I’ve recently started making some progress on a project that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. The project, Thialfi *, fills the vacancy left in my life…indeed, in my heart…when “I Want Sandy” went offline. Sandy was something of an online digital assistant, and it (she?) probably had lots of features I never used. But it had one killer feature that I loved: You could send natural-language(-ish) emails to Sandy, asking to be reminded of something at a particular time, and Sandy would remind you. Simple, effective, practical, and nearly invisible.
Thialfi aims to emulate that feature. For example, I want to be able to send an email to Thialfi (using a custom address for my account, which only accepts emails from addresses I register) with a subject like “Remind me to top off the gas in the yacht next Wednesday at 5pm”. Next Wednesday, a little before 5, Thialfi will send me an email saying “Top off the gas in the yacht.” There are refinements and extensions to the idea (repeated events, SMS), but that’s the crux of it.
When Sandy went dark, some of its users talked about creating a replacement, but as far as I know none ever materialized. There are some other similar services I’ve tried, but none of them had the sheer simplicity and effectiveness (never mind the personality) of Sandy. That plus the fact that it’s an interesting project led me to start Thialfi. There’s not much there yet, and part of the curve will be learning more about Google’s AppEngine and web_app, but hopefully I’ll keep motivated long enough to create something really useful.
You can follow the action (or join in!) at the google code page.
* Thialfi is, by some estimations, the messenger of the gods in Norse mythology.