Jun Rekimoto's Time-Machine Computing
is a neat idea for representing large (probably not huge) amounts of personal
documents/images/other data in their chronological context.
It assumes that people have no problem remembering their actions
if given hints to what other actions they performed around the same time.
So instead of organising saved/created files by a rigorous
system of hierarchical sub-directories and names, one would
use on the creation or modification times and the good old neural network.
Rekimoto developed a Java-based desktop environment based on this idea.
A more practical approach IMHO would be to enhance one the many open source
file managers by a slide bar that allows to scroll backwards in time through
the directory. I.e. when activated, the position of the knob presents a
point in the past, the leftmost position representing the creation of
the oldest file in the displayed directories. At each position, the
only files shown would be the ones created at or around the date
represented by the position. All other files should be faded from view.
Another way of implementing a time view would be to center on a
selected, presumably well-remembered file and fade out all others,
the shading depending on the chronological distance from the selected
file. I.e. when you click on a file, you would clearly see the files
that you created shorly before/after the selected one, with earlier/later
one fading out progressively.
And again there's 24 bottles of beer waiting for the brave implementor …