What software should I write?
August 3, 2004 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I've been wanting to make some software lately, but i don't have any ideas. Got one for me? [mi]

I haven't been able to find any "software ideas" or "software requests" websites either. It's got to be unique, in that i don't want to write a program that has been written before (i.e. "i want program x because the current one lacks features y & z" is ok because it hasn't been done before in one program). It's also got to be an application that works in windows since that's what i use.
posted by escher to Computers & Internet (35 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you're looking for the LazyWeb.
posted by arto at 5:42 PM on August 3, 2004

If you want to make me very happy, write a web browser that doesn't have the ubiquitous back/forward/stop/refresh/home/maybe-some-tabs interface. There must be other ways of displaying hypertext, surely?
posted by reklaw at 6:21 PM on August 3, 2004

how 'bout something to add to filemaker that allows users to log in (password protected) and logs all actions. Multiple users at once on a served db (that is, if its not already a feature of fmp7).
posted by jmgorman at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2004

There must be other ways of displaying hypertext, surely?

I'm sure there are thousands of less useful ways or ways that break with the spirit of the original spec.
posted by yerfatma at 7:14 PM on August 3, 2004

I want an intelligent (media) file management tool (much better than what iTunes uses) that hopefully can keep track of duplicates and make erasing them for space management easier (and more confident).

It seems all too easy these days with cameras, webcams and various photo, audio and video sources to end up with too many duplicates and/or spurious files that take too long to go through and clean up manually.
posted by loquacious at 7:24 PM on August 3, 2004

I'd love a combination thing (sort of like tivo crossed with google) that would immediately get whatever i wanted (like, from a preselected/created list of topics or keywords) from anywhere online (sort of like tivo crossed with google), in every media, put them in one place and let me sort thru, immediately pick or not, and download the ones i picked. With settings for weekly, daily, or monthly scans of the net. Doable? It'd be a gigantic hit, i think.
posted by amberglow at 7:36 PM on August 3, 2004

delete one of those (like tivo crossed with google)s : >
posted by amberglow at 7:40 PM on August 3, 2004

I would love a good nucleotide/amino acid sequence analysis program for windows. Something that would do restriction digests and maps, multiple sequence alignments, and other basic analyses. There are a few windows programs for this purpose, but they are either really outdated, bug-ridden and no longer supported or are way overloaded with features and cost far too much for 90% of academic researchers.
posted by shoos at 7:45 PM on August 3, 2004

escher, I'd love a better web-based contact management system. Organize it by companies, and allow you to have multiple contacts per company. I need to have an activity log, it should allow me to put in reminders that will show on a certain date, and it needs to be able to send emails and pop up alerts when I should be doing something. While there are a few software platforms that do this, none are organized in that way and none are web-based... although if someone knows of one that meets these specs, --doesn't require a lot of scrolling-- and that's open-sourced, I'd love to see it!
posted by SpecialK at 8:05 PM on August 3, 2004

I'm willing to write all the text for my Debate Engine if you're willing to write the code.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:14 PM on August 3, 2004

You want to do the Windows world a tremendous service? Write an Apache module to support ASP.NET applications, so that IIS can die, die, die and yet those who depend on ASP.NET apps can continue to do so. I don't personally give two hoots about ASP.NET, but obviously a lot of people do, and it sure seems like it would be wonderful for them to have an application server other than IIS to rely on.
posted by majick at 8:48 PM on August 3, 2004

Escher, if your serious I am just starting a project and would be glad to have a team mate/work sharer. The app is for Windows desktops, will use C# and XML files for persistent storage. The end result of the effort would be useful to unemployed information workers and (almost certainly) freely distributed, possibly open source after v1.

Not sure where in Cali you are from your profile but if you're in the Bay Area that would be very cool. At least worth chatting about. You can email me at bill AT my Mefi username.com.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:09 PM on August 3, 2004

Do you know anyone who has an interesting job, under-served by the software industry, who'd be willing to sit down with you and describe in detail applications that would make their job easier?
posted by Voivod at 9:42 PM on August 3, 2004

The MeFi user-id based killfilter for Mozilla Firefox known as PuppyFilter has been previously suggested.
posted by mwhybark at 10:17 PM on August 3, 2004

Write a routine that I can have on a web site, that will take a URL and objectively score the text thereon for madness of the author (by number of different colour fonts used, %age of Comic Sans). Assume Time Cube to be 100% mad and go from there.
posted by Pericles at 12:10 AM on August 4, 2004

I asked for some software here.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:31 AM on August 4, 2004

Argh, I'm always thinking "damn, I wish I knew how to program so that I can write this app I want" ad know I can't think of anything. I suck.
posted by Orange Goblin at 1:00 AM on August 4, 2004

I'd like a program that plots the optimal route for a backpacker traveling through Europe. All cities should be visited exactly once, and travel cost (in the case of trains) or distance (in the case of walking) should be perfectly minimized.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:40 AM on August 4, 2004

Well, I was looking for a slimline explorer replacement (~400k) that looked exactly like the task bar & start button, where the items available to the start button list could be organised in folders according to a registry held user group.

you know,
if you really wanted to stuff for me for free.

Plus, I have a spec for a PDF printer driver which allows commands to be embedded as text in the original printed file. (e.g. "%%Fax=+4414223333";
The commands will at time of "printing" be moved into a configuration file with the same name as the created pdf file so they can be post-processed.

on preview: I'd do that Kwantsar thing. That sounds like a great project. Plus... It doesn't sound too difficult. :-)
posted by seanyboy at 1:45 AM on August 4, 2004

Oh... And picking up on what Amberglow said, I'd love a Windows Comics Viewer. (Downloads comics from webpages on a daily basis, and allows people to browse them at their leisure. There is a Mac equivalent, but I've no idea what it is called)
posted by seanyboy at 1:54 AM on August 4, 2004

If it's scalable enough, Kwanstar and I want the same thing.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:00 AM on August 4, 2004

I'd like a program that plots the optimal route for a backpacker traveling through Europe.

A tremendous side benefit would be that you'd have solved the Traveling Salesman problem. So that'd be impressive.
posted by yerfatma at 4:05 AM on August 4, 2004

well Duh!
posted by seanyboy at 4:57 AM on August 4, 2004

i don't know about the backpacker thing--part of the fun of traveling thru Europe is having such a wonderful time in one place/meeting such great people somewhere that you end up staying longer there, and then skipping other places entirely--wouldn't an optimal route kinda mess up the serendipity and chance of that?
posted by amberglow at 5:12 AM on August 4, 2004

How about a nice piece of EMWIN software?
posted by @homer at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2004

If it's scalable enough, Kwanstar and I want the same thing.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:00 AM PST on August 4

If it's scalable enough, the programmer will be fabulously wealthy and a king among geeks.
posted by callmejay at 8:11 AM on August 4, 2004

(having proved that P == NP and turned the computer science world upside down and destroyed virtually all currently existing forms of cryptography, for those of you who aren't familiar with the "travelling salesman problem." Everybody's pretty sure that P =/= NP but nobody has proven it.)
posted by callmejay at 8:13 AM on August 4, 2004

I'd like a playlist generator.
Basicly like iTunes' smartplaylists, but smarter.
I'd like to be able to create a 'flowing' playlist by creating rules like:

Create a random playlist using the following genres: Rock, Jazz, Blues, Electronic, Hip-Hop, Bluegrass, Country.
Never play 2 tracks by the same artist back-to-back.
Never play a Jazz track before or after a Rock, Country or Bluegrass track.
Never play a Hip-Hop track before or after a Country or Bluegrass track.
Never play an Electronic track before or after a Bluegrass, Country, Jazz or Blues track.

or something like that...
posted by soplerfo at 9:10 AM on August 4, 2004

LOL. Trust a bunch of overly serious geeks to completely miss the joke!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 AM on August 4, 2004

Here's an idea for a app I know I would *love* to have -

Everyone has had the experience of instant regret the moment that they click the send button on some email. Aargh!!!

How about an application that would, in effect, "unsend" the email, as long as you activited the unsend or delete function before your email reached its ultimate destination (e.g., still on a server somewhere, before someone logged on and downloaded it to their hard disk).
posted by jasper411 at 9:26 AM on August 4, 2004

My head is *PACKED* with ideas for programs, but since I went pro a couple years ago, I'm not writing much code in my free time. I believe that my current favorite idea has the potential to be the free software world's iTunes KILLER.

Basically, you start with a suite of applications that work together to replicate the functionality of iTunes. One app maintains the library database and presents that spreadsheet-like interface for editing meta info, rating songs, etc. Another app works very closely to the last to handle user-defined and smart playlists (it'll have a plugin API so people can implement their own favorite smart-playlist algorithm: do you want beat matching, or do you just want music in the same style, etc.). The third program is the one that actually plays the music: it talks to the playlist program to figure out what to play, and the playlist program checks the database program to find out where the files are. Throw in a CD ripper, a CD burner, and a MP3-player-syncer, and you've got iTunes.

Distribute a bundle that makes it trivial for novices to get up and running: they don't even need to know that it's more than one program. Why go through the trouble of modularization? Because now the database app can keep its DB on a server dedicated to music. The player program can be replaced with a cheap appliance connected to a stereo. The programs can be ported independently do different platforms. Hardcore geeks will use some curses apps instead of the original GUIs.

So if you want to code that, let me know.
posted by Eamon at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2004

jasper411: I was discussing a similar concept with a friend a while ago. We realized that an MTA that queued messages for some arbitrary period of time before sending would do the trick. This could probably be done fairly easy with existing tools, but I'm way too lazy to get around to checking it out.

Speaking of MTAs, here's another problem: I can use the University's SMTP server only if I'm at work, and I can use my ISP's SMTP server only if I'm at home. If my Powerbook is on any other network, the only way to send mail is to use Postfix locally. Unfortunately, some ISPs, as an anti-spam measure, bounce any e-mail coming from a dynamic IP address.

I'd like an MTA that checks the destination against a list of such ISPs. If the message is not bound for such an ISP, the MTA would send it itself (like Sendmail, Postfix, etc.). Otherwise, it would check which network I'm connected to: if I can use another SMTP server, it forwards the message there (like sSMTP), otherwise, it would queue the message until it could.

Seems like it would be a lot easier to write than than convince everybody in the world to ditch AOL.
posted by Eamon at 10:02 AM on August 4, 2004

Along the lines of what Kwanstar wants, a subway/bus route finder for NYC folks would be awesome- feed it 2 addresses, and it calculates a couple different routes, using subway and/or bus combinations, letting you prioritize time, fewer transfers, etc. Bonus points for weighing value based on the Straphangers' ratings of subway lines.

Basically, I want an automated answer to "I'm at home, and I made a reservation at restaurant X. What's the best way to get there?"

I can't believe this doesn't exist yet, but alas...
posted by mkultra at 10:43 AM on August 4, 2004

I'd like a general-purpose web-based CMS that's oriented towards structured data rather than articles. Ideally it would tie in with an existing CMS (perhaps as a module). This would let me set up my own fields for people/places/events/things, search and sort on these fields, generate schedules and lists, and stuff like that.
posted by adamrice at 1:09 PM on August 4, 2004

mkultra: my city has this already, and, other than scale, I don't see any problems that MTA would have in trying to create a simliar application.

It is called Navigo (you have to click on the Navigo button). If you want to test it out, some major streets are St. Vital, Pembina, Portage, and Regent. It does landmarks (like zoo to university), and keeps a list of your recent entries. Ignoring the fact that bus service is terrible here, it is one of the best web applications I have seen anywhere.
posted by sleslie at 6:14 AM on August 5, 2004

« Older LA hotels with good wifi?   |   Tennis Tournaments Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.