The Low Fi Manifesto – Data Architecture, and Journler

I’ve been chatting with the folks over at digital complements + about Journler and they pointed me to Karl Stolley’s The Lo-Fi Manifesto.

Reading it reminded me of when I was serving my time in the land of technology management. Back then the Architecture and Planning group reported to me and we were pretty sure that the age of applications and hardware was over. The future was about data. We spent most of our waking hours trying to find ways to undo the mess left from just about five decades of applications dumping data into siloed databases.

Why the victory of data over hardware (or applications)? Because of processor speed development trends. The challenge was no longer doing stuff with the data, it was getting to all the data so you could maximize the value of your installed hardware. I think this is an industrial version of the points made by Stolley.

But its not easy either at an industrial or personal level. The reason these data silos exist is because you can get a project delivered on-time and more reliably (in the short term) if you only worry about the data stack it creates, not integrating it into some distant data store you have zero familiarity with.

Making a common data architecture in my personal life is a whole ‘nutha mess. On a personal computing level my problem is that I’m like a chimp in a cage. Give me a new toy and I’ll drop everything else to play with it. I twist it and turn it and try and find out how it works. I’m doing that right now with Google Notebook, because a fellow blogger turned me on to it.

Only last night did I say “What am I doing? If get this thing set up and running just right I’ll have fractured my data set between a browser based application and my hard drive based application (Journler). In other words I’ll make it twice as hard to find anything”. But it’s still so cool…

Another point from Lo-Fi is Journler’s utilization of native rtf files for it’s data storage. I know it’s still a leap of faith to say that these files will be accessible forever regardless of the future of Phil Dow and his application (I still need an operating system and some text reader to access them…It’s not like they are in a non-technology dependent interface like paper) But I know I feel better, having once lost piles of stuff to the forever wasteland of proprietary databases, that Journler is putting as much as possible in a format that I can get to even without Journler, the application.

Thanks for the reference to Lo-Fi. Its not easy to find so here’s a link…

Karl Stolley’s CV

More on file systems, archiving and note taking from Dougist…

Dating DEVONThink

Writing Tools – Journler

Shifting Mediums

Moving on from Journler, DT, all of them… File System Infobase Manager

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  1. Posted October 15, 08 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Lo-Fi manifesto. I understand your fractured feeling with common data architecture since I have just started using Journler and so am in that transition process. The other nice thing about Google notebook is that it also acts as a storage backup if your computer crashes. However, I do wonder if there will ever be ramifications for leaving all of our data in the hands of Google. Do we still own it?

  2. Posted November 16, 08 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    “I’m like a chimp in a cage. Give me a new toy and I’ll drop everything else to play with it.”

    If that’s the case, I’m right there in the cage with you… ;)

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