Ever found some fluff at the bottom of an old coat pocket? Or perhaps a receipt that you have been looking for? Or maybe that set of keys you have been missing for a while? Or a sweet wrapper?
You know what I mean.
This morning I looked at my iPhone and realised that I had been picking up iLint. The modern age equivalent of the old train ticket. It’s something that was once of use to me but has long since lost its relevance, but it is still taking up space in my life.
The odd app that I thought might be handy at the time, but quickly got bored with and yet still keeps popping back up when I synchronise my iPhone.
Then there are the emails from the companies that I once bought something from because I had a use for it at the time, but now get increasingly less relevant stuff from them.
Or there is the stuff which I freely admit I subscribed to but which never turned out to be useful.
Or the file that I downloaded because I wanted to read it, but then it just hung around.
I recently accidently deleted the “downloaded attachments” file from my Mac. It was 6gb big and I was on one of my regular space purges.
In honesty, I haven’t missed much of the 6gb.
It is interesting to think how much of this iLint I am collecting as I move through my life and it is interesting to think what a footprint of discarded information I am leaving as I move along.
It will also be interesting to see what happens if someone creates an iLint program. Something that just sweeps through all my electronic gizmos and says “you know what, you have lost interest in that, so I am going to move it into the great lint archive in the cloud, if you ever get interested in it again, just ask.”
There is a new phrase being bandied around in computer circles. They talk about “big data”, in other words a lot of data that is really dense. Things like films and photos (I have 200gb of that). It is giving rise to a whole new industry. With all of this enormous amount of data, how can you ever find the stuff that is meaningful, relevant, useful, timely and accurate? The metaphorical equivalent of telling you which one of your coats you left your car keys in when you are looking for them.
Who would have thought there would be so much value in lint?
Ian Hughes is the CEO of Consumer Intelligence, a market research company that is dedicated to helping its customers make intelligent decisions using the best possible insight.