Scary: Where did I put that?

Our enterprising editor has asked all of blogging at ZDNet to contribute a post about something scary to celebrate the season. What's really scary is that, in this early stage in the evolution of Office/Web/Work 2.0, we're scattering artifacts all over the net and there's no good way to keep track of it all.

Our enterprising editor has asked all of blogging at ZDNet to contribute a post about something scary to celebrate the season. Disclosure: Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which is a big deal here in the desert Southwest, are the favorite holiday in my home. Given that I spent the past five years in the info security world, there's certainly a lot of scary topics there... but not really what I'm focusing on these days. Privacy issues are scary fodder too but the same lack of alignment applies.

So I'm thinking what I might write about that speaks directly to the changing world of work and our gradual (or not-so-gradual in some cases) migration ot a new network-centric way of working and it suddenly dawned on me - what's really scary is that, in this early stage in the evolution of Office/Web/Work 2.0, we're scattering artifacts all over the net and there's no good way to keep track of it all.

Sure, you can aggregate a lot of stuff in custom home pages like NetVibes or Google or Windows Live. Yes, you can use a Wiki page to link all of your small pieces and try to get them loosely joined. But seriously, are most people going to be willing to take on that geeky level of additional meta-work to keep all of their "stuff" organized and find-able? I think not.

While we have search engines for the public web and search engines for our intranets and search engines for our desktops, what we lack is a search engine for our web-based scatterings. Just my stuff.

I looked through my bookmarks and was shocked - shocked I tell you - to realize how many online services I've used in my exploration of the new net office. I have some projects sitting in Basecamp. I have documents languishing in Writely and Zoho and ThinkFree Office. I have bookmarks and tags in Technorati and del.icio.us. I have photos in Flickr and Picasa web albums and... you get the idea.

So what scares me? The idea that when I eventually figure out which of the many tools and services being offered  are the best fit for me, that I'll never, ever figure out where all these bits I've left lying around are.

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