As much as I managed to do in 2021, I'm more excited about what I plan to do next year because I'm making it official:


(Disclaimer: I could completely fail at this.)

I'm not the world's biggest fan of Steve Jobs, but his concept in the 80s of a computer being a bicycle for the mind is what I need, what I don't have, and what I will therefore make for myself with all the help I can get.

Ted Chiang has a short story called "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling", that describes how certain technologies have changed the ways we use our minds.

For as long as browsers have reopened the tabs of their previous sessions, I've been using the window and tab states of my browsers as extensions of my long term memory. We all have, sort of, but I'm an extreme case. And it's been empowering, but also very risky and limiting in certain ways.

In the past month, on two separate Macs, I've destroyed Safari by burdening it with my open, forgotten tabs. Why Safari? (Because Firefox and Chrome fare even worse.) On my work computer, I lost more tabs than I knew, and whatever ideas they represented to me.

On my personal computer, I managed to figure out where that data is stored. Surprise! It's a file. A hidden, proprietary-formatted file. I was able to extract it, and converted it to HTML.

In other words, I've been trusting a web browser's window management system to persist some very straightforward data, as an extension of my brain, but in a risk-prone way that has resulted in some significant data loss.

Combined with my latest macOS upgrade fiasco, switching OSes feels really appealing right now.

They used to say "In Unix, everything's a file".

If I'm going to extend my brain with a computer, the extensions should be text files organized in folder hierarchies.

Here's my idea for a mind bike.

1. The file thing. I shouldn't have to struggle to read, write and organize things that matter. Computers have excelled at this for decades.

2. I should be able to quickly turn folders of bookmarks into windows of tabs and back. More importantly, I should be able to do this with almost any open process.

3. My system ought to model activities as compositions of documents and the processes that interpret them. It should be trivial to organize activities.


My dad @josefsachs (Happy New Year dad!) pointed out that there are decades-old window management systems that support the memoization of window and document state to some extent.

I wouldn't be a Merveillian, would I, if I wasn't willing to explore a tool or paradigm that's collected dust for twenty years.

In summary, I'll probably be doing some serious OS feng shui this year, if I can manage it. And I hope to write about that here as I work things out.

I mean, where else would I share it?

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