This is the personal site of Mike Travers. I'm a software engineer, designer, writer, and researcher in the San Francisco area.
I'm interested in tools to make programming easier and more expressive, for children, scientists, and others. I got a PhD from the MIT Media Laboratory in this area in 1996, focusing on the role of agency as a concept and metaphor in programming environments.
More recently I've worked on a wide variety of systems for scientific and medical computation. These application areas tend to have the hardest knowledge management tasks, and there is a huge potential for better software to support this. My work tends to have one foot in knowledge representation (ontologies, graph databases) and the other in user interface design. I work mostly in Lisp languages because they are the best for this sort of thing.
Some Projects and Hacks
- Enflame, a Scratch-like visual query builder for a scientific graph knowledge base. Parts of this have been released as the open-sourc library Blockoid.
- SmartTables (article) is a public working version of a semantic spreadsheet.
- Visualizing the relationship between population density and politics with d3.
- Some small hacks to make the web work better
- LinkBack, a Chrome extension for automatic backlinking (pushing the web an iota closer to real hypertext) (out of service)
- Librium, a Chrome extension that detects ISBNs and DOIs on web pages and generates useful links.
- The Embobulator, a slack concentrator and self-metaprogramming tool.
- Various Common Lisp packages. These are mostly pretty old and not maintained:
- Older projects in Artificial Life and Visual Programming
from previous life at MIT Media Lab.