Tuesday, July 31, 2007

birthday list

Pardon my long absence from the blogosphere. One cause has been that my workplace blocked access to Blogger, all Blogger-hosted blogs, all mailing lists anywhere, etc. I'm becoming thoroughly frustrated. The message it seems to send is, "We don't desire the fruit of your work as much as we value our infantilizing mistrust of your professionalism. We pay for the services of skilled adults yet believe that we got delinquent children instead."

But anyway. That's not why I'm posting. I've been fairly nomadic lately, migrating my work from machine to machine and experimenting with various operating systems, and it's made me crave some good organizational software. Since my birthday is coming up, I thought I would ask the Universe to produce it and see what happens.

1. I need help keeping track of the difference between files I've worked on - stuff I want to keep when I move or rebuild - and stuff I can leave behind because I just downloaded it from somewhere and I'll just download it afresh on a new system anyway. Then it'll be easy to back up and transfer my work. This software will note when I modify a file with a text editor, IDE, image editor, OpenOffice, or whatnot, and will flag it as my own personal work - a "keeper". Stuff that comes from downloads, from expanding zipfiles, automated processes and loggers, etc. will all be flagged "ephemeral".

2. I need help reorganizing my folder structure. I'd like something that can scan my drive and notice that my photos are scattered in four different places, short text notes are all over, I've got four copies of the same file in four directories under three names, etc., and propose and facilitate a consolidation plan.

3. A nice tag-based file access system That could actually replace #2 and be a key component of #1.

If you know of this stuff already existing, speak up! If you want to write it, hooray! If you want to wait several years until I have the skill and the time to do it myself, well... keep reading my blog, I guess. If you are saying, "You wouldn't need any of this if you exercised organizational discipline when creating your files", then please note that I am Sticking My Tongue Out At You.