Sunday, June 15, 2008

Being Organized in 1990

I used for some time around 1990 a quirky, but useful program, called "Organize!" It still works, sort of:

Its author was Kwek Sing Cher. The manual was written by Jim Murray. Here is a quote from the Introduction, which, I think, remains as true as ever:

"The Power of the Simple Tool: There are a dozen or so Personal Information Managers (PIMs) on the market. Many are quite expensive. All are useful, to some degree or another. Why should you choose this one? -- Consider the typewriter and the pencil. The typewriter, at first glance, seems the more powerful. It's certainly more complex. For some uses (business correspondence, novels) it is indispensable. It is also cumbersome, expensive, and demanding to operate. -- The pencil, on the other hand, is a simple tool. It works on almost any solid surface. It's convenient; you can carry a dozen of them in your pocket. It's flexible, useful for everything from shopping lists to artwork. Chances are, you have already used it many more times than you will ever use a typewriter. -- In point of fact, the pencil -- like many simple tools -- is the one that's really powerful."

I have always liked simple tools. But simplicity is a moving target.

Organize! worked just like a calendar, in which you made notes that could then be searched by means of keywords like the following:

1.DO: (include the colon)
3.APP*: (notice the difference the asterisk makes)
4.02 APP:
5.02 APP*:
6.WEEK #

What you needed then was: An IBM AT, IBM PS/2, or compatible; EGA or VGA/SuperVGA monitor. The minimum recommended was a 12Mhz 286 PC, and a mouse, for easier use.

The software needed was: MS/PC-DOS 3.0 or later, and Windows 3.0 or later.

The computers of today allow for a different kind of simplicity, one that I could not have dreamt of in 1990.

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