Forgetting the present and remembering the past

by daniel on February 3, 2009




Being disconnected from the internet is a nightmare; we are so dependant on the information received from the internet that even a small disconnection makes life difficult. I learnt it the hard way this week by having a connectivity problem, and making things worse, I lost the configuration of the ADSL modem. This is exactly the reason backups and information management is crucial.

I have a SpeedTouch Home ADSL modem made by Thomson / Alcatel. The firmware was upgraded to 510, with custom configuration as bridge for PPPoE connectivity. This seems quite trivial, but the exact configuration detailing the VC/VP and other details was lost. The modem isn’t produced anymore, and the website hosting the manuals is long gone; I had to google for the CLI commands and try to recreate the correct sequence for setting up the bridge. After finally creating it, I downloaded the configuration to a txt file and saved it on the SVN as backup. This seems like the end of it, but it got me thinking of the next phase, on the moment I might need it.

Information management is always a problem because we generate lot of information for work or personal, normally not keeping track of it. Like normally done for problem solving, the problem should be stated:


“How can I keep information on my computer so I would be able to find it later?”


“What is the type of information and how it’s organized?”


“How do I find the Information?”


The answer to the first two items is easy: most of the information come in text files, whether word documents, presentations or other text files. Sometimes we might like to add also the images files, but this is out of scope for now.


What are the options? (The list isn’t comprehensive list, but an overview of options)

  1. Google desktop: I use the application at work. The application indexes all of the files on your computer, including the emails and can provide a comprehensive search using keywords.
  2. Personal wiki: The wiki serves as a semi organized information manager. The benefit is organizing the information with a scratchpad while still keeping some search functionality.
  3. Personal Information Manger (PIM): similar to personal wiki, but able to contain more information types like emails and contacts.


Each of the possible solutions can be used, more often a combination of several. At work I use outlook as PIM for email, contacts and calendar, while google desktop helps me find the information using keyword search. This might not be the best information management solution but it helps storing information and retrieving it when needed.

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