Mapping Your Drive

I’m a big fan of treemaps, and a big fan of anything that keeps your hard drive organised (or any kind of media, really.) So treemap software that create a map of your hard drive are hard to resist, which is why I’ve written about them a fair deal. (For an attempt at an exhaustive list of treemapping software, check out this page.) Here’s a new version of SpaceMonger, one of my favorites, which is now officially out. Just to confuse you, it’s version 2.1, but that’s only because version 2.0 was never released.

Basically, treemaps create a box-like map of whatever it is you’re mapping — in this case, your hard drive. In the illustration above, you can see the bigger rectangles as folders, with the subfolders inside them. What’s the point? You can see at a glance how much space you’ve got left (the grey bit) and which folders, even which files, are taking up space. You can even use it as a file manager, since by clicking on a folder that zooms into the folder in question, and by clicking on a file you can launch it. Right clicking allows you to do things to the file, including delete it. It’s all pretty intuitive stuff.

SpaceMonger isn’t the only one out there doing this, but I like the way it does things.


Mapping The News

I’m a recent convert to treemaps — a way of presenting information in block form, where the block denote areas of information which can then be drilled through to reach the underlying text, pictures or whatever. It’s best explained by seeing an example.

Anyway, here’s a great example of a treemap, applied to news (thanks Marc’s Outlook on Productivity, in turn from Ole’s Critical Section). Created by Marcos Weskamp, the newsmap draws on Google’s news aggregator to take the treemap concept a stage further “and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.”

I’m still hunting for software that can take all the documents on my hard-drive and turn them into a treemap. The closest I’ve found is the excellent SpaceMonger from Sean Werkema, which does a wonderful job of allowing you to see what’s taking up space on your disks, hard and otherwise.