Dad’s Desk and Space Navigation

Yesterday I was reading some article about the usability on Gnome and the failed project of the spatial navigation. Where the sense of having a more physical-like enviroment will make the organization of your data more natural is a nice concept but failed to see that in the digital we manage much more than just a few stuff.

First of all the real world is not the perfect world so imitating it is not always the best idea. More and more people prefer living in a digital world where the cleanup of the desktop, the organization of files are far easier than organizing their room, articles and life.

Spatial navigation introduce a lot of confusion to power users since they have 1000 mp3 so the hability of managing icons become irrelevant.

Me, for example, I mostly starts my files from the command line, and is not that I am a geek or whatever. Is just that the whole idea of a hierchaly menu is just bogus.

Same way as Yahoo tried to organized the internet, while google just concentrate everything from 1 single interfaze. I think the translation to the desktop would be projects that manage and build global variables on regular basis.

Imaging a smart indexer that you just need to type the file name and automatically know where is created and which application would it boot it from. It will become a google desktop where you just run your files from a simple commandprompt.

Add a readline features since most people dont really know the name of their files, adding keywords and metadata will help locate the file on a faster and easier way.

On the way the desktop file structure would be organized…well… remember the wiki? Who cares where is the image folder pics folder topic folders — who actually care about folders. Just type the name of a simple file and BAM!! you are there. Wiki works the same way, they archive all the information on root or a folder called data BUT users don’t have to type domain.com/data. Everything is funel from a main website domain.com/wiki.php?=TopicHere.

Would the desktop be the same? How would that translate into graphical interface? Do we need a graphical interfaze at all.

This idea is not new, people using some interesting applicatons where can view all their files regardless of the format they are in have been the file manager’s nirvana.

So why does Dad’s Desktop has to do with this rant. Well Dad’s Desktop won’t acomplish this at all. It will just change from a windows-like interface to a appliance-like interface. Example, the Symbian OS. Actually the Symbian OS is not what it will copy but the multiple interface that cellphone makers put into their cellphones. They are all different and still people make ways to manage them.

Palm, Symbian, get rid of a tabed menu and sometimes of even taskbars to give users a relative small options, but also avoid confusion.

Does dad wants an AT terminal on his cellphone? I doubt it. So why do we have different shells of linux on a distro builded for dad?

Why do we have 4 or 5 pieces of software for 1 single function?

If dad just want the computer for 4 things why this menu doesn’t seem to end and goes from system tweaking, 4 control panels, entertainment, multimedia, science, blah blah…

Dad just wanted to check the email on his gmail account. Why does he has to learn what a browser is or why he has 4 types. I mean does it really makes a different if he choose firefox or ephiphany :S

So Dad desktop is less about choice and more about getting stuff done. Is more about an ATM and less of a trick of all trades desktop.

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