Here's the problem: most of my computing happens on laptops which are both unreliably active (i.e. suspended) and also have unreliable network connections. (i.e. trains, etc.). I've done a lot of work to make it possible for my digital life to continue without interruptions. This includes writing cron jobs that exit before performing network intensive operations and making sure that most data can be downloaded and consumed in offline formats. But this is not quite ideal.
And I thought, "wouldn't it be great if, I could just bundle up tasks into little chunks and throw them in a pile that the computer will process and perform when it can, so that I don't have to remember to do things when I have a network connection and I can just drift in and out various states (active network, low-quality network, no network, and suspend/resume) without worrying about managing these states." Sort of like a cross between cron and some sort of queuing/bus system.
Wait. A queue.
As many of you who are still reading know, the contemporary solution (and, actually historical as well, but we won't get into that.) to enabling web applications to scale to be able to handle large amounts of work is to use queuing systems which allow applications to distribute and absorb bursts of activity, by spreading work out between high and low utilization periods. Basically: if you don't have to do everything all at once, split everything into little "atomic" jobs, make a list and then process, and do jobs as you can until everything is done.
These are high performance systems, meant to handle nearly incomprehensible amounts of activity, but the idea is the same: I (and perhaps you too?) need a system that can figure out what state a machine is in and can save tasks and run them when the conditions are right. Simple, right?
Anyone want to work on this with me? Come on, it'll be fun!