Thoughts on Trovedex

It’s been about two months sinced I launched and starting using Trovedex, and so I’ve got some thoughts on some improvements I’d like to make at some point. As of this writing, the site only has 7 registered users. One of them is me, half of the remaining are also me testing from different email accounts, and the rest are others who just tested it. So I’m pretty much still the only “real” user. Which is fine, because it means if I make some drastic changes, nobody will care.

One of big things I’d like to do is organize notes into “Notebooks”, as other note-taking apps do, just so things are a little more sorted, and perhaps look a bit more wiki-ish. I’ll probably have the full-page view be the default. I’d like to see it perhaps look more like Observable‘s notebooks. It doesn’t need to be as complicated, although being able to insert interactive javascript code would be nice. (I actually wanted the released version of Trovedex to allow user-provided javascript, but it’s not a very trivial feature to add with Vue, so I moved it to the wishlist.)

Of course, even though I’m using Trovedex for some things, it still does not beat using pen and paper, mostly because they allows me to draw little diagrams and arrows and stuff, which isn’t so easy to create on the computer (possible, but not nearly as easy). Perhaps giving Trovedex an SVG overlay shape creator would help. This note-taker on YouTube seems to really like an iOS app called Notability:

It’s only available for iOS though, and I don’t want to shell out money for Apple’s overpriced hardware for the sake of one app. Also the guy’s handwriting is super sloppy, and I’m not sure if he’s just got naturally sloppy handwriting (he’s studying medicine after all, and doctors are required to have sloppy handwriting), or if a digital pen on a digital touchscreen is contributing to the sloppiness. I’m writing this post on an HP Spectre laptop, which has a touchscreen with pen-writing capabilities, but it’s not great for drawing, much less writing; the precision just isn’t good enough. Although perhaps I could try the paper-like screen protector he recommends.

All that said, I’m not sure when I’ll actually get around to updating Trovedex; my focus is back on TuneSage for now!

Not real arguments…

“You’re racist, sexist, this-and-that-phobic, intolerant, bigoted, hateful, prejudiced, privileged, I’m offended, that’s hate-speech, etc…”

None of these are real arguments. Just personal attacks.

If there’s any silver lining in regards to Donald Trump winning the presidency, I hope that maybe, just maybe, it’s a sign that the effectiveness of these sorts of attacks is already beginning to diminish. We should be capable of having civil conversations about our disagreements without assuming that the opposition is just bigoted and hateful, naive and stupid, privileged and racist, etc.

Eh, maybe it’s only a fool’s hope. But it would be nice.

A movie I’d like to make someday

If you Google around, you can see their are quite a few “personal 3D viewers” available.  They look a bit like a virtual reality set, except they’re for watching movies or playing video games; that is, moving your head around doesn’t do anything.  Personally, I’d love to try watching a 3D film with one of these.  (Not sure I’d use one in public though; I’d rather be aware of my surroundings in public.)  They’re expensive, close to a $1,000, which is a bit out of my price range.

Anyway, wouldn’t it be cool to produce a 3D first-person perspective film to be viewed in one of these 3D viewers?

I know I’m probably not the first to have the idea, but I don’t know of any films produced that are 3D, completely first-person, and designed to be watched with a personal 3D viewer.

I’d also use binaural recording for the sound to really immerse the viewer.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  Imagine a horror movie produced that way.  Or a newscast.

So… something I’d like to do someday.

Offices vs freedom

This interesting article on Cartoon Brew features a look at Disney’s Burbank studio back when it was being planned.  Blogger Amid Amidi writes:

But more than the lack of charm, the Burbank studio’s ostentatious in-your-face luxuriousness suggested a certain tone deafness on Walt Disney’s part. It rankled the hundreds of artists who were struggling to get by on $15-per-week salaries, and who now realized that the company cared more about its films than the well-being of its rank-and-file employees. It hardly mattered to the artists that Walt had had to borrow money from the banks to pay for the construction of the studio. Labor tensions began to escalate just months after artists moved into the studio, and within 18 months, the nasty Disney strike that threatened to destroy the entire studio had begun.

I think what artists desire is a we’re-all-in-this-together comradery sort of feeling.  We’re all on the same team, we’re all working together to produce something we can all be proud of.

But the atmospheres of some offices (including the pics featured in the aforementioned blog post) kind of make me sick.  Instead of a comradery feeling, they evoke a factory feeling.  The artists are just cogs.  Uncle Walt will get all the power and glory, and you sit at your desk and do the work your superiors tell you.

I think creative artists in the entertainment industry can struggle with this feeling a lot.  On the one hand, creativity demands the freedom and power to pursue one’s creative interests.  On the other hand, creating something as big and complicated as a film, especially an animated film, demands a level of conformity, a level of sacrifice of control.  This is one of the reasons I can’t pursue a career in animation with as much fervor as I once thought I could; I just find the prospect of a studio life somewhat intimidating.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for those artists who can keep their sanity while bringing these awesome new and wonderful worlds to life.  I’m not sure I’m humble enough for that sort of work.

OK, I don’t know what this post about.  I think I’m hinting at another post I’d like to write sometime soon about how creativity and art require humility.



You can get into a really weird hard-to-describe mental state by meditating on the nature of how you move a finger, how it starts as some subconscious thought and ends up as a physical motion.  But since you can feel the finger move, since it is constantly providing sensory feedback on its state, it feels like the thought to move a finger lives inside the finger itself, doesn’t it?

If you look at your hand from an early age, you can also contemplate the slowness of aging.  I look at the back of my hand and think, hmmm, someday it will be old and wrinkled.  What will that be like?  I cannot imagine it now, yet I know it will be.  I don’t even remember how it used to look, even though I know I looked at it even when I was in preschool.  So why can’t I remember how it looked in preschool?  Because the change was too slow to see.  (Like those face videos, someone should do a video like "Bob takes a picture of his hand everyday for 20 years.")  Someday my hand will even completely decompose.  I won’t be observing it then, but that will be it’s ultimate fate, which is an odd thought.  Sorry hand.

If you look at the hand for too long, like thinking about the sound of a word for too long, it starts to seem really funny.  It’s a square of meat with fleshy sticks coming out.

If I made myself blog everyday, this is probably the sort of stuff I’d write about.