Travel Notes: Continuous Incremental Advantage
The key to success in a project like these travel planning notes is continuous incremental advantage. Each bit of work spent on the project needs to make your work better -- faster, smoother, more accurate, more creative, less stressful.
We've only just started building travel notes, but already they're better than the best we'd expect from other technologies.
- Trying to remember it all is the reason we got started on this in the first place. You can't do it. (If you can do it, and it doesn't cause you stress, you're probably not reading this topic)
- Lots of little bits of paper is a non-starter. The yellow stickies and backs of envelopes and legal pads cause clutter, and they don't really help you find what you need.
- One Big Text File is probably the most competitive technology. We've got all the advantages -- ease of adding information, lightning-fast search for finding things, easy printing when you need a note on paper. But we've also got spatial hypertext for brainstorming, color coding, and links -- and we're just getting started.
- Databases have a big impedance mismatch; we need to design the data model (and get the right data model) before we can even begin populating the database. With a database, we'd still be getting started.
- Outliners share some of the problems with databases and have most of the limitations of one big text file. We need to know how to organize the file right away. We can't know this yet. So we end up dithering, or we end up with One Big Text File in an outliner.
We can deal with some subtle knowledge representation issues that might otherwise give us fits. My mom lives in Chicago, so that's easy. What if your mom lives in Fargo in the summer, but always spends the winter in Dallas with Aunt Jane? Easy enough in Tinderbox: make an alias, drag it to Dallas, and put it right next to Aunt Jane.