I’m working on a document right now on a word processor. It looks remarkably like its ancestor – the typewriter. The return key meant “caridge return” never fully replaced by it’s compter protégé “enter”. I’m going to save this file in a “folder” on my “desktop”. Later I might use “electronic mail” to send it to a friend. If they really like it they might use a clipping of it on an “overhead slide” in a presentation.
These are all physical analogies – based in a world before computers. We have made substantial improvements, but the fundamental architecture is the same. The physical comforts of the digital environment are there to ease the transition. I say it’s time to take the training wheels off and explore the world of computers without the strings of the physical world.
Search has begun to revolutionize the way we interact. It used to be a term that mean’t laborious and often futile hours rummaging through clumsy files of documents. Filing systems were important so you didn’t have to spend time searching. Today – searching is an after thought – it is the easiest thing I can do. Rather than even spend time looking through a document, I might search for a specific word of phrase. When I can’t find a file on my computer in my “file” system – it is often just easier to search!
Right now we exist in the limbo between worlds. We are outgrowing our filing systems, without enough discipline and time to tag and categorize everything we work with. Search is good enough in many cases to just have everything in a dump file. Even when I have downloaded something in the past it is often quicker for me to find it on the internet again rather than on my own computer. There is a post-search world coming….