In "Makers", Kodak and Duracell are merging to form the conglomerate, "Kodacell". The new company has wads of cash, but no products that anyone wants to buy anymore. Sound familiar?
So an Eminent blogger, Suzanne Church, is hired by the CEO of Kodacell to move from Silicon Valley to the burned-out, bankrupted suburban strip-mall wastelands of Florida and write about the new engineering exploits of two guys who specialize in scavenging the circuitry from piles of unsold Boogie-Woogie Elmo dolls and constructing innovative but useless technological inventions that sell well for a time, and have not yet been copied and undercut by overseas sweatshops.
To the CEO, Kodacell's future is innovation. Recognizing that every product they create will have it's margins fully undercut by global competition within 6 months, the strategy for the company is innovation for innovation's sake. Don't stick with an idea too long. Come up with a new one before the old one is completely subsumed by more efficient world-wide copycat operations.
This theme should strike a warm chord in the restless heart of the library open source community.
During one exchange between the hack inventor protagonists, Perry and Lester, Lester laments about a subject that we all know and some of us love (while some of us don't)--RFID.
Lester is trying to develop an application for RFID tags to apply to communal living, appealing to an evolving niche of modern post economic crash culture where out-of-work adults are living together in creative communes. The application: a fail safe detection method to determine for sure who left the dishes in the sink or who left their stuff in heaps all over the living room floor.
Perry prevails on Lester saying essentially--nope--bad idea. It doesn't matter that we can identify who did it. The identification in and of itself will do nothing to reconcile friendly and harmonious relationships among the tenants. In essence, it gives nothing back. Lester gives in and reluctantly muses: "Yeah yeah...but these RFID things, they're so frigging cheap and potentially useful. I just can't believe that they've never found a single really compelling use in all this time. It just seems like an opportunity that's going to waste."
Now that sounds familiar.
Anyway...Lester does end up inventing an arguably useful (and profitable) RFID application. Get the book. Or better yet, place a hold on it and wait for it like everyone else.
So I think we should sponsor a RSCEL contest and see if anyone out there in the community can actually come up with a useful and/or fun and/or interesting application for RFID in libraries--no matter how fluffy and frivolous it might be. Perhaps we could find a way to get the winning idea developed into Evergreen?