Metadata is your friend
Previously I wrote about how one can store too much data. I was guilty of that personally. I have way too much data hard to sort through easily. This collection of data was not just images I have taken; it is also documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. What is often overlooked is that there are tools out there to address the issue head on, but most of us don’t use them. It is the power of Metadata.
For those of you not familiar with the term metadata, it is data about data. Yes, that sentence is circular, on purpose. Metadata is a way to describe data using additional data. A few examples to illustrate the idea could be thought of as the “Tag Cloud” to the right on this blog. I manually go in and add descriptive tags for each post so that people can find them easily. That is just one example; another one is key wording or captions in pictures. The actual data is the image itself; the metadata is describing the data that is contained within the image.
The key is to actually fill it out and use the metadata options in pieces of software. This can make finding something much later, much easier. Metadata is not limited just to photographs and blog posts; the much-maligned Microsoft Office products include the ability to add metadata to the file. Microsoft does not call metadata “metadata”, they call it “Properties”. This data can be very helpful.
Let’s say that you were writing a letter to an airline about the difficulties you had with booking a flight with frequent flier miles. Now when you save the file, you might give it a filename such as “United July 2011”. Now later you go looking for the file, will you be able to find it just based on the filename? What happens for something less directly identifiable? It becomes a little harder. However if I add a brief sentence that says “Correspondence about trouble booking a flight using frequent flier middles” and put in keywords of “United, Frequent Flier, Reward, Travel”. Both Mac and Windows operating systems provide utilities to find files using metadata. It is the search tool built into the finder.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I do not need to do all this extra work, I can keep track of my files.” I would like to leave you with perhaps the most compelling reason to fill out your metadata – media files.
All the MP3 and other media files that are organized in iTunes are organized using metadata. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to go through 4,730 files to find one specific piece of media? How about if you have multiple versions of the same song? Without metadata, media management would be very difficult.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go fill in some document properties.
Click for larger image
Signal to Noise
So a few days ago I posted a Tweet that said, “signal to noise is important, not just in audio but in life“. That post was an amalgam of someone’s tweet commenting on the palaver at their job result of the amount of Tweets I was getting from one stream. I realize that the single stream is not an indictment of all who Twitter, Twitterers?
I figured I would post here what I learned from a quick study over the past week. I am following 40 streams, 32 posted something in the past week, there were a total of 522 tweets, or an average of 16 tweets over the past week. However there was one person who posted 208 Tweets in one week, the vast majority of which were very repeative and redundant. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a graph worth?
40% From one stream
In addition the person also put down an identifier so that they would trend and are getting much of the information from AlertDeck. So that person is now not being followed now. The disappointing part is that they actually have something valuable to say; they have just started adding to much noise in trying to market themselves.
So my warning is that marketing via Twitter can be done, but if there is no content everything gets turned off. Stay tuned… I might decide to reveal who the offender is.
Oh yeah, I have also decided that Apple’s iWork’s Numbers ’08 is not very powerful when it comes to collating data as I still had to do much manually instead of just doing a Pivot Table in Excel. I also still can’t activate half my applications…