When it comes to organising some aspects of our lives it’s hard to say whether there’s a way to be definitively “done”.

For example – I keep my socks in one drawer and boxers in another. The drawers are at the top of the dresser.

Is that the most efficient and sensible way to do things? Possibly, but it’s perfectly feasible that there might be a better way. Due to the range of different routines we all live in it’s very hard to find a definitive best practice. We can improve things with some thought but it’s fairly rare to find something that can’t be argued.

At this point I’d like to mention mark-up languages. I’ve talked about them earlier this year so I’m not going to waste time explain the basic concepts.

Digitally there can be this concept of arguable best practice for all sorts of things. I’ve got hard disks full of files I’d like to keep even though they’re of no real importance. The problem being that they’re in all sorts of different formats and file structures. With some work I can tidy them up but chances are I’ll need to redo that chore in another ten years or so.

That doesn’t sound too bad to some people but to me that seems like more needless hassle. I’d rather try to do things right this time if at all possible.

With some files that isn’t possible, obviously, but with others perhaps that is possible.

Much like when using a mark-up language one defines what the content is rather than how it should be formatted couldn’t one do the same for certain kinds of files?

For example – an unabridged audiobook can be split into chapters and have the actual text provided via ID3 tags or similar. Couple that with sufficient data such as author, reader, and so forth, and the file should then be “done”.

That is to say at that point the file structure or filename becomes irrelevant. A file system should be able to locate such files and keep their actual location in a database. It would have enough data to display things in whatever form a user might like.

iTunes does something like this if you let it. It’ll copy the files into its own file structure and after that one can sort by whatever in its window. It’s not a particularly good bit of software but it does at least illustrate the mark-up format, so to speak.

Similarly with photos as long as they have good EXIF tags with dates, faces tagged, and so forth, one should be able to view them by whatever one chooses.

The overriding idea being something I find Windows often takes from me – it’s my computer. I should get to choose how to use it. I’m thinking of when Windows Update tells the end uses “We’re going to go ahead and update now.” not “When’s a good time to install these updates?”

By having well-made files one should be able to run things in whatever way one likes. This would also allow for cross-referencing and other things and arguably create a more human-focused computing model.

Some people like to think in folders, certainly, but what about when people think chronologically? Or by subject?

I feel like we can fix this.

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