It’s the truth. Sparked off by looking at those still in the running at the MyDreamApp contest, where one lucky (I think that’s the word) program will get developed from the remaining five into a fully-fledged shareware app, based on what people have voted for.
At MyDreamApp people have, apparently, voted for getting one of:
- a virtual window to the outdoors when you can’t get out
- a file syncing program (gee, there are none of those in the world)
- a recipe and cookbook program (for sure, I consult my computer while I’m cooking - don’t you? Oh)
I mean, it’s stupid. Proves what has just been demonstrated on I’m A Celebrity: committees make worse decisions than individuals. (The group of men had the question: are men or women more likely to pass the driving test the first time? They all voted. They got it wrong.)
(Aside: aren’t Ant & Dec fantastic on this? They really make the show. Apart from the bears in cages we like to call celebs. Following a bush tucker trial in which to win a meal the participants had to eat the following (amputated) items: kangaroo eye, kangaroo tongue, kangaroo testicle, kangaroo penis, kangaroo anus - Ant (or maybe Dec) did the link to camera: “Eye, tongue, testicle, penis, anus… wallet and watch, I’m set for the day!” Brilliant.)
Anyhow. MyDreamApp is going to be MyNobodyBoughtMyApp, and all around there’s little sign of someone coming up with a really surprising product. The Rogue Amoeba blog has had a grumble about the Delicious Generation of developers (Delicious as in Wil Shipley’s Delicious Library, not del.icio.us, which while simple is a powerful idea. As for Delicious Library, I’ve not yet got any idea why you’d take the time to catalogue what items you own, by scanning their barcodes with your iSight. Sure, you can, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth doing. And you built an app around it, Mr Shipley? OK, you’ve made money, but left me mystified.)
Meanwhile, what everyone seems to be trying to do at the moment is provide an app that will let you dump your brain, or at least day-to-day computer experiences, in it, and then retrieve some bit of it later. I cite Yojimbo and Eaglefiler.
I’ve tried Yojimbo. Didn’t stick. I’ve tried Eaglefiler - I had it open and running for days. Nothing happened. I didn’t really want to file stuff in it. There are other similar programs (DevonThink, I think) and the truly awful NoteTaker.
They’re all awful because they’re about interface, rather than APIs. OK, Eaglefiler has got an Applescript interface, but I’ve not been attracted to it enough to investigate.
Besides which, as I’ve said before, VoodooPad is the perfect place to dump *and export* all sorts of things. PDFs, Word documents, URLs.. you can prepend or append or just import them all. And it’s got a really good Applescript dictionary that includes the verb “taunt”.
tell application "VoodooPad" to taunt
–> “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!”
It’s a very cool app whose usefulness goes far beyond what one normally goes with it; there are hidden depths, and widths too. That’s not my impression on lots and lots and lots of things I see and try out there.
Of course, it could be that the next great app is just being coded right now by someone in their bedroom, and we’ll greet it by saying “I never realise I needed to do that, but I do!!”. That would fit: committees don’t do good work. Individuals do. (Ask Fraser.) After all, Flying Meat is - I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong, but I think not - a one-man band. So was Ranchero, producing NetNewsWire.
In the meantime, could all the people writing “apps where you can store that page you looked at” give it a rest - please?
(Though all that said, the Linkback Project is very interesting. Um, yeah, works in VoodooPad. And Omnigraffle. And Keynote, via a plugin. This is fun..)