Years ago, when I first started using email, I did indeed do this with procmail and other arcane beasties. Then, I found myself cursing that I couldn't do cross-folder searches very easily. Also, the filters and folders started making less sense as their structure represented only one possible scheme for finding what I was looking for, and I was needing many possible kinds of schemes over time. So, eventually it all ended up in one pile, and searches became my way of finding things.
I abandoned bookmarks for Google by the same principle. Now, my bookmarks consist completely of bookmarklets and a few stray links to local on-disk pages like Python documentation. In fact, I wishing that I could create bookmark folders that are fed by Google API powered persistent searches.
So, now I'm looking balefully upon my filesystem.

<AOL>Me too!</AOL> I really, really suck at organizing. I'd rather just search based on content, attributes, etc.

Posted by jzawodn at January 19, 2003 02:13 PM

Reader Comments
# Adam Keys said:

This flat organization thing is gaining speed. The revolt against XML and DBMS are one in the same. Google makes the internet flat. So what do the folks in charge of the indexing algorithms, the stuff that makes flat possible, think about the revolt against hierarchies?

on January 20, 2003 12:11 AM
# tor kristensen said:

I've been thinking about writing a Flash app that would generate bookmarks/sites to visit based on keyword/regexp combinations...

anyone interested in helping out?

I've got the googleflash comm. done (trivial anyway) but need to come up with a effective way of combining keywords/phrases to find sites.


on January 20, 2003 02:53 AM
# Andrew Cohill said:

Boswell is a personal Google of sorts for the Mac, and the company is about to release a Unix-based version for OS X. One of the things Boswell does nicely is import mailboxes--giving you Boswell's great search tools across your entire mail archive.

Boswell's brilliant achievement is the ability to create notebooks with the same item in more than one notebook, without duplicating the item. Boswell was designed both as a long term archive of everything text-based, and as a current work organizer. It does a nice job at both. At first glance, it appears to be a database, but it's not. It's a flat archive with really good search and organizing tools.


on January 20, 2003 06:03 AM
# Danny said:

Google may flatten things, but it's very crude. The part that works, the key difference is looking at things as (node and arc) graphs rather than trees. In Google's case it's sites & links, but it can just as easily be files and categories or whatever. Things get messy using plain XML for this, though RDF does it well.

Hierarchical trees are out, directed graphs are in. Outliners are just *so* 20th century...

on January 20, 2003 03:46 PM
# Lenz said:

Regarding storing and searching for email without a
hard-coded folder structure - have a look at ZOň.
It's Java based and can be operated via a web browser. From the About page:

The goal here is to do for email (starting with your personal mailbox)
what Google did for the web... The Google principle: It doesn't matter
where information is because I can get to it with a keystroke.
So what is ZoŽ? Think about it as a sort of librarian, tirelessly,
continuously, processing, slicing, indexing, organizing, your messages.
The end result is this intertwingled web of information. Messages put in
context. Your very own knowledge base accessible at your fingertip. No
more "attending to" your messages. The messages organization is done
automatically for you so as to not have the need to "manage" your email.
Because once information is available at a keystroke, it doesn't matter
in which folder you happened to file it two years ago. There is no
folder. The information is always there. Accessible when you need it. In

on January 22, 2003 04:46 AM
# MichaelE said:

I may be off base a bit but is the main idea a way to store "places of interest"? I was always in the dilemma of bookmarking stuff to local machines and that stranded the links when I went on the road. Then I used Powermarks and a crude file sync that moved the Powermarks file between the notebook and the desktops I used. Now I just use the Bookmarks4U project and I run it off of my server at home. Since it stores all of the Bookmark Data in a mySQL table I can easily access it and then do a blogrolling-like applet that just queries based on last visited... Mainly effective. Now if the whole thing was about 'cubing' information then ignore my comment... ;)

on January 26, 2003 09:54 AM
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