When I started out in computers a long time ago, there were not a lot of people who understood computers. We called that “job security.”
They will when they can’t find their files
Knowledge of files & folders was important but, IMO, the need for that skill is fading into history. I worked with people of all ages and the most of them are terrible at file organization. But those that are good still have problems. One accountant kept a very detailed filing system. Her email account had more than 250 folders organized by contact, vendor, year, etc. And the accounting share had many times that many files going back decades. She would sometimes spend hours looking for a particular email or file.
The system breaks down when someone misfiles a document or accidentally drags one folder into another. Or doesn’t use it. One executive kept hundreds of files on his desktop.
A story in the New York Times in 2004 described the problem: "The solution included eliminating physical media like CD’s, cassette tapes, videotapes and DVD’s. Everything . . . was digitized and stored on a hard drive in the apartment . . . But what the makeover failed to make clear . . . is how people will be able to retrieve precisely what they want, when they want, from such deep digital wells."
How is search. I use it almost exclusively these days and can find anything (if I haven’t deleted it ) in a couple of minutes.
I would tend to disagree, but that would be a longer discussion than here. Suffice to say that part of filing and folders are naming conventions. Beyond which even a super search won’t find it. Having thousands for files entitled, “Letter*” or “untitled*”, won’t help search, this will be especially true if it cannot search the content. In the end for an app to open a file it needs it’s location. This can be clouded as much a people want, but will remain a fundamental fact. I do believe that at some point search may make these facts fade in the background, but location of files is still and remains a necessity.
This is an excellent point. One of my first jobs, many (many) years ago, was as a filing clerk. Filing hundreds of documents in huge rooms with big rolling filing cabinets. We had a “training” day to understand what was expected of us, and I always remember what was described s the most basic rule of filing: Start from the end user, the person who has to retrieve the file. Always think about how they will find what they are looking for.
PS it was the most dull, mind-numbing job I have ever had
This is why key words in file names and email subject lines are so important. I create longish file names and email subject lines because this helps my future self find what I’m looking for.
It’s been more than enough for me. In my Files sidebar I have “On my iPad” where I can create as many folders as I want on my local drive. I’ve got iCloud where I can do the same in whatever folders I want. I can plug in any hard drive or access my Mac and it’s attached drives with the same ease of any other sidebar location. I’m not sure what else I’d possibly need?
Files still need names and they still need some sort of structure to be stored in. This structure could be a web application like Notion, Asana, Google Drive, SharePoint or any other way of structuring data. It probably is even more difficult because of the more rich context which those applications deliver compare to folders on a filesystem.
Search helps a lot, but without any context in the form of folders, filenames or metadata you can only rely on indexed document contents (if they are available) which in many cases is not good enough.
I almost always mention my granny in these kinds of threads and will continue to do so. It’s not meant to be a reliance upon stereotype but rather a celebration of the fact that indeed, the iPad allowed for an 82 year old woman to, in the last 5 years of her life, reconnect to many people she’d not seen in years. And to have for more contact with her family with daily shared messages and emails. And games and photos. She was able to experience the internet, care free (for the most part) something she’d never done with her Windows computer that was used very minimally for a few games and a few photos of her grandkids. My mom is doing the same as someone who had not ever bothered with an computer previously. Also, my uncle and aunt. All used or using iPads where before they were afraid and/or confused.
Young or old, it just seems to be a great thing that there are now relatively safe, easy to use computers for people to use that previously would have been intimidated by a full on computer.
That’s OK, things would be boring if we all agreed about everything. I’m here to help when I can, learn what I can, and enjoy the discussions.
I agree files need names but so far dumping everything into a big bucket has worked for me. I scanned about 10 banker boxes of files some years ago. Even with a then new ScanSnap scanner removing staples, trimming dog ears, flattening pages, etc, then scanning and shredding the files took some time. My naming convention was the default: current date-time-number.pdf. But everything was OCR’d and I’m able to find what I want by searching the contents. (Year and zip code is always a good start on many documents).
Since then I’ve tried to use some things I learned from a former lawyer out in California. I spent hours with Hazel training “her” to rename my files to something like 2022-06-05_First Bank of Tatooine.pdf. But the OCR of the statements, etc. that I download isn’t always perfect.
So now I have an Inbox folder on iCloud with sub folders named “Finance” and “Bills”, “Medical” and “Archive”. Now, for example, when I download a file from a bank I drop it into the proper sub folder and Hazel names it Year-Month-Day-Finance.pdf and moves it into the “current year” folder on Google Drive. (Archived files just get date.pdf)
I upgraded my legacy G Suite accounts to Google Workspace this year and am experimenting with some Appsheet automation. I think I can use the cloud to work around some of the limitations of my IPad Pro.
This whole genre is so tired. He was never an intended iPad user, he was finding every possible way to have the iPad do what it was not indented to do. It’s fine, it was a great niche for him and his site. It’s similar to political coverage that finds something to get clicks and just keeps going at it over and over again. Similar to how a certain genre of productivity apps have become a YouTube creators thing right now.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing what he has done on his iPad and it’s fun to see, but to pretend the iOS updates should be geared to users like him is just wild.
I use my iPad Pro a lot as my , especially when doing mostly my administrative type work. It’s a great device that serves many audiences but the one it’s not intended for is tweakers. That is why Apple has iPadOS and MacOS and did not try the dumb Microsoft plan of making every device do everything.
It’s all so tiring!
I agree. My iPad Pro is my primary computer, but I think iPad power users isn’t the market Apple is pursuing. With that said I wouldn’t be disappointed if they put a second USB-C port on iPads and let them use the full screen of external displays. That would be handy when I edit video and do my taxes.
This is true of all filesystem access (where it’s permitted) on any device
(For what it’s worth, I use Blink to get very Unix-like access to the iPad’s filesystem.)
Oh my gosh, so much this. My clients don’t know how to put a detailed subject line in emails, or create new threads for bugs, and it’s awful. It’s impossible to find things later.
Indeed! In fact, I often rename subject lines before replying or forwarding.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people who have no respect for the email subject line.
As for search: that takes skill too. A lot of the same people who don’t bother to learn file systems just skim the first page of Google or Spotlight results and call that search.
I don’t think there’s a single right answer. I use search a lot – but when it fails (or takes forever because of what I’m searching for, what I do/don’t remember about the specifics, the commonplace nature of the relevant terms, etc.), it sure helps to know how to dig through the file system. Vice versa as well, of course. And to have a relatively consistent file naming system.
This feels a bit like debating whether screwdrivers are necessary now that we have power drills. Feel free to limit yourself to a subset of the available tools if that works for you! I’d rather have them all at my disposal.
I’m just wanting to put those two statements together where they belong. They won’t care, they will just yell at the nearest sucker… err… expert on hand.
Put a nerd in such a position and something happens… called progress. My first job in the school holidays was manually entering data in a computer system. By the time I left 5 weeks later I had massively improved the system and taught the guy in charge how to use it. I heard later that he’d taken what I had done and (with way more knowledge of the data in question) made it even better! My first win.
Nice insult - thank you
I teach high school social studies. Sometimes my students write literally the entire email in the subject and send it with the body of the email blank.