A different kind of creativity (Day 21/365)

So this was different: Benjie sends me email, urging me to enter the My Dream App contest, and so I did.

The concept is simple: you describe your dream application, something you’d love to have on your Macintosh OS X computer, and submit it. A team of judges will narrow the field to 24 apps, and then a couple of weeks of blogging and refining, etc., goes on, and then The People vote on the top three. Then the sponsors of the contest actually develop those three pieces of software.

Winners get MacBook Pro laptops and some other stuff (I wasn’t paying attention), plus 15% royalties on the new software. Pretty cool.

Even cooler was that I had already told Benjie at the beginning of the summer my idea for software I wanted to work on. I was thinking it’s something one ought to be able to do with AppleScript, and it probably is, but when am I going to learn that well enough to do what I want to with it?

So what’s my dream application? For lack of a snazzier name, I called it TTDFolder, and it’s yet another to-do list.

I want a simple to-do list, something as easy to use as pencil and paper but which is on my computer. I already have more than a few such pieces of software, even two or three websites, but they all have the same fault: I have to open them and wait for them to open even just to see my list, much less add to it.

I want a folder on my desktop, and whenever I need to add something to my list of things to do, I just create a new folder in the Finder (ctrl-N), name it “call Stephen about last movement”, and drop it onto the TTDFolder.

If I just drag and drop it, it’s added to today’s list of TTD. If I pause, then little JavaScripty little boxes pop up: today, tomorrow, maybe a couple of days more, then more. I can drop into those, or I can pause for further options: contexts, then priority.

That’s it.

Well, I’d like just a little more functionality. I’d like to be able to drag anything onto the TTDFolder: email, websites, documents. When I do, then it automatically creates a new Finder folder and lets me name it.

I’d like to be able to drag other things into my TTD. For example, I take the Finale file for the last movement, hover over the TTDF, and the folder acts like a Finder folder, springloading open and drilling down to the “call Stephen” item. Then when I drop the Finale file, it creates an alias to the file.

Last thing: alarms. When it’s time for me to call Stephen, the folder pops up, reminding me to do so and providing me with the aliased Finale file for my reference.

To see my list of TTD, I just open the TTDFolder, and there’s my list, sortable by date or context. When I’m done with an item, I just delete it like I would anything in the finder: ctrl-Delete. Done.

That’s it: no bells, very few whistles. A to-do list that I don’t have to open because it’s always on the desktop but which is out of the way like any other folder.

I count this as creative because I had to actually think out exactly what I wanted this thing to do for me, then express that in 500 characters on the Dream App website. Not an easy thing to do: took me four tries to get it down.

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes.

One thought on “A different kind of creativity (Day 21/365)

  1. Computers allow for iteration, and Hoftstader (spelling?) certainly makes the case in Godel, Escher & Bach for the generative and creative power of iteration.

    I was going to go on and be contrary by saying that genuine creativity requires a pencil and happens at the moment before iteration, but then the power of loops seized me. Dale wishes for a daily habit of creativity to take hold. Dale exercises his creativity on a particular day by developing yet another way to gain assistance in developing his desired-for daily habit of being creative.

    Storage jars…

    Storage jar storage. You make them graduate in size so each can nestle one within the next and those within the next and so on.

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