“Just solve the problem”

Running concurrently with National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) is “Just Solve the Problem,” an effort to get lots of people to attack the “formats problem” for 30 days.

Here’s “the problem,” slightly expurgated to avoid triggering nannyware:

In the last couple centuries, we’ve created a number of self-encapsulated data sets, or “files”. Be they letters, programs, tapes, stamped foil, piano rolls, you name it. And while many of those data sets are self- evident, a ****-ton are not. They’re obscure. They’re weird. And worst of all, many of them are the vital link to scores of historical information.

First thought: That’s not a statement of a solvable problem. It’s a statement of a situation which gives rise to many different problems. Still, throwing in some of my efforts can lead to professional contacts and maybe even a paying contract, and it’s the kind of thing I’d be doing anyway, so I’ve signed up for the wiki.

Extra points to anyone who can write a novel about the formats problem in 30 days.

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