Monthly Archives: February 2008

Web 2.0 on the Desktop

Ever wished you could do away with folder structures on your desktop/laptop computer? The visual idea we have about files and folders as objects and collectors has become so innate to file organizers that it gets irritating some times to find files. With the proliferation of high bandwidth and the huge increase in the data being collected and stored by people, the mp3 revolution, the p2p revolution, etc., finding data and organizing data has become a bane on the desktop. None of the three primary operating systems offer a convenient way to automatically and intelligently sort the data in downloaded files into categories, which explain what the files consist of and what they do.At least I have this problem of downloaded files not getting noticed after I download them. I download papers, articles, files, programs on to my desktop and at times, they clutter the desktop, but when I am done organizing them (into folders) I find it difficult to find the files I need. With file names such as “do2376.pdf” “math_izz_ipr_pdf.pdf” and “web45ghu.exe”, most downloaded files and programs have neither an unambiguous name nor an indicative meta data which shows what the file/setup program contains.

  • A useful and underused technique in Windows could have been implemented into the tooltip system. The tooltip is a very common meta data organizer which lets us know what we are doing in Excel sheets, tells us the names of commands or what they do, and so on. Unfortunately, although people use tool tips well otherwise, it is not popular with the masses who create content which can be downloaded or programs.
  • The linux desktop offers a great alternative to the folder maze. Enter Leaftag. This is a nifty little set of utilities which can tag folders and files and make the information inside the folder make sense. What is especially interesting is that on linux systems with Leaftag there will still be files as usual, but they could be tagged in case you want to remember something about them.
  • Delicious‘ system of social bookmarking is a great way to organize information on the web specific to a user’s browsing activities. It is interesting what a combination of RSS and Delicious bookmarks can do. Why is it not possible to do the same within the framework of a desktop?
  • There is a software for Windows too, as shown in this lifehacker post:

In order to encourage you to tag new files as they’re created, tag2find can also monitor your new files and prompt you for tags. tag2find then provides a couple of ways to search through your tags, both of which seem to provide snappy results. Add to that automated tagging by filetypes, tag clouds, and Windows Media Player integration, and tag2find is a surprisingly powerful tool.

I await more proliferation of the ideas of Web 2.0 to the desktop. But this is second in line after my favorite wishful hack idea: instant-on computers. (And no, I don’t mean boot times of under 15 seconds as you get in SSD powered computers.)


Posted by on February 16, 2008 in Gadgets, Tricks, Utilities