Alex Payne is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.

since 2001, has served as his online home.

Life As A Series of Queues

A downside of many information architectures is the reduction of data to items in queues that must be manually processed. Though information technology has saved the “knowledge work” generations from a lifetime of manual labor, we have our own assembly lines.

Here are the queues I process in a given work day:

  • work email (by far the most insidious queue)
  • personal email
  • instant messages (they queue while in meetings and away from the computer)
  • text messages
  • missed phone calls and voicemail
  • @replies on Twitter
  • direct messages on Twitter
  • requests for links to applications by Twitter API developers
  • requests for whitelisting by Twitter developers
  • code review requests
  • tickets on our internal bug tracker
  • tickets on the Twitter API tracker
  • items in my personal to-do list
  • calendar event requests
  • unread items in my feed reader
  • unread items in Instapaper

My suspicion is that there’s a market in making each and every one of those queues smaller, if not making them disappear entirely.

Software I Paid For But No Longer Use

Recession Engineering