Why don’t they? . . . .

Compared with a few hundred years ago the world works incredibly, almost miraculously well. But do you think of something really simple that you wonder why it isn’t being done? I planned to compile a list of ten really simple things that should be done which were obvious (at least once pointed out) and which should be done ‘toute suite’ as Kath Day-Knight would say instantly for the uninitiated.

From memory I never got to ten, but my recollection is that I got to about five or six. But the file I was keeping the ideas on got lost. I have reconstructed it from memory, but though there are the same total number of ideas on it, there are really only two that I think are really high quality (perhaps that was the case with the original list).

In any event, my prompt for posting these two ideas is that one of them has appeared in the SMH.

Why (dear God) do we plant young tree saplings in the median strip between dual carriageways of roads? While young they have two attractive properties. They help shade the glare of oncoming headlights. And if one is unfortunate enough to have an vehicle at velocity involuntarily veering onto the median strip, saplings will cushion and assist your own efforts to come to rest.

Saplings grow into trees. As they do so, their leaves migrate upwards. This robs one of the shade they offer against the glare of oncoming cars at night. In place of this bushy cover is thick tree trunks. Where the saplings bent to the irresistible force of your vehicles’ velocity the tree trunks become the immovable object.

So it’s not surprising that a new report argues for cutting down existing roadside trees. But as recently as a couple of years ago (the last time I noticed the phenomenon on the road from Seymour to Shepparton) gum saplings were being actively planted in the median strip of dual carriageways. Apart from removing the most dangerous trees let’s just plant shrubs which will continue to improve driving comfort and save lives as they grow denser.

My other idea? Why aren’t there computer screens that can simply be manhandled from the ‘landscape’ to the ‘portrait’ position (I think over 80 percent of computer work is word processing which is often better suited to ‘portrait’. Some manufactures do manufacture special screens with ‘pivots’ on them. I bought a Radius Pivot screen about fifteen years ago but it was black and white and now languishes on top of my all but defunct Macintosh.

Perhaps Radius Pivot’s lack of market penetration is the reason this isn’t a standard offering. But they were quite a lot more expensive than normal screens at least in part because of the cost of the stand with the pivot on it which had to be strong to allow the pivoting of a heavy computer monitor (complete with vacuum tube.

All you need is the software to tell the computer how to display the image and a housing for the screen (LCD or traditional) which contains ‘feet’ on at least two adjacent sides allowing them to be turned on their side. Perhaps the reason this hasn’t been done is that someone’s hoarding some intellectual property in the idea. Still that doesn’t make much sense, since it would be worth their while to promote and licence it rather than just hoard it.

So gentle commenters, I’d welcome any comments on why this is or other ideas for my list?

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meika
15 years ago

For Lifts/Elevators

Put the level /storey numbers on the wall where we wait for the lift, you can keep the up and down buttons there, and keep them in the lift, but I have never worked out why these could not now be put on the lobby wall, especially near the Floor index is…

I have never understood why I have to press a button to call a lift and then press another button once I am in the lift, why can’t I just press the once.

where there were multiple lifts some clever heuristics could work out which lift to send to which floors…

Stephen Bounds
15 years ago

Nicholas,

You’re behind the times on the landscape/portrait monitor thing, at least. LCD monitors are increasingly rotatable between landscape and portrait modes — it’s just still considered a “luxury” option that you’re unlikely to find on a bottom-of-the-range monitor. That means around $600 for a 19″ LCD screen — try the BenQ 19″ FP992 or Samsung 913B (a better option for games).

Peter M
Peter M
15 years ago

Google with the search terms ‘lcd portrait pivot OR swivel’ for more hits than you could poke a stick at.

Richard P
Richard P
15 years ago

Why aren’t all digital cameras, mobile phones, MP3 players and other small electronic gadgets designed for a common power source? That way I would only need to carry one charger about with me instead of three or four.

David Tiley
15 years ago

Why don’t we put everyone’s tax returns on the internet? They do it in Sweden. Think about the social utility of this before swinging the privacy argument into play.

David Tiley
15 years ago

Or: why don’t we have trees in all suburban streets, and not just the swanky ones? It creates extremely desirable neighbourhoods.

Or: why don’t home owners recognise that good public schools increase the value of their properties?

We could go on about the land value of public utilities…

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
15 years ago

Surely trees *between* dual carriageways are useful in stopping head-on collisions? Trees on the left-hand side of the road are another matter.

gringo
gringo
15 years ago

Thanks for the post … I just realised that my screen already does the pivot. It seems quite useful.

Helen
15 years ago

Congratulations on the new digs, I dig them (it?)

We should just move to the 21-inch screen, which should be possible as the price of PC equipment tends to drop. We use these where we work, so it is possible to have an A4 size Word document in Portrait mode on one side, and an A4 imaged document on the other, or any other bits and pieces you might be working from apart from the Word document.

Debbi J
Debbi J
15 years ago

Why doesn’t someone come up with a really good idea for making sure that really good ideas see the light of day?

Forums like this are great, but lets be honest, our local town planning person who decides what botanical species is to be planted in the upcoming median strip is unlikely to a) log onto this forum or b) be whipped into such an ethical/logical frenzy as is required by an IQ several dozen points higher than that required to earn his living and actually do something about it!

Link
15 years ago

Why do ‘we’ cut down all, or most of the trees in paddocks, but plant them on the edges of paddocks next to the road. Which seems only to result in in cows and sheep dying in the extreme heat for want of some shade (not to mention die back) and drivers not being able to see animals, specifically kangaroos as they head in leaps and bounds onto the road.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

“Or: why don’t home owners recognise that good public schools increase the value of their properties?”

Why don’t people who think people are undervaluing their properties due to close position to a good public schools just simply buy out the owners and make a killing reselling them for the true market rate?

Sylvia Else
Sylvia Else
15 years ago

On the pivot idea…

Rotating the screen through 90 degrees gives about a 25% increase in height, but the mechanism for allowing this to be done always has a significant cost. The alternative is to buy a larger screen to get the same increase in height, but with the added bonus of more screen area overall.

On that basis, I suspect that that the rotating screen option does not provide enough benefit to justify its cost, so it’s at best a gimmick.

Sylvia.

David Tiley
15 years ago

Big screen.. mmmmm.

Two big screens…. yummy yummy yummy..

Actually, the access to good schools in some Melbourne suburbs is already built into house values, like access to public transport. That is, we pay for preferential access to public facilities. The trick is for people to recognise in other suburbs that increasing access to good public stuff also affects house prices. One example at the moment is the campaign to get more swimming pools on the western side of Melbourne.

AlanDownunder
AlanDownunder
15 years ago

Why are brick veneer homes built inside-out? The frame/skin/insulation should be on the outside and the bricks on the inside. Thermal performance would be heaps better.

AlanDownunder
AlanDownunder
15 years ago

Why do we pay tolls on the latest-built bits of the road system instead of the most-congested bits of the road system?

Tony D
Tony D
15 years ago

“Perhaps the reason this hasn’t been done is that someone’s hoarding some intellectual property in the idea.”

“I just want a screen designed so I can turn it on its side.”

The Toshiba Portege M200 & Tecra M4 models have the feature you describe. Both are Tablet PC’s, and one of the features of their design is that you can tip the machine in the direction you want the image displayed, then push a button and the software will orrientate the display to the position you’re holding it in. Uses a device which was very clumsily named an “Accelerometer”, which can also tell when the machine is in free-fall during a drop, or being shaken, and park the hdd heads and other mechanical parts before damage occurs. In an engineering session where we got to play around with them we set the software so that when the machine was shaken it displayed the help file on why you should never shake your Tablet PC… Or so that you could play a Maze style game simply by tilting the machine in the approriate direction to move a ball through the maze.

That “Accelerometer” technology and the software that drives is proprietary btw, which probably answers your first query.

c8to
c8to
15 years ago

all the dell LCD screens ive had have both landscape and portrait mode…

admittedly they range from 19″ to 24″ so not exactly entry level, but im pretty sure almost all new ones have this…

simple things that havent be done that should be: tax reform.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
15 years ago

Fully grown trees have a number of useful properties. They are less likely to obscure indicator lights at some intersections, for example. They also provide shade for the road – up here that matters because there’s enough glare to create headaches and enough heat to significantly raise the road maintenance bill.

Zoe
Zoe
15 years ago

Why do we flush poo down the toilet with water that’s good enough to drink?

Tony Healy
Tony Healy
15 years ago

Nicholas, you can get rotatable screen support in Microsoft’s Tablet PC operating system. It lets you use the screen in either portrait or landscape mode, and switch between them while working, with applications adjusting their display accordingly.

I believe this capability will also be in Vista.