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MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,420
17,772
This US Patent Application (appears better in IE than Safari) gives the nitty details of how Apple's implementation of 'Piles' (AKA 'Method and Apparatus for Organizing Information in a Computer System):

The patent was filed in 1994, but has gained interest with recent rumors that the next major revision of Mac OS X (Panther) will utilize this design.

The function of a pile includes, of course, the grouping of documents... and a good description was provided by this AskTog article -- however, spawned a surprising amount of confusion regarding implementation amongst users.

The Patent decsription provides more details on the actual implementation and also describes advanced sorting/searching functions, including:

- analysis of the content of a document in a pile
- automatically filing new documents according to criteria (date, content etc...)
- piles looking neat or disheavled per user preferences
- create/sort into subpiles based on criteria (date, content etc...)
- script based sorting of documents
 

qwerpafw

macrumors newbie
Jul 9, 2002
11
0
Re: Microsoft

Originally posted by kanesean
I wonder how long it will take for Microsoft to try and copy this.

well, lets see here... it's patented. So microsoft would get their ass sued off.
 

NavyIntel007

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2002
1,081
0
Tampa, FL
I get it now. That article is really good. I have to agree with him that while hardware has gone very far, many elements of the software need some help. File management is weak and archaic.
 

beatle888

macrumors 68000
Feb 3, 2002
1,690
0
that page sucks, even in ie.
oh well. i like to view my project files in list or column view. list lets me see mod dates at a glance.
 

FattyMembrane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2002
966
154
bat country
- analysis of the content of a document in a pile
- automatically filing new documents according to criteria (date, content etc...
- create/sort into subpiles based on criteria (date, content etc...)

i'm hoping that this is somehow related to a new filesystem (how cool would all kinds of BFS metadata hijinx be with piles?)

- script based sorting of documents

when considering that osx supports just about every scripting language available, the possibilities for both local and remote scripting of data makes one's head spin. this is great news, i hope that these ui innovations continue, now that the trouble of getting osx stable is out of the way.
 

Perceptes

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2003
95
0
San Diego, CA
I still don't think this sounds very useful. I'll have to see it in action. As posted above, I think the list view works just fine for me.
 

iSmell

macrumors member
Mar 7, 2002
76
0
Re: Re: Microsoft

Originally posted by qwerpafw
well, lets see here... it's patented. So microsoft would get their ass sued off.

"But your honor, our Mound™s are completely different from Apple's Piles. Piles represent a collection of files graphically. Mound™s represent groups of documents pictorially. The two systems are completely unrelated."
 

Edot

macrumors 6502
Jan 29, 2002
432
0
NJ
Very Useful!!

No more save dialog boxes! These "piles" seem to organize all of your files automatically! That would be very nice! Of course you should always be able to override the feature for individual files. I can't wait for panther, and I hope apple does something 'revolutionary' about the current management of data.
 

kansaigaijin

macrumors 6502
Jan 7, 2002
386
0
the great ether
I think there is something to it for list and column view, the pile metaphor being just the graphical representation of what is going on behind the scenes in the file system. Reading about the BFS reminded me of the Newton file system, and the idea of a "soup" of files and meta-data.

you won't need to have an "organised" system or a tidy desk, all the meta-data will make it easy to fish something out of the "soup" or pile.
 

maxterpiece

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2003
729
0
Originally posted by NavyIntel007
I get it now. That article is really good. I have to agree with him that while hardware has gone very far, many elements of the software need some help. File management is weak and archaic.

I agree. It takes way longer than it needs to to navigate through even a long list of applications that have been neatly (by the user) placed in the right folder. A more dynamic way of organizing things that considers the habits and preferences of the user (i.e. mouse vs. keyboard commands, lots of apps vs. mixed documents) in organizing things a certain way. I also think that organizing things in named folders is makes things harder to keep organized. If the OS could work with the user (vs making hte user proactively think through it) to figure out the types of categories that that user thinks in, people would not have to make such a differentiation between how their computer organizes things and how their mind organizes things. I know this is all very vague, but I'm the user - I vent my frustrations. The developer figures out how to ease them. Hop to it, Apple.

max
 

Mudbug

Administrator emeritus
Jun 28, 2002
3,848
1
North Central Colorado
I dunno...

the diagrams seem somewhat remeniscient (sp?) of hypercards, with multiple related pieces making up the whole. Seems like a good idea, but I've already separated my clients and stuff out the way that I know I like it. As has been said before, metadata would be nice to take advantage of, if for nothing else than for archiving like files together and being able to cross-reference them by multiple clients.
 

Sol

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2003
1,564
6
Australia
Sounds gimmicky

Personally I am happy to organize files by naming them and the folders they reside in. I hope piles have nothing to do with a dodgy demo from an old MacWorld where icons were navigated in a sort-of fly-through way on the screen (using then-impressive 2D scaling). A far more useful addition to file sorting would be the return of Finder labels. Considering that Aqua was so colorful to begin with, it was a disappointment to have Finder labels taken away from the Mac OS.
 

G4scott

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2002
2,225
5
USA_WA
It sounds like this would be a technology that Apple would let developers use, and the OS would support it, kinda like the way Rendezvous was implemented...

Personally, I think this feature will coincide with a release of an office type suite made by Apple. It would make sense. A productivity/office app that works with piles to help better organize projects, plans, and everything you work on.

It would then probably catch on with things like digital video production, and imaging.

Maybe this is why Apple is holding off with FCP4 until later... Or not. But still, it seems likely.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Re: Re: Microsoft

Originally posted by iSmell
"But your honor, our Mound™s are completely different from Apple's Piles. Piles represent a collection of files graphically. Mound™s represent groups of documents pictorially. The two systems are completely unrelated."
However, an astronomer named Henry in Belgium wrote a program to analyze phases of the sun in its sunspot cycle. He named the program Sun mode, which is obviously an anagram of Mounds (with an extra 'e' we can't explain), so we are suing him for $1,000,000,000 and ownership of the name Henry and the rights to the inheritance of his grandmother's china.
 

macFanDave

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2003
571
0
My prediction

Microsoft will steal "Piles" and use a synonym to try to cover up their theft.

Look out for Microsoft Hemorrhoids XP in 2004.
 

G4scott

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2002
2,225
5
USA_WA
Re: My prediction

Originally posted by macFanDave
Microsoft will steal "Piles" and use a synonym to try to cover up their theft.

Look out for Microsoft Hemorrhoids XP in 2004.

Yeah, they Symantec would have to make a "Preparation H Hemorrhoids fixer" to make the feature actually usable...

I can see the blondes now... "My computer said it had hemorrhoids, so I squeezed some @$$-cream in the case!"

I really don't think Microsoft will steal it like that. It would be a acrappy interpretation of Piles, and it would suck, and it wouldn't make the next cut of windoze...
 

xjohn

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2003
108
1
Beijing
I would imagine that the ideas behind 'piles' have matured a lot since 1994.

I wonder how much it has evolved from the patent drawing...
 

FattyMembrane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2002
966
154
bat country
all this talk of micro$oft's stealing shenanigans reminds me of a few articles published a couple of months ago. apparently, ms was working on some kind of special 3d task-based interface that would be in the next version of windows. well, i wasn't that surprised when all of the longhorn and flackbomb screenshots and info had nothing about these revolutionary features. now i understand why; they were waiting to see what apple was going to do :rolleyes: .

anyway... i have no doubt that by 2006-7 some kind of piles derivitave will end up in windows and the masses will thank bill gates for making their lives easier (by stealing a 3 year old technology). no lawsuits, no nothing. name one product micro$oft has sold that was not stolen, a rehashing of old technology, or bought from someone else.
 

BaghdadBob

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2003
810
0
Gorgeous, WA
What does this guy have against Apple?

I mean aside from what all Apple-loyalists have against Apple...

[I'm talking about the AskTog guy, for verification -- EdBob]

But I thought the tabbed interface idea was the best one in there. Having people as dynamic objects is an interesting idea too. As for the file cabinet...It just sounds like a bunch of folders, represented in a big fat icon with drawers on it. Am I wrong..."Have we gone to far to get home, yeah..."

The tabbed interface really does cach my attention. I think that's a fine idea. Almost like having three monitors in one. Truly, in my opinion, an idea with promise. I wonder if anyone at Apple really cares what the pontificators think?

Likelyhood is that if anyone does they'd have to pretend it was their own idea to Jobs -- pleasing the masses is so passe.

Unlike hiring a leading Democrat to your board on the cuff of a Democrat-opposed war, and then talking about breaking the bank buying a partially (?) French company, that rules.
 
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