Alex Payne is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.

since 2001, has served as his online home.

An Unfinished Idea: Quotidian

Tagline: “A place to store and organize quotations.”

Intended as a trio of web, iPhone, and desktop Mac OS X applications. The web site would provide an open API, and the Mac and iPhone applications would (optionally) be clients of this API. All should work independently, of course, but the API would provide a common integration point for sync.

Most quotation apps and sites focus on providing a large “dictionary” of quotations. Quotidian would differentiate itself by being a blank slate. The application’s default state when launched should be a screen to add a new quotation, not one to browse existing quotations. The iPhone app, particularly, is largely intended for capturing quotations one comes across when reading, watching video, having a conversation, or eavesdropping (think “Overheard in New York” et. al.).

Quotations should be browsable by author, source (the book, movie, article, etc. from which the quote came), and date entered. It would also make sense to have a freeform tagging system to categorize quotes in multiple dimensions (ex: “music, love, art, 1920, French”). Future versions could do fancy things like seek out the covers of books specified as sources from Amazon, but that’s a 3.0 sort of thing.

Export and sharing are essential to Quotidian. It must be possible to get your database out in one or more open formats (CSV, XML, SQL). It should also be easy to share a newly captured quotation on social sites like Twitter, as well as to blogs, tumblelogs, and friends in your address book.

I’ve wanted to use Quotidian at least once a day since I had the idea for it. Everyone I’ve described it to feels the same.

Follow-up, March 31, 2011: Someone actually built it! Check out Quotebook for iOS. It’s lovely.

An Unfinished Idea: Scala Quick Reference

Reading The Web on Kindle 2