CatchyLink - a URL shortener with a sense of humor

A URL shortener that uses memorable word combinations instead of hashes.

CatchyLink is a URL shortener with a sense of humor!

What do all the following word combinations have in common? - Thankful Remarkable
Edge, Puzzled Obedient Pear, Flawless Lethal Oven or Bored Panoramic Nation ?

Well, they are randomly generated, they all started their way as an experiment and they were all created by

When I was a youngster, I played a computer game that used random word combinations for naming players in
the game. What I noticed was, that this shuffling of words created a name that was very amusing and catchy.

This is how I got the idea for what began as an experiment and now can be used by everyone on the web. I was wondering whether such a combination can be used to make long URLs short and at the same time help me remember them. So I talked with some friends and together we came up with

CatchyLink combines a random set of two adjectives and one noun to create a catchy and short link we can easily memorize. When we went on generating links, they came out rather amusing, often those random words were combined in an unusual way with really funny meanings. Once we shortened a link that came out like It made us think, well… how does a ripe salty cook looks like and will it
ever try to cook itself?

So how does CatchyLink work?

That is rather easy. Let’s say you have the following long and hard to remember web-link: may turn it into something like:
Which is much shorter, easier to remember and kinda' amusing.

We believe that people who want to use shorter links on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ will love to use Bloggers and people who want to remember their own links will find can help them spread the word, Podcasters will finally be able to speak out links easily and newspapers will have an alternative for QR codes.

We are working on a version with statistics for registered users, services for self-created catchy URLs and dedicated themes that will give people with certain interests (science, technology etc.) the ability to create CatchyLinks that are
unique and personal.

Try it yourself on:

Soda can Basketball: Recycling gamification

At arcades and at town fares, people pay to throw darts or a ball at some targets. I suggest that recycle bins for soda cans should actually be game machines.

Design the garbage container as a big round pool, with a reversed cone base and a basketball rim in the middle, if you have an empty soda can, don't just throw it away: aim, shoot and score.

Potentially, in the future, the recycle bins can be electronic, count successful shots, reward you and even post the score to your facebook feed.

Location:Bugrashov,Tel Aviv,Israel

Free cellular communication

There's a way to transfer data between two smartphones with apps that call and hangup each-other without answering. And with zero charge by the carriers.

Cellular roaming fees are scandalous. I'm sure, one day, our offsprings will be mind-boggled when we tell them that we paid more than a dollar to send a few bytes across countries.

The app I'm suggesting can also be used for free local texting.

The side that sends the data initiates the calls, a two second ring means "0", and a four second ring means "1". Notice that usually there's no charge when there is just a ring, if the receiving side doesn't answer.

The app that is receiving the rings notes each ring as a bit of a binary value. After a few dozen rings it converts the message to ASCII text and shows it to the user.

This way of communication might be slow, but a more efficient system can be engineered using more bits, 3 second, 5 second rings and so on.

Business class seats lottery

Most flights I take, I see more than 50% of the business class seats vacant.
Traveling companies should have a lottery for passengers, while on board, for those vacant seats. They can also advertise it: "fly with us and you might get a free business class upgrade!".
This will not demotivate business travelers from actually buying fully priced business class seats in advance. Trust me, they will not bet their 10 hour flight which they frequent, business class travelers will pay close to anything to make their flight a little more comfortable, you would too, if you traveled 3 times a week and could deduct the cost from your taxes.

Amazon Kindroid predictions

Amazon is going to release an Android powered Kindle tablet in the near future, below are some features I predict the "Kindroid" will have.

The cellular enabled version of the Kindroid will feature download of payed items over cellular without requiring any subscription or pre-payment.
Download of free items will cost something like 1 cent unless you download it over wifi.

Amazon Android app store

The Kindroid will boast Amazon's android app store as one of its main features. It will have android apps customized and approved specifically for the Kindroid's hardware. Bypassing Amazon's app store for installation of 3rd party applications directly, aka side-loading, will be impossible. Amazon wants to create the protected environment that is so successful and lucrative on iOS devices.

Media store

All of amazon's media offerings will be available via whispernet: music, movies and tv shows.

Amazon store

Want to buy shoes? an electronic device or some cat food? All will be available through a general store that will give a new meaning to "one-click shopping". Pick up your Kindroid, turn on the screen, click the "apparel" icon, select your shoes and click buy, the shoes will be delivered to your pre-set address.


The home screen will have a search box that will search all the above stores at once.
It will have icons for apps, music, movies, groceries, clothes, electronics and so on, the perfect shopping portal for... well, everything. Clicking on any of these icons will show you past purchases of goods, purchased apps and digital content, right next to advertisements.

Calendar and email advertisements

There will be ads in your calendar, and in your mail, all tailored exactly for your needs. Your wife emailed you "we need cat food"? No problem, an advertisement will be waiting just for that. A calendar entry for "get some shoes"? You get the drift, privacy will be subject to interpretation.


The Kindroid will be an amazing shopping device that will lock you up to Amazon's products, or at least make it so easy to shop at amazon that you wouldn't want to buy anywhere else. Amazon will subsidize it, a gaming console or razor blades model is definitely an option here. It will sell for something like
$249 and the purchase of all the goods and content will cover the losing selling price. One way that they can achieve this price point is by using a really cheap memory chip, something like 8GB or even somewhere around 4GB, remember that all of amazon's content can be streamed.

Making Google mad

Amazon is going to cutoff Google completely and strip every reminder of the G brand. No Google market, no Google books, music and movies etc. Why? because they want control, they would like to be the Apple of the android ecosystem and to monetize the hell out of this device. Even the the default search might be Bing, maybe to cover their selves against potential Microsoft software patent suits around android.

iOS 5 predictions

Here are the features I predict Apple will reveal on 6.6.11 for iOS 5. What do you think?
  • Cloud storage API: 3rd party apps will have access to iCloud storage as if it was local on the user's device. This will allow app developers to write scalable cloud applications without knowing anything about LAMP, Hadoop, AWS or GAE.
  • Widgets: app icons will now have various possible sizes, constrained to combinations of multiple icons. For example, to make a search widget, you can define your icon by 3x1, meaning 3 icons across and one vertical icon. The widget will occupy the space of 3 icons horizontally on the home screen and will behave exactly like an application with transparent background.
  • Lock screen is bye bye: there was no reason to have the lock screen to begin with, turning on the screen or clicking the home button will take you directly to one of the screens, showing all the widgets that are there. To update the widgets, developers will need to queue up http calls on pre-set time intervals with a minimum of something like 5 minutes, the answer will have a maximum size of something like 50kB.
  • Sleep Sync: The entire data on the iPhone will be fully synced to iCloud when three conditions are satisfied: the phone is plugged in, the battery is fully charged and WiFi is available.
  • Sleep sync API: Developers will have access to the sleep sync API so an application like flickr could sync all your photos during the night.
  • Xcode for the iPad: This is more of a wet dream, but Apple is building on the iOS as their main operating system for the future, and to get the real hardcore users to move to it, they have to make an IDE available. The main reason I gave up on my iPad and gave it to my mom was the lack of a good IDE (plus she really liked it :-).
  • cloudTunes: the obvious iTunes in the cloud with a twist- all the music you bought from apple is freely hosted and accessible. Want anything else? 5$ a month to store any music you want and download anything from the iTunes store for free.
What do you think?

Financing a subway with underground real-estate

Is it possible to finance a subway system with underground commercial real-estate?

Over here, in Tel-Aviv, we have a grave need for a subway train. A metro system can make life much easier and the city much cleaner.

An interesting calculation would find out how many meters of underground real-estate would the city need to give to the entrepreneur in order for the project to pay for itself. It can possibly be done two stations at a time to minimize risk.

Selling stock to citizens for further financing

Besides the rights to sell the tickets to the subway, and the real-estate, the entrepreneur can also sell some stock for the the entire system ahead of time. City property owners in strategic locations would jump on the stocks because they have a double interest in raising the value of their real-estate and earning from the new commercial area. They can even be given the rights of choosing where the stations will be located, increasing incentive.

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How to work with programmers from India

After working with a few programmers from India, and failing (googdesk). I recently developed an iPhone app with Felix Grimberg and I finally think we came up with the perfect formula. BTW, our app is the must have postponed texting application - txtot. So go get it!

Getting quotes

  • The easy part is getting quotes, just get on any of the freelancer sites (freelancer, guru, elance) and post your project. Don't skimp on promoting your project for a few dollars, you're gonna spend 10 times more on the project itself.
  • Be as specific as possible and don't be afraid of revealing your idea. It is worthless.

Choosing a programmer

  • You're going to get some replies, some of them will be pre-made templates that dish out the entire resume of the freelancer, Rank these lower.
  • Choose freelancers that have more specific skills.
  • Companies are preferable, if one of the programmers is not up to the task, they can move the item to a different one.

Payment terms

This is critical, it determines if they catch you by the balls or not.
Never pay everything in advance.
Try to pay like this:
  • 10% in advance
  • 30% after the mockup or the design document
  • 60% when the project is completely done
At the worst case, pay no more than 70% before the entire project is done.

Managing tasks and bugs

This is the longest and hardest phase.
You can try to setup a google docs spreadsheet and share it with your freelancer or the offshore project manager, but this doesn't always work well, especially if you fill it with many bugs, all at the same time. And you will have many bugs, trust me.
Just pick the 3 most important bugs and send it to them via email, explaining the problem as simply and shortly as possible from a user perspective.

Finishing up

Just pay what's left. After everything's closed, the app approved on the appstore or the website up in the air.

I know this post might sound politically incorrect, but I'm just talking about my own experience and I'm trying to help both buyers and suppliers of software services from India.

A smartphone app for conversing in noisy places

Let's say you meet a person at a bar. Talking with them will be really hard right?

Local p2p noise canceling

Not necessarily.
A smartphone app can be developed that will make things much easier.

Andy and Berry meet at a noisy place.
They both launch the "noisekiller" app and bump their phones.
The phones recognize each other via WiFi.
When Andy talks on his smartphone's microphone, it records what he is saying and sends it over to Berry's phone.
Berry's phone subtracts what it hears around it from the recording that was sent to it.
Now Berry can hear what Andy is saying very well.

The originality content network

I've just read that Eric Schmidt says that "Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003". With that in mind, and the comments that followed, I thought:
How much of that information is novel or new?
I bet very little.

The content system that only records novel information

Imagine you have a web application with an input box and a "submit" button.
You enter information into the input box and click "submit".
Then the application runs a Google search for what you entered and posts it only if it finds exactly zero results.

Your network gets:
Lots of original information.
Highest ranked Google results for every page in your content network.
Great advertisement property.

Maybe this should be done only for the title of the post. It needs some testing.

Bottles designed as drinking glasses

What's wrong with this picture?

That's right, I'm using twice the glass I actually need to drink that black magic beverage.

Why am I pouring that coke from one glass to another? Just to drink it?

Why does soft beverage makers don't make the bottle look exactly like a drinking glass? With a removable cap?

It's not like they don't know how to... This glass and bottle are bearing the same brand!

I propose that corporations like coca-cola start making their bottles look like a drinking glass and add a good capping mechanism.
Then they will:
Help the environment.
Save money for dish-washing restaurants.
Save money on transportation costs if they make the glasses a perfect cylinder (more beverage in less space).

Ofcourse, they don't have to discontinue regular bottles just yet, wait for the demand.

Two problems can pop-up:
The cap might not be as strong.
The temperature might change faster if you have a large opening and more air exposure at the top.

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Cycling terms for better goverment

What if government terms were shorter and recurring?

Current, 4 year or longer, continual government terms have these problems:
1. When someone in-charge realizes they made a mistake, they usually don't fix it because fixing is admitting (e.g. sub-prime bust).
2. Whoever in charge doesn't invest heavily in infrastructure because they will not be in charge when it's time to reap the fruits of their smart, long term decisions.

Lets say that every time a candidate is chosen for a certain government role, they are actually chosen for two short terms instead of a single long one.
The first term will be immediate, and the second one will be a few years into the future.

Like so:
2011 - Andrew (elected)
2012 - Benjamin (elected)
2013 - Chester (elected)
2014 - Dwight (elected)
2015 - Andrew (recycled)
2016 - Edgar (elected)
2017 - Benjamin (recycled)
2018 - Franklin (elected)
2019 - Chester (recycled)
2020 - George (elected)
2021 - Dwight (recycled)

This method might not work for the presidential role, but has a chance in other roles, like "head of the economy".

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Location:שירי אלתר,Tel Aviv,Israel

No more hurricanes

A distributed weather prediction system using cellular phones

Wether prediction today, is done with the help of thousands of sensors and balloons (or more).

How much better and accurate will weather prediction get if we add millions or even a billion more sensors?

I guess a lot.

Imagine every new cellphone sold comes with a temperature, wind speed, air density and whichever other sensors are possible.

Big statistical modeling can take all these read points and try to identify patterns in reading and correlation with actual weather affects like tsunamis and hurricanes.

A small change in some remote location might affect your neighborhood, somewhat of butterfly effect predictor.

Weather prediction is a world pandemic so maybe we can even regulate mandatory sensors in every new cellphone sold. Maybe google can just include it in their x.x pastry API?

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Location:בני אפרים,Tel Aviv,Israel