People that create apps create them to make money, not because they make you more productive or help you be more creative.
- The slow and physical aspect allows you to think about and consider the idea, as you're writing it.
- The negative reinforcement, for that slow consideration, caused by from the permanence of your mistakes or a tired hand.
But, I don't think paper has to be involved. I see it as an indication of a lack of good stylus input in most devices.
I now use a large iPad Pro, with the stylus...err...Apple Pencil, and have no desire to go back to paper. Having the pages backed up to the cloud, being able to insert links and media when necessary, and being able to quickly switch colors, is all too valuable.
If good stylus input gets cheaper, I don't, personally, see a justification for paper.
my favourite being the 4-color (w/ variety of colors to choose from) with very fine line 0.5 mm: http://www.pilot.co.jp/products/pen/ballpen/gel_ink/frixionb...
p.s. could be combined with even finer line 0.38 mm from this pen costing ~ $1.5 : http://www.pilot.co.jp/products/pen/ballpen/gel_ink/frixionb...
For more official occasions these ones are nice:
Looking at jet pens, yours seems to be a marker pen, which generally needs to be thinner so it won't bleed. Similar to how ball points need to be fat (0.7mm is called fine) to write smoothly and make a dark enough line.
The ink turns invisible when heated. The pen has a rubbery tip on top which acts as an eraser when rubbed on the ink.
Anyway, which app are you using for your notes? I'm using OneNote ATM. I can't describe what's missing, I'm just not feeling 100% satisfied.
- Something about how changing color works doesn't quite feel right.
- I can't shuffle pages around, overlap them, etc.
- I want either infinite page size, or fixed, not the weird 'expand when you write near the edge' thing I have now.
I think I almost want a 'virtual desk' kind of thing that I can shuffle paper around on, make things overlap, etc. All the stuff you can do with paper, with the added benefit of being able to save stuff. Organization could be a serious issue though.
As far as apps, GoodNotes is where I landed. It's handwriting recognition / search is pretty good, and I like the way it handles importing PDFs and Word documents.
That was going to be my reply to your first comment. I'm still using a Note 3 with its Wacom stylus, and I cannot ever imagine switching to a phone that requires a capacitive stylus.
Pro tip: The absolute best stylus that I've found for capacitive screens is a fresh, stiff cucumber. The water in the cucumber is detected by the screen just like your finger. Carrots work well too, but they are heavier for any given size.
In my experience, nothing beats a pen and paper.
I doubt there is anyone on the planet who would be happier to ditch paper than me. While the issues I have with writing are primarily cognitive, writing is far more taxing than typing for me. While writing, Typing avoids any of the cognitive issues I have with physically forming letters -- the computer takes care of that for me -- and spelling and grammar check generally prevents me from leaving words out or jumbling up my word order. However, using a computer FORCES you to write. On a piece of paper, I can draw a diagram (my drawing ability is unaffected) and label key parts. I can make a flow chart. I can draw arrows all over the place. I can literally do millions of things other than writing words on a piece of paper.
Doing these things on a computer is a nightmare. Even if an application has the ability to do any one of these things, it generally pales in comparison to the versatility of writing. Sure, you might be able to move things around on a computer, something that is far more difficult on paper, however I've found it's generally faster to re-draw a flow chart than it is to fix the formatting on a computer if you need to move more than a couple of items around.
Beyond that, your work area with a computer is extremely limited. I have to concentrate so hard when writing that I often forget what I was writing about. I've literally cut up papers I've written in to their individual sentences, spread them on the floor, and rearranged them so that they make sense. I can make a flow chart with thousands of elements, and place it in a place where I can see all of it at once, but also make it big enough to read all of it at once.
Paper isn't all great though. I can't stand writing on paper. It takes me forever. Plus organizing paper is a nightmare. Need to find all of the references you've made to a certain person in the past six months? Prepare to spend a few days combing through your stuff. Backing up paper is time consuming as well, and searching paper back-ups is a huge pain, especially if your handwriting sucks too much for OCR.
I think it is mostly due to tools on computer being bad. When I use writing app like IA Writer, or simple outliner like Outlinely or Vim plugin... I get a lot from that, mostly because I can type fast.
And I love everything paper and pens/pencils.
1) The pens don't register in the same way real pens do. So mechanisms I've formed for creating legible writing over the past couple of decades of writing are completely useless.
2) I break my surface pens all of the time. The tip splits in half. Plus the point the tip registers at is about 2 mm off from the actual tip of the pen.
3) I require a lot of space to write. The surface pro 1 is a bit too small to write on.
4) I really have to concentrate when writing, and actions like formatting, choosing a pen, moving around the page, etc, take way too much concentration, and cause me to loose my concentration on what I'm writing. This isn't entirely a OneNote problem, it's kind of inevitable for me, since switching from typing to grabbing a pen and writing would be enough to cause me to forget what I was writing.
Honestly, I suspect the assistive technology that will really help would be some sort of AI that can summarize my thoughts for me, so that I could talk to it and have it organize it in a way that I could clean it up later. I've tried Dragon NS and other voice recognition in the past, and it doesn't work at all.
The legibility of my writing is really sensitive to the interaction between the paper and writing utensil I'm writing. I rarely pick the pen up off the paper -- instead I use the fact that certain pens can 'skate' across certain types of paper to write in a block print that is written kind of like cursive. It's completely legible to me, and mostly legible to other people, without being too fatiguing to write.
The 'skating' effect is created by abusing the shoulder that holds the ball in a ball-point pen in place. If you look at my hand writing, there are actually depressions from the pens between the letters without ink in them, because I dragged the edge of the pen between the end of one letter and the beginning of the next.
My writing is really sensitive to both the paper I'm writing on and the pen I'm using as a result. If I write on smooth paper, like a glossy card stock, I absolutely have to write in draftsmans letters or my writing skitters all over the place. Certain pens have the shoulder in a different place, causing the connections between letters to have ink, or making some letters not appear.
Most digital writing implements don't work at all. I hold my pen at a relatively severe acute angle to the page, because I'm dragging the pen really close to the shoulder that captures the ball in a ball point pen. A lot of digital writing tools require the tool to be used more upright.
Oftentimes the issue is caused by a button' that needs to be pushed by the tip to activate the detection, and I'm binding the mechanism up because the force I'm applying to the tip is extremely off-axis. In my surface pen, in addition to this issue, the sensor is about 1.5 mm from the actual tip of the stylus, causing everything I write to be shifted rather far from where I'm intending to write.
Beyond that, I press very hard and tend to break even well-made pens. With real pens, I generally crack the tip of the pen, causing the ball to either come loose or bind inside of it. When this happens I throw out my pen and get a new one. Most styluses are much more expensive, and for whatever reason tend to be made out of much less sturdy stuff. I have broken at least 5 surface pens, which are not cheap.
The actual shape of the pen makes a difference as well, and when I tried livescribe I found the pens to be nearly impossible to use because of the shape. The occupational therapist I used to work with thinks this is probably due to a missing tendon in my right thumb, rather than dysgraphia, but it's an issue I've faced in the past.
I worked with that occupational therapist for a long time on my writing, and we set a goal of making my letters and words legible to me, and my numbers legible to everyone. I've basically achieved that goal when using pen and paper, but I have yet to find an assistive technology that doesn't make my handwriting look like a giant scribbly blob.
I have bought 3 (upgraded to better models) in this past decade, couldn't be happier.
I also tried bullet journaling as my 'system', but quickly abandoned it. It is great if you're not a compulsive to-do list maker, but if you follow a GTD-like system where you frequently capture, it becomes onerous to answer the question 'what do I do next?' You either have to constantly flip through pages to review your full list, or regularly copy your to-dos to a master list, which becomes quite tedious, especially if you have a long list.
What works for me is using org mode as my to-do system, with paper for the brainstorming and planning. I always start with paper, then once I have clarity on what to do, I move it to org.
That turned into writing into my notebook at night what questions had come up during the day, and what needed doing. And in the morning, reviewing that and picking the top three things on that list to be addressed that day.
This is not on paper but I do the same thing on paper when I'm away from the computer. On my computer a cron job just pops this into a Dropbox folder as YYYY-MM-DD.md and I edit it from there.
There are some neat journaling cues available if you read e.g. "The New Diary" by Tristine Rainer. Like writing in the third person, or just viewing a diary/journal as a place to scribble down work notes and improving on it from there.
I probably change my own template every 1-2 months. You'll see on the "schedule" portion that the least productive part of my day is 1-3 p.m., so I encourage a lot of fun and relaxation during that time as a way of releasing anxiety and picking up task momentum.
Most of my work in the journal is under the "other" heading, and I don't fill out every heading every day. Most entries just have a score for the day, some notes on why I chose that score, and ideas to improve it, and then a lot of ideas under "Other".
Every Friday I do a sort of "information archaeology" thing where I go back over my paper & digital journal entries and round up reusable tips or things I've learned into a "frameworks" folder where I have separate files for things like building websites, coding, preparing for meetings, working with various types of people, possible new hobbies, etc. The recapture of these ideas has been worth quite a lot to me, as it feels like I have a better foothold next time I encounter the problem.
Your template is much more complex than I was thinking. I can see though if reflection is the goal, then a format that encourages that makes a great deal of sense.
At first, my hand can barely keep up with the torrent of thoughts being produced by my mind, but after maybe 5-10 min it slows right down. At some point I feel like I'm actually waiting for thoughts to come up so I can write.
Eventually, my mind goes quiet. It's much easier to fall asleep then.
Focusing on a quiet podcast has a similar effect.
I've had zero issues with gtk-redshift across multiple machines/configs with 1 to 4 screens :).
Now I don't mean sitting cross legged while chanting "ahhhh" or anything like that, just give your brain an hour or so daily to start but you can probably drop to less after a while (I do it every 2-3 days now).
My best guess it's like freeing up some CPU time for garbage collection. With having podcasts, videos, films, computering, etc going almost every waking hour the brain never really gets a chance to filter through all of this stuff so attempts to do so the only quiet moment it gets - right when you're trying to fall asleep.
YMMV, Works For Me(tm), etc. Good luck!
Now I just throw on a nature documentary and a timer to shut the tv off after 30 min. I'm usually fast asleep in 10 minutes. :)
Hope this helps!
Based on this single data point, perhaps try picking up a book when you call it a night?
I mean, RSI can be really bad. It affects your quality of life outside of the computer world. Pressing the button on my remote was painful. Pressing the button to change the frequency on my car radio was painful. Essentially, any delicate work was painful.
When I worked at MetaDesign back in the late nineties and early zeros we had something called RedBooks.
RedBooks were most of the work we had done for a specific client printed out in tabloid size bound into a spiral back book and put on a large shelf system.
We also had a matriculate digital folder system with projects, searchable and the same pages as PDF plus much more accessible from your computer.
Guess which one we used the most?
With the RedBooks it was very easy to pull out the book and look through it for inspiration, talk about how we did this or that and so on and with the book we only put in the things that where somehow relevant.
The computer folders on the other hand had everything because, yeah well why not. But what they had in quantity it lacked in human relatable tangibility.
Computers are great when the amount of information become so waste that it's impossible to manually search through it all or if you need to share a lot of your things with other people.
It turns out that for all the great things computers can help us do it still haven't solved tangibility.
But as many said, "digital" mostly made us realize they were other things than the "pure" content.
I believe our brain just crave as much sensations as possible, and writing, flipping pages, seeing a device move, touching, watching, etc ... basically the task of dealing with the physical world is not entirely a cost but a pleasure in itself.
On the other hand(sic) computers send you a massive amount of symbolic informations (think text search in folders, it's "faster" than any physical archive), that tickle another part of your brain but not all of it, also, I think that our brain doesn't actually like too much of these because it evolved to abstract flows into new concepts. And these concepts are either a bit hard or simply not exposed to the users (think relational queries). There's a detrimental mismatch.
 I booted a PIII desktop last year, to extract files from a TRAVAN backup tape. I cannot describe the pleasure I had watching that HP Colorado tape wake up and move. No matter how "slow" it was compared to anything today. It was so cool. Even the slick sound of tape moving ..
Something about holding music in your hands, feeling a drive seek the next track, pressing physical buttons to control playback -- it all feels terrific, and I didn't realize until this conversation that there's a whole generation who hasn't experienced that.
BTW those minidisc players still go for $200-400 on ebay!
There's something I recently felt deep and weird about. The society is a double rotating system. We live, we want to solve problems, the solutions become a new ground replacing the past, not solving it.
When I look at old tech (big hifi tuner, vu meters, etc), I still deeply love it. The electro mechanical beauty is still there. Same for video games, or old software (I love win3.1 and 95 to bits, if I could patch the flawed core without changing the UX of that period I'd do it...). Without the commercial need to appeal money that fueled future versions like XP or Vista.
I saw things like the pico8 project, which gives a somehow modern hardware but with 8bit mindset: low res, 256 colors. People made damn beautiful games out of it. Really cool animations, gameplay, design. No need for a PS4 pro. My new pleasure is tweaking old platforms to give them "modern" day usage. Like retrofitting BT in a car radio. Or modding an old HP calc (longer battery, usb).
Sony messed it up when they bought a movie and music studio, and started to hobble their own devices. The MD was awesome, worked for 40 hours on one battery, could to digital recording and replaying.
Damn you sony.
This is pure nostalgia. Bill Gates has always been about the money from day one.
Bill Gates largely made his fortune by creating an operating system that OEM's would want to ship with their computer. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but Windows 3.1 and 95 were absolutely made for and to attract money.
Lastly, remember how it felt to listen to a tape. You didn't want to skip, so you just let the music play and go with the flow.
All of this is the paradox of choice and free will. We think we want ability to do exactly all we want when we want but it turns out it's not so clear cut.
We have Behance, Dribble, Pinterest, Instragram etc. all streams of great work which is kind of a different approach.
But I think there is value to the tangibility and history of creating these folders and having them there.
It's just a what humans find valuable kind of thing.
In addition to the physicality of the book, browsing them meant the viewer didn't need to sort through the cruft (someone had already done that work for them), allowing them to use their own energy/thoughts to build upon that work resulting in new ideas and creativity.
That is a wonderful typo.
And if I'm reading next to an open window and a breeze blows by, the chances that my paper will (at best) get blown around or (at worst) torn are pretty high, again due to how fragile the paper is.
The ink also gets all over everything when I touch it, so if I'm reading the paper at breakfast, I either eat ink when I pick up my toast or I'm washing my hands every time I turn a page.
Meanwhile, when I'm done reading the paper and want to return it to the pile for someone else to read, I have to carefully fold each section and each page and try to get them all back into a neat order, which never happens.
I also disagree on the "resolution is amazing" comment. Maybe my subscription is lower quality than others, but even in the New York Times, the pictures are awful, awful quality compared to digital.
And they're printed once a day, so if an important event happens at noon, I won't get to read about it until tomorrow morning.
And the worst part of it all? Printing all of these copies, every day, distributing them on trucks, and then they get thrown away. A newspaper is the absolute worst way to consume news. Absolute worst. Yeah it might feel nice to sit and read a newspaper, but part of me says that's nostalgia/wistfulness talking. Every piece of a newspaper is the worst way to present that particular thing, from ink to paper to organization to pictures to the news itself.
I don't like reading printed newspapers any longer either, but the one good thing about them is that they are printed once a day. News is not something that you need to know about instantly. The only things we need to know about in real time are existential threats. That is not news, that is an emergency broadcast or alert, which is not what news is for.
Have you ever noticed that when 24-hour cable news covers things in real time, it's mostly just waiting around and bullshiting until something happens, and then they are forced to provide incomplete information that is more often than not, wrong.
The whole idea of a newspaper is that it provides some time between an event and when you learn about it. That time is used by the newspaper to collect information, fact check and provide a more complete account of an event. They still get stuff wrong, but it's still far better than twitter, or cable or any real-time firehose.
Learning about something that happened yesterday also gives the reader the distance to contemplate and thing about what happened as well instead of jumping on twitter or facebook and making an ass of yourself before knowing all the facts.
It really threw me for a loop. Electronic texts are so pervasive in my life that I had half forgotten how to interact with a printed book. My automatic familiarity with print had faded enough that I was consciously aware of the properties of the medium. I was frustrated by the inability to zoom in on diagrams or copy and paste. The margins weren't big enough for my notes. There was no autogenerated list of highlighted passages. I felt like a child confronted with a VHS tape or a classic Gameboy.
I grew up obsessed with books. At the back of my desk drawer, there's a little envelope containing the membership cards for eleven different library services. For most of my life, I rarely went anywhere without a book to hand. I spent a large part of my adolescence digging through the dustier shelves of second-hand book shops. Still, I can't shake the feeling that print is largely obsolete. I don't feel nostalgic about books, I'm just frustrated that so few of them are available in digital format.
...I think I still have one of those in a junk-box somewhere.
Of course the lo-tech version is simply google the title and chances are you'll find the digital version of the article.
Recently, though, for one of the magazines I decided to get the CD version with PDFs (Servo Magazine); for the other two, it would be impossible to do this - Servo Magazine hasn't been out as long, and so it was easy to "catch up".
It will be digital and paper (comic book/pulp format to evoke the Amazing Stories feel), but we really wanted to get paper magazines out there for that same tangibility.
On the other hand, an e-ink device over a glossy mobile or laptop screen is something I was happy to restrain myself to.
Related, I renewed a print subscription to The Economist after spending the last ~5 years as a digital-only subscriber. I read so much more of the content when it's a physical item than by picking the articles with 'interesting' headlines.
And I find I can skim it with much leas distraction. Most pages have several articles, and it takes very little effort to scan headlines to see which ones to read.
Paper also allowed me to confront imperfections and mistakes more directly. I made a ton of writing mistakes that drove my crazy first and made me want to buy a new note first since I was so used to having my OmniFocus in perfect shape. It's really refreshing!
Plus It's interesting to see what a engineering brain can do with pen and paper. Most of the "modules" I use in my bulletjournal like my monthly and weekly spreads were from scratch created to fit perfectly on my needs.
Oh and boy does good paper feel nice!
I needed to squish start dates and deadlines, task scheduling, 'waiting on' + 'someday' lists, project pages, weekly overviews and better migrations into mine which took a good amount of trial and error to find something that sticks and is intuitive.
On the other hand, I am trying to literally plan everything in my journal. I don't want to rely on any other app and thus need to come up with modules that make it possible to get rid of app dependencies completely.
I do use org-mode and git at work, but even then will often capture to paper.
Having an erasable pen solves my problem of making tons of stupid spelling mistakes, being guilty of wasting paper and losing them in a giant pile of worthless annotation. For me it's more helpful to have some of my working ideas physically in front of me instead of hidden behind another window or virtual desktop.
My particular brand of erasable notebook (Whynote) also have detachable sheets, so I'm not bound to the linearity of a conventional notebook (I not super fan of constantly having to turn pages).
 http://www.whynote.ch or http://www.wipebook.com or http://www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk/category/magic-notebook
Is there a reason you went for Whynote over the others?
(I have a Wipebook - but sometimes I forget to erase it immediately, and it gets hard to erase if you leave it too long. Also, the pages aren't the most durable, especially to any liquid. The Whynote doesn't appear available in larger sizes though - e.g. A4, Letter).
It's super simple: it's the first one I heard of. I already had a Nu board day-planner/organizer/thingamajig I bought during a trip to Japan. I though it was only a novelty thing but I found myself using it more and more; not as a erasable calendar thigy but as a notebook.
Then a friend showed her own Whynote, and I ordered mine shortly thereafter. Plus, this comes from a swiss startup so it felt good to do something chauvinistic for once. Finally, it's available in brick and mortar stores in my area, so it's easy to impulse-buy.
But comparing the two products page I found out that the last version of the Wipebook ommits their detachable spine. That would be a dealbreaker for my, since I really like how I can reorganize the page as I want. It's also much easier to scan if you have can fan a scanner that can batch-scan a pile of document (typically in a library).
Because this really looks too good to be true, at least for me. Maybe I should order and see myself...
 : https://youtu.be/y_PWw7G1jfg?t=51s
* While we're at it, the pens tends to die much quicker than a conventional ballpoint pen (2-3 month of solid use ? I don't really know). But then, I think I write more with this notebook than I ever wrote with a conventional pen, so my estimation is probably flawed.
* I think I had dirty fingers only once because of the pens, but then that tend to also happens with gel pens. Maybe there's something wrong with the way I'm transporting or holding them ?
* When you erase a whole page (probably with some water - the ink is water soluble - and a microfiber tower) and it is not properly and thoroughly dried, it can stick to the opposite page. But that sort of thing tends to happens to a lot of plastic sheets, and the leave are thick enough to not be a problem. It's only a minor papercut (... sorry, this pun was terrible).
* The spine is not supper-dupper rugged and I recently lost one spiral (one year after I bought it). But the perks of having reorganisable and easily scannable pages are worth it.
* I would really like dotted pages instead of lined pages but this is not available at the moment.
* OneNote OCR doesn't transcribe the scanned page as magically as what it can do with a tablet PC stylus (it's probably looking at the stroke themselve, something that is lost when you scan a page)
So the pens that Whynote sells are just branded Staedtler 305, is that right? Not having to ship the pens from abroad and being able to buy them locally would sell the product for me.
Look and feel : The texture and feel is quite different from paper. It's basically paper laminated with some sort of plastic. It depends on the pen you're using. If you're using a medium pen, it feels a lot like a whiteboard (gliding feeling) . With a fine pen, it's a little bit more scratchy.
 they are all using Staedtler Lumacolor correctable 305 pens. I wonder if there's an expired patent or if it's just a happy coincidence
I prefer org-mode on emacs. It's simple, flexible, distraction free and for some reason reminds me of writing on paper. You get the simplicity, while also making it as powerful as you want.
Sometimes I'll capture to paper even if I'm sitting in front of my computer. If I've got something complex to reason through, I like the free-form nature of paper. I pretend it's an auxiliary scratch buffer whose contents I will reason about later.
My paper notebook, therefore becomes pretty nonsensical, because it isn't the system of record. I carry it as a notebook because I can always go back a day or two if I got lazy and didn't transcribe the previous day. Also a paper notebook puts on a better show for society as compared to just having a few sheets of printer paper along for the ride at meetings (though that works too). Periodically, I rip previous pages out (if spiral bound--they tear cleanly) and shred them just to restore that fresh notebook feeling.
I've seen people apparently use them to reasonable effect though, so I'm going to assume that people capable of note-taking on mobile are just a more evolved kind of human than I am :-)
In paper, I tend to really note-take. I like note-taking on paper for things I don't really understand yet. I prefer pre-writing in an app for situations where my understanding of the topic is good, and I want to skip steps (e.g. writing a blog post about a presentation, where the topic is already familiar)
Now, in fairness, I have recently started using SimpleMind for mind-mapping real-time. I find it does a good job at doing both things. It helps me build a narrative structure in one branch, while capturing notes in others. It also gives me a lot of nice flexibility on-screen to rearrange branches, relocate topics and do other general house-keeping.
It's response is sufficient to capture in paper like fashion.
I still prefer paper, but the little note app that ships with the phone works very well.
But usually I don't use my laptop during work. Instead I print just day's notes (schedule etc.) to a single paper sheet and keep the note paper with me. I do corrections and maybe add notes with a pen. Then later at home I modify my org-mode files to match my note paper.
I'm also surprised the article didn't mention mind mapping. Does nobody do that anymore?
In that way its benefits are similar to pen and paper.
Create a high level topic for each note, and put that in the front of the notebook, with a page number. Once you're beyond one book, keep a separate index book and update it periodically with a book/page number from the indexes in the individual books.
If you find yourself referring to a particular topic frequently, take some time and re-write the entry. That way you can correlate several writings on the topic, and add both a better framing and lessons learned.
It's a bit of extra work, but it's worth it.
Paper is great for a rough draft. Rewriting your rough draft to the final is always good practice.
On my current system I have a math notebook (A5 format) where I dump everything I have to do on the left (or right) non-writable areas of the page, and then everyday I write what I have to do for the next day on the writable area. I try to add for each day at least one of those items on the left/right side, and each day I try not to add more than 2/3 items per day.
The reason that this works for me is that I try to have a very simple life, fulfill my daily obligations, and try to have as much free time as I can get. I do not need automatic systems to search my pending tasks way back in time because if those tasks don't "migrate" to the current page of the notebook, it's because they are not much relevant.
Ereaders will likely never be as good as the best paper books. However, they can be better than many printed books. I've owned printed books with poor bindings, poor typesettings, poor quality paper. The ereader was definitely better than those.
On the whole spectrum of quality of published (paper) books, I would rank my ereader to be right smack in the middle.
Then there's the obvious: Ereaders are much more practical on a plane, etc. My first one was 5 inches (which is small - would not recommend). It fit in my jacket pocket. Any time I was stuck somewhere (e.g. mechanic waiting for my car), it was quite convenient to take it out and read on it.
Finally, years ago I had nasty tendonitis in my arms. Holding a heavy hardbound book and reading was painful. The ereader was my constant companion through those months of pain.
Obviously, I still read printed books, but to me, on the whole, the two are roughly equal.
Well, not until someone proposes a 10-11" e-reader that doesn't cost half my salary.
The biggest disappointment with my e-reader is that reading PDFs is awful on that ridiculous display.
We might have nice, readable fonts and pictures, with zoom too, and instead...
Ereaders suck for PDFs. To some extent, that's because the PDF format sucks. PDF forces a number of words per line, lines per page, etc. Essentially, PDFs force a certain page size on you. If you compare with physical books, that's not the case. When Stephen King writes a novel, it can be printed as a small paperback or a large print book.
Epubs is the way to go with ereaders.
As for the size of ereaders, it's a tradeoff. 6 inches has its shortcomings (frequent page turns), but they have their pluses (very easy to carry).
Sony used to make 9" readers, and I occasionally find used ones for very cheap at Goodwill (under $10).
The Kobo Auro One is almost 8" (about $250).
But yeah, if you want to read PDFs, ebook readers are not the way to go. Use a tablet instead (with all its screen fatigue, etc).
Not necessarily. Sony's early readers had automatic reflowing of text if you chose a larger font size. It worked really well for fiction or any other type of text without pictures/diagrams.
For modern e-readers, converters like the free Calibre software (https://calibre-ebook.com), will allow resizing & reflow of text in PDFs to a size more usable for any device.
>Sony used to make 9" readers ...
There are refurbished Sony PRS-900 units available (e.g. eBay) for around $50 and, unlike most e-readers, they have user-replaceable batteries.
My first ereader was Sony's PRS-350. It had automatic reflowing, but it did a poor job on many PDF's. It did not take care of line breaks - so if I increased the font size, each line was 1.5 lines long (i.e. the original PDF's line would be 1.5 lines on the ereader - it would still respect the line break).
I haven't tried the conversions in recent versions of Calibre. I did try it for PDFs over 5 years ago, and the results were less than satisfactory. I pretty much decided not to use small ereaders for PDFs.
Even so - I like an e-reader for certain uses. The best use that I've found is for technical documents. Not books, per se, but documentation like electronic component datasheets and the like are much more convenient to access on an e-reader, especially when you're in the middle of a project. Before, one would have to spend a lot of money to get the datasheets in book form from the manufacturer, and then find a place to store the behemoths (some were as thick as phone books, and multi-volume - especially components and such from places like Motorola, ST, and others with extensive component lines). Not only that, each year (or more often) you'd have to get the new versions for the year, and the various errata pages (filed somewhere). Then to search thru all of that...
...today, I can download and read these documents online or offline with a reader, store them locally, search them fairly easily, etc. All on a small and easy to use electronic device.
So we have a collection. Every bookcase in the house two-deep and books stacked on top of books. When the boys grew up and our church asked for kids books in English for a Romanian school, we donated 1000 books to the effort. Still have a bookcase full of kids books (for the grandkids someday, sigh).
The small electronic device is certainly a selling-point. If they don't expire (go out of business) or get lost changing to the latest gee-whiz gadget, it would be nice to have them all in one place.
I got a Kindle in 2012, when I traveled the world for a few months. Swapping books or even buying new ones every 2-3 days gets boring quickly. So I got the $79 Kindle back then (still think it's the best one ever, because its light, no keyboard, no touch, page flips with mechanical keys on both sides).
The biggest advantage though is: I read way more on a Kindle than ever before. I love that you don't have to carry a book, can adjust the font size, and basically pick it up faster than a physical book and continue reading, even if it's only for 10 minutes in the subway.
Also, Kindle books are usually cheaper and I (as a German) get to download many English books instead of having to order them and wait for a day or two.
Weird: I often highlight some sentences or paragraphs in Kindle books that I like, but I actually never look back at the notes I took.
I use my kindle to get German books quickly. The kindle vocabulary builder is super useful.
There are some magazines (looking at you New Republic) that we stopped subscribing too because the font is too small to read - I can still see it, but trying to read it causes eye strain.
Businesses in UK & USA, AIUI, have to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities. It would be supremely easy for a magazine to forward a PDF copy that a legally blind person could use with an eBook reader or similar.
There are elements of a physical thing (location on page, rough location within notebook, did I end up skrunching additional ideas and notes on the side, etc.). These things aren't as exact as search/ctl-f but these extra associations help my ability to recall.
The other win with paper for me is that with a computer my brain keeps wanting to switch from writing mode to editing mode - as in "oh, that reads poorly, let me rewrite that, wait let me move this around". With paper, unless I actively choose to re-write an entire page or section my brain is less distracted (I'm easily distracted though - squirrel! :)
For example, I've used evernote and a notebook to write down ideas each morning. after few weeks i was a lot more intimately familiar with ideas in my notebook because each page had unique character thanks to how my brain worked that day and the kinds of drawings that were added. It is also super easy to flip through pages to skim over other ideas, and thanks to unique shape of writing often i wouldn't need to read the text to know what that page is about.
it's not a silver bullet and if you need to keep track of a ton of things of course it will get tedious, but I believe most people keep track of more things than they actually are capable of executing. And paper sort of forces you to simplify and focus on fewer things which IMO is a good thing
My current process is read a chapter, then take hand written notes trying to recall what I just read. A day or more later I revisit material by putting notes into a OneNote or Evernote. I've been weighing pros & cons of this vs doing freehand using something like a Windows Surface & OneNote.
Hand written notes, revisiting & recalling information is strongly recommended by Professor Barbara Oakley who's a rather popular teacher of learning and memory topics.
Thinking about it, it's probably worth having an image of my notes in my digital notebook as well as typed & cleaned up notes.
Do the pages have some kind of distinct marker telling evernote where the picture came from?
I prefer paper for drawing though (diagrams / flowchart / etc).
Has anyone tried using drawing tablet like Wacom? How does it feel compared to drawing on paper?
A tablet, especially one like the iPad Pro with the Pencil is much better but still doesn't work as well as just sketching on a piece of paper for me. I assume if I applied myself to using a tablet more though, I'd get used to it. Clearly people with a lot more drawing ability than myself can do great work on tablets.
Actually the newer touch/stylus screens on tablets like the MS Surface models I've used are harder for me to use with the stylus. Manipulating the stylus is harder due to parallax and the fact that the tool and hand covers up part of the screen. Just doesn't seem as "natural" to me as the old drawing tablet.
OTOH drawing on the computer has a whole new set of features to offer that are completely novel and can't be accomplished in other ways, certainly not easily.
So like in most things, different "tooling" involves tradeoffs, no single solution ever covers it all. We usually have reasons to go one way or the other. In any case, not tool can make up for dearth of talent, how well I know the truth of that statement!
That's the problem for me. I can end up obsesively re-re-...-re-editing a note or checklist, waisting tons of time. To make it worse I can end up with lost time AND lost information simultaneously if not using something with a version control system too...
So, for condensed small-scale 1-user planning, for me, when aiming for maximum productivity, paper is the killer app!
3x5 or 4x6 (US) for concepts and notes. Date 'em and stick 'em in a box.
Riffle through them, find the sense and order, stack them that way, then fill in the blanks (or additional references, or whatever).
An index card is, roughly, a full thought.
Keep a small stash on you for notes-on-the-road.
Each day I review what I've written and and input anything important into digital applications
Like bullet journaling, the review ensures that I actually see what I've written. The searchable digital copy can be hugely helpful later. It also adds the possibility of recording daily metrics to be parsed and made into charts.
It's truly the best of both worlds: paper to record, digital to archive.
(I'm about to hit 50 Field Notes in just under five years of doing this. I plan to do a write-up of my system now that I have a pretty good idea of what does and does not work for me.)
I use Dropbox Paper as my digital archive, it seems to work.
My approach to the note taking is mostly just a summary of a thought - might even just be one or two words, but they usually allow me to remember a train of thought I was in at the time. Might be nonsense to anyone else if they read it, but works for me :)
What I like about Field Notes is that I can quickly write down thoughts and come back to them later --- if I want. It isn't rigorous which I think is key to productivity. The problem with todo apps is they become jobs that you need to complete.
With paper notes there's no pressure to complete anything. Sure, I keep a todo list in my field notes, and every day I create a new list, some of which carries over from the previous day and some does not. I don't feel pressure to complete anything, and paper is what makes that possible (nothing is permanent, just a checkmark in time).
Yep. I read this the other day https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/22/why-time-... and somewhat agree !
In fact, I had to fax a hand written letter (yeah, don't ask) the other day and realized I'm now almost illiterate with this thing. I could draw very well as a kid, but my handwriting was always pitiful. But after years of neglect, the thing was illegible. I pity the poor person that would have to decifer the hieroglyphs.
In sum, good riddance paper.
This is sort of the point of pen/paper - slows you down, makes you more contemplative. Plus, with a little practice I'm sure your handwriting would improve.
Plus, and this the real killer, the start up cost in time of using a tablet and graphic stylus are enormous compared to having paper and pencils handy on my desk. A cheap memo pad in my brief case is also handy. I've tried using my phone, but keyboard input on a phone, while I'm sitting somewhere away from office requires a minimum dedicated effort.
A lot of stuff gets lost when you have to overcome those startup costs. Even unlocking my phone with the thumb sensor contributes to me _not_ reaching for my phone when I've had a thought.
I bought a moleskin notebook for myself, but then my granddaughter started drawing in it, and I wanted to leave it as she left it. After reading this article I am going to buy another.
I have always used yellow pads to brainstorm for new projects, but I later toss my notes and drawings. Using permanent notebooks seems like a better idea.
I'm a big fan of the Rhodia notebooks with Clairefontaine paper :)
Both run circles around moleskine, which by now mostly coasts on the name.
My goal with both is that A) I hate taking notes on a computer; B) I'm trying to increase retention, which I'm finding the sketchnotes definitely helps with; C) I need a better way of keeping up in meetings, and writing longhand just isn't cutting it. I'm not far enough along with the shorthand, but I'm curious if anybody else around here uses it.
Shorthand method: https://www.amazon.com/GREGG-Shorthand-Manual-Simplified/dp/...
Really good for project status and 100% paper-based.
The new "paper" isn't really the same thing. Like handwriting, woodblock printing, and the making of books from hand-inked parchment, it is receding into a handicraft.
UK: anyone remember the hard backed board notebooks with marbled covers and canvas spines in around 10 by 8 inch format?
Yes! Although my only encounter with them was when they were handed out for use as "lab books" during university. They certainly felt like a night-and-day upgrade over whatever was given out in school classrooms. Tuition fees well invested...
Photography is a hobby of mine. I own a Nikon D500, which is one of Nikon's flagship professional DSLR cameras. It can shoot at 10 frames per second with a buffer of 200 shots. The storage cards hold thousands of images. All of this is great when you're shooting high-speed action where every shot in a short time frame counts, but it also means there's very little risk in each shot. So if you take 900 pictures and only 9 are keepers it's no big deal. I shoot in RAW mode so any type of color and lighting adjustments can be made in post, and the resolution's high enough that I can crop for a good composition after the fact.
But recently I've decided to get into plain old fashioned 35mm film photography. The equipment is all still relatively inexpensive, but the film costs $5-10 per roll of 24 or 36 exposures. Then you either have to send the film out to be developed, which can take days or weeks (since there are very few places that do it in house anymore), or you can develop it yourself (as I have started to do) which involves an hour long process mixing chemicals, making sure everything's the right temperature, shaking and stirring, drying and cutting, then finally scanning the processed film. Each shot has more risk, and so you take more time and compose more carefully, which makes the end result that much better. I've found it to be incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.
As you get used to developing, you'll get faster at it; i can now do a few rolls in 30 minutes easily.
I'd also suggest that you look into doing your own printing. The chemical process is nothing different from scanning negatives; you do need an enlarger, which can be a pain to set up at home- check into any local photo clubs. (there is Harvey Milk Photo Center in SF that I recommend) The satisfaction you'll get from it will go even beyond developing just the film; and the results are much more creatively rewarding than negative scanning.
As far as the hour time frame I gave, that was really just an estimate of diluting concentrates, loading the film reels (which is still the trickiest part for me so far), and then the actual developing. The steps of developing itself maybe take me about 25 minutes total.
Ane finally, yeah I do want to start printing at some point, but my bathroom currently is about 30 square feet, if that, so right now it doesn't seem very feasible.
Edit: I should also add that I live in very rural northern New York state. The nearest public use lab to me is a three-hour or so drive away, so that option's out.
Except you need to use Emacs. And it's NOT user friendly. Evernote is mucher easier. Todoist is much more integrated. etc. But those things are actually worse than org-mode.
We need a sort of org-mode for the web.
* Paper isn't searchable. Say whatever you want about how it lets you clear your mind, but what use is all this information you're taking down if you can't easily locate it later?
* Paper media doesn't have adblock. If you want to talk about distraction...
* Paper media can't be reformatted to make the fine print less fine, or to fix an awful font choice or layout, etc.
* Paper is a pain to handle. Any serious amount of writing is going to require desks, filing cabinets, and so forth, more physical stuff to organize other physical stuff, when an entire lifetime of plaintext notes could fit on a MicroSD card of modest capacity.
* Paper isn't safe. The aforementioned MicroSD card can be trivially backed up an indefinite number of times and rendered immune to fire, theft, kids, angry exes, acts of God, acts of Cthulu, and pets. And not to mention, encryption. While you can, technically, RSA encrypt your paperwork by hand, it's almost certainly not an efficient use of your time.
I've no doubt that these hard copy systems work for the people that say it works, but I can't help but imagine there's a certain irrational rejection of technology happening, borne out of a refusal to leave the comfort zone when even something ridiculously easy like Simplenote or Notational Velocity would provide actual efficiency gains.
Seems like language is getting in the way of writing down thoughts when you are relying on a screen and a qwerty keyboard as your only choice of input.
There's decreasingly less time pressure on learners - in and out of formal education. Note-taking from written sources, or recordings (video or audio) means there's less rush to take notes right there and then.
The processes of analysis and comprehension are slow, and so probably aren't best considered at one event, e.g. taking notes. The average person isn't writing something down once, then fully understanding it, no matter how slowly they write. Even improved retention requires revisiting material, and comprehension or synthesis require application and evaluation of the material.
From drawings to pseudocode it all seems far easier.
For fragments of code where search is not needed this is just such a superior experience. I dream of some day being able to do the same in a code editor with i.e. diagrams in comments or graphical annotations right there in the code.
The same applies to writing code. Being able to visualize hard-to-describe concepts on a piece of paper makes the overall algorithm as well as early design mistakes and edge cases much more obvious.
When I'm writing just text (todo lists, product ideas, whatever) and being able to easily edit, archive or search through the text a normal editor is a much better choice, but I'm not gonna ditch paper anytime soon.
Link for anyone else interested: http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html
I just write everything in notepad (or vim/emacs) and store the plain text files on my server (and take some backups)
I find paper keeps me sane in a hyper-multi-tasked distraction heavy over-Slacked world. What made it work was an idea I borrowed from Bullet Journal -- every task needs gets finished, copied to the current timeframe, or deliberately abandoned.
You could easily do this in a text file or notetaking app, I just spend so much time staring at screens that it's refreshing to have a tool that isn't one.
Vim just needs a graphics plugin and we're set.
...but really I'd like to figure out a good workflow for dropping screenshots and MyPaint sketches into vimwiki diary entries.
There are already apps that restrict yourself to certain programs or websites - that might be a solution for people having trouble with multi-tasking.
I can't imagine writing on paper that's for sure.
Unless you scan your work, erase stuff on your computer, and then print it.
My note-taking became much more effective once I realized that my notes rarely ended up in anyone else's hands, and that they were usually for short-term consumption.
You don't need beautiful notes, you need your notes! Scribble all over if you want (plus it's fun to scratch things out)
Edit: Plus whiteout allows fairly simple overwrites.
For example, the article states, correctly, that whiteboards dominate workplace collaborative text and drawing. It is also true that electronic whiteboards are a repeated failure over multiple product generations. But this ignores the ubiquity of smartphone cameras. Now people take pictures of whiteboards and share the images and transcribe the important text.
Cameras have mostly superseded dedicated document scanning machines. Checks, receipts, signed NDAs, etc. are often managed using document imaging, but the document imaging product category has largely dissolved into our smartphones and apps.
I'm not picky about software. I used to use any text editor to make lists, and have settled on Keep for electronic lists. Having reusable shopping lists makes Keep a winner over paper for that application. But I also keep a pocket pen and a small notebook in my pockets. There are times I can't keep up with note taking. There are also times when I need to extract a short list of tasks to be done in a morning, and doing that on paper is usually the easiest way to do it.
I have the design in my head I just need to build one.
In searching for an app like this, one of my main requirements was that the app produce standard data as output, so that if it shut down or the company went out of business all my journals would still be safe. Fortunately, the PDFs GoodNotes spits out are basically pristine copies of its internal data model: vector graphics, multiple layers (including one for the paper texture), and even hidden OCR text.
Writing is a true anchor.
Future generations will enjoy your handwritten, authentic writing.
If ancestry .com is bad now for linking generations (where blind faith can often lead to incorrect trees) wait till all our electronic words is available 100 years from now. Writing will be greatly appreciated by your yet unborn great great grandchildren.
You actually have to cut a tree to make a notepad. I hope in 100 years people will look at the "paper age" as we do see the era when people carving information in stones.
Why paper is worse:
* you cannot easily edit/alter information that has been already created
* it is hard to replicate and distribute
* version control is non existent (except book keeping)
* due to the replication problem and accessibility the information on it is not durable (at least not as durable as s3)
* collaboration is hard and not possible over the long distance
* security it terrible (even with all the stamps and hand signatures)
I know that paper might sound tempting sometimes, but I blame the schooling system which enforces kids to use it. We are trained to use paper first that's why it might seems easier. To learn how not to use paper (I don't use it at all for over 3 years) is really hard, it requires to change the workflows, mindset and attitude towards the information. But at the end of the day, it is really worth it.
Paper records can last for hundreds of years without the support of any expensive infrastructure. I wouldn't bet on things that are stored on s3 being available hundreds of years from now.
Some of paper lasted for hundreds of years. How much of information didn't survive during that time period?
Information on s3 might not last for hundreds of years, but AFAIK the Voyager satellite didn't ship the information about our specie on paper.
Whereas, the older tech that lasted so long used simple components on older, process nodes with careful engineering practices. The better ones were also extremely costly with Voyager being a good example at $800+ million.
But we're just dealing with simple physical facts about paper here. All you need is a safe place to store it. S3 doesn't run without constant and costly maintenance.
Only once you have an idea what you want to represent, and how you want to represent it, do software tools that rigidly enforce that systematization of your written data become helpful instead of hindrances. I have dozens of different pieces of software for composition, to store data into hundreds of formats, none of which I'm wholly satisfied with.
With paper I know when I run into the limitations of paper, they are either my personal limitations and/or the bounds of what humans have figured out how to do. In software, I can see the design decisions standing between me and what I'd really like to be able to do. I can't move my pen and just do it anyway, I'd have to waste years of my life creating a competing software package.
Even though my overall choice is still to be all digital, I have to face the downsides of that trade-off every goddamn day.
Maybe have a Microsoft surface or another tablet with a stylus for when you want to "have that paper feel"
This is why I'm hoping for a surface phone this MWC. Then I could use Full OneNote, outlook, excel etc instead of the current cut down apps.
> due to the replication problem and accessibility the information on it is not durable (at least not as durable as s3)
We have documents that are thousands of years old, and digital archiving is far from a solved problem. Still, I think going back to paper is insane and this is a total puff piece about people longing for olden days. I'll add one significant item to your list: search! If I had to go back to flipping through endless pages of notebooks to find that one margin entry I made during a customer meeting about some edge case requirement I'd go mad.
A durable storage may be less prone to use data due to say, a fire or a flood, but it's way easier to lose data if it's just overwritten. Overwrite a file in-place and it's pretty much gone (good thing most editors don't, but create a temporary file then rename it, so old data still can be scrubbed from HDD). That had happened to my files a few times, but never had such experiences with paper.
Not to say commodity-grade paper may easily outlive commodity-grade HDDs, magnetic tapes or CD-R's. I still have my notes from university, but all the CD-R's I've burned around the same time are unreadable, and I've replaced dying HDDs quite a few times over past years. And paper is probably easier to recycle (although not sure about this).
Nice documentary about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdZxI3nFVJs
Sure, if you're sending a letter. But as long as you maintain physical control over your paper it's far more secure than anything stored on a computer.
There's a reason Russia's FSB bought typewriters instead of a thought-to-be-secure computer system for the storage of its most sensitive secrets.
No, it's not super-secure, but it stops most casual snooping attempts. Taking off (and reattaching) a seal without breaking it is quite a bit of work if you choose the right wax.