Organizing Data: Whence Real Integration?


I was just answering an email and realized how far we are from real integration. There were two related emails. One with an attachment that I wanted to save to a folder. One of them turned into an appointment. Don't forget my reply. I also have two related URLs that I want to keep track of related to the emails. The emails are in a two email folders (received and sent), the attachment, now modified, is in a folder, and the URLs are in my bookmark list. I really want them all in one place. Furthermore I want managing them to be easy. Here's some workarounds:

  • I can save the email messages as text to a folder and drag the URLs there as well. I can't attach that folder to the appointment, however, or store the appointment in the folder in any meaningful way.
  • I could blog it all, but that seems like an unwieldy solution. And here again, there's no good way to tie it to the event.

Maybe the answer is something like David Gelernter's Lifestreams metaphor, but that seems like overkill. I liked hearing that in Chandler everything has a URL. Giving everything a name in a common namespace is the first and more important step to unification.

What I want is for Apple to realize that iLife should link the things in my life: appointments, email, documents, and URLs rather than my music, movies and pictures. I think Apple is in danger of focusing too much on the gee-whiz media stuff (witness their announcement of yesterday) and not enough on the stuff that will really make a difference in the lives of their customers. I like iTunes and iPhoto, but if they went away my life would go on. Not so with my email, appointments, files, and URLs.