Last night, oh somewhere about 2:30 am (see my previous post on Productive Insomnia), I was thinking about a frustrating experience I had yesterday and I came up with a crazy idea.
The frustration came from trying to create a hard return inside a cell in OpenOffice Calc. Of course I tried the Excel keystroke sequence [Alt+Enter], substituting every modifier key available on the Mac keyboard for the Alt key. Then I tried the whole series again. Then I went to the help and typed in “carriage return”, then “hard return”, then just “return” and then a slew of other synonyms that I thought might be what the help was looking for. Goose eggs. After 10 minutes or so of struggling I finally went and did a google search and found the answer on a message board somewhere within seconds.
So what’s my crazy idea you ask?
What if… my computer could *sense* my frustration by tracking what I was doing. The computer knows what keys I’m pressing, it knows what fields I’m typing words into, and it knows what words I’m typing. The fact that I was also cursing under my breath is not relevant to the computer. So, if my computer could tell I was struggling, through some intelligent “frustration sensing” software, it could pop up a window on my screen that said “Are you having a problem?” and then walk me through a quick solution.
Yeah, I know, it’s pretty far-fetched. BUT, I read an article in Inc magazine recently that talked about truly successful companies that revolutionize their industry and change the human experience forever (think Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Wendy Kopp, etc). I think my software idea would fit that bill of revolutionary ideas.
So, could one of you go out and develop this software? I don’t have time right now, but I’ll be waiting in line to be your first customer.