English Majoryness

I know my declared major is computer science and engineering, but I occasionally ponder whether or not I’m really pursuing the right degree. Am I actually an English major in some parallel universe? Sometimes I wonder. I’ll make a list to double check.

  • I write stuff down. An immense amount. Scarcely a day goes by when yours truly hasn’t jotted something simply “because.” Over spring break, I wrote a letter or essay at least one page in length every day. Partially for personal entertainment and enjoyment, and partially because it helps me keep a perspective on things and observe my thought process. Actually, mostly because “they just happened.” You know, I only intended to publish one post today. In addition, regular scrawling helps me observe the lurking horror of my truly awful syntax, grammar, and editing errors.
  • I tend to think of life in terms of what a great story it would make. Waking in a panic at 7 A.M. because of roommate’s fire-alarm clock, running to class an hour before it starts due to early morning disorientation, and holding the door for a random female becomes a decidedly epic tale of betrayal (how could you do this to me, clock?!), plot-twists (where is everyone?), and chivalry (the handicap button totally counts). I would continue with more examples, but The World At Large is probably better off not knowing exactly how I perceive things.
  • On the flipside of simply enjoying life as it comes, I frequently attempt to direct and control it by composing sentences, paragraphs, and occasionally entire conversations in my head before initiating a join to normal socialness. These snippets of text frequently undergo revision a few times until I see it fit to release them into the wild. It *is* a jungle out there, though. There are nasty tribal people with spears who like to kill my fragile text and ideas, usually requiring me to reply shortly afterward. It’s tough to speak while mourning the loss of loved precomposed dialog.
  • Perspective has a habit of killing the excitement brought on by the previous two bullet points.
  • Technology interests me. Strongly. It’s the ideas of many people come together to better the world through communication, reason, and learning. Most of it is text-based. Think about it. It’s all currently about doing fantastic stuff with words. Connecting people, linking ideas, and creating new ways of thinking about information.
  • That reminds me, the ultimate killer app has not yet been achieved.
    • Basic word processing functions
    • Basic spreadsheet functions
    • No need to save
    • Simple file format, pretty much just a zip file with XML and whatever inside. Images, video, MP3s, etc.
    • Ability to export PDFs.
    • LaTex support! Teh maths, they need notes about them. Kformula has a wonderful system. Embed or fork that off, maybe?
    • Allows text windows. Position text anywhere, take notes on images, write notes in the virtual margins etc.
    • Dump any file into a note in-line. Drag n’ drop from a browser, file manager window, etc.
    • Completely brainless outlining. Tab, enter, and backspace are the only non alpha-numeric keys the user should need to make an outline.
    • WikiLike CamelCase linking
    • Very small and fast. Instant, if possible. If the user is coming up with new stuff faster then the program can process it, it’s too slow. Load time must be minimal, regardless of notebook size.
    • Open source! Cross platform! USB key compatible! Everyone could use something like this. Palm, Generic Windows boxen, MacBook, Ubuntu Laptop, etc.
    • Get a peer-to-peer note server going, while we’re at it. (low dev priority. SAMBA shares will hold users over in the meantime).
    • OneNote does a ton of this, actually. Tomboy does some of it. Basket is a nice example of the whole “dumping” concept. None of them are close to perfect.
    • I shall call it “MetaScribble”(TM), and development of a prototype will commence eventually using Python and wxWidgets.
    • Copyright FremLog, 2007.

Oh, right. Enthusiasm displayed over a detailed spec list for an obscure software product targeted at a decidedly niche market. I guess I am an engineer after all.

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1 Response to “English Majoryness”


  1. 1 phanboy_iv March 19, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    If you want fast startup speed, you shouldn’t write it in python, that’s for sure.

    But some of those ideas are certainly good. I can see it now: “James the Open Source Developer”!. Can’t wait till you set up the svn server.


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