Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Reinventions, Inventions, Disinventions 7
Women's toilets with room for a loo, a paper holder, a bin, and a visitor. Architects, please remember that women have to partially undress, and that some of us are taller and larger than average. It's hard to disrobe when your arms are clamped to your sides. Oh, and give us somewhere to queue in privacy. (Would benches be too much to ask for?) And build two ladies' toilets for every one gents.
rechargeable electric bus (happening)
ability to turn off autocorrect, predictive text
map of laptop plugpoints (is there an app for that?)
luminous roads to save on street lighting (being tested in the Netherlands)
clothes designed for women with “enhanced” figures (and did I mention that some of us are taller than average?)
virtual keyboard on a tablet that’s haptic and actually feels like a keyboard and can be used by a touch typists (We type by touch, you know.)
laptops get touch screens, tablets get stands and keyboards
new etiquette for new technology (Don't check your phone at dinner.)
new etiquette for new situations (Don’t ask transsexuals nosy questions.)
cafes in libraries (happening)
subsidised house insulation to avoid deaths from hypothermia
app that listens to your conversation and dictates a response through an earpiece
chatting app that comes up with random conversational opening/continuation (pretend you’re checking emails)
posters in the tube and on billboards teaching basic sign language (hello, goodbye, bad, good). Ditto Welsh.
cabinet with small labelled drawers for storing your chargers and connectors. (Either in clear plastic or reclaimed wood with brass fittings. Or shabby chic style with stuck-on vintage chintz.)
cabinet with labelled drawers for storing replacement lightbulbs (You now need a different one for every lamp. You could also store notes of where these bulbs are available.)
remote central locking for house
aircon in the tube, lifts at all stations
A CD of decent, non-theological Christmas songs. (So Here It Is Merry Christmas, Carol of the Bells, Abba Happy New Year, Beatles Happy Christmas War is Over, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland), All I want for Christmas is You, Snow is Falling All Around Me, Wham's Last Christmas, Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Xmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Michael Jackson))
A CD of non-theological, not in-copyright Christmas ambient music – wordless children going aaaaa on chords, glockenspiels, harps, glass harmonicas…
Bikes in the hallway ruin the feng shui. Bike box in front garden? Executive homes built with bike garage? Internal solution if you don’t want to block light from your front windows? Hang them from pegs round the room, Shaker-style?
Stop daytime TV presenters leering and tittering at any mention of alcohol.
Teach EFL to all school students.
New towns? Lay out streets, build libraries, schools and doctors’ surgeries, shopping centres, lay on services – then sell off plots and let people build houses to their own designs, with safety restrictions but no style restrictions.
triangular buildings that fit an awkward plot
small bracket shelves for your nicknacks
observation cars and lounges on trains
software without a black background
London squares – build some more on the original pattern (also Italian piazzas)
that keyboard shortcut that took you to the top of a web page
moderators (for online conferences and comments pages)
watering wine (old French practice)
monasteries and convents to care for the homeless, the poor, the sick, the disabled and the lonely
flannel sheets (Warmer than linen. Pensioners used to like them.)
classic clothes and shoes – manufacturers must have the original patterns
tailored coats and jackets (and briefcases) A crowd of people in baggy anoraks and backpacks looks so untidy.
Report recommends unearthing London’s “lost” rivers to avoid flooding. Let’s find the Hackney Brook. (April 2014)
American homes have a “mud room” – a second entrance where you can leave boots and coats
Don’t build new towns or “developments”, build a few houses or blocks of flats where needed.
In flood areas, pave your ground floor. Or make your ground floor the garage and live upstairs. (But apparently the floodwater comes up through the sewage system... Solution: emergency Elsans.)
Reflood the Fens and the Somerset Levels, turn Ely and Glastonbury back into islands, abandon some coastal towns and roads.
Plant belts of trees on hillsides to stop flooding in valleys (prevented by environment minister who is paying farmers to remove trees from hills). Also stop straightening and dredging rivers so that the water flows faster into towns and floods them. Reinstate silt and meanders. (Being done elsewhere in world. George Monbiot, The Guardian)
Revive the London overground – they have???
countries (re-Balkanise, split, secede, de-federate)
Kurdistan (Kurds in Iran and Syria are getting there)
Do something with bits of green space between blocks of flats, communal gardens. (They’re getting a facelift, but for years they were just there for show and nobody used them.)
Knock down unused drying grounds and coalbins and build flats (happened in Homerton with a scary underground garage).
They’re reviving the idea that you can control your heating from your phone (it senses where you are). It saves you money, apparently. Do you otherwise leave all the radiators on when you’re out? Who does that? And they’re reviving radiators that you can control individually – like we used to have in the 70s.
Microsoft Word: Opened documents to appear on the screen where they were when last saved, not on top of each other without even the edge showing, so that you have to move the top one to see what's underneath. (Also, we'd like to select an open document by clicking on it anywhere.)
taps that turn off and on in different directions (Who's brilliant idea was that?)
More here, and links to the rest.