Episode Two Hundred and Six: Never Forget; OK, One Thing Google Apps Does; Weird Notes

by danhon

 0.0 Sitrep

“Siri, start the timer,” – a new experiment where I sit down and write (well, mostly write – and some formatting in a browser, of which you might have seen some opinions lately) for thirty minutes. So: 8:32pm on a Tuesday night after a day out at the new desk at the new coworking space, just kitty-corner from the old office.

1.0 Never Forget

Here’s a thing computers should do. Lunch with a friend today and we were talking about needing Spotlight, but for Browser Tabs – that thing where you’ve seen something in a browser tab, but you can’t quite remember which browser tab it might have been. Some of you might have this problem. There’s another related problem – or, rather, issue – where there’s just *so much stuff* that I see during the day in whatever streams, that I just can’t remember where I’ve seen it.

Some of the streams are dumb, and search is nigh-on impossible with them. I’ve written about the stuff I look at during the day before, and it includes everything from two Twitter streams (one, my public account, follows a good two and a half thousand people), an RSS feed reader account, Stellar and a whole bunch of other constantly updating, things. Sure, you can fav a thing in Twitter, but if you didn’t fav it, it’s not that easy to find. What was the thing, with the stuff? It feels a little worse with Facebook because you can see something in the feed there and feel like you know roughly how far down it is in scroll, but the problem is, *the damn thing won’t stay in the same place in the feed* because, well, the Facebook feed is opaque and you could re-load the thing in three minutes time and *not get the same thing*. That, it feels to me, is a recipe for distress, if that kind of thing distressed you.

So: dumb idea. Or it was a dumb idea when we used to have oodles of local disk space, we don’t now that we have SSDs. Or rather we either have oodles of slow local storage, or not very much fast storage. Anyway: version history for everything that happens on your screen. A scrubbable, searchable timeline for anything that your display driver and compositing windowing system throws up in front of you. Remembered. Forever. Hey, what was I looking at three minutes ago? OH RIGHT. I CAN JUST SEE IT.

2.0 OK, One Thing Google Apps Does

It was pointed out to me that one thing Google Apps – especially Docs – *does* do, is transparent, seamless sync and history. It’s super useful. I just wish that it wouldn’t also *pretend* to do some other stuff like formatting. I’d almost rather it didn’t even bother doing formatting rather than do it badly. Which is just another variant of whether done is better than perfect, or if done badly is better than not done at all. In my opinionated state I’m in favour of not-done-at-all right now.

3.0 Weird Notes

I have “Bladerunner internet dirty” scribbled in a notes file somewhere and I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I do remember being quite happy with it at the time. I *think* it means something along the lines of wanting to see more dirty LA internet futures instead of shiny internet futures. There’s a whole bunch of shiny internet futures we get these days like where knowledge workers, I don’t know, work their knowledge, and swoosh things about, and it’s not like I’m saying it’d be fantastic to have *dystopian* dirty internet futures, more like… what would a lived-in one look like?

It’s not like we don’t already have people comparing the current internet to the street – and realising that we don’t need to apply some sort of clunky 3D, virtual reality metaphor to the whole thing to*actually make it look like a street*, it turns out that things can have exhibit the same behaviours and elicit similar emotions *without actually being the same thing*, or visually looking like the same thing. The internet, right now, is busy.

This is normally the part where someone tells me to go read a Warren Ellis comic and come back when I’ve educated myself.

8:47pm. My cat is trying to eat me. It’s very distracting.