It is amazing how quickly computers have moved from 3 MHz to 3 GHz processors.
Yet, in terms of capability they have mostly moved to prettier looking ways of doing
the same old things.
A computer is your primary filing cabinet, and as the repository and medium of a
large part of your business communication, it must move up to being a better tool to
manage, infer, draw inter-connections and retrieve that information. What are now called
'Personal Information Management' software, are like what Notepad is to Wordmuch
needs to improve. The good news is that the technology for all of this already exists, and
stand-alone tools are currently accomplishing some of these. But to be truly useful, these
functions must be part of a whole system:
Search: Why does looking for information you know you have on your PC take so much
longer than finding information online? Because your PC isn't spending any of its idle
time indexing your data. Search technologies to solve this issue have existed for decades,
but it is not something we have expected from our desktops yet. Standalone tools such
as X1 help, and this is likely to be the first task that is integrated well.
Organise: The battle with spam has demonstrated the power of Bayesian processing.
Tools such as Popfile can learn to auto-magically sort your incoming e-mail into as many
categories as you like, based on your feedback. Why do we still need to think about which
folder to save a file in? Just drop it into 'My Documents' and it should become part of
your self-organising filing system.
Remember: How often have you realised you know when you have seen some informa-
tion, but you don't know where? Like a history for browsing, there should be a history for
files and folders usage, for chatting and so on, all accessible in one placethe System
History. Tying a search of all your information repositoriesbe it e-mail programs, browser
history, or documentsto time, makes for a powerful tool that leads into...
Contextualise: Combine histories through all your comm