Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Document munging

In my implementation of GTD, I don't have separate lists of projects and next actions. Instead, I simply annotate each project with a note of what its next action is. I use my e-mail (stored in Mozilla Thunderbird) to keep track of some of my projects. Unfortunately, this mail client doesn't make it easy to annotate messages that I have received from someone else. Sometimes, I would like to use a message from someone else as the basis for a project description and then annotate it with the next action, location of reference materials, et cetera. In addition, it would be really nice to be able to sync messages that I'm using this way with my PalmOS todo list.

So I've been thinking a lot about the (non)portability of documents: how awkward it can be to move a piece of information from one place to another. It almost seems as though we've imported the restrictions of a paper-based environment into the electronic one. In the electronic environment, a document can be filed in two places at once. In the electronic environment, information stored in one medium (a mail client) can be yanked into another (a todo list). Partly because of attempts by software companies to control data formats and partly because people haven't yet thought of what might be, our tools aren't yet what we really want.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Tag-friendly mail client

I would like to be able to organize my e-mail with tags. Currently I use Mozilla Thunderbird with IMAP for work and POP3 for home. IMAP is pretty cool. I like how I have the same folders at every computer I go to. However, I seem to be moving on from the hierarchical folder style of organizing stuff into a more tag-based model. I use e-mail to communicate and to organize my thoughts. I know Gmail uses a tag-based system to organize e-mail. However, I don't really like the way tags are handled in Gmail. Because I'm more verbal than visual, I tend to type things out rather than pointing and clicking. I get tired of using the mouse really quickly. This is why I like's method of having the user type in the tags each time. It may be a bit slower but it allows me to organize my thoughts more quickly. And I can type in many tags in one action. In Gmail, it's point, click, select one tag; point, click, select one tag. Finally, Gmail is a mail service, not a client. I'd like a better client to use to check my regular e-mail without having to do the whole Gmail thing (getting ads, being in their database, et cetera). I wonder if the next Thunderbird will support tags. That would be cool.

PDA syncs with watch

My PDA just beeped at me and I thought it was my watch. And then I thought, why doesn't my watch have my PDA's date book inside it? My watch is analog but it could contain my PDA's basic calendar functions inside it, even if I would have to go to the PDA or desktop interface to program it. If flash memory were really cheap and small, I could sync my PDA with my watch and it would remind me of things instead of (or in addition to) my PDA.