30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash


Photo by poportis

Today I start my 30 days of ideas.

The way it works is this: Each day, for the next 30 days, I’ll have an idea for something: a business, a system, a book, a website, a concept, a piece of software, a new sandwich filling – whatever it might be.

I’ll describe it and explain how it works here on my blog… then it’s all yours. You can take the idea and run with it. You don’t need to ask me – or even tell me. I don’t claim any intellectual property.

A community has sprung up around this concept under the banner of Project Idealism, and I hope I can do that community some justice with the quality and originality of my 30 ideas… but they are presented here on an ‘as-is, where-is’ basis. I offer no guarantees as to whether they’re actually any good – or even that nobody else in the world has ever thought of them before. Who knows?

So – disclaimers out of the way, here’s my first idea.

Idea 01: Keymash


Photo by lrargerich

I have a lot of friends who have very young children, and who also do important work on computers. There’s an obvious hazard there, and it’s caused problems for many of them in the past.

The child will sit on their lap while they’re working – or pull themselves up to the computer with its attractive, glowing screen – and start mashing on the keyboard.

It’s understandable. You’re 18 months old, and there’s colour and buttons right there and Mummy or Daddy are clearly having fun with them. Besides – you’re cute, and who’s going to tell you off… even if you do inadvertently delete an important file or find a shortcut key combination that performs a previously unknown and unhelpful function in the software being used?

My idea is for a very simple application that runs in the background on your computer.

When four or more keys are pressed simultaneously, it autosaves what you’re currently working on, minimises or hides all of the open windows – and overlays the screen with colourful patterns, cute animals and moving objects, while simultaneously making entertaining and educational noises and perhaps playing a little tune.

The details aren’t important – the launch mechanism is the key to this.

If you anticipate imminent toddler-damage, you can simply and very quickly mash your hand on the keyboard yourself – or, if you’re away from your computer and your child isn’t – chances are they’ll do it themselves with their little hands.

Your work is safe (or at least, safer than before), and your child has the enjoyment and delight of the interactive and educational toy they were clearly expecting when they started pressing buttons on your laptop in the first place.

Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas

  1. The other way of following first
  2. Now we’re up and dancing
  3. 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
  4. 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
  5. 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
  6. 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
  7. 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
  8. 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
  9. 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
  10. 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
  11. 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
  12. 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
  13. 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
  14. 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
  15. 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
  16. 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
  17. 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
  18. 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
  19. 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
  20. 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
  21. 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
  22. 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
  23. 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
  24. 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
  25. 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
  26. 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
  27. 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
  28. 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
  29. 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
  30. 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
  31. 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
  32. 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
  33. Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
  34. What can you do in 30 days?

6 Responses to “30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash”

  1. Mike Masnick says:

    There’s already an app that gets at least halfway there… for cats (so doesn’t make the screen good for babies): http://www.bitboost.com/pawsense/

    It’s been around for a while, so I wonder if someone’s already created the baby version.

  2. Jay says:

    Hi Andrew, just wanted to give you a good cheer for kicking of your 30-in-30 project. I’ve joined the other Andrew’s crew, and very curious where this will end up. Keep those ideas flowing. Best to you. Jay

  3. Jeff McLeod says:

    I have two kids and can completely relate. I would buy the product. Another consumer would be people with anger mgmt issues :)

  4. Drew Rieder says:

    Nice one, Andrew! I’m looking forward to seeing your ideas. Thanks for having the courage to share and to ship. Cheers….drew :-)

  5. Have to say this is a very good idea, and agree with Jeff about the anger issues, would have saved me a few hours work after ‘mashing’ my keyboard in frustration, although perhaps when the application kicks in I might feel as though it is mocking me and cause more damage :)

  6. Dan Maharry says:

    I think this one got done a couple of years ago for Windows. It’s called Babysmash and you can find it here : http://www.hanselman.com/babysmash/

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