I want something better than Outlook, and I've been thinking about it since about mid July.
Here's what I think a true PIM will look like (so far):
- A format-aware, personal CVS type repository. Accessable from anywhere via encrypted link (ssh, ssl, etc...), this data warehoue will act as your personal information repository. No, it doesn't have a display format, no it doesn't act as a "database" (queryable), it's a information diff engine. The format aware part is pretty important here. We only have so many kinds of data in this world, and XML is making them all accessible to one another, so XML is a prime canidate for a "baseline" format from which others can be constructed or deconstructed from.This thing might be a huge app, requiring a dedicated server/person.
- A manaement layer. I'm thinking something along the lines of an information "landscape" that you "place" data on (or the manager places it on the landscape for you). Major life priorities could be given fixed points on the landscape, and other things "arranged" in proximity to them and whatever else they happen to be "associated" with. People in your life could also have "points", and data about, from, and to these people could be located at these "heaps" on the landscape. People could then be "placed" on the landscape in proximity to the things in you life they affect (family, work, side interests, etc...).
- Display layer. Current PIMs currently are far too tightly tied to their databases to be useful in any meaningful way. Displays for the new form of PIM can look like current displays, but can also live on any device with a connection (remeber, you should be able to "check out" your data from anywhere).
- more stuff I've forgotten.
I think it can be built. I really do. It won't be easy, and it won't be quick, but I think it can be done...I just don't know if I'm the person for the job.