Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Middle Lake Jefferson, LeSueur County, MN
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Middle Lake Jefferson, LeSueur County, MN
I took these photos over this week. They, along with the dates of the pictures, document that April 15, 2008 was the last day that our lake had a substantial covering of ice.
Why do I bring this up?
Every year, year in and year out, the LWW and I have the same damned discussion that begins with, "Gee, when did the ice go out on the lake last year?" And neither of us remembers with any large degree of certainty. (But I am sure I am always closer to the exact date.)
But next year, thanks to this very blog entry, this small bit of personal information that has been so hard to keep track of in the past, will be accessible. I'll just search the Blue Skunk for ice. My blog has become a PIM (Personal Information Management) tool.
Miguel Guhlin and others have been promoting a new PIM tool, Diigo. Miguel's even challenged me to review a video about the resource. (Good video. Not as clear nor amusing as the Common Craft tutorials, but then Diigo seems to be a complex tool. Better production values than Common Craft. Like the lyrics but you can't dance to it. One thumb up.)
As I watch the Diigo tutorial, I started thinking about where and how I store the information I need to find again. When am I successful and when am I less so? How can I improve? I did start reading William Jones' Keeping Found Things Found, but found it pretty slow going. I will persevere. Guy writes like a college professor. Anyway looking at some of my information storage and retreival techniques..
I only use one computer for both work and personal use. Its a laptop I drag home and back - every night. I could keep everything online (e-mail, documents, bookmarks, etc.) but then I would be at the mercy of having an Internet connect all the time. While that is getting more likely, I travel enough that "likely" isn't sufficient. PIM grade: B
I have two e-mail accounts - one for work and one persona. Both download into my Entourage program on my single laptop. I have very good, very extensive filing system so it is relatively simple to find information in an email I am looking for. PIM grade: A-
I keep a combined calendar and address book on the district's Exchange server. I can mark my personal calendar dates private. Exchange/Outlook leaves a copy resident on the harddrive of my computer. I do drag a paper calendar with me to meetings where I don't take my computer and I use an old method called "manual sync!" PIM grade: B-
Electronic files are either on my laptop hard drive or on one of two web/blog spaces. While I've always used a pretty good filing system, I am finding that Spotlight and the web/blog search engines are faster than navigating through hierachtical files. I am not yet dumping everything into one big folder - or worse yet, leaving it all on my desktop. I still have two file drawer of paper "stuff" - one at work and one at home. PIM grade:Grade: B-
I have phone numbers stored in Entourage, on my cell phone, on my home phone's memory, taped to side of the fridge, on sheets stuffed in the phone directory by my desk, in my office phone's memory, in my home phone memory and even on business cards in a little holder by my phone. It's a problem of having too many phones. PIM grade: D-
My web bookmarks are scattered among two webbrowsers and a del.icio.us account. Would moving to Diigo add just one more place to have to look for a bookmark or replace each current means of storing them? D
My usernames and passwords for a bazillion online accounts are slowly being beaten into submission using a FileMaker Pro database that is password protected. It seems to be overkill for such a task, but I don't know another solution. They auto-fill in webbrowsers is like the auto-dial on the phone - it is deviously simple to never memorize a username and password. PIM grade: Grade D+
I have yet to find a PDA or PDA/Cellphone I like very much. Batteries discharge too quickly. My Treo was too small to be a good calendar and too bulky to be a good cellphone. Too often when I would sych, I'd wipe everything out or create duplicate entries of everything.
Like most people, I am sure I could save hours of downstream time if I took a few hours and just spent it getting organized. Who take the time? From Machines Are the Easy Part; People Are the Hard Part:
74. Upstream cost, downstream savings.
Now and again, it seems a picture in my house hangs crooked and each time I pass one, I take a few seconds to straighten it.
Conceptually I know that if took five minutes, got a hammer, a nail, a pencil, and a level, I could put in a second nail and never have to straighten the damn picture again.
But like most people, I never seem to have the upstream time it takes to realize downstream time savings. Human nature, I suppose.
That's probably the major reason technology is so difficult to get busy educators to use. Convincing someone that learning to create a ,pdf file of an often-requested document, load it to a website, and create a link to it - thereby saving all the time it takes to locate, print, and send the document manually - is a tough sell.
About as tough as it is to convince me to go get the hammer.
Any PIM tips you'd be willing to share?