Below are my active projects. I spend a lot of time programming tools for myself, family and friends. Making useful, polished products for a small group of people is invigorating. Not having to deal with scale has its own benefits. So while I don’t plan on releasing these publicly, if you’re working on something similar, I’m happy to discuss and share learnings with you.
Hypomod is a chrome extension for my family to share, annotate and discuss online articles with each other. It’s like a private mashup of Genius + StumbleUpon. I’ve built this leveraging hypothes.is, which are fantastic open-sourced annotation tools.
Log is an app that automatically organizes all my notes, ie no tagging or futzing around with folders. It resurfaces notes at the right time, eg as reminders, during research of particular topic, or when a set of notes reaches critical mass needed for a new idea or post. This solves several problems for me:
- Bad memory. I spend a lot of time re-hashing old ideas, which means I avoid new ones. Log is an external memory storage. Storing notes and making retrieval of each at the right time gives me time and space to generate more ideas. It’s also a useful nostalgic device. Gives me same feels when reviewing old photo albums (or Google Photos timehop).
- Unstructured thoughts. This is likely correlated with my absentmindedness and information overload. Log will automatically cluster related notes together so I see and produce more fully formed thoughts. Ideas and communication of them will be much more cohesive. The old paradigm was constantly tagging notes, or placing them in the “right” folder. This takes too much time so rarely do people do it effectively.
- Writing volume. Notes serve as the building blocks for published pieces, which are always easy to start but hard to finish. Fiction and non-fiction. Log makes writing bite-size and more fun. As notes cluster around an idea or story over time, a final piece emerges.
- Knowledge portability and transferability. Every brain holds a lot of useful information that others can greatly benefit from. It’s usually lost. Because it’s now stored in an external brain, I can easily share certain notes with interested parties.
This is a very tough NLP problem, even after constraining it to N=1 user. I’ve not found good models to piggy-back off of yet so I’m creating my own. I expect this to take me a while to get right. But doing so will mean I’ll be able to think better and more productively, which will be a boon for everything else I do.