About Me

My name is SEET Chern Hway, and I am from Singapore.

It sometimes happen that a long career in a particular profession can leave a person dissatisfied with the current state of the art because the insight acquired over the years makes the person feel that a better way of doing things exists.  So it is with me.  I have been working in software development for a long time, and there are certain algorithmic directions and problem domains that I feel are “unfinished business”.  These refer to issues that I feel no one else would likely attempt to develop further in the way I envisage because of the different paths traversed and the different experiences and insight acquired by each individual.  

I am now devoting my time to working on these issues, for which the outcome would be apps that I hope would fill a gap in what we have today.  One of the problem domains that I am working on concerns what I perceive as a failing of ebook readers.  While ebook readers have been widely used for the reading of casual contents (such as novels) or informational contents (such as reports), they have not been as successful for contents meant for heavy studying (primarily text books) where people still prefer to fall back to the comfort of holding physical books. Either the problem is unsolvable because humans just do what humans do, or the existing ebook readers have not successfully solved the usability problem when it comes to textbooks. As a software technologist, I have to believe it is the latter:  Software is ultimately a bridge over the problem chasm, and an ineffective bridge must mean that the fault lies with the bridge.

I am dedicating my time to building a better bridge.  To be sure, I do not think I or anyone can definitively say what the metaphorical bridge should be, as the answer to this question can only be known once the user community at large have turned to using a particular incarnation of the bridge to read their textbooks, a situation that has yet to happen.

Clearly, the user community cannot help with defining this bridge, as otherwise its blueprint would have been well-articulated by now, given that two decades of experimenting with different ebook readers have already flowed under the bridge.  So if the problem is to have any chance of being gradually chipped away, it has to be through technology-push by developers proffering new visions of what might work where old attempts fell short.

My own attempt at building this bridge is embodied in the tool called BookMapper.  BookMapper introduces new concepts that might not be instinctive to the human mind as these concepts have no physical world counterparts that we have grown accustomed to. Nevertheless, I believe these new concepts, once understood, are so self-evident that the human mind can quickly adapt to.  Given this, I hope that BookMapper will attract a growing community of users that would attest to its usefulness.

Building BookMapper has turned out to be an inordinately complex task due to the many engineering challenges intrinsic in the problem domain, and bringing it to life has been paid for by a most exhausting effort of precision coding.  However, this effort would be worth it if the app has made you more productive when you work with ebooks. If so, please support my work by taking a subscription through the in-app purchase facility.