A Fog of Apps
A glimpse into my computer life 2007-2013 :
- I have downloaded over 900 apps in 6 years, a trend likely to accelerate due to the lowering prices of apps. Imagine doing this on a PC without running into a nasty virus and a tremendous bill.
- I have journeyed through multiple operating systems and migrated from desktop to mobile.
- I have moved most of my information into the cloud and choose software based on their cloud support and mobile clone.
- I took approximately 7800 pictures and videos. The only category my wife beats me hands down.
- Privately I’ve stop emailing anyone under the age of 70 and
- I have shared more with my inner circle between the ages 14 and 70 than at any moment in our lives.
I have undoubtedly generated more data personally and professionally and…it’s liberating yet suffocating.
Say my name!
Each app or service I use will most likely ask me who I am. I will either have to remember my name(?!) from a previous encounter or make up a new and even sillier name. And then comes the dreaded password requirement which needs to be so strong its impossible to remember. I know there’s an app for that but my parents already gave me a name at birth and happily counted 10 little passwords. One company has smartly recognized this fact and hopefully I’ll try it this Christmas. Even though it isn’t infallible and can be hacked by my 4 year old, it’s far better than remembering 900 passcodes which are unbreakable with brute force attacks by global distributed networks. As beautifully presented in this dynamic visualization I suspect no company will ever be entirely safe from breaches.
A Forest of Data
Now the above doesn’t bother me as much as the disconnect between these services by creating silos. In previous posts I’ve mentioned losing information much to my chagrin. I’m already working on solving the bridge of cut, copy and paste and integrating tasks in a single workflow. But ultimately my aim is to dwindle the number of 900 apps. The disparate manner and ambition each service exhibit to solve my problem while struggling to incorporate my larger environment concerns me. Because I find they mostly ignore the context and intent I might have in harvesting and handling all my data and associated analytics.
If This Then What?
This problem has not gone unnoticed nor unexploited by others as even legal professionals have wandered into the cloud with Dropbox (58%), Google Docs (43%) and Evernote (23%). This is also reflected in their use of popular productivity mobile apps. However, these services only store my information but do not connect to my workflow. Moreover, they most likely ignore the intent of legal professionals. Now in order to get a handle on this divergence I starting mapping out my own information network and how it all connects based on how I use it. And then visualized my intent as a legal professional.
Nowadays most services support some connections while some purposely block each other. I used RSS trickery or just simply emailing the service to connect my information. Lately I’m able to use smarter services that ‘cook up’ better connections. IFTTT is such a service which use “recipes” to help me reconnect. Even notable publishers like the NY Times have been getting in on the action. Its getting better but its less than ideal so my search continues.
As featured in DESH I would imagine creating rules such as: IF I receive news on Copyright Transfers I would
- THEN save it to Monocle OR
- THEN add a reminder in Zepp to email my client. OR
- THEN update documents.
I have spend the first 26 years of my life learning, I’ve noticed spending the rest struggling to keep up with all I have learned. The internet serves to be an engine of convenience by connecting not diverging and we should continue to support that goal.