[unrev-II] DKR best practice

From: Dick Karpinski (dick@cfcl.com)
Date: Sat Feb 26 2000 - 04:49:41 PST

From: Dick Karpinski <dick@cfcl.com>

I found a guy who explicitly and with computer assistance maintains
his personal DKR. I was impressed with the system despite many silly
limitations. And he explains it on the web. I got so excited by what
I saw on the web that I visited the guy and watched him work while I
asked probing questions for an hour or two.

He calls his Dynamic Knowledge Repository SDS but it starts with an
intention to attend a meeting, read a document, perform a task, or
something else you might put on your to-do list or your schedule.

So he starts with a to-do list & schedule. But the nice part is that
he disciplines himself to spending an hour or more PER DAY turning
such a list into KNOWLEDGE. He does this by reviewing what got done
about the stuff on the list. By quick means, he connects his newly
keyed understandings into his DKR. This then enables him to navigate
through the associated information with agility. In turn, the very
convenience of recall gives him insights into what is happening.

One day I wandered around in his web site for hours and sent him a
dozen or so emails about everything from typos to grand theories
about why people aren't gobbling this idea up right away. He took
my points and incorporated his understanding of them into his DKR.
He then used a single command to make his response to me into HTML
and put it on his web site. Perhaps that also sends me the URL or
perhaps he does that separately.

In any case, it's now there for you to see at:

A couple of layers down appropriate links, you can see the SDS
record structure and data flow schematic at:

I believe that applying the viewing parameter idea to material like
this would enhance its usability. Of course, Jef Raskin, in "The
Humane Interface", shows how to make systems like SDS very easy to
learn and very comfortable and convenient to use. And Tom Gilb, in
"Principles of Software Engineering Management", shows how to design
the construction of such systems so that the project succeeds and a
workable result is obtained.

Jef's site is at: http://www.jefraskin.com

Tom's site is at: http://www.result-planning.com/

All three of these guys are committed to understanding the reality
that's staring them in the face. Most of us are "in denial" most of
the time, just to remain cheerfull, I claim. Each of these authors
works very diligently to provide ways to check yourself and ensure
that your intentions are not being neglected or subverted by the
forces of entropy etc. If you're not ready to face the necessarily
large fraction of the time that you fail, then you cannot make full
use of these technologies. Either you face your failures or you lose.

I suggest that their attitude, and that of those who follow them, is
rather Taoist. They push right past our normal reluctance to think
of ourselves in less than flattering terms. If you can live with that
and function, then you too can accomplish great things. It still takes
huge amounts of plain work, but the feedback loops give us much more
control over our own destiny than the usual "flying blind" methods do.

Whether you like Rod Welch's SDS, or the web he's constructed with it,
or not, it's a personal DKR that can easily be replicated and improved.
I have learned not to just ask, in email, but rather to make a bald
claim that calls out eager refutation.

There is no better example of a personal DKR in daily use.

We should study its design and build some software that can be shared
which performs those functions. Then we should improve it until some
clearly better idea shows up.

But never confuse a clear vision with a short path to make it so.

Richard Karpinski dick@cfcl.com
The world's largest leprechaun |=|:-}= (the leprechaun smiley face)

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Tue Aug 21 2001 - 18:56:52 PDT