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Ideonautics Corporation

Navigation Aids for Thinkers

About Ideonautics Corporation 

We make software.


When we use the editorial 'we,' it's really an exaggeration. Although Ideonautics Corporation is a properly constituted business entity, a 'C' corporation formed in New York, its only real resource is ... one guy. That's Steve Walton, president and C[A-Z]O (Chief Everything Officer). Me, I. Pets aside, the only sense in which IC is a 'we' is that I'm supervised by a spouse who doesn't like to see me waste my time. So whenever I write 'we' or 'us' it's just unbridled, corp-speak grandiosity that you can read as 'I' and 'me.'

I've been programming professionally since 1978 and publishing software since 1980. My programs include a vector graphics package for the TRS-80 Model I, original games, the Run/C interpreter for the C programming language, an expert-system shell, productivity aids and a lot of custom software for businesses, some of it introducing computational-intelligence methods ("soft AI") to surprising new application domains.

The main idea of this site is that some of the things that interest me will probably interest a few others too.  (That's along with shameless self-promotion, pushing my services as developer of your organization's custom software, of course.) What I hope to evolve here is a kind of blog with working programs.

Ideo What?

Our name was suggested by Douglas R. Hofstadter (Metamagical Themas, page 50), writing about the 'ideosphere' as a term for the realm of ideas — synonymous with "idea-space" or Jacques Monod's "abstract kingdom." Then 'ideonautics' is the art and science of navigating the ideosphere. Nothing presumptuous here.

Born in 1986 as a Doing-Business-As certificate and a minimal bank account, Ideonautics Company as such was long an unlit back burner, while I held salaried jobs (W-2) or freelanced as an individual contractor(1099). In 1999 an important client told me it could no longer pay me, not as an individual. (Their accountants and/or lawyers decided to cut out 1099 vendors because of potential abuses, in which the IRS might later say the persons were really employees and make a fuss about it; my situation as a genuine contractor was clear cut, but that did not matter.) Thus morphed Ideonautics Company into Ideonautics Corporation, which has employed me, sometimes with a salary and sometimes without, since then. Except for legal and tax purposes, and that regal 'we,' it's still just me.

The logo is adapted from the Egyptian hieroglyphic meaning "the hill of creation" or "to appear in glory." I always wanted to appropriate that first lump in the primordial soup, and when I needed a logo, I spooned it up. Modesty rules.

The Plan

When something is finally obvious that should have been obvious years before, we call it common sense. Common sense is telling me to stop trying to sell software (except what's custom built for particular users, to their particular specifications). My explorations of the realms of shrinkwrap and shareware have shown me that I am not cut out to simultaneously produce programs and do everything it takes to monetize them. I've found myself really annoyed when I was trying to offer a simple program and found that the scheme for demo management and registration took far more tangled thinking and coding effort than the application itself.

I really just want to make software and, with luck, see others enjoy using it. The best approach to that, I now think, is not to try to sell it, but to either give it away or give away the use of it. I've done the former in the past, and proably will again from time to time; the latter is what appeals to me most right now. The Web makes it practical. [CBH]

The Agenda

We started with something simple. The new regime at Ideonautics begins with a web version of EstiCost™, previously offered for the Palm OS platform. EstiCost™ is a mortgage calculator (remember the one that came with the original IBM PC? nah, I'm not that old either) but it seems to be unique, because of two features:
  1. It knows how to handle condominiums and co-op apartments, not just houses. It knows their terminologies and it knows how the quantities labeled by their special terms enter into calculations.
  2. It estimates not just the mortgage payment, but the true, after-tax cost of housing when all the relevant costs and deductions have been taken into account. This makes it the best way to compare homes and financing options, and to make a truly informed rent-vs.-buy decision.
Next, we plan to web-ize another specialized calculator, but we're not saying just yet what it's for. After that  will come one or more web-based games. And after that, we'll see. Stick around.

Ideonautics Corporation

11748 Route 22, Austerlitz, NY 12017 USA 518 392 3674
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