April 21, 2008

Million Dollar Idea?

Okay, here's another way to make a million folks. Two words: shotgun bowling.

That is literally a sport in some states...I'm guessing more in the southern area of our dear country. They set up bowling pins and shoot at them with shotgun slugs or some such nonsense. I can't lie, it does sound fun. But I have a better idea, here's how it works:

  1. Buy an old bowling alley.
  2. Leave all the lanes in place but make the whole thing sound and bullet proof...like a shooting range. The pins would also have to be tougher.
  3. Buy Arduino microcontrollers and mutiple semi-automatic shotguns with 8 round magazines (or more).
  4. Mount a webcam behind a scope atop the shotgun and control the shotgun aim with servos via the micocontroller.
  5. Build a website where people pay $25 to control the shotgun via their browser. They can aim and then fire for 10 frames, just like a bowling game, a maximum of 20 shots.
  6. Multiple cameras record each shot at high speed and the customer can download slow motion video of each of their frames.
  7. Customer scores are uploaded to a high-score list and each day, the top scoring game also gets published on youtube.
  8. Non-paying folks can simple watch the action in real time via a variety of webcams. Advertisements and other things are served to these customers to generate additional revenue.
That's it.

Overworked desk monkeys and executives who are taking time off from the golf course could pay $20 to blow off some steam by blowing stuff up. On special days maybe there would be alternative targets, such as watermelons that people could pay to destroy. A high-scores list would invite competition and people who play a lot would get special membership discounts and such...like a trap shooting club. People who aren't even allowed to have guns (such as the poor Brits) would still be able to enjoy the thrill of blowing stuff up.

*If anyone tries this idea and does make a million, could I at least have a free membership or something?

April 3, 2008

Hankerin' for Prankerin'

Well, April Fools came and went without so much as a whisper from me. Pranks are one of my favorite things in life, perhaps because I happen to enjoy a bit of Schadenfreude now and then. Anyhoo, April Fools Day should be my favorite holiday but the only thing I did at work on 4/1/08 was to hack the department printer's "Ready" message to read "Low BBQ Sauce" as demonstrated above.

However, that doesn't mean I've been on a hiatus from havok. My good friend Dizzney, which you may remember from some of last summer's mountain biking posts, is leaving STP. He is a prankster of the highest order. So, to show my appreciation for his tenure as a coworker, I have been trying to do a little something evil to him on a daily basis. Here's what that has entailed so far.

Myra Maines: Our boss and eCommerce director and I worked together to concoct a story about this lady that is really good at online technology named "Myra." Both of us encouraged Dizzney to contact said lady at his earliest convenience to establish a cooperative relationship (that is what Dizzney does here). I had Googled "[random state] funeral home" earlier and made a phone call to ensure that the number I found was still valid.

Basically Dizzney called a funeral home asking for Myra Maines (my remains) but he actually screwed up and forgot her last name, which made it more funny b/c the guy he got ahold of had heard the joke (obviously many times) and....well, suffice it to say that Dizzney is going to transcribe the dialogue and I will post separately for your amusement. Yes, this was very juvenile. Yes, that is what made it more funny.

Email Signature: I logged into his computer and changed his email signiture slightly so that a few words were misspelled. I also got into his personal email account and misspelled his own name. Haha, he discovered that one today.

VNC: I enabled VNC on his machine which lets me see his screen and use his computer just like I was sitting at his desk. I keep it minimized and just bring it up now and then and move his cursor around when he's trying to do stuff. I can hear him banging his mouse on the desk from my cubical.

Toothpaste: I was going to replace the filling in some of his oreo cookies with toothpaste. However, he is out of oreos. Lucky for him.

Now some of you might be thinking....how do we get any work done? Before those comments start to appear....it took me about 10 minutes to get into his account(s) and alter his info as well as enable remote access. Which I did at 7:20 in the morning. Messing with him now and then through VNC is a matter of seconds.

The email changes didn't slow him down any b/c he didn't realize it for awhile. Once he realized it, it's a 2 minute fix.

Myra Maines took a bit of setup but it played out in about 15 minutes.