[Klug-general] Talk at the next meet

Karl Lattimer karl at qdh.org.uk
Sat Nov 15 15:15:23 UTC 2008

> > 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.

It actually comes down to an inadequate interaction metaphor and
"training required" design approach... Everyone needs at the very least
a fairly brief introduction to how email works. This sucks.

> > 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
> to.

I disagree, the message -> calendar problem is a huge interaction
mistake. Microsoft made it first, it has perpetuated throughout (I am of
course talking about clients that support meeting requests etc...)

> > 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...

True, However it makes little sense that we should employ our brains to
parse these messages rather than simply use the power of the computer. 

There's also the "after the inbox" - what do I do with this issue, this
can largely be solved or at least softened and organised for us.

> > 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". 	

Of course, one of the metaphors that email is good at is the letters &
mailings metaphor, however there has ended up being some crossover
between IM and mail. 

> 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.

You must get a lot less email than me... I used to do this, now I simply
get too much to leave it to the email horizon.

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

Facebook isn't the only thing that sends notifications, paypal among
other services is just one more example.

> > 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?

I get email related to various projects, email related to various tasks
I've been working on, emails where I'm collaborating with someone on
documents, images etc... emails which are from mailing lists, emails on
various financial matters the list goes on and on and on...

Firstly collaboration is pretty broken, mostly because there's no
inbuilt revision control, that's why wizbit (http://wizbit.org) will
start handling this in the future.

Then you've got the boxing problem, which makes the whole house of cards
fall apart (if anyone got that joke I'd be really happy). for instance
(a crude example to highlight the semantics)

item: Evolution & Seahorse integration


Urm... I've had this problem come up so many times with hierarchies that it's just not funny anymore. 

This is why organise framework is so important.

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

"organise framework" is a framework currently under development

leverage is something we use when we have to lift something heavy.
Therefore a tedious highlighting of my language semantics proves

> Use the tool for what it was intended?

Good luck telling everyone that... Good luck telling everyone not to
dump shit in my inbox that should have arrived via a more sensible

> > 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.
> > 
> 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.
> etc...

works well for you, but wouldn't for me

> 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. 

Only one or two use cases work well, others are complicated and inhibit
workflow, what I'm getting at here is that there are lots of things
which can change. 

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

I'm leaving that to pvanhoof to worry about, all I'm interested in is
the knowledge systems that are required in order to build a better user

In the end, this is all about user experience, human computer
interaction and usability... Three subjects we're all aware you feel are
satanic spawn of UI designers. 

*sigh* wouldn't it be nice if every linux user was like you, then
microsoft would have an even bigger monopoly.


P.S. There's also the fact that being a command line zealot you
highlight your terrible ability to spell to the world.

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