Want to receive my work as I publish it?

    The Weekly

    Updates published most weeks. Want to receive them by email?


    All archives

    November 18, 2021

    Notifications in the OS of the future

    October 28, 2021

    Actions and automations in the OS of the future

    October 12, 2021

    Web browsing in the OS of the future

    October 3, 2021

    How can the OS of the future be a better companion in our day?

    September 26, 2021

    Dates in the OS of the future

    September 19, 2021

    Why does personal computing matter?

    September 12, 2021

    Bringing these concepts to life

    September 5, 2021

    How can the OS of the future tailor itself to you?

    August 28, 2021

    Constructing the OS of the future

    August 21, 2021

    Let’s explore The Graph OS

    August 14, 2021

    Charting a new course for my products

    August 7, 2021

    The need for art

    July 31, 2021

    As a kid, I found two things that were pure magic to me

    June 26, 2021

    Why is our thinking on computers so restrained?

    June 6, 2021

    Everything I’ve learned about my OS so far

    May 2, 2021

    How will we organize our things in the OS of the future?

    April 10, 2021

    General purpose personal computing software?

    April 6, 2021

    What if users could build their own OS? Part 2

    March 20, 2021

    What if users could build their own OS?

    February 27, 2021

    Email & Slack & SMS, Oh My!

    February 22, 2021

    Beyond the GUI

    February 17, 2021

    No more compromises

    February 6, 2021

    How the OS of the future might really help us out

    January 31, 2021

    Navigation in the OS of the future

    January 24, 2021

    The Inverted OS, Part 2

    January 16, 2021

    The Inverted OS

    January 10, 2021

    What if you could build apps in minutes?

    January 2, 2021

    Let’s start at the beginning

    December 26, 2020

    The future of the operating system

    August 28, 2021

    Constructing the OS of the future

    In my lab notes so far, we’ve explored a handful of new and renewed concepts for the operating system of the future. There are more to come, but today I want to pause and consider the bigger picture, starting with some of those concepts themselves:

    What if you could transclude anything in your personal computing domain within any other thing? Demos of this included dropping a podcast episode into the note you’re developing your thoughts in, letting you pause and play the episode whenever you open the note again.

    What if you could develop your thinking or work in browsing paths that can contain all the items you need, regardless of type or source? And what if you could return to your recent paths anytime? Demos of this included moving from your day’s task list into a project that required taking down notes and tasks while researching a specific topic with assets in your path, and returning to this path later to continue the work.

    What if your system could identify associated items from past browsing paths when you have items open? Demos of this included having automatic recall of the email thread about a meeting from the meeting’s calendar event notification?

    And the list goes on: What if you could swap out the views used to render specific items? These views might come from third-party developers, or what if you could create your own views for items? What is the result of using references among your things that form an items graph of everything in your personal computing domain?


    All of these individual concepts contribute to an explorative operating system of the future — or more specifically, to the user environment of one.

    The demos you see in the above lab notes all work, and for the most part, together. Building out the concepts helps me learn more about them, from both implementation and use. But the next step is becoming more clear: letting others use them too.

    So here’s my plan: over the course of the next few months, I hope to share with you this system I’ve developed. As a fullscreen app for your current machine, it becomes an alternative user environment in which you’ll be able to explore these concepts with your own work and data.

    What concepts need more thinking? What gaps exist? Is this something that is only incrementally better than today’s operating systems, or is the difference more meaningful than that? How does it affect the ways we think or work? There are lots of questions I hope to explore by sharing these first implementations.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep the lab notes coming with more of the concepts I’m exploring.


    As always, I hope you’re well.


    Want to receive my work as I publish it?