Last week, ReadWriteWeb and RWW Jobwire both reported on Twitter acquiring Rael Dornfest’s company, Values of n. The acquisition brought Rael to Twitter, along with products Sandy and Stikkit. The unfortunate part of the news for Sandy users was that – like Six Apart’s acquisition of Pownce – Twitter has decided to shutter the Values of n services, leaving a number of faithful users without a virtual digital assistance.
But all hope may not be lost. Lifehacker reports that a group of developers are scrambling to develop an open-source version of Sandy.
For those who never got the chance to meet Sandy, she served as an anthropomorphic digital assistant who helped users remember to-dos and appointments. And she was intelligent enough to interact via email, IM, and Twitter. (Clearly, she took on so many human qualities that many of us continue to refer to her as “her” instead of “it.”)
The open-source project proposes to recreate Sandy from the ground up, ensuring that users still have access to the functionality that the original Sandy possessed. They’re beginning to consider plans for monetization, as well.
Like many open-source pursuits, this project stems from user frustration over the lack of control they have in the situation. It will be interesting to see where the community decides to take the project now that they have more control over Sandy’s features.
For now, the developers are seeking guidance on initial features and functionality:
“If you are a fan of Sandy, let us know here or at mysandy on twitter what features are most important to you, highest priority for us to focus on implementing first. Note that we won’t be able to recreate all of Sandy’s full feature-set for a first release. So it’s helpful to know from you what your priorities are. Please keep in mind we’ll need to provide features based on what’s available to us open source and free, for now, so that will be a constraint on what features are in the first release.”
It’s also interesting to note, that there are already mentions of working with identi.ca, the open-source microblogging tool that sprung onto the scene during a similarly difficult time with Twitter.
Whatever the case, they’re off to a running start. The team says they currently have a proof of concept prototype up and running.
We’ll continue to keep tabs on the open-source Sandy, even without the original Sandy around to remind us to do so.