John’s Recon

May 18, 2009

Beyond Electronic Post-Its

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 7:52 am

My memory is no longer the “steel trap” it once was. Who came up with that expression “memory like a steel trap” ?. This expression doesn’t really “hold water” now does it. Any way, back in older days I used a lot of Post-Its on my computer monitor. Even though I kept a pad of paper and a pencil on my person at all times, the Post-Its were in your face as constant reminders that you had something on your mind.

These served well but the glue definitely aged under fluorescent lights and they kept falling off my monitor. I would pick them up and re-paste them to the edge of my computer screen … sometimes using scotch tape. An email my brother sent me in March of 1996 (I am loving the awesome search capability in gmail)  painted an image that has always stuck with me … my brother said that his monitor had aged Post-Its that “litter the base of my monitor like dead bugs around an outside light.” Later on he told me that this had a benefit … ones that drop off don’t have to be done, reasoning that if you haven’t done them by the time the glue ages then it is better off letting them lay where they are.

Then I got electronic Post-Its. These served well but always cluttered my screen using up valuable real estate. Plus these did not have a natural aging process. Perhaps the programmers should have improved this program by having them slowly slide down your monitor screen until they are halfway visible and you could drag them up again to give them a new lease of life … eventually though the un-helped sliding down out of reach until they are gone forever. Unfortunately/fortunately, I moved to a new operating system and lost all my electronic Post-Its forever. I was anxious about what I had not done just like when you lose your entire email in-box. At first you expect angry messages to barrage you … but they don’t. In fact a few will ask if you got their email and you tell them how you “lost” your in-box. They will express sympathy and maybe resend it if important but most often will tell you it wasn’t that important anyway. After this misplaced anxiousness, comes the lifting of a great weight off your shoulders … a new lease on life, unburdened by past things you “had” to do. I know a person who has over 5000 emails in his in-box to process … I have often thought how kind an act it would be to have his in-box purged … yes, it would cause him dismay, but eventually the wrinkle lines around his eyes would fade and there would be renewed light in his eyes and maybe a thank-you.

The PDA picked up where the electronic Post-Its left off. These little gems even have internal clocks with alarms to make your life even more convenient/hectic. A note could all of a sudden come up from the past and force you to re-bury it or Nike “just do it”. Oh, the elegance of technology.

I have moved on from this. Since most of my to do is looking/researching with a browser, the new “to do” is the tabs of a browser. Now, when I am looking at something and it gives me another link to investigate, I can just right click my Firefox and open this link in another tab on the browser. I don’t even have to go to it right now … it will just be a tab that I will get to eventually. It seems though that even when I am mostly retired, the tabs just grow and grow to the right faster than I can consume them from the left. BUT I did an install with the browser the other day and it opened a fresh window after I had just closed my tab-filled browser and it had only one tab (the install) when I closed it. Uh Oh, I just lost about 30 tabs even though I had a session manager add on. Disgusted, I went out and rode my bike a few extra miles and then felt the great weight lift. I will just have to start over.

Another friend just reminded me at lunch that he has his session manager remember a few backup sessions just to thwart this very case. Now, the problem becomes:  Do I too, extend my session manager to remember a few backup sessions OR do I count on my ability to screw up on occasion and delete my burden of history to refresh my life and give me a new start?

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