How do we cope with our growing digital lives?  How do we manage the ever increasing amounts of digital stuff we create and use?  This is the challenge of Personal Information Management.   

 

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Sunday
May292011

On the costs of tooling up

The next phase in my plan to build out my personal information managememt (PIM) system is on hold. My plan is to buy a ScanSnap scanner from Fujitsu to allow me to scan and OCR all my printed documents and thus make my personal document archives more searchable, saveable, and portable.  I even freed some cash specifically for this task, by allocating the proceeds of my recently sold comic book collection. Yet some months later it still hasn't happened. 

There are predictable reasons for this: procrastination and other stuff needed to be done, and the fading of that initial enthusiam that comes with being seduced by a new possibility.  The key reason, though, is that I didn't have an immediate project I was going to use it for.  And my recent experience has shown me that it is easier to buy a new tool or technology than it is to effectively integrate it into your life.  Kevin Kelly speaks nicely to these issues in a recent post titled Techno Life Skills

"Anything you buy, you must maintain. Each tool you use requires time to learn how to use, to install, to upgrade, or to fix. A purchase is just the beginning. You can expect to devote as much energy/money/time in maintaining a technology as you did in acquiring it."

"What do you give up? This one has taken me a long time to learn. The only way to take up a new technology is to reduce an old one in my life already. Twitter must come at the expense of something else I was doing -- even if it is just daydreaming."

"Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything until 5 minutes before you need it. Get comfortable with the fact that anything you buy is already obsolete. Therefore acquire at the last possible moment."

 I think it will eventually happen, just not today.