For years I’ve kept snippets of code in a file that I refer to when I need a cookbook of sorts to perform some magic incantation I only need to invoke once or twice a year. I just don’t need to keep this kind of stuff in my head. I call the file Gems of Wisdom.
You know, in programming (which I do a lot of), there are often little gotchas that require hours or days to figure out. And once you’ve figured them out, it’s easy to forget them if you immediately move on to the next challenge. Working at the level I do, which often requires typing command-line stuff, I’d never remember this stuff character by character unless I used it every day.
For instance, I was exporting a French blog database today (from MySQL), which has lots of é and ï and ç and ô characters in it. These have always given me trouble, because when you’re migrating a MySQL database from one server to another, and you don’t export and import them properly, they just don’t come through as the proper accented characters.
To do it right I’d have to remember this line:
mysqldump –user=mylogin -p –opt mydbname -r myfile.sql
Now, given the hundreds of different things I do every day, week after week, how would I remember that one?
Jerry Michalski uses a notable tool —theBrain— to hold links to info and organize it for exploration. He may have the most extensive theBrain in the world, having used the software for more than 15 years. He has a quick introduction to his brain on his Rexpedition site. You can also watch Jerry talk about his brain (30-minute video … breaks all attention span rules).
An (External Memory) Podcast
One of my favorite podcasts is Big Picture Science from Team SETI. On January 20th, 2014, they did a nice cast on how human and computer memory is progressing. The Forget to Remember episode is worth listening to. And this is a podcast you might like to subscribe to!