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DOEINK: Database of everything I now know December 9, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Software, Technology.

Back in the late 1980’s I was doing a lot of programming for a small software company. At that time, I was working two jobs, about forty hours each. Yes, it was a little much, which is why I eventually gave up the programming job. But, that’s another story.

When I was programming almost around the clock, my brain would think about code and algorithms day and night. And, as you might imagine, most of everyday experiences were often seen through the eyes of a programmer. So, I began to ask myself how I could capture everything I know in a program. Much like Einstein, I didn’t want to be bothered by mundane things like remembering phone numbers and all of the scraps of knowledge we pick up in everyday life. I also wanted to preserve (in the spirit of an archivist) all of the little and mostly insignificant facts of one’s life.

There were a few knowledgebase applications on the market, but they really didn’t capture what I envisioned. Although, the simplicity of one particular application held promise as a platform for my ‘everything I know’ application. It was Apple’s HyperCard software. (If you are not familiar with it, read this brief history about HyperCard.) Basically, it was a flat database with tremendous search capabilities (across all fields) – simple to create and use database with a powerful scripting language and free-form linking of records. The problem was, it didn’t handle extremely large datasets. So, in time, as I would approach a million items in the HyperCard database, it would perform so poorly that it would not have been practical. But, for smaller datasets (hundreds or thousands of records or cards) it was fast and simple to use.

Over the years I have wondered many times if there might some day be that ‘capture everything easily’ software available or if I were to write it, how it would be structured. After all, I am getting older and I will need it more than ever if I continue to age, which I expect I will.

Now, I discover something coming on the market called Koral. It’s a ‘track everything and make it searchable’ thing. From what little I have learned, it is could be used to do what I wanted back in the 1980’s. Only, instead of moving content into an application, it will ‘watch’ everything I do (create files, read e-mail, etc.) and then index it and track it so I can easily search on it and find those lost thoughts and pieces of information that I want to keep track of, but just not in my head. And, to make it even better (and this is where it goes far beyond my original idea) it can keep track of everyone’s files and works in a workgroup or company so that corporate knowledge is not lost when there is turnover.

It’s hard to explain what Koral can do, but to get a first-hand description, head on over to this blog entry on Robert Scoble’s blog. He has a link to a video interview of someone from Koral and a video demo of the product. It looks like it has great potential. At least for someone like me who hates to lose information, no matter how trivial.



1. Pedro Pinheiro - December 9, 2006

Spotlight on Mac OS X solved this problem for me. Besides indexing e-mails and such, when I need to store some piece of information, I just open TextEdit and write it in a text file (with descriptive information), and store in a general folder (basically I have a Personal and a Work folder, and move the contents at the end of the year to a subfolder per year).
So when I need some info, I just command-space and type what I need. Simple. This would also work with Windows XP (using Google Desktop), and on Windows Vista with the inbuilt indexing/search function.

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