Archive for September 9th, 2010

Oh, the Humble Notebook

For someone who spends most of their life in front of a computer, and has used the internet since 1993, and first posted to Usenet in 1995 (thanks, Google Groups), I spend a surprising amount of time writing stuff down. You know, on paper, with a (fountain) pen. Longhand. I go through a lot of pads of paper, taking notes in meetings and things, but I also go through a kind of frightening number of notebooks. Notebooks of all sorts – little staplebound things, nice hardcover ones, Moleskines and Moleskine knockoffs, steno pads, composition books… I’ve used ’em all. (Cheap notebooks don’t flicker at 60Hz and cause eyestrain. Nor do their batteries die at inopportune moments, nor do they suffer “general exception errors” and “crash”. I heart pen and paper.)

My problem, such as it is, is that a large amount of what I write down I want to keep to refer to at a later date. This is fairly normal, I guess; most of my coworkers do the same. It’s just… they either use file-folders to store stuff, or three-ring binders, and organize things by project. I don’t do this because I’m not quite that organized, when all is said and done. Also, I don’t like carrying around lots of file folders full of loose paper, and three-ring binders take up way too much space.

My aversion to file folders, by the way, is entirely practical – I sometimes refer to notes on or from projects months or even years after the fact, and if I ever kept stuff in folders and dropped more than one at the same time… my notes are frequently context sensitive, to put it mildly, and many are probably meaningless even to me, removed from the proper temporal context. (“Three of five [respondants] identified Wednesdays as the slowest day for business, barring special events. One each chose Tuesdays and Sundays, with the same caveats.” I found something very close to this written on a Post-It(TM) note, stuck inside a reference book, recently; it took me close to a week to remember what it was about, because of the lack of context.)

So, yeah, I like notebooks. Turns out I’m not the only one…
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on September 9th, 2010 | No Comments »