Saturday, August 18, 2007

Everything Is Miscellaneous

So, remember a few weeks back when I went to pick up my car and it wasn't ready? And I had to walk a mile and a half into town to kill time at the public library? Well, while I was there, I checked out this book called "Everything Is Miscellaneous" and it really got me thinking.

I read the book (okay, skimmed the first few chapters) and it was pretty interesting. You know how we all have boxes of photos that we never seem to put in photo albums? And how, now that we have digital cameras we think we're going to finally organize our photos? Have you done it? No, because instead of making things easier, we've made things more difficult.

Now we have options. Instead of putting things in one physical album and labeling it August 2007 vacation, suddenly we can apply multiple labels. Yes, it's a 2007 photo, but it's also a photo of DisneyWorld, and you were there in 1996 and 2002, so why not also label the photo DisneyWorld and have it there by the other DisneyWorld photos so you can see that it is indeed a small world after all?

The author also made the point (much more eloquently than I'm about to do) that iPods had something to do with this. See, with your iPod you can create a playlist that has special meaning - all the music you grew up with, music from angry female rockers, music from 1984, music that reminds you of your ex-lover - you name it, there is a custom playlist out there.

Not that I would know. I still haven't figured out how to create playlists on my iPod. In fact, I had to dig it out of my backpack this morning and hook it up to the charger. I'm just lucky I figured out how to download my contacts two years ago for my west coast trip. Anyway, the point is, the more we have to organize and the more we try to do so, the more complicated things get.

Even worse is the fact that it's so hard to throw things away. With digital photos, you take 101 photos of your garden. And because they aren't cluttering up your physical space, you keep all 101 photos, even if some of them are out of focus or the lighting is off or you have one really good photo of the roses and five not so good ones, you keep all six instead of just the one really good one. And you think you are fine because the photos aren't cluttering up your physical space, but you aren't because unless you go through and label all 101 photos then you have no way of sifting and sorting through them. And all you have are 101 photos that weigh you down.

It's the same way with email. The whole gmail concept is Evil. "With this much space, you never need to through anything out." So I have, what, 787 842 messages in my gmail box and only 15 of them have any real value to me. And the labels. I resisted using the labels because I was used to folders. I wanted goddam folders in my gmail. So I didn't use the labels and now my email is out of control. Yes, I can search my email and find the message I want. But it would be so much easier if I had just applied labels in the first place.

It didn't occur to me until I read (okay, skimmed) this book that the labels really were better than folders. Because I can apply more than one label, but I can only physically place a message in one folder. But if you think I'm going to go back and label all 842 messages in my gmailbox, you've got another thing coming.

I think it would be quite liberating if I were to simple go in and delete them all.

Well, at least delete everything prior to 2007.

Maybe I could search for certain messages (i.e. message from The Man, for example) and label them before deleting everything else.

Yeah. Right. I still have 842 messages in my gmailbox.

No comments:

Post a Comment