Monday, June 04, 2007

Beta Test: Latest Palmtop

A few weeks ago I arrived at work and was shocked to find that my pocket notepad wasn't in my pocket. D'oh. I headed to the supply room to see what I could come up with. We don't have any notepads that are pocket sized, but we did have a huge stack of Rolodex cards.

So, I grabbed a stack of those and clipped them together - and that became my notepad for the day. I'll count that as my alpha test.

A few days ago I finished up a notepad, and rather than switching to a new one, I decided to beta test the clipped card approach.

I should definitely mention that I'm not the first person to come up with using cards as an organizer. It's just new to me.

So far, I kind of like it. It has these advantages:

  • I can change the order of the pages trivially. So my todos can always be handily accessible on the first page, and I can have a scratch area ready to go on the last.
  • The heavier paper means that I can write on both sides of the page.
  • No lines on the cards means that I can use them for drawing a bit easier.
  • The ability to un-clip and lay out the cards (as the photo shows) opens up all sorts of new possibilities. I can spatially organize my thoughts now, which may be a huge win.
  • If I buy a Rolodex, I should be easily able to store the cards long term

The disadvantages so far seem to be:

  • Getting to the next page requires more effort than a simple turning of the page.
  • No lines means writing text is a bit trickier
  • I miss the blog like feel of a notepad for archival purposes. With the cards, I'm likely to toss out the cards I don't need. With a notepad it's all recorded chronologically, so I can always go back and find notes I thought weren't important.
  • Related to the last point: when I'm done with a notepad I have a record of part of my life which seems handy. I don't usually look back on the notepads, but I like being able to.

I think the cards are more like a wiki concept, the notepad a blog. Which is better? Neither, of course.

Anyway, I think I'll give this a try for a time longer and see how I like it.

Anyone have any suggestions for getting rid of any of the disadvantages?



  1. You certainly aren't the first, Ben.

    There's a whole movement. Check out:

  2. So true!

    Thanks for the pointer.

    It's actually interesting that you just commented on this post. I think I've finally decided that my old spiraled notebook approach is better than the card approach.

    The problem is that I like the more permanent feel of the notebook over the cards.

    Also, the notebook gives me easy access to as many pages as I want, whereas the cards only give me true easy access to two pages - the first and last card in the stack.

    It's been a fun experiment though!