Memory management

“Oh no,” you say “not another post about memory-management from a new iPhone developer… retain counts, autorelease pool, alloc, copy , blahdy blah blah… we get it already, memory management in Objective-C is hard.”

Actually, no. This is about something else – I’ve noticed that most of the apps that I use on a regular basis are about memory management in a literal and concrete sense – I’ve come to rely on my iPhone to remember things for me.

I write lists (in a list app), I take notes (in a notes app – that syncs with my mac so I don’t have to remember to copy the notes across), I have train, tram, bus timetables, my calendar (with reminders), alarms, email alerts… and I have quick access to wikipedia and the rest of the internet (my default second brain). I don’t have to remember things because my pocket computer remembers for me.

I travel and I check my maps application over and over again, forgetting my directions and location between each access.

But I’m not complaining, nor is this another technology rant about being lost in the shallows – I’ve actually always had a terrible memory for certain types of  things – before the iPhone I would draw a map and write directions and would still have to check them over and over. I would write phone numbers on a piece of paper, and then lose the piece of paper. I would write cryptic notes on my hand and then be unable to decipher the notes.

Here’s the big deal for me — and an early stage of an idea — on the iPhone, I can potentially find (or better yet, make) an app (or collection of apps) that is particularly suited to my type of memory. A device that assists my memory management in a specific, tangible way.

(And yes, for you programmers, the photo is of a post-it on my monitor reminding me to release).