Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Jul 2007 12:54 UTC
Windows Six months ago, after a long gestation period, Microsoft finally released Windows Vista. Vista is a huge release; not only because of the long list of new features, but also because of its sheer size, and number of bugs and other oddities and downsides. The development process that lead to Vista has left many with a very bitter aftertaste; features were cut, codebases were scrapped, release dates postponed. A few days ago, Microsoft released some sparse details on Vista's successor, internally dubbed 'Windows 7', and in order to prevent another Vista-like development cycle, here is what I would advise Microsoft to do. Update: APCMag reports that Julie Larson-Green, who was the driving force behind Office 2007's new Ribbon user interface, has been transferred to the Windows 7 GUI team.
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Arakon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Every time I read a comment like that, about something that is the "Holy Grail" of Desktop computing I really want to hear some justification to this claim.

How does adding more text in a special attribute tag on every file going to help me? How are these tags populated? Does he user have to populate them every time one is created? what about files that are created by other programs? What makes this more revolutionary than just using a regular search box that already ships with most OS's?

Everyone keeps saying how great this meta data attribute tag is but really what does it do that a good directory structure doesn't do already? Maybe there is room for meta tags on some files of specific types like jpgs and such, but that would perhaps be best served by changing the standards a little rather than the file system?

Is adding more overhead to a file system the right way to be going for the "Future of Computing"?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

In theory, the proper use of attributes would allow you to have a near-infinite number of 'directories,' with each file being able to be placed into one or hundreds of thoe directories.

For example, I am both a steampunk fan and an RPG gamer. If I bought a steampunk RPG online, I could effectively put it into both folders at once, without dealing with clunky links or shortcuts.

Reply Parent Score: 1

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Currently, the only method we have of categorizing data is incredibly kludgy. Let's say I take a picture on vacation with my girlfriend and another couple, how do I store it? something like

/pictures/vacation/2007/beach/group22.jpg

First off, this provides no flexibility when it comes to retreving it. I am only limited to one method, and am forced to select the one i think will be the most meaningful to me (what happens if I want to find all the pictures with me and the gf on the beach? or all the shots of that other couple?) What is going on is that I am using directories as a very limited form of meta data.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that mazes are difficult for the human mind, which is why they have been used as games for so long. Someone who is technically inclined can learn to be very efficient with directory based orginization, but if you look at the average person, their directories are consistantly a mess. They will have a small number of huge folders with really long filenames, and get completely lost if they are required to navigate out of that safe haven.

Now, meta data provides a far more flexible and natural way of storing data. Instead of

pictures/vacation/2007/beach/group22.jpg

I could instead have tagged the picture vacation, 2007, beach, sunset, girlfriend, couple, summer, relaxed. The path could simply be

pictures/nice evening.jpg

and be far more accessible then the current option.

If you think about it, the filesystem is pretty much the last place that forces these restrictions on you. Photo and music management software both use meta data to great effect. On the web it is even more previlent, in everything from email to blogs.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Arakon Member since:
2005-07-06

I stated there was a place for meta data in media files in my post, but not everything needs meta data and adding it to a file system seems backwards. It would be better to have Media files with a wrapper or add-on like an ID3 tag on mp3s. If the meta data was stored in an addendum to the media files themselves then the files could be moved from file-system to file-system while preserving the information.

By making the meta-data file-system specific wouldn't that create that dreaded "Microsoft Lock-in" that everyone always bitches about? Then we'd have all kinds of wasted effort and time spent trying to convert this data so that other file-systems could use it and not restrict the files to a Microsoft only file system.

No thanks.

Reply Parent Score: 2

peejay Member since:
2005-06-29

what happens if I want to find all the pictures with me and the gf on the beach?

I could instead have tagged the picture vacation, 2007, beach, sunset, girlfriend, couple, summer, relaxed.


You forgot to also tag the picture as "me" so it wouldn't show up in your search.

Obviously you'd be more careful when you're actually tagging the real pictures, but you were up to 8 tags already and the first search you wanted to do was broken (showing that tagging does require time and effort to be done right). I don't know how many photos you have, but individually tagging let's say 150 photos after each vacation (not to mention the 10,000 photos you've already taken ;) with 10+ tags each is I think more work than most people are ready for. If you're lucky, you might get them all tagged with "summer, vacation, 2007" since it applies to all of them, but in that case /2007/summer/vacation works just as well.

Reply Parent Score: 1