creative department to solicit feedback from. Throughout the process, I discovered three powerful concepts for finishing projects: 1) Strictly Limiting Focus, 2) Leveraging Momentum, and 3) Bucking Perfection. (more…)

Using Gmail and SMS To Recieve Email on a Non-Internet Capable Phone

January 30, 2009

I’ve held off on getting mobile internet on my phone for a few reasons. Mostly because I just don’t want to be that connected and available to everyone, and because I really don’t want an email update about my Netflix queu interrupting dinner. Sometimes, however, there are circumstances when it would be nice to have. For those times, I’ve put together a little step-by-step procedure that I’ve found useful as a way to get specific, important emails to my non internet capable phone using SMS.

It’s really easy, and if you don’t have Gmail yet, maybe this will convince you to sign up.

1. Sending email from your phone. Type your message as you usually would, but instead of sending it to a mobile number, send the text message to an email address. It’s that simple. Give it a try and email a text message to your inbox. This will set you up for the next step.

2. Receiving email on your phone. The “from” field of the email/text you just sent should look somewhat familiar. Usually it’s your mobile number@carrier.com or something of the sort. I use AT&T so mine is xxxxxxx@txt.att.net. All mobile carriers have slightly different systems (I think Sprint does some kind of routing thing) so this is the easiest way to discover what your phone’s email address is. Once you have this, you can start forwarding important messages to your phone.

3. Using Gmail to forward emails. It’s all well and good that YOU know how to email your phone, but good luck getting your non-tech savvy significant other to start emailing your cell phone. Luckily, the wizards at Google have you covered.

1. Sign in to Gmail and click “Settings” at the top right.

2. Click on the “Filter” tab.

3. Click “Create a new filter”.

4. In the “From” field, type in an email address. This could be your boss, dentist or even Great Aunt Myrtle, bless her heart. All the emails from the address you put in this field will get forwarded to your phone, so make sure this person A) is important, and B) doesn’t often send you spammy chain letters and other useless emails.

5. Click the “Next Step” button.

6. Check the “Forward To” box, and input your cell phone’s email address into the field.

7. Click the “Create Filter” button and you’re done! Now, all email from that special someone will be pushed right to your phone and you don’t have to pay an extra $30 a month for mobile internet.

Just a few notes:

  • Normal text rates apply, so it would be advisable to have unlimited text service.
  • As long as you don’t check the “Delete It” box during filter creation, you will still retain a copy off all forwarded emails in your inbox.

The flexibility of Gmail’s filter features can be incredibly powerful, especially when combined with RSS and SMS technology, so I highly encourage you to play around and see what you can come up with. Leave any tips or exciting combinations in the comments.

As always, follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/dpwalsh

Hail to the Chief – Soon, You Too can be President!

November 24, 2008

This past election really frustrated me. The constant touting of how it was the most important election in American history, coupled with the media circus surrounding Palin (and the transparent reasons for her nomination), and the multitude of half-truths both parties expected us to accept made me realize that I’ve been missing out on a ton of fun by not running for office.

I want in on the action!

As a way to bring all the fun of mudslinging, campaign finance, and pork belly spending to the public, I’ve begun devising a new board game I’m currently calling Hail to the Chief.

Throughout the game, players will travel around the board voting on bills, earning money for campaigning in states, and trying to avoid other player’s under-handed tactics. The first player to get enough electoral votes to become President wins.

What really excites me about the game are the voting cards. If they want to win, players will have to vote on bills in a manner that will help get them elected, and not necessarily in accordance to their personal beliefs. For example, I have a buddy who loves competitive sport shooting. If a vote card is drawn which proposes tightening up gun control restrictions, he may have to vote in favor of it in order to further his political career, even though it’s grossly out of sync with his own personal agenda. I’m hoping this feature will cause a lot of name calling and finger pointing, as well as give the players a little taste of what it’s like to be a politician.

This is a picture of the first prototype board I’ve put together. It also shows off my favorite square: “filibuster, lose a turn”. I’m also thinking about adding one that says “Religious Holiday. Take a vacation even though the country is going to hell.” That’s a little long though, so we’ll see if I can fit it on a square.

While I was putting this together, I started wondering whatever happened to those kids who said they wanted to be President when they grew up. Do kids still say that? Was that a fad? Like being a cowboy or an astronaut? I don’t know for sure, but I have a hunch it has something to do with the boring way American children are taught about how our country is run. That is, if schools haven’t already cut all their Poli-Sci classes along with Art and Music.

After I finish development of the game, I’m going to push for a G-Rated, educational version that I hope will be implemented in schools, hopefully getting kids excited about their country again.

Any suggestions on fun issues players should get to vote on?

-Dan-

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/dpwalsh