[linux-elitists] memex on a stick?

Tony Godshall togo at of.net
Tue Sep 21 12:49:19 PDT 2010


>> ...You seem to have a clear idea of what a memex is that many of the rest
>> of us lack- could you point us to a definition that fits what you are
>> talking about a little better than the one on Wikipedia?...
>
>  "A memex is a device in which an individual stores
>  all his books, records, and communications, and
>  which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with
>  exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged
>  intimate supplement to his memory."
> http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;view=text;rgn=main;idno=3336451.0001.101

Thank you

The above is quoted from a 1995 reprint of an article in The Atlantic.
 The Atlantic's own site has the original 1945 article at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks/computer/bushf.htm

Oddly, I was not familiar with it... ;-)


> It's a repository for documents and notes, under user
> control.  Instead of thinking, "oh, I read that on the
> Internet somewhere, let me go back out and get it,"
> you think, "I read that in connnection with a certain
> project, so I'll look at my project notes and get it
> and related documents."
>
> I'm not really comfortable with the Google Assisted
> Cognition model of research.

And probably not with evernote's either... tho they also appear to
have been inspired by the memex concept...

"Apr 7, 2008 ... A conversation with Phil Libin about EverNote's new
memex « Jon Udell “Here's an interesting and counter-intuitive aspect
of EverNote. ...
blog.jonudell.net/.../a-conversation-with-phil-libin-about-evernotes-new-memex/
- Cached - Similar

"2008 April « Jon Udell
On this week's Interviews with Innovators, Phil Libin discusses
EverNote, a new software-plus-services offering that aims to become
your memex. ...
blog.jonudell.net/2008/04/ - Similar

"IT Conversations | Jon Udell's Interviews with Innovators | Phil Libin
Apr 2, 2008 ... Now he's back as CEO of EverNote, a company that aims
to build the memex, or personal outboard memory, that Vannevar Bush
famously imagined ...
itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3600.html - Cached - Similar


>From that perspective, there are certainly a lot of others looking for
an alternative to evernote...

http://alternativeto.net/software/evernote/
http://www.google.com/search?q=evernote+alternative

I'm not seeing anything that quite matches your desire (and
increasingly mine as well)

And just to be clear, what you want want, I gather, is something like
evernote but with the store being under your control rather than
theirs.  And would also like to take advantage of git's vaunted
transaction-efficiency.


> The key functionality is tagging and linking:
>
>  "When the user is building a trail, he names it,
>  inserts the name in his code book, and taps it
>  out on his keyboard. Before him are the two items
>  to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing
>  positions. At the bottom of each there are a number
>  of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to
>  indicate one of these on each item. The user taps
>  a single key, and the items are permanently joined."

Interesting.  So that does seem to be a step beyond what evernote
offers, though I can't say I've really done much with it.  I don't
think they have a code-book or side-by-side joining.

Most of the projects referenced as an alternative to evernote seem to
have a database back-end and a web UI, often PHP.  I've certainly seen
database projects with git or other (D)VCS as back-end proposed...

Here's a question- is (D)VCS integration really necessary?  Or would a
memex-type app that stores its files locally in some obvious format do
the job and then one could do the git commit and sync separately?
(And by "obvious format" I mean reasonably small and diff-able files
so as not to run into the problems posed by large files- presumably
that would rule out most SQL databases)

One interesting side-note / half a thought- Linus has occasionally
referred to git as a content-addressable filesystem...

Tony


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