That is, why install a CMS, project manager software, blog, or wiki in an office when everyone can make eye contact? The simplest solution is almost always paper, not software. A wall chart, index cards, etc. The art of using paper to organize information is being lost, perhaps, as I find people excessively rely on software that they can only purchase. Wiki:IndexCards are popular amongst wiki-types, for a good reason. I love using paper to socially construct meaning because it is directly and obviously manipulatable by the people in the room unlike wikis. But I also like simple technology like wikis because they are not much more complicated than paper, and so they are easy to replicate.
I consequently dislike talking about 'wikis' as a panacea since it's like talking about the introduction of papyrus. "This reed-based technology is a knowledge repository that will distribute any Pharaoh's reach over his kingdom with only a scratch of a quill!"
But what about ElectronicPaper and giant WallScreen?s? The combination of the two would be really powerful. Perhaps in a few years a physical spatial metaphor for organization information will become once again dominant. We couldn't do this now because we are working with the desk-bound PersonalComputer?, which induces a FovealCone-based method of information organization. For instance, we use type systems (e.g. an enumeration field in a database) rather than the more obvious spatial decomposition of information into 'piles'. We all have piles for which we 'know' what belongs there but we couldn't give a semantic label to. That kind of organization just makes sense to us, but maybe not in an entity-relationship diagram.
An office that is organized in some way by direct manipulation will be more conducive to the rising creative class than any system-oriented theories of software construction. I'm interested in building small technologies that allow people to build SmallDocuments. -- SunirShah
One criticism I've had for a while with PervasiveComputing. I don't know if embedding computers in tables is economically sane. It's better to lay computers on tables rather than conflate two functions in one piece of furniture. -- SunirShah
Interesting question! In fact what you have to do is make a list of functions that need to be performed in your office and try both ways for each function: with computer and without computer. When this is done, for each one choose to do it with the mode that is the most functional and the most fun (this is important also!): with computer or without computer.
You can rest assured that for the following functions you will definetely need a computer:
For no one has yet been able to surf the web without a computer yet example.
As for the rest, you can use the method explained above and you will be able to determine the best tool for each function. I am sure you will find it much more fun to be able to live without staring at a screen for most of your day and to live the anxiety of thinking all your data can be lost any time when your hard drive will crash! Also being forced to carry a 2 thousand dollar machine with you anytime and being its slave is certainly not the most fun.