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In the world of RSS and newsreaders there is a war of preferences going around over how people prefer to read their feeds. Categorized by feed, type of feed, or as a “river of news.” In other words first in, first displayed, in a long list and you simply scan top-to-bottom. I have tried both and IMO both have merit. River of news lets you see everything in an instant, and I find it useful for quickly locating important event. Then I read the “normal” stuff later on. When I am ready to consume all my news, I prefer to read by feed as I find it more efficient not having my brain change cylinders from sports to tech to music item by item. I can keep it focused as I read a whole collection of news at once.

Now that I am piloting Vista and Office 2007 with integrated Desktop Search support, I wondered if this approach can work for mail as well. For as long as I can remember, I created a hierarchal folder system in Outlook and sorted my mail manually or with rules in to “buckets” of knowledge. If I needed an email from my boss, I knew exactly which folder to go look for it in. Perhaps the days of all those folders are past? Why not just keep all of my mail in one folder and allow the powerful properties of search to help me easily locate a message? On an enterprise level, I have a feeling there is some power here as well. Why the need to memorize or bookmark obscure URL’s or UNC paths? Index the enterprise and search for it. This isn’t a new idea, but it is one that the technology can finally support. Why do so few use it. Is it such a shift – to feel that all your data is just out there – unorganized – willy-nilly? I can see search driving the control freaks crazy. How do you really know everything is as or where it should be unless you look in your neat little file folder system and see it sitting there?

So this is what I am experimenting with now. As an Exchange administrator, I know having thousands of mail items in my Inbox will eventually catch up with me. However, email archiving should prevent me from feeling the ill effects of this. I have already cast off my PST shackles and imported them in to the archive. My precious PST’s! Right now it is taking some getting used to seeing all my alerts, MOM messages, personal and business emails floating in one folder. I want to see where this goes however. No zero mail inbox here! I haven’t been disciplined enough to do this with my files yet on my laptop. That is next though. Even though I remember to use Vista’s awesome search capabilities when I need a document, they are all still neatly organized in their safe little folder in Documents - One thing at a time.

Posted on Monday, April 9, 2007 10:58 AM Exchange , Vista , Blogging , Office | Back to top

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