UQAN – Universal Questions and Answers Network

UQAN (pronounced you-kuan), Universal Questions and Answers Network, is an old idea of mine, which never came to be.

It is best explained by an example. Let’s say you install a UQAN client on your computer. There are two use cases:

1. You have a question – you write your question, categorize it (tag it, if you want to use current geek slang) and submit it. After a while (hopefully a very short time) you get answers back from people who are currently online and thought they have the correct answer.

2. A question by someone else arrives to you – in the UQAN client you can specify areas (categories) in which you think you’re capable of assisting other people. Once a person asks a question, it can pop up on your desktop and you may answer it. You can, of course, dismiss it or look at other responders’ answers to see if there’s spam there or if someone got the right answer already (in those cases you can rate these answers as correct/wrong/spam/whatever).

Since so many people are connected at any given moment, and there is so much knowledge available, I thought this would be like support forums on steroids – you don’t have to wait so long to get your answers. I also thought communities or companies could setup local QANs for members/employees. But, I just didn’t get to implementing it. Like all my ideas – maybe it will happen in the future.

KeyboardAccess For IE

KeyboardAccess For IE was my first open source project. I wanted to implement it even before I knew how.

The idea of this project was to create an alternative way to browse the web. After installing this Internet Explorer plugin (called a BHO in Microsoft jargon), by clicking the keypad’s ‘+’ key in a web page, all the links on the page get numbers, and you can choose the link you want to open by entering its number in the dialog that pops up.

Generally speaking, it works. It even lets you focus on form elements like text boxes and puts numbers on image maps (this feature I was especially proud of). However, it doesn’t catch all the links, since sometimes the numbering is hidden by other page elements, and of course Flash links are simply not accessible through the HTML DOM.

So after a while I stopped developing it, because it wasn’t as popular as I had hoped, and I currently use Firefox as my browser. I still think it’s a good idea, so maybe I’ll develop it as an extension to Firefox.

Anarchist Grid

(In the “Ideas” category I’ll post… well… ideas)

Anarchist Grid follows the rising popularity of grid computing. Imagine, though, that a grid exists where you can, for example, crack password-protected files. I wonder if, to crack a zip file, you need to have the entire file. If not, then this is actually doable.

Anyway, if such a grid existed, you could “submit” your file to the grid and, assuming that enough people are connected, get the password in a matter of minutes (or seconds?).

I think this idea can be extended to more than mere password cracking, but I leave this as an exercise to the reader. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m up to no good.

Me 1

Hi, and welcome to my blog.

So here’s a little about me: My name is Amit Schreiber. I am 28 years old, computer software engineer by profession. I work for Motorola in Israel. This, unfortunately, will probably be the last time I will mention Motorola, because as the security in this place is so tight I am afraid to mention anything about aspects of my work.

I started working out around 11 months ago. Hopefully I’ll have a Fitness category and I’ll talk about it a little more. However, I have to mention one person who was a great inspiration. This man is John Stone. He has made the change a few years back, but what’s special about him is that he documented everything. In the future I will tell you the funny story on how I got to his website.

I read books once in a while. Some are for the pure joy of reading, other professional. I will mention some of them in later posts. Right now I’m reading “The Salmon Of Doubt” by Douglas Adams (actually not by him, but it’s still his material.

I also play Congas drums. I just started learning. It’s pretty cool, and I hope to become good at it, regardless of the fact that I have very little time to practice.

Anyway, this is my first post. Pretty lame, but this is why it is called “Me 1” and not just “Me”. There’s more to come, sooner or later.

See you,
Amit