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Data Storage Education

How Do You Organize Your Data? 713

Posted by Cliff
from the intelligently-laying-things-out dept.
kpellegr asks: "After returning from a well deserved holiday, I was faced with an exploding inbox. While organizing and deleting my mail, I realised I was having trouble classifying each mail into one specific folder. I had the feeling I should be able to link to one email from several folders (e.g. product information should be linked to from the 'vendor' folder, as well as from a specific project folder where this product is used). The more I thought about this, the more I realised that trees (such as the Windows filesystems) are not really ideally suited for organizing data. On UNIX-like filesystems, symbolic links allow the creation of simple graphs for organising data, but I have the feeling data could be organized more efficiently. How does the Slashdot crowd organize their data? How do you manage files, email, contacts, meetings and all the relationships that might exist between them?"
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How Do You Organize Your Data?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:15PM (#6855201)
    That way, I never need to worry about what folder to put it in.
    • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:23PM (#6855250) Homepage Journal
      A friend of mine used to use what he termed an archaeological filing system.

      It was based on the simple principal that the older something was the further down in the pile it would be.

      Your all-in-one-folder technique and "ls -t" would work equally well.
      • by wemmick (22057) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:27PM (#6855280) Journal
        It's scary when you see yourself in this sort of thing. I use "ls -t" so frequently, that I've added the following alias:

        alias recent='ls -lt | head'

      • This system works for me. I usually remember about when I received something so I stand a very great chance of finding it by doing a chronological search. I never delete anything that is not an obvious spam. I do make copies of some things into appropriate folders, but I want the chronological record intact so that nothing can get lost by being missfiled.

        I do, however, make a point of regularly moving things off the server and onto the local HD and then later move it onto CD.

        To avoid losing data you ne

      • by Atario (673917) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:24PM (#6855662) Homepage
        ...and is, therefore, valid. I can tell my wife "you ruined my archeological filing system!" when she decides to "neaten up".

        Ok, now to actually answer the question posed here (as opposed to what a lot of other people here are doing, which is either come up with something witty or else attempt to codify a sweeping new all-inclusive whiz-bang OS change).

        Ahem.

        I know the question is asking about emails, files, contacts, and meetings, but as I keep relatively few contacts permanently filed and don't much like meetings, I'll address what I do about files and emails.

        Files: I start with a simple folder: "Files". In my case, "D:\Files". (I like folders Windows doesn't much know about, nor mess with.) Inside that, I have pretty much a heterogeneous hodgepodge of hierarchies of folders: "Projects", "Photos", "Temp" (big one, that), etc. Nothing earth-shattering.

        Emails: I try to organize these into folders denoting conversational thread ("Buddies", "List Stuff", "Family", "Work", etc.), combined with where they are in my email-processing conveyor belt ("To Do" (I haven't replied yet), then "Transfer" (I've replied, but not archived), then "Done" (archived and ready for deletion)), for whichever conversational threads I want to save. Using the examples above would result in:
        • List Stuff
        • Work
        • To Do - Buddies
        • To Do - Family
        • Transfer - Buddies
        • Transfer - Family
        • Done - Buddies
        • Done - Family
        (I would use a bit of hierarchy here, like:
        • List Stuff
        • Work
        • To Do
          • Buddies
          • Family
        • Transfer
          • Buddies
          • Family
        • Done
          • Buddies
          • Family
        , except Yahoo! Mail doesn't allow folder nesting. (And before you laugh at me for using Yahoo! Mail, can you access your mail at any web browser anywhere? How many times have you changed addresses in the last 5 years? I haven't at all.))

        And that's pretty much it.

        (Hey, you asked...)
      • that's a similar system to my desk. paper sits in piles. as it migrates further away, it becomes less important. Periodically, I just throw all the crap at the bottom of the most distant piles away.

        you laugh, but this is true.
      • File by email alias (Score:3, Informative)

        by bharlan (49602)
        I've got a directory archive of mail going back well into the 80's. The only detail about a given message I can usually count on remembering is the sender or recipient. I give each correspondent a separate subdirectory with the name of email alias (last name, sometimes with initials). I have a few special folders for "receipts," "strangers," and corporate spam. Special folders for specific topics have never worked out, mostly because topics overlap too heavily. Grep works fine for the rare cases where I
    • That way, I never need to worry about what folder to put it in.

      I'd symlink it to all folders so where ever I am, I'm in the right place. Then just use the search utility to find it. :P
    • by FireBreathingDog (559649) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:02PM (#6855515)
      I print everything out on paper, then sort it according to the integer value of the MD5 hash of each page's contents.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:16PM (#6855205) Journal
    And I check it twice.

    Checking twice really helps.
  • Easy (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) * <mrpuffypants.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:16PM (#6855206)
    How do you manage files, email, contacts, meetings and all the relationships that might exist between them?

    Easy! Do what I do and don't have any friends, contacts, meetings, or relationships with people!
    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by killthiskid (197397) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:52PM (#6855451) Homepage Journal

      Ugh... hate to say it... Outlook client using exchange.

      There I said it. Ok, to be fair, I use it because that is what is available and that is what everyone is use, all 800 or so of us... and that is in our org, which is a child org to a much larger org... so a total userbase of about 6000 users...

      Here's why it works. I use partially Bayesian based InBoxer [programurl.com] to kill spam. Our exchange server also runs Norton anti-virus (which has saved us from SoBig all that crap)... and then the exchange also has a spam filter which adds "spam:" to the subject of all incoming know spam e-mails (which does me not much good).

      Ok, that takes care of spam. All list-serves I belong to get put into their own folders... Emails for friends get put into a specific folder. This leaves my inbox. My inbox is shared with all my 'trusted' co workers. When I am gone, they check it on a regular basis for me while I am gone. If I am expecting a high priority e-mail from a certain person, I set it up so an alert e-mail is sent to the right person then that comes in.

      For my tasks, that is also shared. When I am gone, I forward my tasks that are due during that period to the right person.

      My calander is also shared. On my calender, I mark when I will be gone, and then setup a special list of those who should be alert when they send me an e-mail or task during that period (this stops an e-mail alert being sent to those list-serves I am on when I am gone).

      As for files: I manage the share on our central server that we all use. We just went through a major undertaking to get it up to par. ALL files are saved on the server. Everyone has a private drive, and then each 'task' or 'subject' or 'project' has its own folder on the server. Some folders are public, or 'all on our domain'... a majority are 'departmental access' (every one in our small org)... the rest are specific, generally with 3-4 people.

      It takes work. But I have access to the files I need and so do the other people in my org. It takes a lot of user education, training, and hand holding.

      Couple all this with decent VPN (cisco based) and most users get what they need when they need it.

      Oh, and this is at a college. Most departments are as well off as we are. And, yes, slammer has been a bitch to deal with as students move in... but many dedicated staff have solved that problem (not to mention some ingenious network guys... hats off!).

      • Re:Easy (Score:3, Informative)

        by bziman (223162)
        And for those of you who detest everything Microsoft, I accomplish nearly all of the same things using Netscape Communicator 4.73 (because Moz Mail isn't quite there yet), and a set of procmail/perl/bash recipes.

        It works great for me, although I must admit, I'm far more comfortable on the command line than the GUI -- my setup is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced.

  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by madcow_ucsb (222054) <slashdot2@sank[ ]et ['s.n' in gap]> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:16PM (#6855207)
    I started with a Mac back in the day, so I just throw everything on the desktop and clear it out once a month or so...
  • Virtual Folders (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spencerogden (49254) <spencer@spencerogden.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:19PM (#6855220) Homepage
    This is exactly the concept behind virtual folders. The idea is that folders, whether they be in the context of an email program or a filesystem, are actively updated searches. For example, all of your emails could be in one pool, invisible to you. Then each folder would be associated with a rule similar to email filter rules we use now. If an email matches, it shows up, maybe in multiple folders. Bayesian rules allow for even better classifications, if an email is similar enough to several catagories, it can show up in all of them.
    • Re:Virtual Folders (Score:4, Informative)

      by jigma (470246) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:28PM (#6855290) Homepage
      Lotus Notes (domino) has been doing this for years.
      • Re:Virtual Folders (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Spunk (83964) <sq75b5402@sneakemail.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:57PM (#6855489) Homepage
        And when you delete a message from one folder, it's deleted from all of them!

        If you're aware of the virtual folder concept, this can be very powerful. But is a first-time user going to expect it? Of course not, he thinks the folders work like everywhere else, and copy means make a copy, not just a link. So many emails were lost at the last job where I used it, for this reason.
        • by solprovider (628033) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:40PM (#6855734) Homepage
          And when you delete a message from one folder, it's deleted from all of them!

          If you are deleting an email, that implies that you are done with the information. If you just want to reorganize it, then you (the user) should understand what it means to organize.

          The problem is that users are trained on the MS vision that everything can only exist in one place and to put it in two places requires making a copy. This approach has problems:
          1. Very wasteful of hard drive space. You need to have complete copies of a document in every folder/directory it belongs. Today hard drive space is cheap, but MS is trying to grow the data file sizes to keep up.
          2. Each copy is not updated with the others. You usually forget which should be the master copy. And the users don't care about maintaining the master copy; they want to work on the one to which they have access. Making it read-only means there will be even more copies made so people can get their work done.

          Unix/Linux users have symbolic links. They are exposed to them very early, and learn that a link to a file can be treated as the file, for everything except its organization. Updating the file updates it everywhere.

          Lotus Notes allows all approaches:
          1. You can make copies. Copy/Paste always does this.
          2. You can make links. Dragging always does this.
          3. You can put links to anything inside other documents. This allows you to send a memo with links to the documents that need your attention.
          4. You have Views, which show all documents based on selection formulas.
          5. It has great filtering capabilities. You can show all documents that contain the word "slashdot" that were created between 2 dates.

          But is a first-time user going to expect it? Of course not, he thinks the folders work like everywhere else, and copy means make a copy, not just a link.

          Your "first-time user" expects "the folders work like everywhere else"?
          - A first-time user should not have a problem. They learn what happens without any expectations.
          - A "first-time user" that has been using MS products for a while should know never to expect consistent results. Try dragging a file in MSWindows:
          1. If it is an executable, it will create a Shortcut.
          2. If it is to the same hard drive, it will move the file. (And remember that "My Documents" and "Desktop" are usually on the C Drive.)
          3. If it is to a different hard drive, it will make a copy. (What happens if it is a mapped network share on the same computer?)

          That is 3 different results from the same user action! So how do folders work everywhere else?

          ---
          Anyway, I expect MS to die soon. Windows will wither without MS. The next generation of users will probably start with Linux and be better off.
          • by mst (30456) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @03:05AM (#6857030)
            That is 3 different results from the same user action! So how do folders work everywhere else?

            Well, IMO the real problem is not whether one maufacturer or another has his own user interface rules, it is the fact that folders and documents were introduced as the universal metaphor for arranging data on a computer in the first place.

            And now we are stuck with the restrictions imposed by that representation, which will often lure first-time users into believing that just because it looks like real-life a folder it will behave like a real-life folder. No matter how you then try to squeeze the concept of links, views, etc, into some kind of association with this rather limited concept, you are likely run into problems. What, really would be the real-world counterpart of a symbolic link, a virtual forlder (!), a view, etc?

            The file/folder metaphor comes from an age where files were few and far between for the average user. Maybe we need a completely new user interface concept to deal with today's overload of data.
            • You understand the problem; do you understand the solution?

              Computers have advanced well into what were just dreams even in the 1980s. But we are still stuck with many of the paradigms that were created to:
              - Make computers useful when they were very slow.
              - Make computers understandable to people who did not grow up with them.
              Today, many of the concepts should be obsolete, but I have not heard of any real advancements other than finding uses for the better bandwidth. So I started a company to develop what
    • Opera M2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlianza (454820) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:37PM (#6855360) Homepage
      It also sounds similar to how Opera handles mail with the M2 [opera.com] e-mail client. It defines "access points" that can (but don't have to) look like folders for jumping into messages that meet a certain criteria. For example, all messages with an attached image are grouped together, as are all messages from a specific person, and all messages meeting some sort of user-defined criteria might also be lumped together under an "access point." In the end though, there really is only one mail box, these tools just allow you to "slice and dice" through your mail.
    • Re:Virtual Folders (Score:5, Interesting)

      by waveclaw (43274) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:45PM (#6855401) Homepage Journal
      The idea is that folders, whether they be in the context of an email program or a filesystem, are actively updated searches.

      This is a Good Thing IMHO. But, I find that abstract views are almost as good. I'd love spend my time contriving useful query-based views of my mail (e.g. select * from ~/mail where address like family and pr0n = false and spam = no) rather than doing some other things [1] but alas. Fortunately there is the 'in the file system' approach that Hans Reiser [namesys.com] and crew are working toward. Files as directories of content/properties, indexes built from custom searches on transactional filesystems. And all of it open to tinkering and improvement. The UNIX 'file-os-ophy' of text files and meta-data would make my ideal open and convoluted mail storage system trivial.

      Worried about space? Run it through transparent filesystem level compression. Worried about security? Gpg ain't exactly new. Want more meta data? No problem: the filesystem of the future has plenty of flexibility for your X-Hot-Natalie-Portman-With-Grits field.

      [1] One of the few things tying me to M$ right now is the preponderance of custom sorted, property-extended email stuck in M$ proprietary formats. If I have to write another shell script to parse MBX, PST or OST formats...I think I'll scream.
    • Re:Virtual Folders (Score:3, Informative)

      by FFFish (7567)
      Opera's new email client does exactly this.
    • Re:Virtual Folders (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gyorg_Lavode (520114)
      Are there any file systems or file browsers (ala konqueror and nautilus) that allow virtual folders? I have never played with them.
    • Re:Virtual Folders (Score:5, Informative)

      by dwhittington (577769) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:35PM (#6855712) Homepage Journal
      Virtual Folders (in Evolution) are quite handy. I used to dump all of my email in silly folders until I came to the same realization as our poster. These messages really fall into multiple categories. So, I use Evolution's virtual folder feature to create folders such as "customer, vendors, eFaxes, Follow-up, Important". In the rules for folders such as vendor or customer, I add applicable email addresses or domain names under the 'sender' filter. Another helpful categorization method is to create folders named after the person who sent the email. These days, its not uncommon for Joe Bob customer to have multiple email addresses. Virtual folders can easily consolidate all of those messages into one place. It all boils down to how we think and associate data, as the ultimate goal is easy retrieval of the data. If one associates events with a person, by golly, create vfolders w/ peoples names. :)
    • It sounds very much like the concept of WFS in Longhorn. Virtual folders should be done easily with a SQL-based filesystem. However we still have to wait at least two years for Longhorn to arrive.
    • Evolution has this virtual folder concept, which allows you to set up filters that will decide in which folders mail appear - allowing one mail to apper in multiple folders (but still only having one copy of the mail).

      Furthermore when you update the filters, your virtual folders are (of course, by means of the way that it is implemented) updated.

      I used it for a while and it worked great. Until I started having more mail, then it started getting slow. Then it got really slow. I quit evolution entirely when
  • my system (Score:4, Funny)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:20PM (#6855226) Homepage Journal
    I organize files according to breast size, number of women, and relative perversity of the acts commited.

    Duh!
  • Agreed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Suhas (232056) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:20PM (#6855228)
    ...it's a windows only product, but for organizing email on windows boxes, I would recommend Nelson. I use it at work, and it allows me to organize a single email using multiple classifications and has a ton of other feartures. Check it out. [emailorganizer.com]
    • Re:Agreed... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573) *
      Well, I hate to say it, but Groupwise (while being awful at a lot of things) I can organize my emails rather quickly and rather well.

      The Link-To feature allows me to store it in multiple folders at once.

      I especially appreciate the Shared-Folder. It makes it easier for me to make emails, documents, etc, available to those that haven't a clue. The IT department is busy working on too many other things and the Novell iFolder is unacceptable for my use (my other option).

      I wish I could make subfolders under
  • Inefficiently (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pheared (446683) <kevin AT pheared DOT net> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:20PM (#6855229) Homepage
    A dash of arbitrary directory trees and a pinch of grep.

    But seriously, this subject is kind of lacking. The problem I have with organized storage is keeping it organized. I don't have the time nor the will. I need some sort of automagic organization.
    • Re:Inefficiently (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stephens_domain (679473) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @10:00PM (#6855874)
      Magic prioritization:
      Step 1: Reply to the email ASAP with a question. Emails are (at best) only half thought out to begin with, so this is typically necessary anyway. It is best if it is something the person will have to look up or follow up on, rather than something they will know right away.
      Step 2: Delete the email.

      If it takes the person two weeks to get back to you, you know that it is not important AND you just bought yourself two weeks.
      If your phone rings 30 seconds after sending the email, it is urgent.

      Everything else falls in the middle somewhere, but you get the idea. In my case, probably close to 5% of these never get a response (or get a quick reply that they will look into it, but no final answer), or having been forced to think about their request, they send a response that they need to work on the details of the request before I begin working on it.
  • Home Directory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suwain_2 (260792) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:22PM (#6855244) Journal
    What I do is I realize "This is all a mess" as I see thousands of files in my home directory. So I created a bunch of subdirectories for various things. (Some were logical, some were just by file type -- /png, /txt, etc.) Then, I found that making such an organized structure was too complicated, and stopped before I acually moved anything into any of the subdirectories.

    On Windows, it's slightly different. I save everything to my desktop, then when it gets 'full,' I delete just about everything, realizing I no longer need it.

    Not that I RECOMMEND these strategies, but it works.
  • that's easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by underpaidISPtech (409395) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:22PM (#6855245) Homepage
    porn1
    porn2
    New Folder
    New Folder(1)
    unsorted_porn
    mp3s

    • Re:that's easy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tconnors (91126) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @10:03PM (#6855895) Homepage Journal
      porn1
      porn2
      New Folder
      New Folder(1)
      unsorted_porn
      mp3s


      I made the mistake of making too many partitions on my drive. So my porn on my /home kills my /home disk freeocity, so I move some stuff to /usr/local, and set up a symlink. Then /usr/local runs out of diskspace, so I set up another symlink to /var, etc. Eventually, it all comes crashing down when I can't make a symlink in /dos, because of stupid lacking features of a dos fs.

      I'm sure I've got all this porn stashed away somewhere on some random partition on my drive that has no links pointing to it, so I'll never find it. I love it when I do find a 1GB stash of .avi files though, that I didn't know I had :)
  • by elsilver (85140) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:23PM (#6855246) Homepage
    Ah, what you want is some kind of data store, where you can classify arbitrary data by arbitrary categories, dynamically.

    The good news is, that while the Window's file system may not support this, if you wait until 2005 (2006, 2007?), this highly demanded feature will be in the next release of Windows -- yes, everyone's favourite Longhorn will turn everything into a database.

    Frankly, I don't think turning an OS into a DBMS is the right thing to do, but for certain applications, having this functionality omnipresent will be useful. Well, OK, for this one application, I'm still waiting to see examples of others.

  • Wiki (Score:5, Informative)

    by arrogance (590092) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:23PM (#6855248)
    I love wikis [c2.com] (see also Twiki [twiki.org], a very flexible one, and Openwiki [openwiki.com] if you prefer M$ technologies): you can organize anything you want, with anyone you want. It's more suited to a workgroup of people, but they work for individuals too. They're totally flexible, extensible, and templatable.

    I'm sure people here will come up with ideas like knowledge trees [runtime-collective.com] and weird topological concepts [upgrade-cepis.org], but gimme a wiki any day.
    • Re:Wiki (Score:5, Informative)

      by mikeboone (163222) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:37PM (#6855357) Homepage Journal
      I've been using TWiki for about a year, and I like it. I've been stuffing all kinds of data into it. I use it for project ideas, basic documentation, to-do lists (with the Alert plugin it does a good job of organizing them).

      TWiki is a good bit of work to set up, but I like its features more than most of the others I've seen. It has good access control, page versioning, formatting features, and extensibility.

      If my email was integrated, that would be great.
    • Personal Brain 3.0 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Soulfader (527299) <sig@s[ ]pace.net ['igs' in gap]> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @11:09PM (#6856317) Journal
      While looking into wikis, I stumbled across a nifty program called Personal Brain, from thebrain.com [thebrain.com]. It took a while to figure out just what I could do with it, but it ended up becoming a very useful tool. Some of the uses we have come up with (and actually done):
      • Keeping a master database "brain" of all of the RPG characters, players, and NPCs, along with web resources and useful files (e.g. PDFs of character sheets).
      • A logical map of the corporate network, including routers, switches, and whatnot. Since the "thoughts" can be links, files, or just text, I set it so that opening a router "thought" will start a telnet session, a server thought starts a terminal server session to that server, etc. Those were purely arbitrary. The links between network devices are color-coded by type (T1, dialup, DSL, etc). The network admin about crapped himself when I showed him--and then appropriated it for his own use.
      • Story aid. My wife likes to write, and she can link up characters, locations, events, and plot points in entirely arbitrary manners however she pleases.
      It's worth playing with, and some may find it worth purchasing. If I used Windows more, I would.

      I'd still like to get into wikis, though. =)

      • by gravelpup (305775)
        I registered PersonalBrain a few years ago and have found it indispensable. Though the arbitrary linking and animated GUI are nifty, I find the instant search box to be its best feature. Hit win-Z and start typing to get a progressive search of every node. With almost 900 nodes in my Brain, this saves me tons of time. That plus breadcrumbs and pins make it the most flexible tool (without sacrificing usability) I've seen yet.

        It's not much use as an email, calendar or todo tool, but as an all-around per

  • Opera (Score:4, Informative)

    by viware (680138) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:24PM (#6855254)
    Someone has to bring it up, so it might as well be me! Opera7 mail folders are really filters onto the mail database, meaning you can have the same message in multiple folders. Just in case you didnt know :)
  • homedir (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitalsushi (137809) * <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:24PM (#6855256) Journal
    I have my home directory (on a redhat box). the root level of my homedir is my crap directory. dangerously, the organized data lives in there in directories. for example, i have an Organized directory. in there, i have sub directories of different types. i wont go into how that is because i'll change my mind about it once i write it up, and i dont feel like redoing it right now. so, everything just ends up in my home directory until i sort it.

    i wish my view of the system was more abstracted. i'd rather have my homedir as /, and then have a /system/libs/stuff, /system/configs, and all that good stuff. either that or just not see it period. speaking of period, i guess it'd be ~/.system instead of ~/system. I hate organizing my stuff, too. It's arguable how much easier it is to find once I organize it, if my mind one day decides that it should be "schoolwork" and another day "development", et cetera. i guess organizing your piles of junk is like your fingerprint... everyone's is different.

    another thing i wish, though, is that the filesystem were more... i dont know what to call it. but i wish i could store more meta data about my files. i wish my filesystem had a comments field, and i wish that doing a directory listing would spit out file attributes like dimensions, content length, number of words, and whatever other stuff i could glean by hand. i just want it to all show up. hell, i wish i could do a recursive directory listing based on file type, not file name. and not based on the extension... cause who says i use extensions? (of course i do, what are you, daft?!) unless its a text file. unix spoiled me and i dont put extensions on those.

    heck. i wish there was a way to just export my entire home directory with everything i said into one giant 22 gigabyte compressed file that i can save somewhere, drop into a new computer, and just be up and running again just like that.
  • by IchBinEinPenguin (589252) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:24PM (#6855258)
    ... and grep

    ;-)
  • by segment (695309) <sil@politr i x . o rg> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:24PM (#6855259) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, I try to keep different partitions set for specific things, this helps in case something gets borked on one drive, it won't mess up other partitions, of course there are backups made to ensure not much is lost.

    Try doing something like this (if on *nix)

    • /dev/hda3 /home/$USERNAME/pers (personal stuff like diaries or so)
    • /dev/hda4 /home/$USERNAME/codes (if you're a programmer)
    • /dev/hda5 /home/$USERNAME/music (take a guess)
    Get the picture? The good thing about this setup is, one could always umount in case someone gets physical access to the machine, heck it could be scripted to mount and unmount on login and logout. Or you could encrypt the partitions for added security.

    At first it looks bulky, but in the end it's very easy to maintain since everything tends to fall in place. e.g. If you're scripting you could just cd /home/$USERNAME/code and not have to wonder where to save this. Unless you're really odd (like me) and begin everything with test.c or test.py or something.

  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [reggoh.gip]> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:24PM (#6855261) Journal
    I've been toying with a folderless idea to organize e-mails.

    All mail are kept into one place (say, a MySQL database). You, however, setup filters (that is, SQL queries) that show your e-mails in virtual folders.

    That is, messages can be in as many folders as they meet the selection criterion of.

    In addition to the obvious "from", "date", "subject", you could assign an arbitrary number of categories which could constitute more selection criteria.

  • by hbo (62590) * on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:25PM (#6855262) Homepage
    David Gelertner, the comp sci professor author and unabomber victim, has created software he calls Scopeware [scopeware.com]. It basically organizes information in a series of related chains. These can be date based or otherwise. I haven't used it, but I've read that he is responding to some of the same concerns you mention.

    On a less lofty, but free, note, Evolution has "virtual folders" in which you can place anything a filter expression can select. I use them to sort my email by sender address. I still have my main inbox, and all the categorized subfolders, but the virtual folders select particular people out of the massive mail database. So I can recall that Joe said something three weeks ago that relates to a current problem, and look in the "Joe" virtual folder to find it. There's still no easy way to add arbitrary messages to a virtual folder, other than adding a filter rule that selects just that one message. At least I haven't found a way. But it seems to address part of your concern, for email at least.
  • By scam (Score:5, Funny)

    by El (94934) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:25PM (#6855265)
    One folder for offers from Nigerians to make me rich, one folder for penis enlargement, and one folder for pr0n offers... that handles about 99% of my incoming email. Isn't that what everybody else does?
  • easy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Polo (30659) * on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:25PM (#6855266) Homepage
    I just export it to my web server, wait a couple of weeks for google to index it, and then google it.
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:27PM (#6855278) Homepage
    I have a organizational system which uses two folders and replication.

    Folder 1: INBOX
    Folder 2: SENT EMAIL

    Any email which is important I send to one or more anal-retentive people who will create nice organized folders in which to store the email. This how I implement replicated storage with automatic retrieval. If I ever need an email back I can simply ask for it and get a copy forwarded to me. Using this method I don't have to waste valuable brain power deciding what folder things go in. As a backup, if for some reason my replicated storage goes on vacation or is out of the office, I can search my sent folder and usually find what I need in there.

    This method works extremely well plus it has the advantage of replicated storage which helps thwart hardware failures.

    Good luck! Staying organized is a full time job!
  • by jefu (53450) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:27PM (#6855285) Homepage Journal

    Or is that KAOS (as in "Get Smart") ?

    I'm currently playing around with putting all my mail messages, bookmarks, web pages loaded, file accesses (on a day to day basis) into a database. Maybe not all the actual data, but the stuff that might help me find it when I need it. I'm hoping to eventually scan everything that changes on my computer or that I do for keywords and so on and then organize them so I can browse them by some kind of visual graph/map metaphor on any of several axes (type of file, date/time, keywords, directory ....).

    I want to be able to go in with a query like "sometime in july I did something having to do with a picnic and watermelon" and get a list of possibilities, then be able to rate those in the hopes of finding the exact info I'm looking for.

    OK, so far I only have some pieces of it. But I'm getting closer to a database schema for the information and that will help me figure out better what info I need to collect.

  • Intertwingle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Panoramix (31263) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:28PM (#6855288) Homepage

    As many people will probably point here, you should check out Evolution's "virtual folders".

    JWZ once proposed a more sophisticated approach to store mail without the hierarchical folder structure limits. You can read about it here: Intertwingle [mozilla.org]

    I don't what came out of that. I think it is a good idea still waiting to be implemented.

  • by peterdaly (123554) <petedaly@ix.netc[ ]com ['om.' in gap]> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:30PM (#6855299)
    I know other people have mentioned Evolution's vFolders, but here a little more.

    My goal is to never have an email that has value to me land in my inbox. Every time I get an email of "value" which stays in Evolution's inbox, I right click, and "Create Filter from Message". (I'm paraphrasing.)

    Every good message should have at least one filter putting it into at least one folder. Some emails have more than one rule, but the whole right click -> create filter thing makes this quick and easy.

    -Pete
  • by Trinition (114758) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:31PM (#6855305) Homepage
    Since Windows NT 4 at least, I have been able to make hard links. Granted, the OS didn't come with a tool to do it, but it did support it. Several third party tools [hlm.inc.ru] are available.

    Also, I know in Windows 2000 and Windows XP (and I heard also Windows ME), Folder Shortcuts [microsoft.com] (these are NOT shortcuts to folders) are also supported. These graft folders into the namespace that actually exist elsewhere. I've tested this across physical drives, and I believe it would also work with network-mapped drives. Note that on Windows XP, you have to temporarily switch to the classic start menu to create a Folder Shortcut.
  • Until OS X... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tokerat (150341) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:31PM (#6855306) Journal

    ...organizing data was quite simple for Mac users. (All you Mac people out there have to admit: You're right with me on this. Don't lie!)

    The process was simple:
    1. Save everything to the Desktop.
    2. When you couldn't see the background pattern anymore, create a new folder called "Desktop crap" or something, and move all the files into it.
    3. Move the folder on to the hard drive.
    4. Repeat.
    :-D
  • RT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ttyp0 (33384) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:32PM (#6855314) Homepage
    I was struggling with a similar issue myself. People in my organization would constantly email me with requests "can you do this real quick". Well 50 emails later that day it became impossible to prioritize the information. I installed a ticket system [bestpractical.com] called RT which has greatly simplified my life. Runs on mod_perl and is open source, I highly recommend it.

    Anti SCO T-Shirts [anti-tshirts.com]. Donates to the Open Source Now Fund with each purchase.

  • by jdc180 (125863) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:33PM (#6855331)
    I use microsoft exchange, and it randomly deletes, my data and users so i don't have to worry about organizing it :)

    Sorry, i'm frustrated... I'm setting up an exchange server right now.
  • grep (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Crispy Critters (226798) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:37PM (#6855361)
    In practice, I make sure everything is stored in plain ascii and run grep alot. What file did I put that phone number in? grep -i smith * */* | less

    Keeping email organized is a lot harder than it should be. There is no good way to deal with things like a seminar announcement that I need to keep for two weeks but is junk after that, or stuff that I need to remember to read or reply to but don't want to read right now (or stuff I keep because I should read it but don't want to actually read ever).

    It is also hard to remember that, when someone emails me some document, the place to store it is not in an email folder, but a directory dedicated to that project or subject. Like if someone sends a reference for a paper I am writing, it should go in ~/papers/journalname/papername/references or something, not just stay as an attachment in my inbox.

    And once in a while, you have to waste a day or two reorganizing your crap and deleting old email. This is especially hard when I have copies of documents or programs on different computers, because I have to figure out which ones are the most recent and are the authoritative copy. CVS and rsync help here; CVS makes it obvious which copy is the best one (the one in CVS), and rsync makes it easy to keep things identical on different machines so you don't have the problem to begin with.

    What was the question? Oh yeah. Let google index your entire file tree and use it to find stuff.

  • Haystack from MIT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:40PM (#6855380) Homepage
    I think MIT has a project called Haystack [mit.edu] designed just for this
    • Re:Haystack from MIT (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jonbrewer (11894) * on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:19PM (#6855631) Homepage
      I think MIT has a project called Haystack designed just for this

      I hope to see this progress. I'd spend $100 in the blink of an eye for a decent home-use information management tool. (Having used industrial-strength [and priced] document management in the past...) At the moment though, Haystack looks a little bit scary.
      Requirements from the download [mit.edu] page:

      *Pentium III 700mhz-based computer or better (Pentium 4 2ghz strongly recommended)
      *512 megabytes of RAM (768 megabytes strongly recommended)
      *Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Linux (Linux build requires GTK+ 2.0 libraries)
      *At least 1 gigabyte of disk space (or more, as your repository grows)
      *Java 2 Development Kit (JDK) 1.4

      If I had a test box with these specs, yes, I'd try it.
      • I gave it a shot with a P4 1.3, 384MB machine on WinXP. Just too slow to even use.

        I've been trying to figure out a good solution to this question myself, and I think I'm just going to have to make one I like. It's hard to find something someone else has programmed that suits your own needs for such a personalized usage, in my opinion.

        What I've planned out is something that would have a calendar, address book, to-do list, misc storage, etc. Problem is, I don't want to have to do all the categorizing my

      • DocuSEEK. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Grendel Drago (41496)
        Have you given a thought to this guy [rtfm.ath.cx]'s work? The links are funky because he moved servers, but PhotoSeek [rtfm.ath.cx] indexes documents as well. Not sure if this is what you're after, but it does a variety of formats and such.

        --grendel drago
  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:48PM (#6855420) Homepage Journal
    We got a call last week by a customer that was having problems with mail.app (OS X email app) getting "poor performance". Come to find out she, and most everyone at her company, had upwards of 2000 emails in EACH mail folder, and they had many mail folders.

    Somewhat at a loss for good ideas, I suggested she try Enterage. That's apparently what they used to use, until they broke its limit of a 2mb index, at which point Enterage crashes.

    Sheeeeeeesh. Some people just don't know what it means to keep a clean email inbox. But in her case, their business revolves around receiving customer email, and they're already keeping their mailboxes trimmed down.

    Is there any email app for OS X that can handle "industrial" needs?
  • Just to Stir the Pot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ewhac (5844) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:51PM (#6855440) Homepage Journal

    Ted Nelson's ZigZag [xanadu.com] system is a new way to store related data without resorting to a relational database. At first glance, it seems really goofy. This is usually an indication (to me, anyway) that it either really is completely goofy, or brilliant beyond my comprehension. Given Nelson's record, I'm inclined toward the latter.

    Schwab

  • Check out M2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by pastpolls (585509) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:53PM (#6855459)
    Check out Opera's M2 email client. It uses one massive "received" box and then the emails are distributed, well not actually moved but sorted, into different "views". It is a radical approach to email sorting. Messages from contacts will show up next to their names and also in and of the views you like. You can sort your email in many diffrent ways. You can set one view for, in my case "financial", where all my bank and dreaded credit card stuff goes, and also by "bank" and "credit card". It took a while to get used to but I LOVE IT.

    "If this is a sig, and sigs are for losers, then I am a loser..."
  • by wadiwood (601205) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:56PM (#6855480) Journal
    I tend to organise my mail by who it is from or who I am having the conversation with. If I am having the conversation with several people, I put the email into the folder with the person who started the conversation.

    If there is product specific stuff that I want to put in more than one place, I tend to copy it to text or word or whatever format docs and save it into folders.


    Now I am entirely dependant on filters to store stuff into the right folder. Usually all that is left in the inbox is spam or new contacts.

    There are things for sales or support staff called "contact managers" or "customer resource managers" (CRM), which let you link up documents and mail and even records of phone conversations and reminders in a more intuitive fashion. I've yet to decide which one is best even though I've spent months trying to figure it out. I guess it is too far away from how I work as a programmer (mostly). There are these ones for example: Le Grand [slashdot.org]
    ACT! [act.com]
    Microsoft have one that they got from Great Plains software [microsoft.com]
    And there is one unix based one that I know of in Finland! Nemein [nemein.com] Hmm, having trouble getting it to load but it was there last January. Try looking for Nemein.Net Sales just to prove I'm not imagining it review [lwn.net]


    Anyway I think some of those things are completely over the top but if your email systems are out of control they may help.
  • by sethadam1 (530629) * <adam AT firsttube DOT com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:59PM (#6855504) Homepage
    BeOS used file attributes and file system queries to organize data. Longhorn's WinFS is built on this concept. The real question isn't how to organize your files, it's why does your data need to be in files? Why are folders so closely entwined with our computing experience? This type of grouping is best suited for your clothes in your dresser. In real life, tossing everything into a pool and pulling out what you need by characteristics ("attributes") is much more useful.
  • The Brain (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nhavar (115351) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @08:59PM (#6855505) Homepage
    There's always The Brain (thebrain.com) which has a pretty high geek factor but works on a fairly simple premise that data can be organized many different ways in ones brain and provides paths to information based on those associations.
  • BeOS File system (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smallstepforman (121366) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:02PM (#6855520)
    It helps to have a filesystem designed with Database features in mind (ie. just like the BeOS file system). Emails are stored as normal files, with attributes like To, From, Title etc stored in the database. The same concept can be used for media files (MP3 attributes are stored into the database). When you wish to search your data, you can write queries, which are live on the BeOS, and have the results displayed in a directory window.

    It's rather awkward to explain, but it works amazingly well in practice. Once you've tried it, you realise that there is no need to store data in directories, just make sure that the attributes are up-to-date, and finding any file is a query away. Rumour has it that Windows will adopt a similar system in Longhorn. Yeah, we BeOS users (all 20 of us :-) have been using this feature for years now...
  • Ditch the folders... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TitanBL (637189) <brandon@tCOWitan ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:06PM (#6855541)
    I think this is a step in the right direction. I have been using it for a while now - check it out.

    "The goal here is to do for email (starting with your personal mailbox) what Google did for the web... The Google principle: It doesn't matter where information is because I can get to it with a keystroke. So what is Zoe? Think about it as a sort of librarian, tirelessly, continuously, processing, slicing, indexing, organizing, your messages. The end result is this intertwingled web of information. Messages put in context. Your very own knowledge base accessible at your fingertip. No more "attending to" your messages. The messages organization is done automatically for you so as to not have the need to "manage" your email. Because once information is available at a keystroke, it doesn't matter in which folder you happened to file it two years ago. There is no folder. The information is always there. Accessible when you need it. In context." ZOE [evectors.it]
  • by NightLamp (556303) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:10PM (#6855568) Journal
    I used to beta this thing by this company called Autonomy [autonomy.com] which would sort and sift all your (and everyone elses) cruft to assemble a list of relevant links (to your stuff and others) in response to your activities.

    IMO it did this in real-time, must have made for some impressive indices.

    Maybe this is the answer, open-source Autonomy. I am a mere perlmonks acolyte so I will leave it up to the real brains to figure it out ;-)
  • theBrain (Score:3, Interesting)

    by altp (108775) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:16PM (#6855616) Homepage
    thebrain (www.thebrain.com) could be used, or at least something like it, to handle this. Basically, everything is treated as a thought and can have multiple parents, siblins, childern.

    I've always classified thebrain as 'really neat', but not very usable. Once you put a lot of information into it, the interface becomes difficult to use. But the concpet is still sound.
  • WinFS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ceyan (668082) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:20PM (#6855639)
    Not sure if this has been mentioned (probably has), but the new Longhorn release of Windows is supposed to be shipped with a new file system (WinFS) which does exactly what you need. It (again, all just theory right now) will work by using a SQL database instead of a FAT table. This means you can now classify files.

    So you'll access a "folder" which basically has a list of properties, and all files with those properties will be show. So if I want all my pictures from my vacation to hawaii, as well as my monthly financial reports, I'd create a folder that "contains" all files on those subjects, and whenever I accessed that folder it'd show me all files that fit those catagories. But on the same hand I can have another "folder" which shows me just my vacation pictures.
    • Re:WinFS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by krray (605395) * on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @11:11PM (#6856326)
      > It will work by using a SQL database instead of a FAT table. This means you can now classify files.

      Great -- now I can lose my "files" that much faster.

      Stickies? Apple's .app works great for that.

      Threaded via highlighting (in today's version -- just wait) with Apple's Mail.app is nice too.

      The key is that *I* will still have to organize and be able to find easily my data (instead of ALWAYS doing a "search" I suppose). This file system, that file system -- it's still a tree'ing directory structure (logically at least). With symbolic links (Un*x) I can easily cross link anything. Sure -- a database is good for doing that concept too. WinFS isn't the end all be all considering their work to date and what is already on the market with Linux and OS X.

      Either way, here or there, that OS or the other, which ever file system *I* will have to organize -- Microsoft is only trying to dummy things down even MORE. What's next, macro enabled file system virus' that infect and wipe out my entire "database"? Oh, wait, we already have that.

      Flame bait attempt? Certainly not. This certainly didn't answer the question. My answer has been to Folder/File emails according to project, as needed. The names always change. Eventually simply "dated" and burned or deleted as needed. Of course Apple's current searching functions across all their applications is extraordinary and will only get that much better with Panther. How many more years until Longhorn?

      Heck, with Linux, or BSD, or even OS X for that matter a simple "find . -print | grep -i whatever_i_think_it_could_be" will do a fast and dirty search. Doesn't really work too well with Windows, now does it?
  • Sets, not trees (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:24PM (#6855666) Journal
    I have pondered the same thing. Being a relational fan, I of course lean toward sets instead of (or in addition to) trees. Here is my webpage describing various post-tree approaches and interfaces: [geocities.com]
    http://www.geocities.com/tablizer/sets1.htm (I know, geocities sucks, but there are too many links to it already to switch.)
  • Evolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheFlu (213162) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:26PM (#6855676) Homepage
    I know other users have already pointed out how well Evolution works for sorting mail, but I just wanted to attest to how well it works even for large amounts of email.

    I used to create new folders for specific types of email, but I found it very difficult to manage and search all the folders after a while, so I ended up moving all of my email to a single folder, Inbox. I currently have 24,949 messages in my Inbox and Evolution is still extremely fast when it comes to sorting and searching through them all.

    I also make use of the excellent VFolders feature of Evolution, to save frequent searches into their own folders. I've been using Evolution now for several years, and it just keeps getting better and better [ximian.com].
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx. b c .ca> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:29PM (#6855689) Journal
    I am probably the single most forgetful person on the face of the earth. Yet somehow, I manage to get by thanks to three words: "Post-It Notes"

    Thank you 3M.

  • by metalligoth (672285) <metalligoth.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @09:31PM (#6855698)

    For file systems I use symbolic links in a column viewed filesytem. I really like what a company formerly known as NeXT [apple.com] has done with some of their products. Their software for pictures and music both have a "Library". From there you can drag songs or pictures into "Playlists" (music) or "Albums" (photos).

    Very cool.

    As for software, I use OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner from OmniGroup [omnigroup.com]. OmniOutliner is especially simple, yet unique. I wonder why no one else has an idea organizer that is so incredible? I couldn't do my job without it. Well, I could, but I'd use a lot of paper or spend a lot of time in OpenOffice messing around with things.

    • As for software, I use OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner from OmniGroup. OmniOutliner is especially simple, yet unique. I wonder why no one else has an idea organizer that is so incredible? I couldn't do my job without it.

      I'll second this. I don't actually shell out for software very often, but I paid for OmniOutliner. It's a terrific program. I'd pay for OmniGraffle, too, but I'm on a tight budget these days and can't justify spending the $69.95 they want for it. That's not to say it's not worth it, jus
  • by ferrocene (203243) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @10:05PM (#6855907) Journal
    What, you thought there was more?
  • Check out Zoe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lakeland (218447) <lakeland@acm.org> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @10:42PM (#6856146) Homepage
    Have a look at http://guests.evectors.it/zoe/

    It is wonderfully easy to use, and does everything you want. Oh, it does take a bit of getting used to.
  • Use keywords (Score:3, Interesting)

    by too_bad (595984) * on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @11:28PM (#6856408)
    After a lot of vareity of putting stuff in folders I realised that my mind does not think
    the same way while organising, as while looking for something. I never seem to find
    the right folder when I want it.

    So now I am using evolution, put all mails (except SPAM, CVS, Bug reports etc) in INBOX
    folder and create virtual folders based on keywords. But most of my successful hits are
    when I filter for keywords over this INBOX folder as I need info. Its works 90% of the time.

    Infact another rule in conjunction to this: Never delete anything

    I am next going to break my INBOX into separate folder for each 3-months and try doing the
    filters over the whole set of inboxes.
  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @12:03AM (#6856559) Homepage
    My personal directory tree system is somewhat complex, but, importantly, it works. I find my things, and my directories are clean.

    The most USEFUL directories you can create are three personal tmp directories, like so:

    • tmp
    • tmpSep
    • tmp2003
    When you do that, you instantly get rid of clutter: small files that you don't really care about, but want to keep for some finite amount of time.

    There are many more techniques. I'd like to write about them some time, but now is not that time.

  • Sorting Files (Score:3, Interesting)

    by os2fan (254461) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @12:27AM (#6856649) Homepage
    In the long run, i settled for a file structure based on some home-grown catalogue.

    The base directory describes the block.

    Take for example software. There are two possible ways of sorting this: stuff from vendors and stuff by structure. I use both, but the majority of stuff gets stored in the vendor tree, and the minority under the opsys tree. So if i want a non-descript OS/2 utility for file management, i would look under opsys/os2/fileman/ while something from say file commander/2 [which i use a lot] is /vendor/fileman/harvard/os2/.

    Personal stuff gets stored under the tdisk tree. These are grouped under broad catergories, eg 'maths', and then a date directory. eg: /tdisk/maths/nbfk/

    The whole idea is if ye take a bucket-load of backup cdroms, ye should get a single tree that is easy to sort through.

  • by AutumnLeaf (50333) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @01:43AM (#6856825)
    The more I try to strongly 'type' my data, the longer it takes to deal with it. Big general buckets work the best for me.

    I don't always succeed at that, but I do try. Sometimes I don't produce the same neural network or mneumonic-map that I did two years ago for the same datum, and then it gets lost. So the more general, the better.
  • by waimate (147056) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @02:24AM (#6856931) Homepage
    You can't shoehorn the world into a hierarchy; not even multiple hierarchies. It just doesn't work that way. It's like someone with a hammer trying to view the world as a nail, or multiple nails, just because that's the only tool he's got.

    I organize my emails by putting everything in a single folder. No need to agonise over classification or get grumpy at myself for misfiling. Then I use ISYS [isys.com.au] to find whatever I need to find, using a plain english description of my need. Works a treat. ISYS is a swiss army knife search tool, but best of all, there's a stripped-down, email-only version coming out in a couple of weeks.

  • by GlowStars (57169) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @06:22AM (#6857520)
    Intriguing little program:
    ZOE is an email client. It's also a email server. And a long term

    archive. And a search engine. And an application server. All that at
    once on your desktop. Or server. Or both. Or it doesn't matter because
    client and server are the same.
    You can get it here. [evectors.it]
  • by Slartibartfast (3395) * <[gro.stoj] [ta] [nek]> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @06:50AM (#6857609) Homepage Journal
    First and foremost, leave everything in your inbox.
    "But the point of this excercise is to _organize_ my ifnormation!"
    Well, yes. Which brings me two the second mechanism(s): use Evolution's v-folders. I really wish that more clients supported v-folders, because they the ideal metaphor for e-mail soft links. So, now you're stuff's "organized" in one folder, and many sub-folders. Why is the "one folder" bit important? Because -- and here's the nifty part -- you can now grep/Perl/regex the hell out of it with a fair bit of facility.

    $.02
  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:13AM (#6858082) Journal
    ... you should perhaps keep informed of the development of Chandler [osafoundation.org]. It's supposed to address your questions, it's open source and funded. Only problem is it's not out yet, but it should be in a primitive form in a couple of months or so.

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