Some Old Insights Worth Re-Examining

With all of the preoccupation we have today with organizing the millions of files and documents we collect in our firms and organizations and on the web — and rightfully so, in my humble opinion — I often refer colleagues to a paper: THE SECOND COMING — A MANIFESTO By David Gelernter. In this paper, published a few years ago, David challenges many of the norms and mental models on which our current computing platforms are based.

Whether you agree with him or not on all or any of his 58 points, it is worth the read. David challenges much of the basic thinking around which our current computing environment is based

Some quotes:

From # 8:

Today’s operating systems and browsers are obsolete because people no longer want to be connected to computers — near ones OR remote ones. (They probably never did). They want to be connected to information.”

For those interested in file organization and retrieval – check out items 26-33 on page 4 of the manifesto.

My favourite, #30:

If you have three pet dogs, give them names. If you have 10,000 head of cattle, don’t bother. Nowadays the idea of giving a name to every file on your computer is ridiculous.

While this Manifesto may be viewed by some as dated, many of the problems he points out still exist in our current computing infrastructure (hardware, software and networks). When will we see real innovation rather than so much more of the same?

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