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Last post Author Topic: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking  (Read 26896 times)

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2009, 02:19:42 AM »
Well that's the thing. If you add too many keywords, you're never sure whether you added something to "to_listen" or to "music"

If you added both then you have to always add both for consistency.

It also depends on the interface. I haven't tried this app but for programs like Compendium, you don't really have an intuitive tag view that allows you to become extremely confident in replacing it as your file explorer. If a tagging system's not able to replace your file explorer though, you get to a point where you're more benefitted by the file explorer being in one place than segmenting your focus into two areas.

Yes, you're potentially making things more organized but the sacrifice of losing snappiness is often a much worse pay-off.


tomos

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2009, 02:29:32 AM »
Well that's the thing. If you add too many keywords, you're never sure whether you added something to "to_listen" or to "music"

If you added both then you have to always add both for consistency.

which is also why article not so positive about tagging (just btw)
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2009, 04:01:39 AM »
tomos, no offense but when I skimmed the article, everything about anything had a negative in that site.

tomos

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2009, 05:46:46 AM »
tomos, no offense but when I skimmed the article, everything about anything had a negative in that site.
except presumably Chandler !?!
(btw. of course no offence taken)

but has anyone actually read the full article LOL (me not fully yet..)

I read the page 40hz recommended ComplexityIsInTheEyeOfTheBeholder
The article talked big ideas but the reality of the Chandler description there sounded not so earth shattering, but I suspect one would have to really use Chandler for a while to "test" it properly (says he who hasnt even looked at it properly yet..)

I notice myself getting disillusioned with hierarchy - never worked for tasks/ToDo lists for me, but also get bogged down in complex project hierarchy.
That's to do with me more than the software - to be honest I didnt fully understand some stuff in the article but gather they saying to avoid "deep" hierarchys at any rate

Tagging I'm wary of.
I'm using more & more the option to show an item in different places (multiple-parents) in IQ/SQLNotes - very helpful, I guess you could say it's a cross between tagging &, and ... not tagging ? LOL
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2009, 05:22:38 PM »
Haha. Good one!  ;D

I don't think hierarchies are that bad but often people use their hierarchial to do list as their tasks brain dump list too.

Maybe that's the problem tomos?

By brain dump I mean something like putting the todolist that came into your head and writing it down on the software you're using.

That's why applications like ThinkingRock has a collect section:

First important thing is to put all the todo lists in one place.

Process it (edit it, make the steps smaller, put it in the right section)

and then put it in a hierarchy.


PPLandry

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2009, 05:47:20 PM »
Hierarchies can be used to help you get organized. The problem is that they can also hide your valuable information.

Being able to view the same information in hierarchy view and in flat view is essential to truly benefit from hierarchies.

Also, items must be able to belong to multiple hierarchies. Being limited to a single simple tree is very limiting
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz
« Last Edit: January 22, 2009, 05:49:39 PM by PPLandry »

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2009, 06:21:12 PM »
Yeah, I agree PPLandry.

Out of curiosity, could you explain if IQ does that?

I know that the spreadsheet style combination allows you to control what data comes out but I think for most of us, we're used to the idea of multiple hierarchies as being filtered by tags. Could help us further expand our perceptions of organization. (though it might sound like shilling your product, that's why I'm deliberately requesting for your answer so it doesn't come off that way)

Also, I don't think IQ has a real flat view in the sense of a real dashboard view and not just a tree-list screen with a tree-list hidden. Could you also expand your thoughts on that?

PPLandry

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2009, 09:30:52 PM »
Hi Paul,

Yes, IQ hierarchy display is optional. All items exist independent of the existence of parents, children, etc. (think of items as if they are people, you and me)

You can group people by various hierarchies (work related, family related, etc) and you can also view them in flat view, i.e. no hierarchy. This flat view makes it easier to find information (at times) and also to sort it. In general, sorting is another problem with hierarchy views (try sorting files from 2 different folders...). IQ also has a hierarchy view that sorts correctly.

Tags are basically a "smart" category field (type=text). IQ has category fields. Fields can be Text, Number, Date, Yes/No. All these (i.e. not just tags) can be used for filtering purposes.

re: True flat view: IMHO, IQ has a true flat view, but we can discuss what exactly you mean, using a practical example.

Pierre
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2009, 01:36:02 AM »
Thanks for the clarification PPLandry. Sorry if I had to make you repeat those words. I've read you describe IQ that way before and it just didn't sink in.

You might want to bandwagon on the usage of tags. I went to your site just to verify if IQ has tags as a feature and I didn't see it so it might help boost your program a bit if there was a link explaining IQ's tag-like feature.

I really don't have a specific definition of flat view. For me, flat view is just when you can see all your data without "activating" anything.

To use Compendium as an example:

1) This is normally what you see when you have Compendium's Tag View open. Why is this not a flat view to me? Because I have to "think" to "activate" the tag view. I need to have a mindset of opening something rather than just snap my mind into it.

I need to click on something.

Use a hotkey on something (although hotkeys help in transforming anything into a flat view)

I can't just screenshot the screen in front of me to get an overview or even better, the core of what I want.

[attachthumb=#1][/attachthumb]

Now this is the screen you would get if you hide the tag view. Normally this is what I think people might consider as a flat view. Something that's in front. Something default. I guess if this were the criteria than IQ's Welcome Screen would be it's flat view.

I apologize for not thinking this through when I asked you a question about flat views. I tend to ask questions through my perspective and often forget what others normally consider something as.

[attachthumb=#2][/attachthumb]

Now why is this both enough and not enough? It is not enough because this screen doesn't always have what I want. Sometimes this screen hosts a folder and I need to click it. Sometimes this screen is not where I want to be or how I want it to look so I need to go elsewhere.

At the same time, why can this screen be a flat view? Because when I want to see something, it's in front of me.

Where as in a tree-list you have to click on an area of the tree to see the content and the tree is the overview/flat view or you have to click on the manage bookmark screen so that the bookmark screen becomes the flat view, this screen allows me to preview both the contents of the items in this screen and the items themselves without leaving or thinking of activating anything as seen on this screenshot where all I needed to do was hover the mouse on the asterisk to see the contents inside.

[attachthumb=#3][/attachthumb]

In that sense, a flat view to me can be something more akin to a desktop when opening Windows or a dashboard or a floor with all the pages of a book in front of me rather than staring at the table of contents page to get hints as to where I should go to see my notes.

Another way of looking at it is the Compendium text entry box.

[attachthumb=#4][/attachthumb]

Why is this a flat view? Because after I've clicked on it, I no longer have to activate anything to see what I want to see or do.

It's like when I want to edit something and I'm staring at the MS Word screen, I don't have to convince my mind that this thing staring at me is where I need to edit stuff.

Of course the illusion breaks when I need to click on the GUI or add some complex stuff but if I don't, my mind goes..."Flat view".

I guess technically all programs have a flat view inherent in them and what I was actually asking is whether IQ has a "Overview" or Dashboard Flat View. I mean I know you can limit and add to any stuff you want to see in front of you but is there a place you can go to where you can just go "Ok, I don't need to think go anywhere once I'm here."

I guess I also forgot that IQ is a multi-purpose software and not just a notetaker because when I was thinking of this, I forgot that if you only factored in numbers, records, database content and hierarchies then IQ already has a flat view. It's only when you write something paragraph long that you need to click on something just to get a clear overview of which text is which but I'm only basing this on superboyac's screenshot of how IQ can also be a notetaker: (Note that Compendium also cuts the text off when it's too long so it's not really because Compendium does this well but rather because I don't use Compendium to write long texts that I can consider the screens above as flat views)

[attachthumb=#5][/attachthumb]

Another good example of a flat view is when staring at a monthly view of a calendar app rather than how it's shown in IQ. Chart images can also be a criteria for a flat view. It's basically an overview that doesn't need extra filtering options but could have one.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 01:41:23 AM by Paul Keith »

xtabber

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2009, 09:31:30 PM »
FWIW, the Chandler Project was started by Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus and author of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.  The original concept came from Lotus Agenda, an organizer that nobody ever could figure out how to use, back in the DOS days, and which Kapor had had a hand in developing. Kapor dissassociated himself from the Chandler Project a year ago (and stopped funding it). He is also responsible for the Foxmarks synchronizer for Firefox and is on the board of the Mozilla Foundation, among other things.

I was once interested in the idea of Chandler, but as it grew more complex, it also got more diffuse, eventually devolving into a nebulous concept that had no chance of turning into a usable product.  A fine example of how not to create software.

J-Mac

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2009, 12:43:50 AM »
Great info xtabber! Thanks for that.

Jim

tomos

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2009, 03:44:17 PM »
can anyone explain "Faceted" classification to me?

the author of that article waffles on about it but it doesnt seem to quite penetrate fully to my brain

Quote from: http://chandlerproject.org/Journal/TwoAndAHalf
Faceted classification system An anti-organization, classification system comprised of items and independent Facets or Attributes and Attribute values.

Items can be thought of as object nouns or things (ie. a person, a document, a song, a message). Attribute values are adjectives or characteristics of the noun-items (ie. red, 56KB, 36 years-old) and Attributes describe the characteristics, provide them with specific semantics (ie. hair color, file size, age). A natural language statement such as "Bilbo has furry feet." might be stored in a Faceted system in the following way: The item Bilbo has Feet covering: Fur.

Items in Faceted systems are expected to be multi-faceted, to have a potentially unlimited number of Attribute: Attribute value pairs (ie. Height: 6 feet, Weight: 135 lbs, Age: 35 years-old, Gender: Female, Marital status: Single). This seems beyond obvious, but the fall out of multi-faceted items is that unlike their counterparts in Hierarchies, items in Faceted systems can live in more than one Attribute-based groupings (ie. Six foot tall people, 135lb-ers, 35 year-olds, Single people). Depending on the system, a single item could also belong to multiple Attribute values in the same Facet (ie. a song that is belongs to both the R&B and Hip-hop Genres). This is an item-centric way of describing Faceted systems.

maybe what I'm missing is a concrete example of this in practice (does it exist?), and,
the difference between this and tagging (?),
the author seems to indicate there is a difference but I may have glazed over by the time it was explained - I'm not knocking the article - I was fascinated but maybe I'm not used to working with ideas or the author isnt so good at explaining them or whatever..)
Tom

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2009, 04:41:46 PM »
tomos, from what I interpreted, it is exactly how InfoQube works.

Difference between it and tagging is minimal from the concept level. Where it differs is the user interface.

Faceted classifications would probably be more closer to spreadsheet and filtering but as the author said, if you don't know how to swim in the ocean of data, it is akin to searching for that one piece of tasty itsy bitsy bit of pork in a murky soup.

Hierarchies on the other hand can't swim in a big area. They are like people swimming in a straight line in the ocean where the person behind cannot cut in line unless he opts to switch to the next swimming lane. In that sense, it is much closer to a highway and under utilizes the potential freedom of the ocean. (Not to mention the rest of aquatic nature doesn't care for these lanes so under this system, some poor guys are going to be breakfast, lunch and dinner for sharks, tsunamis and the Bermuda Triangle)

In that sense, tags are supposed to be superior in that you can all go crazy on tagging and you can still amount to a hierarchy because of it's interface changes from how faceted classifications are presented. Of course any casual user who's tried any system that has tagging knows that it is overrated and it doesn't address the issue of turning your collection into a black hole where the more data there is, the more and more you are inclined not to touch it.

There's also the problem that many datas cannot be presented in one way especially for casual users. With faceted classifications you can at least get a more orderly overview of little datas because of all of the filtering potential it has. InfoQube being almost the most casual and efficient representative of this.

InfoQube's bastard child "spreadsheet/hierarchy" allows you to have many little items you would normally put in a spreadsheet and have it presented in a hierarchy or vice versa. The price is that you have to cut your brain in half and you have to expect people to know how spreadsheet programs work and how advanced tree-outlines work.

This means it's much complicated to pander this to a newbie PC user who doesn't know the advanced stuff of either spreadsheet programs or tree-based outliners. It however does prove the article wrong that tags are inherently superior and is the true successor to the hierarchy-faceted classification bastard child.

With that said, the article does have a kernel of truth in that tags addressed this somewhat. If I have any qualms with this analysis is that the author doesn't really give you any idea of how "tags" alone is such a catch-all phrase for lots of minor user interface tweaks that involves typing texts that are treated as links.

By not stating this, the author avoids such issues as wikis alone being more disorderly than both hierarchy and faceted classifications precisely because it's using a tag interface. (Although it can of course be salvaged by including images of faceted classified data or having some sections of a wiki organized in a hierarchy)




phitsc

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2009, 05:35:00 AM »
Didn't see anyone mention yet that there is an interesting book called 'Dreaming in Code' which uses the Chandler project as its central theme. It's basically a case study that shows what can go wrong when developing a reasonably complex (open source) SW project, but also contains interesting historical information about SW development.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 07:52:56 AM by phitsc »

tomos

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2009, 07:49:19 AM »
tomos, from what I interpreted, it is exactly how InfoQube works.

Difference between it and tagging is minimal from the concept level. Where it differs is the user interface.

Faceted classifications would probably be more closer to spreadsheet and filtering but as the author said, if you don't know how to swim in the ocean of data, it is akin to searching for that one piece of tasty itsy bitsy bit of pork in a murky soup.
...

There's also the problem that many datas cannot be presented in one way especially for casual users. With faceted classifications you can at least get a more orderly overview of little datas because of all of the filtering potential it has. InfoQube being almost the most casual and efficient representative of this.

InfoQube's bastard child "spreadsheet/hierarchy" allows you to have many little items you would normally put in a spreadsheet and have it presented in a hierarchy or vice versa. The price is that you have to cut your brain in half and you have to expect people to know how spreadsheet programs work and how advanced tree-outlines work.

Paul, thanks for that, still not fully sure what "Faceted" is - but I get the gist I believe
Tom

mitzevo

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2009, 09:20:09 AM »
wow nice find, very good read. I've had my time with thinking about good orginzation methods, etc. file hiearchirse, the use of tagging, how to categorize by, type, company name, software name, task description, etc. and have spent quite (probably too much) time worrying about how i organize my files instead of getting shit done.. so in the end i think orngazingin is overated, and people these days have too much data than needed.. any thing they really need is close by in their memory (head)..


if u wanna get too carried away with heierachy, its never gonna work, you wont be able to sort the files.. u have to put into cosideration the file type (mpg, mp3, doc, zip, jpg, etc.), weather it is actual "working data" or program setup files.

And then you have the filesystem limitations on Windows for example, if you are organinzing by file purpose



symlinks, hardlinks, etc. ofcourse on *nix, it's not much of a thing.

u also have to put into considerationm, are you catergorizng for your self? or others? very important question in terms of sorting alot of content.. are u sorthing this repository for your self for the future for easy retrieveal when you need it? or away you think some day some one might find your collection of things useful.. people organize things differently,

this is a rough draft.. will clean up later (missing parts of text). it's what ive come to find any ways while orgnazing, software, source code, backups, media, etc.
The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2009, 06:04:43 PM »
Quote from: tomos
Paul, thanks for that, still not fully sure what "Faceted" is - but I get the gist I believe

Yeah, I didn't know why they used that term either. I know it's not mentioned anywhere else that I know of.

I think "faceted" is simply another term for what PPLandry calls "fields" in Infoqube. It basically means this particular section here is classed to this element and this purpose. An even simpler model would be to use Explorer's Thumbnail or Tile view.

Once you renamed something as a picture folder. It's facet or it's element is that of a folder and it's classification is that of a folder leading to pictures. Hence it's called a faceted classification: an area where you declare "thou shalt be used for this purpose and this purpose only" even though it's really just a piece of land you drew imaginary borders on.

Quote from: mitzevo
wow nice find, very good read. I've had my time with thinking about good orginzation methods, etc. file hiearchirse, the use of tagging, how to categorize by, type, company name, software name, task description, etc. and have spent quite (probably too much) time worrying about how i organize my files instead of getting shit done.. so in the end i think orngazingin is overated, and people these days have too much data than needed.. any thing they really need is close by in their memory (head)..

I agree and I think you'll be surprised that many productivity experts agree with you. To paraphrase David Allen (the writer of Getting Things Done)

You know what's one easy way to get rid of stress and stay productive? Simplify everything.

That's it. Simplify everything. There are lots of stuff that you do day by day that you don't really need to do.

Doesn't mean you have to do it this way, but it is one easy way to become productive.

YOU and I both know though that you aren't here because you want to become productive. You want to become productive because the things that you are doing in life, the things you want to do, the things you are currently enjoying led you to this un-productive life.

To add to that: (he was addressing this to a corporate crowd)

You and I both know that the reason you are here is to get farther in your career and still have time to enjoy the things you want in life. You remember that guy who just came out of college and said "Boy, I can't wait to get promoted."

Yeah right. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."

You know that right now, you are paid and are going to get paid more for your capability to handle a large size of load and still not break down. To become more productive isn't to get rid of stress. No, alot of times stress is good. Stress helps you become more alert. Stress means you're doing lots of stuff currently.

Stress becomes bad when you're stuck in there because you either don't know what's bothering you or you don't know how to get rid of it. That's why you stay organize.

To paraphrase Leo Babauta (Zen Habits blogger) - Being productive isn't when you're getting lots of things done, it's when you have done the things you need so you can start doing the things you want.

Regarding our problem with organizing and notetaking, this is why David Allen often emphasizes:

"It's not what's on your to do list. GTD isn't about your to do list. It's about having a system you can trust."

That's why you often see applications based on GTD having separate categories for reference files and to do lists.

Most sites talking about GTD rarely point this out but David Allen explains this simply as: "a system you can trust"

First, he points out why you might distrust your system even if you like it. (Contrary to popular belief, notetakers can't stab you in the back)

1) You are putting stuff more than you are pulling out stuff.
2) You have a difficult time finding your stuff.
3) You're not really sure whether your stuff is there.
4) You don't really get any idea how organized you are becoming.
5) You feel more pressured because you see more and more stuff in front of you.

That is why you often can read some productivity article saying "Don't turn your to-do list/notetaker into a black hole!"

That's where the term came from. Allen pointed out how a system you distrust ends up becoming a black hole where it just constantly sucks matter in and you never get it back. That's also why his criteria for having a system you can trust is at it's core composed of:

1) A brain dump - A place where you write down or note down every little thing that comes to your head.

Why? Cause your conscious brain is better at remembering things it sees in front of it than when it's stored in your subconscious plus the confidence in knowing you can forget something because you have it stored in something you can return to helps you become more focused in what you're currently doing.

2) A place to store your notes - Basic notetaker concept

3) A to-do list - Basic to do list

Why separate it from your notetaker? Because our brains work more by association than by rationale. You want to avoid a situation where you are constantly organizing stuff because the things you want to do are being postponed in favor of the other thing stuff you want to store.

4) A queing system that you review weekly - Separate to do list

Why? Because often times when we write down to do lists we don't think on it. That's why we never get to do many of what's written in there. (For those of us with that problem)

According to him, it's not because we have many things staring in front of us. It's because we're not only not as confident that we want to do the things we want to do in that order but also because we're staring at many huge general things that we have to think on rather than little specific things that we've cut down from those huge general ideas.

Think of it this way: It's much easier for you to call a person who's phone number and exact message is written in front of you than it is to have a to do list entry of: Call Homer - D'oh!

The weekly review habit is also there not to pressure you to constantly organize stuff one day a week but so that once you get your system set up, you're not put in a position where you have to constantly think of how and where to organize your stuff.

You just put in your brain dump, store it in the ideal places where you think you may find it, write the ones you want to do in a list, schedule a time where you think about these lists, cut them down to smaller pieces, write it down in a separate to-do list (preferably written in active "actionable" form) and then you have organized what you want to do for the rest of the week until you repeat the process all over again.

P.S. I'm not a proponent of GTD and I'm hardly productive so I'm not saying this is how it should be done. Just trying to point out that while I agree with mitzevo, it's also partially a notetaker designer's fault as well as the wrong perception we often have of notetakers enforced by their structure that organizing sometimes becomes more tedious than it is and not because organizing or stuff you have on your list is always overrated and not really needed. In essence, it still agrees more than disagrees with what you said mitzevo (like with Windows way of handling things) but I also don't think Unix would help you much if your idea of organizing doesn't match up with Unix's way of doing things and that's where the category problems become a problem IMO.

When you're thinking *.mp3, *.docx, *.pdf rather than your own category then you have bought into another person or application's way of doing things and it's going to be a headache because of that. However all modern operating systems allow for copy paste so even without symlinks and hardlinks, if you have set up a system that you trust because you so get it and it's designed by you for your purposes (including collaboration, reference, backups) then duplicate files are often just a delete away. You'll even laugh at yourself for how these got left in there because you've already worked on it months ago and this happens because the other duplicate already got relocated to a place you are satisfied with and there's no pressure on your part to know where it's exactly at.

Note that I'm not a Unix user so my knowledge of symlinks and hardlinks is limited but I use Compendium and in it, it has a similar structure where it is called a Transclusive link where you can have two nodes synchronize between each other or have a List Node that provides an overview for the actual nodes you want to view.

Didn't see anyone mention yet that there is an interesting book called 'Dreaming in Code' which uses the Chandler project as its central theme. It's basically a case study that shows what can go wrong when developing a reasonably complex (open source) SW project, but also contains interesting historical information about SW development.

Thanks for the book mention phitsc. This is stating the obvious but I remember why I didn't even bother remembering the book from Amazon's most critical review.

Quote
One of the most puzzling things about a lot of software doomsday scenario books is that, in spite of the fact that not all projects fail, they never try to figure out what made the successful ones work. Maybe nothing sells like a disaster. This book is no exception. Except for an occasional quote from Linus Torvalds about the need to start out small and fulfill an immediate need, the book never poses the question - `Chandler was by no means the first open source project, Why did it fail when many other user-facing open source projects have managed to get traction ?'

This isn't to say that I'm discouraging anyone from reading the book since I'm neither a devoted follower of the Chandler Project, a programmer or had read the book. I guess on my part it's just an initial over-critical bias to the generic comments I read about Chandler. I just feel that the open-source world is rooted in staleness and copycat-ness and Chandler brought the worst in those stuff. First time I saw the screenshots, deep down I was thinking, these guys so need to drop their Outlook man-crush.

Of course I kid the Chandler developers. Most full featured Open Source programs are slow. I think where they lost me was that they got the vision and the right idea of marketing an Open Source program, they just didn't have the focus. (I know: easier said than done) I just think Chandler developers should have respected the trend they were in and focused on their vision more rather than their blueprint. The way they wanted Chandler to be, they should have used an exportable hub to link several different applications together and have them reside within the cloud and only as fully functioning separate apps bundled in a suite.

The signs were all around them. OpenOffice not being as fast and responsive as MS Office. Thunderbird not comparing to Opera's E-mail client as far as load. Sunbird having so much trouble. ThinkingRock barely optimizing their memory with a to do list application alone. Hindsight is 20/20 but when you were dropped knee deep in the boom of productivity apps combined with the fact that you had potentially the best free, decently marketed app that's in demand, there were only two major courses you are left with: Stay with your vision or stay the course.

Chandler stayed the course. This isn't bad if they were a company and had a business model in mind and they just couldn't pull through so they settled for a lesser product but Chandler all this time was claiming and building itself up as an idealistic vision of notetaking. The developers wrote and painted Chandler up as Open-Source developers finally meets real passionate digital notetaking people.

When you convinced lots of people that the reason you are building this app is around a vision, at it's core, when the app fails it was because you just didn't step up to the plate enough. Chandler on the surface seemed like they decided they didn't want to even try to fail. It just wanted something out. When that happens, it's no longer an open source problem nor a software problem. Chandler developers either simply didn't really have that vision in the first place or they lost their vision. Dreams are given up everyday. There's very little thing to learn from those even for software engineers. Chandler, IMO has little to offer to software engineers because whatever correct and wrong thing they did never mattered once they grew tired and lost their vision. Once that happened, Chandler was no longer Chandler no matter how well they even build the first app. Upgrades will suffer. Apathy will reign. Features coming out slower. That said all of what I'm saying are still just from a surface impression of Chandler so there's a good chance that I'm wrong.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 06:33:44 PM by Paul Keith »

phitsc

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2009, 04:44:07 AM »
Well, I agree that you probably won't learn much about what makes a SW development project fail (or succeed) from 'Dreaming in Code'. Nevertheless, I found the book quite and interesting and enjoyable read. It reads and (feels) more like a novel than a technical book. Almost like a fiction book with well researched historical background. Only that it really is no fiction ;) An example of one thing that fascinated me (well, might not be that fascinating for the Americans in the DC community) was how people like Kapor, the main protagonist (speaking in novel terms) as well as some of the leading SW developers could spend their (working) lives doing almost whatever they pleased, without the pressure to make money to feed a family (well, most of them seem to only have dogs anyway ;) ). While Kapor had earned so much money in the beginning of his working career that he (alone) could fund a big multi-year SW project just out of ideological reasons, the others at least had made enough money in the first .com era to spend their lives doing what they liked most (programming) without actually getting money for it. Maybe the lack of pressure to actually succeed with what they were doing if only to make sure they could pay their bills at the end of the month was one of the reasons for the 'failure' of the Chandler project.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 05:25:20 AM by phitsc »

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2009, 06:22:18 AM »
Thanks for sharing that perspective phitsc. I hadn't thought of approaching the book as a novel.

davidqxo

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2009, 02:44:51 PM »
DREAMING IN CODE: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software, by Scott Rosenberg, tells a wonderful - and cautionary - tale of struggles by ex-Lotus guru Mitch Kapor and his team to define and implement Chandler. As a Lotus Notes practitioner, a student of information organization, and an ages old programmer on projects large and small, I could relate to and enjoy the tale.

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #45 on: January 31, 2009, 09:11:09 PM »
Been recently organizing my old notes and here are some more things that add/detract to what the article authors are talking about:

1. Logo-Visual Thinking

Quote
There are five standard stages in the process.

Focus - identifying a question or theme that provides a basis for a common act of attention

Gather - generating, articulating and displaying separate MMs as a relevant set as in a gathering

Organise - arranging and aggregating MMs to form (separate) higher order MMs

Integrate - systematic or aesthetic unification of these MMs into a whole system

Realise - creative or 'willed' outcome

2. Argument Map



3. Rico Clusters: An Alternative to Mindmapping



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Instructions:

Write a word in the middle of a sheet of paper.

Circle it.

Write down the first word or phrase that comes to mind and circle it.

Draw a line connecting the second circle to the first.

Repeat. As you write and circle new words and phrases, draw lines back to the last word, the central word, or other words that seem connected. Don’t worry about how they’re connected — the goal is to let your right-brain do its thing, which is to see patterns; later, the left-brain will take over and put the nature of those relationships into words.

When you’ve filled the page, or just feel like you’ve done enough (a sign of what Rico calls a “felt-shift”), go back through what you’ve written down. Cross out words and phrases that seem irrelevant, and begin to impose some order by numbering individual bubbles or clusters. Here is where your right-brain is working in tandem with your left-brain, producing what is essentially an outline. At this point, you can either transfer your numbered clusters to a proper outline or simply begin writing in the order you’ve numbered the clusters.

It's similar to concept mapping except the instructions are more specific rather than vague "oh that's so obvious" descriptions and involves "remix clustering"



4. Double bind/False Dilemma

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Grinder and Bandler (both of whom had personal contact with Bateson) asserted that a message could be constructed with multiple messages, whereby the recipient of the message is given the impression of choice - even though both options have the same outcome at a higher level of intention. This has application in both sales and therapy. A salesperson might ask "Would you like to pay cash or by credit card?" Both outcomes presuppose that the person will make the purchase, whereas the third option, that of not buying, is intentionally excluded from the list of choices. Strictly speaking, "cash or credit card?" is not a double-bind because there is no contradiction involved.

If the salesman was selling a book about the evils of commerce, then it could perhaps be a 'true' double bind, but only if the buyer already believed that commerce was evil, and felt compelled or obliged to buy the book.

5. Unified Structured Inventive Thinking

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Problem definition

A well-defined problem is formulated in an iterative process, described in terms of objects, attributes, and a single unwanted effect. Objects are reduced to a minimum number required to contain the problem (not to "explain" the problem situation). Multiple root causes are discovered using the plausible root causes heuristic. Abstraction of the problem statement is achieved using verbal and graphic metaphors. Exercise of the "plausible root causes heuristic" carries the problem solver well into problem analysis.

Problem analysis

Following plausible root causes analysis one of two lines of thinking is followed: 1) a “closed-world” analysis of the problem to understand intended functional connectivity of objects when no problem existed or 2) a "particles method" that begins from an ideal solution and works back to the problem situation.

Solution techniques

Three strategies for problem solving are based on the metaphorical interaction of objects, attributes, and effects: "utilization", "nullification", and "elimination" of the unwanted effect (see Heuristics for Solving Technical Problems — Theory, Derivation, Application).

object – attribute
\
effect – attribute – object
/
object – attribute

Graphic metaphor for the interaction of objects and attributes.

Five solution heuristics are used to support these strategies.

1) "Dimensionality" focuses on the "attributes" available and new ones discovered during problem analysis.

2) "Pluralization" focuses on "objects" being multiplied in number or divided into parts, used in different ways, and carried to extremes.

3) "Distribution" focuses on "functions" being distributed differently among objects in the problem situation.

4) "Transduction" uses "attribute-function-attribute links" to reach new solution concepts. This is modeled metaphorically after transducers, which convert information from one form to another.

5) "Uniqueness" characterizes effects of a problem according to their activity in "space" and "time". Each technique is logically tied to one or more of the underlying features in the well-defined problem: objects, attributes, and effects.

6. Wicked Problem

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"Wicked problem" is a phrase used in social planning to describe a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.

Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber introduced the concept of wicked problems in a 1973 treatise, contrasting "wicked" problems with relatively "tame," soluble problems in mathematics, chess, or puzzle solving

Quote
Classic examples of wicked problems include economic, environmental, and political issues. A problem whose solution requires large groups of individuals to change their mindsets and behaviors is likely to be a wicked problem.

Specific examples of wicked problems include global climate change, healthcare in the United States and elsewhere, the AIDS epidemic, pandemic influenza, international drug trafficking, homeland security, and nuclear energy and waste. In the United States, wicked problems at the national, state and local levels include drugs, crime, mental health, education, poverty, urban decay and issues related to the foregoing list.

Quote
Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber

Rittel and Webber's (1973) formulation of wicked problems[2] specifies ten characteristics, perhaps best considered in the context of social policy planning. According to Ritchey (2007), the ten characteristics are:

  • There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem.
  • Wicked problems have no stopping rule.
  • Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but better or worse.
  • There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.
  • Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no
    opportunity to learn by trial-and-error, every attempt counts significantly.
  • Wicked problems do not have an enumerable (or an exhaustively describable) set of potential solutions, nor is there a well-described set of permissible operations that may be incorporated into the plan.
  • Every wicked problem is essentially unique.
  • Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem.
  • The existence of a discrepancy representing a wicked problem can be explained in numerous ways. The choice of explanation determines the nature of the problem's resolution.
  • The planner has no right to be wrong (planners are liable for the consequences of the actions they generate).

Jeff Conklin

According to Conklin, the four defining characteristics of wicked problems are:

  • The problem is not understood until after formulation of a solution.
  • Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding the problem.
  • Constraints and resources to solve the problem change over time.
  • The problem is never solved.

Quote
Wicked problems in software development

In the last decade, other computer scientists have pointed out that software development shares many properties with other design practices (particularly that people-, process-, and technology-problems have to be considered equally), and have incorporated Rittel's concepts into their software design methodologies. The design and integration of complex software-defined services that use the Web (Web services) can be construed as an evolution from previous models of software design, and therefore becomes a wicked problem also.

7. IBIS - I think I've added this link before in this thread so I'm just adding this image to correlate it to wicked problems


« Last Edit: January 31, 2009, 09:13:56 PM by Paul Keith »

jack99999

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2009, 10:12:59 AM »
you might or might not like PersonalBrain from http://www.thebrain.com/

there is a free edition. it's a bit like an interactive mindmap, but you can add multiple tags to any item and can search for tags or text.

i've played a little with it, but haven't used it for anything real.

jack

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #47 on: February 01, 2009, 10:17:25 AM »
Nah, it's not for me. My apologies if I sounded like I was proposing or even asking for a mindmapping tool.

I was just sharing some old notes regarding articles on organization and notetaking that I coincidentally found while this thread was active a few days ago. In fact, I rediscovered a few more but I don't want to seem like I'm hijacking the thread.

jack99999

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #48 on: February 01, 2009, 10:22:00 AM »
no, it's not a mindmapping tool. it just looks a bit like that. it zooms in and out depending on what you focus on.

it's definitely worth playing with for the fun of it, even if you don't use it.

jack

Paul Keith

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Re: Awesome article re: organization and notetaking
« Reply #49 on: February 01, 2009, 12:26:15 PM »
jack99999, yeah I've tried it before. I'm curious what you consider it as? Usually it's lumped with mindmapping tools.