Friday, January 26, 2007

On Vista and Tags

A feature within Vista that I was really looking forward to using is Tags (sorry for the lame link - scroll down to the bottom). Tags are basically quick labels for files that one can use for organization or searching. They are already used by websites and blogging software (my blog calls them "Labels").

I thought this would be great - I could tag all my patent documents and graphics with "patent" and then I could always quickly find what I need to be working on or saved data.

Tagging is done within the Explorer in a pane below the folder, like this.

Clicking on the box after "Tags:" prompts you to select an existing tag or create your own. So far so good.

The more I played around with Tags, though, the less useful they seemed. Apparently you can't tag everything. Tag-supported files include Office files and image files - these are the ones I've tested so far. No tag support for .txt or .rtf files. Wha wha wha? I prefer to do quick documents in Textpad, not Word, so most of my quick work is untaggable.

While that's not a dealbreaker, it's a little disappointing.

I was also planning on using Tags to help me organize all my data, especially with patent files, benchmark results, etc. The more I thought about it I realized it wasn't exactly like I had wanted.

For instance, I put all patent work in a folder, \patents, with subfolders for specific projects or topics. What would be the point of me tagging all my graphics with "patent" if they are already organized in patent folders? If I needed them, I already know where they are. I'm going to have to tag with subtopics, but the files should already be in subfolders, theoretically already "tagged" by placement.

I could definitely see the benefit of being able to search for all benchmark results for AMD X2 5000+ processors (tagged as AMD, 5000, etc), but since I've done a lot of work on pre-Vista/pre-tag-enabled systems, I've named my result files with specific details in the filename to help with sending them to the correct people.

A plus for Tags is group-tagging. If I didn't want to go through and rename all my vacation photos from IMG0001 - IMG4165 to discrete names I could just select all of them and tag them "Seattle, June 2006" and move on to the next batch. I like that.

I guess it comes down to your preference - do you want to organize by folders and filenames, or by Tags? Or am I missing something? How would you use Tags, and do you think they have a benefit over foldername/filename organization?


John said...

Why don't you just switch to Word as your editor. It fits, you are the biggest Microsoft fan boy I know... ;-)

Trey said...

I have too many Macs to be the biggest MS fan boy!

khickman said...

Just got my pro bono copy of Vista Business and Office Pro 07 in the mail today. I will let you know what the unwashed masses think.

Trey said...

Sweet! I'd like to know what you think about the new interface, especially Office's Ribbon.