tile – the World’s Best Lost and FIND  

Scott Ellis is a technologist,  an author, blogger, kalimbist, micro-blogger,  and a photographer, in no particular order.  Flawlessly forgetful, he is an avid tile user.  For a day job, Scott works as the infrastructure architect for the  e-discovery software company, kCura.

by Scott R. Ellis

I’ve lamented for years that I can’t just type in : Find: sneakers.shoes into my computer and have it tell me where my sneakers are.  One time, after I had been coding for nearly 20 hours, I actually tried to grab my coffee cup with the mouse arrow.  Yeah, right?

I lose my stuff in my house.  Every day, I spend a minute here, a minute there, just looking for things like my keys. Mostly, it’s my shoes. Sometimes, my keys are in my shoes.  In the daily battle between my left brain and right brain, organization is typically the first victim

Now, along comes tile. I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz, and with my inevitable forgetfulness and curiosity, I found their offering intriguing.  I decided to make a purchase, and give it a chance.

tile is a nifty little tag that I stick on just about anything to help me keep track of stuff.  It’s about 1 inch square by a quarter inch thick and I have them on everything from my kalimba to my camera to my shoes.  I even have one in each car.  I have placed another order for 8 more. The truth of the matter is this: If it were feasible, I would integrate this platform into everything.

Here are just a few, everyday uses for tile, most of which I will have cause to use:

  • How to find your bicycle in a row of 100 other bicycles.
  • locate your coat in a coat room or in a pile of coats at a party.
  • Find your significant other at a party (hopefully not in the coat room…)
  • Find your car in a huge parking lot.
  • How to find your kids’ missing gloves in the school lost and found.   (all teachers and school administrators should have theTileApp!!!)
  • The kids (Have you got them all? you lovebird you!)
  • The luggage from the hotel room
  • The luggage on the carousel at the airport
  • Finding your TAPE MEASURE!
  • Dog training clicker

ok, I’ll stop on that last one.  You know and I know that I could go on all day long like this — 10,000 uses for tiles that have almost nothing to do with someone finding your lost [insert your item here] and saving the day.

What’s was clear to me, the first time I ever saw tile, is that tile is a search engine for the physical world. At long last, I no longer have to keep track of ANYTHING.  Well, anything that I can affix a tile to…

“WAIT!”  You’re shouting (please stop shouting at me).  you say, “I don’t want to stick this little white tag on everything I own! My shoes?  Are you KIDDING Me??!”  (really, stop yelling at me!).

Ok, check out this video.  Acrylic paint is some seriously amazing stuff.  It dries really really fast.  The label on the paint I used cites that it cures in about 21 days.  “Cures” is just another way of saying, “It is really, really dry now.  Too late to change your mind!” Bonus: you can mix your own colors, too, and it’s super easy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tej38HVd9rM

I just painted mine yesterday, and I plan to wait 21 days (I know! more waiting, right? Patience, grasshopper).  Once the paint has cured, I’ll put it on my key ring.  We’ll have an answer in a couple more months how it is going.  How long will it last?

Speaking of the future, what’s in store for the future of tile?  I have no idea what they will actually do, but here are some suggestions (I hope they read this blog!!!!):

  • More clever designs, preferably by me!
  • Smaller size, different shapes.  Embed tile in everything!!
  • tile way stations – put little micro towers in busy locations, like train stations and airports that will only store the location of LOST items that walk by.
  • tile relay points – I want to have a master tile that I can stick on a wall in every room in my house that has more juice, and will communicate with the little guys.
  • Triangulation – two or more tiles and a cell phone should be able to pinpoint the precise location of a tile.  .
  • v.futuristic future : you don’t even think about it anymore.  Everything comes pre-tiled and registered to you when you buy it at the store.  It just shows up in your app. Every surface in your house is a charging pad – dropping your clothes on the floor recharges its integrated tile.

Clearly,. my impeccable forgetfulness is because I daydream too much. Yes, building a future like this will take A LOT of hard work.  Startups are NOT easy and they rely heavily on user feedback.  I am more than ok with this.  Together, we will grow, and build a future of tile ubiquity. Grab your tile, grab your inner child, and paint.  You can’t mess this up – it dries really fast and you just paint over your mistakes!

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