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I dream of genie

max shout
There was a time when cell phones were utterly primitive. You could store a person's name and one number and that was it. So people took to making contacts like 'person1' and 'person 2' or 'person home' and 'person office' for multiple entries. Sometime later, phone makers decided to provide the ability to add multiple numbers for home and office, and specify one as default. They also supported synchronizing contacts with your PC, or your office Exchange server- and added a whole lot of other fields for email/physical addresses, organization name, designation, birthday etc. Still further down the line and they started adding fields for instant messaging, VOIP and what not. With Android came seamless support for multiple contact providers - so you could have a unified address book for all your Facebook, Gmail and other social networking contacts. The address book also grew smart enough to merge contacts across providers and display their latest status updates.

Yet, the vast majority of people use their email accounts like it's still 2001, and continue to follow the person1 person2 naming convention. They continue to be hideously disorganized when it comes to their digital life- their computers are filled with millions of arbitly named folders (How many times have you seen on a Windows PC - 'New Folder(1), New Folder(2) and so on?). No wonder at one point desktop search was considered a lucrative field.
And this when the base work is already done for you. Microsoft has provided default locations for saving documents, music and video for years, the My Documents and related folders. Look at any office PC and you'll find instead folders named after the user elsewhere with stupid names like new and test or test 123, and if you ever have to get them to look for something, you could watch paint dry while they laboriously struggle to remember where they put their files, or set off a full disk search and wait while the PC groans with the effort. Meanwhile, My Documents remains devoid of any files, even though it is the first place that is shown whenever you use an 'open' or 'save as' dialog.
Recognizing this usage pattern, Windows 7 introduces the concept of a library - where you can group multiple folders together under a category and access all files within it regardless of where they are stored, even if they're shared folders on the network. So you can have separate libraries for documents, music and videos again.
And again, I wouldn't bet on anyone using this as intended. What people ideally want is a digital genie. A personal assistant who takes care of all the mundane filing and organizing and can instantly recall the information you want. Apple's Siri is such a hit because of this - you can talk to it using natural language and for the most part the voice recognition works. It is definitely much easier to tell your phone to call XYZ than search through for it yourself.

It's also a personality thing. I for one file away my information in categories, so I know where to start looking. To this day I've never had to use the search feature on my computer because all my docs etc are filed under proper folders and I know where to go to get something. Same goes for music - everything is nicely ID3 tagged and I can immediately jump to any song in Winamp without ever having to visit the file system.
Same way, I recognized the value of an online addressbook ages ago, and about ten years ago I spent an afternoon organizing my contacts on Yahoo addressbook, entering their phone numbers as well. I carried on the practice after the switch to Gmail as well.
The result - when finally now I get an Android phone, I have to do exactly nothing- my addressbook is elegantly sorted as if by magic. Of the zillions of contacts gathered over the years, I move only the ones I want to the 'My Contacts' group, and by default only that group syncs to the phone. So I get only about 60 odd contacts on my phone, filtered and visible (I can always search the others if I want to).

Now looking around me I realize that I'm the only one who does this - learn how a piece of software works and use it to the max. Once pixelflame sniggered and said I had OCD to be doing all this. I dunno..it doesn't cost a lot of time to do once, but the convenience is forever.

At least until the digital genie becomes a reality and eliminates the need to do all this. I hope it looks like this though.

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