On episode 80 of Hypercritical, John Siracusa likens the idea of spatial computing to the memory palace strategy for coordinating bits of information with parts of a house or other familiar place.
The thing is, the memory palace maps surprisingly well to the new document model in OS X and iCloud as they exist in Mountain Lion. John likens the spatial locations to choosing rooms in the house, but in the new document model, the rooms are apps.
Inside, each might have a drawer or shelf or a desk in which to place items. These are iCloud’s single-level, Springboard-like folders. But if you think about the memory palace, they’re all one sub-location within the room, which is the app. So, remember the app and you remember where something is. It’s like always being aware of which room you left it in.
The old model was like finding an item in a huge warehouse full of identical containers. Sure, you might know which side of the building the item was on, but if all the containers look and act the same—only with different labels—you’re unlikely to find what you’re looking for.
The key (or the key frustration) is that to move something in the memory palace to another room, you have to go to the room where it is stored, reach into the drawer, and explicitly remove it from its room in the palace. The new model works the same way. It adds steps, but it prevents people from standing in one enormous room with hundreds of pieces of paper piled on the floor, trying to remember where they came from, where they go, and if any of them are the thing that the person is looking for.