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L1G3R Information Systems: Baroque knowledge management
Topic:Introduction   Date: 2006-01-01
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[Note that although this system served me well, WordPress makes a better journal system. I tried rednotebook for a bit, but nothing beats locally hosted WordPress. The tagging, categories, and editing tools are much easier to use than the MCJ OS and journal software you see here. It was useful to build this system, weave it with my journal, and then leave it behind. What an amazing six years of my life. I took down the files for the project as well. Trust me. Install WordPress locally. I think it is also useful for persistence of view, to stick it in a VM. VMPlayer works well, if you can get an image.]

This site documents a Free program called Mountain Climbing Journal (MCJ). It is an idea that I've been working on for many years out of frustration with my hand-written journal. Mountain climbing is a metaphor about observation and discovery that is both personally general for me, but also specific to keeping a journal. Over the years I've added many new features to MCJ, and created an operating system that can run the journal system. The flip-side to this is that MCJ includes everything that ever crossed my mind that I needed, and so it is short on effective design and rich in half-baked features. At this point, it actually does what I need, and I use it often, both as a journal, but also to manage my web sites. I want to share what this looks like, why I created it the way I did, and how it works. This is a challenge. Can I document my intention and the present state of MCJ? Can I present over 25 years of metaphorical baggage expressed as a useful tool? This site is a stubborn example of getting a foothold on an almost unmanageable face of ideas and disjoint information and making sense of it. This site is a stubborn example of MCJ getting a foothold on itself. It is a bit of a circus, but if you could forgive my conceit while I get into character, I think we will have a lot of fun tonight.

MCJ facilitates the tracing and logging of of data via active keyword markup, classification, and interactive presentation. As a personal journal, it is used to trace keywords through dreams and other types of writing, but MCJ can be used for any body of information. One idea behind the metaphor of the mountain climber is that keywords are not arbitrary. The mountain of data, the mountain of experience, the mountain of conscious and unconscious streaming and resulting imprints of that data is impossible to take in all at once. MCJ allows active placement of keywords that anchor journal entries, transforming the data of a climb into information. There is a recursive aspect to this, in that a mountain is constructed via well placed keywords that act as pitons:

RURP A photo of a RURP (Realized Ultimate Reality Piton), invented by rock climbers Tom Frost and Yvon Chouinard. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

As an example, if I recognize the color yellow as a recurring keyword in dreams and in my waking life, I will likely pay more attention to that color. I've placed an anchor. My memories will reveal information about that keyword. My interest and the data that I filter will illuminate the keyword, and my future actions will be expressed in terms of that keyword. This is merely an observation about human behavior, not an observation about some higher reality revolving around the keyword. I am constructing and observing a mountain at the same time. I'm choosing both my route and my anchor points. This is distinct from using more fuzzy search or keyword analysis that selects keywords with passive involvement by the user, a search engine, for instance, or a keyword cloud.

No MCJ keywords are available until they are specifically selected. As experience and data is gathered around a specified keyword, it might make more sense. This is particularly true where dreams are concerned. Dreams can hold contradictions or correlations that are only available to your unconscious mind. The color yellow might appear to be a struggle for brightness, but the seed is a struggle with cowardice. It might also be a memory of somebody that rescued you in a yellow truck when you were stranded. Likely there are many meanings for a keyword in a dream. Keywords can be very personal, and should be chosen with a combination of openness and care.

The MCJ client application is a relatively simple tool. The main screen looks like this:

mcj

The icon with the diamond and circle is a thing icon. Keywords are immediately classified by highlighting the word and clicking the person, place, thing, and time icons. This is the basic function of MCJ. The rest of the system grows out from this.

The full MCJ baroque knowledge management system includes:
  · Application that can be run independently on Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, and GNU/Linux
  · An optimized GNU/Linux operating system that will run MCJ
  · Ruby on Rails presentation layer

If a knowledge management system is flexible enough to trace, log, and achor keywords through the messy world of dreams and human experience, then it should be able to express something as predictable as the build steps for constructing an operating system from source. This is an important part of my design intentions with MCJ. This web site was is written, maintained, and published with MCJ, running on the MCJ GNU/Linux reference operating system.

Here are the main areas of the site that explain more about MCJ:
  ·Design considerations
  ·Usage
  ·Details of the web presentation configuration
  ·Step-by-step procedure to compile an operating system that will run MCJ
  ·Ideas related to MCJ, configuration management, and expression


None of this would be possible without the diligent work of the Linux From Scratch (LFS) project. A tip o' the hat to those intrepid hackers. Much of the OS buld configuration is taken directly from LFS and BLFS.

People:
Places:
Things:
ruby
General Description - Tools Used
Ruby1.8.7.248
rails
General Description - Tools Used
Ruby1.8.7.248
gnu/linux
windows
mac
Times: