DIY Tagging

June 16, 2006

“tagging”, as we’re discussing this week, isn’t just something you can do for blog posts, flickr photos, and other things on the web. You can also tag files on your local computer (e.g. if you’re a follower of David Allen’s GTD system and want to mark your files for particular tasks.)

Lifehacker has an article on tagging files (and finding them again by tag) in Windows and Mac OS X.

I’ve also run into an interesting tool called HoudahSpot that takes the “Spotlight” search engine in Mac OS X and expands the kinds of searches you can perform. For example, I just used the Finder to get information on several files I use at work, then added a “Spotlight Comment” of “@Work” to them. Now, I can use HoodahSpot to search only the Spotlight Comment metadata for the @Work tag. Since it continuously refreshes the searches, I will always have an up to date list.

I could perform the same search in Spotlight, but it returns more than just the items tagged with @Work, which is why I’m looking al alternative applications.

(HoudahSpot information courtesy of MacZot, which is running a promotional special on the software.)

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An informal reality check

June 12, 2006

I’m a little sceptical about “informal learning” as it’s being framed today.

The basic idea is sound: we learn all the time, from surprising things in our environment, from self-reflection, and from trial-and-error. The tools that get talked about so much (blogs, RSS feeds, etc.) have had most of the bugs shaken out. (“Web 2.0” technologies are still being worked out and show a lot of promise.)

So, what’s not to like? All the blogs, with all the bells and whistles, doesn’t replace a good knowledgable conversation. (When I was teaching week-long professional classes, every student would have a “$2000 question” — the one thing that would make the whole week worth the expense.) You can have a slow conversation with some bloggers via comments, but finding what you need to know is rather hit-or-miss.

This leaves me with the fundamental question of how to encourage mutually-beneficial exchanges in informal learning at a distance.

Hello world!

June 12, 2006

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