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Journaling: a better UI metaphor than files/folders/desktops? (gnome.org)
39 points by yummyfajitas on July 23, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

I quite successfully adopted an aproach from GTD methodology. The main pillars are three different folders:

1) INBOX - unprocessed input, usually files downloaded from the web or saved attachments.

2) PROJECTS - here, I create subfolders, one subfolder for one Project. In the subfolders, there are files I actively work on, like doc files.

3) REFERENCES - here, I store files I am not working on, like ebooks, texts, photos, etc.

So, in the slide example, I would not lost the file location, since I know it will be in the folder Projects\Write-Essay-On-Teaching. If the project is finished, I remove the directory (and put final output into Refenrences, if necessary).

I realized, at least in my case, that the main problem causing mess on the HDD was related to the fact, that unprocessed, working-on and reference files were stored together by topics.

The OLPC features something similar to this:



You know, for all the trash talk about the OLPC and it's lack of a regular GUI, it sure does have a few innovative ideas in there that we could learn from.

How much trash talk is there regarding the OLPC itself? All the criticism I've heard is for the company designing it, not for the computers themselves.

There's always at least one person that will say, "give them food or water instead", and another saying, "how will this prepare them for the future? the OLPC's GUI is nothing like Windows, Mac or Linux. How can they get a job working with computers??"

Maybe that isn't a lot of trash talk, but it quickly gets annoying and old.

The first comment: makes a little sense, I think. The second one: bleh. Theoretically, working with the Mac didn't give you experience with the iPhone. Two radically different interfaces, even with Leopard multitouch. It's the CONCEPT of computing that needs to be taught, not the INTERFACE.

If you see those critics anywhere, slap 'em for me or something.

Maybe, but the Lifestreams people are suing anyone who doesn't pony up for their patents. (E.g., Apple for Time Machine, which is a real stretch.)

Hopefully software patents will be emasculated and stop being a 'big stick' for companies like that to carry around.

I love how these slides clearly demonstrate the difference between UI and graphic design: the examples are bare bones yet highly functional.

As a counterpoint: wouldn't they have been more functional if they'd been put on one page? And if the examples had been sized a bit smaller so I didn't have to scroll just to see the comments?

lolcats are the UI of the future

Give the user multiple ways of accessing information, not just one.

Remember this acronym: LATCH

Location / Alphabetical / Time / Category ("tag"?) / Hierarchy.


It's a good mnemonic for GUI design - get a GUI up then consider LATCH and add another path or view of the info.

That was terrible presentation. That would have worked much better as a document than as a slide.

Aesthetic criticism aside, isn't this something that some OSes already have? Mac OS X lets you see all the files you edited yesterday, for instance. Doesn't that negate the need for a journal, or is there something I'm missing?

I think it's a matter of the default or "root" UI, the one you have to go through to access your desktop metaphor of choice, and therefore the "safe" place that most people will return to. This was, in order of addition (but not necessarily replacement), the command line, the desktop, and most recently the "media center" menu. Having the computer start up with a calendar or infinite time-line filling the screen, and remain so when idle, would certainly encourage the metaphor.

It was prepared for an in-person talk at GUADEC (a Gnome conference). Documents don't work very well for presentations.

They could scroll down really, really fast... :-P

Couldn't they have used Present, or whatever that OpenOffice thing is?

I like the concept and it makes a lot of sense as I open a lot of different file, browse a lot of different sites and do not always remember the name.

I created a bookmark app (very raw), that orders my bookmarks based on the time they were save and it is tremendously useful.(the url for the bookmarker is public and is http://www.trk7.com/install/xxx.php (click on the calendar tab), just in case u want to check)

Very interesting... Except I suck at remembering dates.

It would be a cool addition to the directory structure, not a replacement.

Yes! This was the major mistake that doomed Lifestreams: the whole notion that UI and finding your stuff is an either-or proposition. Let's give people MORE ways to find their stuff, not (just) a different one. (And, naturally, provide a more sensible default than the desktop metaphor we provide by default now.)

I am one of those weird people that can remember where I put files.

I would have a hard time remembering when I put files so I am not sure I would like that interface.

You can probably remember yesterday, 2 days ago and last weekend. I suspect those dates encompass 80% of the use cases for such a tool.

Well, you're gonna laugh, but... I usually don't know what day of the week it is. I stopped observing weekends a long time ago, so everything's kinda lost in time.

Besides, with the things I do, I have to keep careful records for a long time, and be able to find anything really quick. Right now I organize things by theme (project, topic, etc...). An alternate organization scheme that does not get in the way would be cool.

For me organizing anything by exact date is overkill. I need to be able to organize by day, month, week, or year (all at the same time).

God, someone needs a better UI metaphor than those hideous slides!

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