July 29, 2002: I've never been a huge fan of Lifestreams, but the idea of moving beyond the folder/file metaphor for organizing digital information seems inevitable. And with Apple's iTunes (and iPhoto), that evolution has begun in earnest. I'm sure there are lots of other examples, but these apps are widely used and sure to be influential. They treat files (either mp3's or photos) as data objects and then organize around metadata (artist, album, membership on a playlist, etc). This freaked me out at first and I spent a lot of time making sure that the underlying file system more or less matched what was in iTunes (just in case I needed to access the files independently of iTunes). But as of version 3, iTunes is willing and capable of managing the files for me. I don't want to make too much of this, but I think this is an important, and welcome, transitional moment in operating system development history.