Welcome to all my new subscribers!! Many of you arrived via Notes, which I wrote about recently. If you haven’t tried Notes, know that because you subscribe to this newsletter, you already follow me! Check it out here! If you’re using Notes, please let me know so I can follow you back!
Mike’s List of Brilliantly Bad Ideas
1. If your coffee tastes like dirt, it could be the cup
A company called Gaeastar wants to replace plastic disposable cups with dirt disposable cups — or, more specifically, 3D-printed clay cups and bowls. Unlike ceramics, which are fired and hardened, these vessels aren’t cooked in a kiln at super high temperatures. As a result, the company says, you can just smash them on the ground and they crumble to become dirt in around 100 years. While I applaud innovation to eliminate disposable plastic, the problems are that 1) a cup can’t replace a bottle that can be shipped; 2) most plastic in the US ends up in landfills and if these are tossed into landfills they’ll remain for thousands of years just like plastic; and 3) to make a dent in the plastic problem they would need to produce these at a massive scale. The solution is reusable containers, not better one-use containers.
2. Scribble out a crude drawing and let AI finish it for you!
A tool called Clio Sketch gives you a drawing pad, where you can draw something. Then use a slider bar to choose how much AI “creativity” to bring to the project. And voila! A fully rendered image in the style of your choice. Uhhhh. Ok.
Mike’s List of Brilliantly Good Ideas
The JanOS turns your old phone into an IoT board that functions as a flexible, powerful maker device like a Raspberry Pi or Arduino unit.
HistorianGPT uses GPT-4 language learning model to power your own personal AI historian. Ask it anything about human history, and get the answer fast.
Minimalist online word processors are a dime a dozen. But one, called Lunette, is focused more on writing and organizing your ideas than formatting. Click a button to download your document as a Word file.
The Judyrecords website gives you a great search tool for finding any text, including your own name or the name of someone else, in 720 million US court records.
Mike’s List of Shameless Self Promotions
Why remote work is the opportunity of the century for cities
Amazon’s Sidewalk could be a big boon to business
Check out my travels, observations and ideas on my ELGAN.COM blog!
Thank you for turning me on to Notes! In addition to following you, I'm also following Robert Reich and Alex Wilhelm, and I already feel smarter!
Clio sketch...that’s my spare time taken care of for a while :)
I hope Substack gains traction, it’s excellent.