Amy Wohl’s predictions For 2003 has this segment on New Interfaces:
Ive gotten bored waiting for a reliable voice interface. There are good voice interfaces to some things and less reliable ones for others. The trouble is they vary widely and I want them to all be just the same in both how they work and how well they work. The voice interface people need to talk to Sony about the standards for consumer technology.
On the other hand, I see a new graphical user interface for organizing my information proposed about once a day. So far, most of them arent very useful. Folks, Im not going to rework everything Ive got, use two different systems, or use an interface that thinks differently than I do.
And by the way, researchers, very few human beings store their information (or think about it) in chronological order. We tend to think about things in categories, projects, companies, teams or clients. But keep thinking about the problem. We cant manage all that information manually, so we need some help its just got to actually be helpful.
I have in the past thought about a concept called “MyDB” – a database which is flexible to store any information I want, wherein I define my own formats, and which can be accessible from anywhere via SMS (my cellphone) or the Web. The Unix command-line interface may work better than fancy GUIs. I need an interface which works like this:
[DatabaseName] [Add/Edit/Delete/Search] [Rest of the information]
If the DatabaseName (eg. PhoneBook, People, Project, Idea, Appointment) does not exist, it simply creates a new one (could be just a flat file). When I add, it just appends to the file. When I search on a string in the third field, it returns all matches where the string appears – I can do the worrying about duplicates.
Should be easy to build something like this. Maybe it already exists. And then I should actually start using it!