New Year Projects
Jan 4, 2012 - 11 p.m.

A while back, my plan to write at least one post a week got away from me. It would be easy to say that this was because I got engaged to my longtime girlfriend (she and I write together), and because of the holidays, so I'll just stick with that. It certainly had nothing to do with my tendency to procrastinate about almost everything. Not a chance. I occasionally worry that procrastinating is holding me back from my full potential. I imagine myself being much more successful than I currently am, if only I could get myself together. As a matter of fact, it seems to run in the family. My sister, who writes the excellent blog Mind, Body & Scroll has written few posts about it. This actually is a bit of a relief for me. I'd say my sister is a rather successful person, even if she loves to procrastinate as much as I do. This gives me hope.

However, just hoping won't help me accomplish anything, so in the spirit of the New Year, and even though I despise New Year's resolutions, I'm getting back on the horse and making this the first week back posting every week. We'll just say the lapse until now was a sabbatical.

Because I haven't accomplished much recently (aside from confirming that I'm quite addicted to Super Meat Boy), I'm going to list projects that I have half finished, as well as projects I'd like work on, along with a bit of a description. I'm sort of hoping that publicly listing them will help shame me into finishing them. Here goes:
  • Interflicks: My first android app, for managing your Ques in Netflix. At one point it was almost done, but because of some changes in the way Netflix's API works, parts of it now don't function. I haven't been able to fix it properly because I no longer have a full Netflix account, and they don't seem to be in any rush to fix the issues with their developer support. I've gotten the muster up to work on this a few times, but have come away frustrated. It makes me upset to have an incomplete product floating around in public.
  • Unnamed Epic Fantasy Novel: I was quite excited about this for a while, but epic fantasy requires a lot of looking ahead prep work. I have tons of notes and a half written first chapter. The latest stumbling block is an incomplete magic system. I wanted something that had an internally consistent logic, like everything Brandon Sanderson comes up with, but every one of my attempts either didn't work, or was missing something I wanted. I'll keep attempting, and I'm hoping once the world is a bit more nailed down, I'll feel more confident about the actual writing.
  • White Elephant: Every year, my extended family participates in a Secret Santa style gift exchange. The drawing of names usually involves a hat. This year, someone suggested that a more technical solution would be helpful to everyone. Since I'm the only software engineer in the family, I decided to take it on. I've used it as an oppurtunity to learn Flask, a Python micro web framework. Since the problem is pretty simple, I've also taken it as a challenge to better refine my user interaction and visual design skills, both important things for a web developer. I'd say it is halfway done. The current code is available on my bitbucket.
  • J884501: A short science fiction story about a space ship with a human brain. Or perhaps a human with a spaceship for a body? A neat idea that came to me in the night. It might be a fifth of the way done.
  • tgrep.c: A while ago, Reddit issued a programming challenge called tgrep. I took it on and solved it in Python. Afterward, I decided to try and re-implement it in C, since it was an interesting non-trivial problem and I wanted to learn C. I got some progress, but it is far from finished (C is tough if you've never touched it before 24). The python version as well as my progress with C, is again on Bitbucket
  • Senior Project Remake: My senior project in college was a Google Maps mashup that catalouged the migration of the New York City music scene from Manhattan to Brooklyn. It used data that was hand picked from old copies of the Village Voice on microfilm. Thinking about the code quality makes me shutter. I'd like to try it again using my (hopefully) better skills and modern resources. I'd also like to re-learn the Maps API. This one is just a pipe dream at the moment, no code to speak of.
  • Farm Share Startup: Another idea with no code. I haven't even really nailed the mental model for this one. A site for CSA's to manage their members - payments, schedules, blog posts, etc. I think this one has some legs as a serious business, but I have trouble getting excited about it.
  • CartJumper: An android game, inspired by my favorite Donkey Kong Country level, Minecart Madness. Also the first serious game I've tried to write. Game programming, like C programming, is an area where I have much to learn. I have a very rough prototype on my phone right now, but that's about all the progress currently.
Phew, ok, so there are a couple of things I'd like to work on. I didn't realize quite how many there were on the list until I finished writing it. Now I really should never be without something to do, and if I manage to keep myself busy, something to write about. Let's see what I can accomplish.