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>> No. 24349 Anonymous
2nd July 2015
Thursday 8:54 pm
24349 A potentially shit idea
I've noticed recently I've established similar categories of interest across several programs, clients, browser extensions, whatever I use on my computer (the files I keep on my hard drive are organised in the same way as my bookmarks, which are the same as the labels I use for my mailing list, and so on).

When I think about how I'd really like to view these things, what I want more than anything is an operating system that organised all of this by subject, rather than by opening programs that could open certain filetypes/navigate to locations. I realise this is sort of possible now since widgets have become more popular, but I've never really found a tidy, comprehensive or satisfactory way of achieving this. The more I think about it, the more I'd like to be able to just apply universal tags to everything I can possibly access, e-mails, RSS items, online bookmarks, PDFs, YouTube videos, notes, etc., and have updates or additions appear automatically within that category, and then have separate desktops for each category, like i nthe picture.

I'm aware programs like Evernote sort of do this, but that requires opening everything in other programs and clients first and manually sending them to the program. I want an OS that would do this automatically, or in such a way where the category took precedent over browsing for the item. For example, anytime you wanted to add something, you'd add through the widgets. Even better if it presents everything in a customisable and aesthetically pleasing way.

So, please tell me why I'm stupid/that a universal 'viewer' like this already exists/that it would never work and would be horrible to use.
Expand all images.
>> No. 24352 Anonymous
2nd July 2015
Thursday 9:55 pm
24352 spacer
The basic problem with the idea is that of categorisation. It's very hard for software to understand meaning, and how data relates to other data on a human level. Categorising things is really difficult even for humans, and damned near impossible for computers.

A lot of categories have very fuzzy definitions, so it's hard for a program to decide whether something is in that category or not. Many data types are very difficult to process automatically - categorising a video might require accurate speech recognition, categorising images might require good machine vision and so on.

Tim Berners Lee proposed a very similar idea called the Semantic Web, but it never really took off. The hope was that resources on the web could be tagged with relevant metadata, to allow for exactly the sort of application you describe. Content creators tended not to bother adding those tags, and those who did often just stuffed it with spammy keywords. Google totally ignores the keywords meta tag (and treats the other tags very skeptically) because it was so rampantly abused by SEO spammers.

The software you describe isn't necessarily very difficult to build, but would require an enormous amount of tedious manual cataloguing to be even remotely useful. Some systems do work in the way you describe, but they're generally only used for highly valuable data that is already very well categorised, like scientific or financial information.


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