License Plate Killer App

Dr Strangelove Russian Ambassador

I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor

This actually is an astonishingly good idea. (“Too Many Ideas” will arrive soon in the 19-day topic rotation).

Create a crowd-sourced database of license plate numbers and collect posts to particular plates, as well as provide an anonymous email system for plates with a registered owner. This would allow an accumulation of posts on particular vehicles (you could see others’ posts) and allow for the possibility of opening a two-way communication channel.

Why? People want to communicate with each other.

What? I like your bumper stickers. I didn’t like your parking job. You seem to be driving under the influence. I might want to buy your “for sale” car. I think you’re cute, call me. I’m one lane over, let’s meet. Your exhaust system is creating air pollution. Dude!

How? It’s technically very simple, and it’s based on a government-maintained publicly available datastore with unique identifiers and an extremely fine granularity (to the individual vehicle level).

What Else? Vanity plates. Centralized storehouse of theories about meaning, the owner’s explanation, crowd favorites. And vanity plates may become a political channel, re: these against forced vaginal ultrasound legislation in Virginia: OMGYN, NOPROBE, MANDATE, UR NO DR, NO VP 4U, WOMB R8R, VRGYNYA, VAJAJAY.

Why Vanity Plates? Because people love them. There’s something populist and anarchist and self-celebrating about them. How can you not love ZZZINNG? Or GONA B L8? And there’s Danny White of Washington D.C. who thought NO-TAGS would be funny until he got $20,000 worth of tickets for vehicles with, um, no plates. Or how about MWWMMW (try writing it)? Or UNKNOWN?

Participation? You bet. Earn points for: finding vanity plates, getting vanity plate explanations, this month’s best “got a date” story, first wedding. Valuable prizes. Plate Klout.
Merch? You bet. Window paddle with “Meet me on! Just type in your license number.” Or license plate holders: “I’m listed on” And yes, is not the real name, it’s just a SAMPL.

I’m gonna really actually put something up. It’ll be a way to run the social media experiment and also to not completely turn my back on my multi-decade database application development career. Because that would be too sad.

Here’s are the vanity plates I’ve collected so far:

TCHR (teacher, one assumes)
REDI RED (on a very red car)
4UTRRY (car was a gift to Terry?)

1NESS (Bhuddist maybe?)

[CPA] TAXGAL (special license plate with “CPA” designation. Didn’t know they had those. Do CPA’s get special parking privileges in certain places? Or in case there’s an accounting emergency?)

4WEELIN (A four-wheeler declaring his/her/their hobby)
GA JAYNE (A female member of the armed forces?)

MINICOOK (Jen Cook’s beautiful white jeep, but it used to be on her Mini Cooper)

GOGO 6 (Maybe a band name, like the Jet Set Six?)
DIGTL (At Lake Minnewaska. (Very nice, learn about it here.) An IT professional perhaps?)

3GIZ1GAL (At Mrs. Green’s Briarcliff. Wife and 2 daughters of a soldier?)

MACS TOY (Mid-Life crisis?)

CUBEARS1 (Dual sports fan?)
BIKE ON (Had bike racks too, I seem to recall)
1HITWNDR (Lives in/near Ossining, actually was a one hit wonder.)

[sports emblem] 3 JUL 66 on 3 July 1966: The Beatles arrive in Manila, Philippines,
– 21st US Women’s Open Golf Championship won by Sandra Spuzich
– Brave pitcher Tony Cloninger, is 1st NL to hit 2 grand slams in a game
– Race riots in Omaha Nebraska
– Owner’s birthday? being now 46 yo. Any ideas?

XARMYMP (used to be an MP in the US Army?)
POOKSTER (High on adorability)

IIIII (At the chamber of commerce breakfast. Narcissist with sense of humor?)
GREG ESQ (Um, a lawyer?)

NYLEASE101 (A lease instructor?)
[NY Giants] TYREE (Sports related, I’m guessing)

[Airborne] SADIQ (in a NAACP holder. I’m making a note of it, and the owner asks if I’m from the CIA, and we talk. It’s his last name: Sundiata Sadiq, lives in Ossining and he is “working to free political prisoners in the US and around the world.” He just got back from delivering medical supplies to Cuba, and the person he did it with just died and Mr SADIQ had a stroke at an event, and a woman gave him a couple aspirin and took him to St Vincents and so saved his life. “Google me,” he says and I did. He was president of the local local NAACP but was suspended for six years for disrupting an event with a protest about Mumia. He worked for Con Ed. You never know what you’ll discover.)

\/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/

Some other ways of talking about it, especially for those who are very interested:

This actually is an astonishingly good idea. (Stay tuned for the “Too Many Ideas” topic, coming up soon in the 19-day topic rotation!) Create an online database of license plate numbers, and allow people to communicate with each other based on a license plate number. You could say anything you wanted to say (cool car, “nice” park job, etc.) or you could use it as a way to get in touch (I’d love a Mary Kay demo, call me). There’s be an anonymized email system, and you could claim your own number (send in a photo of your license plate maybe, or a copy of your registration) and then you could officially answer back, provide a profile, etc.

It’s a social media, connecting people to each other idea. As communications become “democratized” and decentralized, there’s pent-up demand for people to talk to each other in dis-intermediated (oh, that word!) ways. is about this (track a particular dollar bill). Random acts of kindness are about this. Social media in general is about this. So, a publicly available dataset with unique identifiers at the granularity of the individual vehicle is absolutely an underutilized resource.

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