New book idea: what does the MR crowd think?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by wordmunger, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    I've just finished writing a book and I'm starting to think about my next project. I'm thinking that a great idea would be a book about "Managing your digital life."

    Basically it would be a book of ideas and strategies for getting a better handle on all the technology around us. Most people simply don't think enough about the implications of what they do with their computers: they take digital pictures, but don't realize they need to back them up. They set up online bank accounts but don't know how to manage them. They store phone numbers on their cell phone, but don't know what to do when it breaks.

    Apple made computing "easy" by making them look more like "real world" things: we have "folders" on our "desktop," but when the "desktop" metaphor fails, we're stuck with an ineffective way of managing information. As we become more and more reliant on computers, these bad habits add up.

    So, what do you think? Is there enough "meat" here for an entire book? Do you know of any existing books that do the same thing? If you think it's a good idea, what are some ideas for chapters in the book itself? Do you think I'd need to do a separate "Mac" and "Windows" version?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

  2. sonofslim macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2003
    given your prospectus, i'd say no -- unless you want to write a technical manual. (or two technical manuals, as the case may be.) i'd be more interested in reading about the implications of being surrounded by technology, and how that affects our data management. to me that seems like a platform-independent topic. "technology" as a field of study goes beyond mac and windows; as you pointed out, it includes things that fall into neither category, or both: digital imaging and music, e-commerce, and the like.
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    I think if you covered both the past and the future, it would be very interesting. From the desktop metaphor that you mentioned, to wearable computers that operate based on symbols, lists, and chorded keyboards. It's very interesting to see different approaches to information organization, we've seen some decent attempts at a 3D-style interface on both Mac and PC, tho they have so far proven too cumbersome to use. I wonder how long it will be before Apple moves to a 3D interface. I think the ultimate goal is a computer that interacts directly with the brain, seamlessly, but that's a while off (people in my office are just now learning that you can rename files, accessing vast databases that react to thought might be a bit much for them). So in the meantime 3D interfaces will help us transition away from the "bad habit" that you call it, the stagnant metaphor-based 2D interface we're all used to. I have little doubt that we're limiting ourselves now based on this old metaphor, but it's so ingrained that it's hard to see past.

    good luck if you do decide to write it!

  4. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    That's an excellent, excellent idea. Even better from a platform-agnostic standpoint.

    Take me as an example....when I got my AOL address after graduation, it was because my college one was going away and everyone I knew was already on AOL. I couldn't have anticipated spam, or even that AOL would become such a Wal-Mart, generic ISP. Nowadays it's wise to have a free, throwaway email account as a spam-catcher and for registrations and such. But I haven't kept track of where the heck that address is registered, so it's a choice between missing potential correspondence or being stuck with AOL.

    Take LiveJournal. Recently there was a Wired article about the fact that dead people's journals remain online because next-of-kin rarely have access to the digital life of the deceased. Got a LiveJournal? A personal Website? If you died, what would happen to your blog? your domain name? Do you care?

    And then there's digital media. Sure, you can put your photos and tunes on CDs...but what if the format changes from .jpg or .mp3 to something else? What if CDs become obsolete, replaced by some newer, better will inevitably happen? Do you have a digital archiving strategy? Will your grandkids someday be able to pull all your thoughts and musings out of your journal progam, your weblog, or your Word documents, and read them? Do you care?

    And that's not even going into password management, security and privacy issues, the evolving etiquette of all the new ways we can connect with each other, and all the rest.

    I'm of the opinion that the societal change of our being able to store and access such a wealth of information has only begun. We can see and begin to understand the effects of the information macrocosm of the internet, but we've just got so little clue about our own little microcosms of our personal information, which is multiplying every day.

    So, yeah, a bit long, but....great idea! go for it! :eek: :)

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