[Klug-general] Talk at the next meet

J D Freeman klug at quixotic.org.uk
Sat Nov 15 14:40:05 UTC 2008

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On Sat, Nov 15, 2008 at 02:21:52PM +0000, Karl Lattimer wrote:
> This is a pretty abstract problem. It's actually more about the content
> then the protocols. 

Ok, I think it's more a case of how some people use it.

> For instance, if someone sends me a meeting request via email, why do I
> choose to accept or reject it via my message viewer, why doesn't it
> appear in the context of my calendar? 

Someone sends me a letter inviting me to their wedding. I take out a
peice of paper and a pencil, and write back a letter saying I accept it.
I then turn to the calender on the fridge and mark "29th febuary 2007,
John's wedding".

I get an email inviting me to a meeting, I hit the reply button and say
"sure, I'll be there". I then move to a different tool and mark in my
calender: "1200 tuesday - meet with man about dog"

So email implements normal life quite well. It's a work flow we are used

> In the old days of offices (before computers) an inbox tray was
> something that items in the following contexts would be placed;
>  * Things I've been asked to do
>  * Things I'm doing
>  * Things I'm about to do

No, an inbox also included all your incoming mail. So your invoices from
suppliers, your letter from your aunt, etc...

> Now if we use this metaphor correctly in terms of email, we suddenly
> realise that email is absolute junk... All of it...

Depends what you use your email for. I use it to send what I would have
historically done as a letter. "Hi Dad, arrived in Utrecht". 	

> So, think about how we organise mailing lists, building filters and
> folders to store all of those messages in relevant contexts, however its
> still not the correct way. Then take a look at how usenet/news groups
> work, Its kinda the same, but it works better in that context. Of
> course, news groups are categorised correctly anyway by their very
> nature. 

Erm, I store it all in one inbox, which sorts things by threads. I never
was able to process the information when it was automatically sorted
into many boxes. It is too much a pull method. I prefer for push
methods. If it isn't in my inbox, it never happend.

> Then of course, there's notifications, with things like facebook,
> notifications are becoming a large part of email traffic. However,
> notifications exist in a different context to letters, things I'm doing,
> things I'm about to do etc...

As someone who hasn't, don't, and will not, use facebook. I consider
this a bug in facebook, not email :p

> So its pretty plain to see its all full of junk, and it needs some
> language processing, semantic linking and contextual separation at the
> natural points of separation rather than artificial ones. Moreover it's
> got to do all this without a user lifting a finger.

What sort of email do you get?

> Gmail/google calendar is pretty close to the eventual outcome, but it's
> still not there yet :/ And of course we want to leverage the power of
> "organise framework" to tie in snippets of data that arrive via email
> into the filesystem, linking together relevant data and automatically
> tracking the revisions of files that bounce about via email.

You used the term leverage and framework. Are you being assimulated into
the marketting department?

By combining the synergies, of the readjusted paradigm, of the leveraged
assets, we conclude that the empowerment of the user is utmost, or our
fullfilment of the mission objective.

Use the tool for what it was intended?

> There's a lot we can do to improve the situation, right now a huge dump
> of messages is not an effective way of organising things.
> There are also problems with point to point encryption too, rather than
> person to person... TLS for transmission should be standard by now but
> it's not universally supported. There are also a myriad of protocol
> inefficiencies such as imap having to download a whole message to
> forward it on, in this world of mobile devices forwarding on a 300Mb
> email via a phone is not plausible. pvanhoof is currently harping on
> about the protocol stuff, you never know IMAPv5 might end up being his
> baby.

I personally prefer encryption of the message, not the transmission
medium. Sure I would like my mail to go in an armoured truck, but cos
it's all encrypted anyway, its not such a problem. You mention a
deficiency in one protocol (yes I know there are others in others).
Personally, I don't like IMAP, or POP3, or exchange. I use Mutt, and I
run it on the mailserver. Email arrives and is delivered to
/var/mail/user. Works really well for me. I am sure people would frown
at it, and go "You should use maildir" or "But this gui app can do..."
and the like. But ultimately, it integrates to my workflow (urgh, I used
that in a serious email, shoot me :p). I can use the editor of my choice
to write my mail, I can use the handler of my choice to handle it.

Personally the only gripe I have with email, is the idiots who insist on
using html for email. Whilst I don't think we have evolveed to the
pinacle of what the technology can do. What we have arrived at is a
system that for the large part, works amazingly well. 

Any new system would need to be backwardly compatable with the existing
systems, other wise you are going to suffer the video phone problem. 

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