journal is hard + sugar and the digital age

Albert Cahalan acahalan at
Fri Oct 10 01:53:39 EDT 2008

Edward Cherlin writes:
> On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 7:15 AM, Carlos Nazareno <object404 at> wrote:

>>>> 3) Basically - The journal is really hard for people/ kids to
>>>> use over a longer period of time. Kids and teachers can't find
>>>> things that they did unless it was done within the last 30 minutes.
>>> Could you please elaborate on the difficulties that people have
>>> when using the journal?
>> I've experienced the same problem. Items tend to clutter up in the
>> journal over time, it's like viewing your entire web browsing history.
>> Its current implementation simply leads to information overload with
>> the accumulating number of entries.
> How about the Gmail method, in which you archive messages when
> you are done with them, but you can tag messages, set filters,
> and search easily?

tags: useless
filters: useful only for automated deletion of incoming spam
search: useful only for plain text

Fortunately, the vast majority of my email is text.
The journal is expected to handle lots of non-text data.

The email comparison is a good one. Just like an inbox, there
is an unrelenting torrent of spam that must be dealt with.
The main difference is non-text data, which makes the "search"
and "filters" ideas unworkable.

What you're lacking can be summed up like this: "I put my data HERE,
where I can expect to find it later." There is no "HERE" in the
journal. Imagine storing 100% of your household goods in a giant
concrete mixer that rotates whenever you look away. You'd never
be able to find anything.

Now imagine that your neighbors like to empty their trash into
your concrete mixer. (spam problem) If you hadn't given up on
finding your stuff already, you will now! It's easier to buy new
stuff (start a fresh document) whenever you need it, and you might
want to keep your most beloved possessions in your desk at work
(copy them to a USB key). When the concrete mixer gets too full,
you toss in a lit match (kids in Uruguay "rf -rf" the datastore)
to keep the neighbors from complaining that they have no place to
empty their trash.

None of the recent suggestions, even if perfectly implemented,
would fix these problems. That's not even considering the issue
of compatibility with non-Sugar systems and user expectations.

More information about the Devel mailing list