PIM: real improvements please
This is 2006 and we still just talk about tools. And not about how we finally can use the power of computers and please the tools of some very clever people to make our life much easier, and not just a bit easier. Contradiction? No. When Techchrunch writes about Foldera, that software just shows a little step. Where are the big improvements? This may again sound like a rant but take it as a basis for thoughts of your own.
Back to those tools. I am really hoping that we will see more improvement in this area soon. I mean, I am in a blog writing tool in an editing window. Why do I have to tell that thing over and over again, that when I write Techchrunch, it should link? Why can’t it learn by itself? And no, don’t make it then do this every time I use the word Techchrunch.
But the ‘rant’ in this posting is more about a possible new PIM which is why I was interesting in clicking that posting in the first place. I know millions of people are happy writing their todo list, having their folders and if they are very hip they use GTD.
Problem is, that does not solve the problem for me. I feel like there is a big wall between what my brain could be capable of doing and how the real world has tools for me but they are not accessible. Yes, in a way I feel autistic to modern PIM. I see you shiny paper PIMs, I see you nice online applications like the ones from 37signals. But they still don’t click with me enough to make me productive.
Take Gmail for example: At first I was really thrilled of using it, because the methods of archive (and later go through it) really helped for a while. But there are many things annoying me (see my Gmail annoyances posting for that) and those are just tool related. Gmail is not a Pim? Right. But for the moment it is the best kind of PIM I can work with.
When I start to think about which kind of method I would like to use for organizing my complex world with hundreds of small pieces I have to seriously say: I have not found anything which helps me deal with that. Yes, I could do nice lists, in fact I do love lists. I do love to write a whole book full of ideas, todos everything. And especially on paper, especially with colors.
The reason I bought my tablet was so I could combine those two effects – but till now, I mainly use it as a normal computer and not so much with the tablet (I am not sure if this is because of missing features from my Lenovo or the applications in general).
So how about I just tell you what I would need as tools to work better? Yeah, I would like to. But I can’t. I just can tell you what does not work. *sigh* Problem with that? As long as people who like to todolists try to come up with tools for other people who like todolists, I will never get anything I am able to be working with effectively.
Tools like Foldera are just another version of what we already have. You don’t like filtering? Well let’s make an application which that a little bit easier:
The idea is that you create a folder around any new project. Share that folder with others or keep it private. Documents can be uploaded to the service and associated with a folder. Emails started from within the folder are automatically associated with the project. Same with Calendar entries. Foldera also includes an instant messaging application (it works with MSN Messenger, Google Talk, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), iChat, and Yahoo Messenger).
This sounds like a little better way to use labels or categories, but nothing more.
I do say “nothing more” because it uses one method – folders – as the basis for everything. Are you that simple? Is everything “just” a folder for you? Then this may be something for you. But not for me. And it is probably also meant to be everything in _this_ tool. Want to use another tool for a different job? Good luck. (There is a reason why I do like the command line and tools like sed, grep, awk. Yes on a windows machine. My main income for the moment is earned by them. Because they are little tools which do a little job – but they do them great. And they work together like a charm. )
I am really looking forward to next week, because Havi invited me to visit Yahoo and meet with some people. I usually don’t use Yahoo tools and I am hoping that i will be able to show some of the people there why I am not working with them, what annoys me and where I find things missing. Not that I fall for the believe that my opinion is ‘the’ opinion you have to listen to, but I do believe that mine is a voice which matters as well as everybody else’s.
And if this leads to improvements I can use, this is helpful for me too. Because little new companies are nice. But it is nicer if a big company starts improving the field because it is so much more disruptive and challenges the rest around them and maybe inspire enough folks to come up with something really clever.