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BCBlog about tango cards : E-Mail from Christopher Allan Webber

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6. Hipster PDA: Waste of paper?

An insightful but anonymous person wrote in:

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but even though the HipsterPDA is excellent for notetaking etc., it really is a waste of paper!

"My notes and to dos are NOT a waste" I hear you cry. But that's not what I'm referring to. I'm referring to using ONE index card for writing a phone number, or an address, or a task. When this information is then transferred to the necessary electronic or paper area, the card is thrown in the trash - what a waste!

I apologise to those of you who recycle your cards, but from the many articles, comments I've read re: HipsterPDA, most people just trash the card and that's it.

I'm not a great fan of the digital world, but this disrespect for paper (and ultimately the rainforests) is just not on.

Hmm. Good point. Index cards require more processing than cheap paper notebooks do. I like the feel of heavy paper, and index cards require more chemicals and raw material than paper notebooks do.

I use one index card for all my notes regarding a meeting (and sometimes two if I need to segregate topics or spill over). I throw the card away after I get the data into my Planner. I don't really use my index cards for keeping track of tasks, as most of my tasks so far have been computer-related. My deck of index cards is really more for jotting down notes, making quick sketches, or giving information to other people.

I feel the trade-off is justified. I work better with index cards. A pack of 100 or 500 index cards is a small price to pay if it helps me keep track of things I should do or little nuggets of information I should pass onto other people.

Even if you multiply that by all the billions of people in the world, as long as they use their index cards to help themselves keep track of things worth keeping track of, then I think that's a net win for the earth.

Conservation is important, but it is not enough to see the evil in little things. We make a lot of choices that cost the environment. Food. Clothes. Housing and furniture. Should we stop eating because cooking by gas or electricity uses a lot of energy from non-renewable sources and the amount of waste going on in fast food places and restaurants is staggering? Should we stop patronizing bookstores because the vast majority of books don't get read and reused? Should we take our fingers off our keyboards now in protest against the way computers contribute to environmental problems? Should we take direct steps to end the world's population problem? We make choices.

In this case, I think my pack of index cards is certainly worth it. I respect paper, which is why I write down things that are worth writing down. I respect trees. I really, really like trees, and wish we had more in the city.

After I fill up the card and store it somewhere, I won't be able to use it a lot. I could write on my cards with a pencil and erase my writing until the card falls apart, but my time and the earth's time isn't worth that.

It's good to look for ways to save the environment. Reduce, reuse and recycle. However, don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. Little things matter, but if they help you do better things, then maybe it's worth it. You just need to make sure that what you're doing is worth the cost.

It's one more thing to add to the pile of recyclable material (not that garbage is really segregated in this country), one more problem contributing to the death of the earth, but it's something I choose to use. Not that this is going to convince hard-core environmentalists that I'm not a selfish, evil person, but at least I know and take responsibility for my choice.

E-Mail from Richi's server

5. Introducing the Hipster PDA

by Sacha Chua

(Sneak preview of m-ph entry for tomorrow)


"I've found the perfect PDA," I gushed. My friends perked up. Knowing how much of a geek I am, anything I was that crazy about was bound to be interesting. They leaned over and watched as I reached into my bag and brought out...

Hipster PDA ... my Hipster PDA.

"SACHA?!"


Introducing the Hipster PDA

One of the hottest topics in the productivity blogosphere right now is the Hipster PDA, a surprisingly effective low-tech way to organize your life. Grab a pack of 3"x5" index cards and a fold-back clip and you're set to go!

What's so cool about the Hipster PDA?

  • Gets rid of worries. You don't have to worry about running out of battery during a critical meeting. You can drop it and it will still work. Even if you dunk it in water, you'll still be able to recover your data.
  • Grows along with you. Don't be constrained by software or hardware limitations! You can easily experiment with different ways of planning, and you can expand your Hipster PDA's memory simply by buying another pack of index cards at your nearest bookstore.
  • Helps you stay focused. The Hipster PDA helps you stay focused and on-track by not supporting addictive games like Tradewinds. To help you pass the time, the Hipster PDA comes with a few built-in two-player games like Tic-tac-toe and Hangman.
  • Organizes real-life data. Receipts? Business cards? Movie tickets? No problem! Just tuck them into the fold-back clip and process them when you get home.
  • Beams anything to anyone. You can easily "beam" information to other people--just scribble a note and give it to them. 3x5 index cards don't crumple easily and can easily be shared with other people no matter what mobile device they use.

Here's what you can do with your own Hipster PDA:

  • Get a good pen or mechanical pencil. Keep it with your Hipster PDA at all times.
  • Write down one task per index card. You can write down subtasks and notes there as well. Rip up the task card up after completing the task for a satisfying finish.
  • Alternatively, divide your tasks into projects and write down your tasks. Check the tasks off as you finish them.
  • Scribble notes and ideas down on index cards.
  • Write down a month calendar so that you can easily see when you have appointments.
  • Print important contact information on an index card. You can probably fit 50 names and phone numbers. Good backup if your phone is out of battery or gets lost.
  • Print birthdays on an index card, sorted by month and day.
  • Label your Hipster PDA with your contact information just in case it gets lost. (name, phone number, e-mail address)
  • Clip a cheap pen to your Hipster PDA for people who borrow pens. Never lend your good pen.
  • Keep newly-written cards in an "inbox" section (front or back) so that you can process them when you get home.

For more information, check out the following links:
43 Folders: Introducing the Hipster PDA
Technorati: Hipster PDA

Check back on Wednesday for tips on making the most of your Hipster PDA!

そのデザイン・ハウスにとって、コンピュータ製造にさらに急進的な色彩を導入することは適切な戦略であった。 For this design house it was an appropriate strategy to introduce even more radical colors into computer production.

4. Hipster PDA: GTD Tiddly Wiki

Miguel Javier said:

GTD Tiddly Wiki is a GettingThingsDone adaptation of JeremyRuston's Open Source TiddlyWiki. The purpose of GTD Tiddly Wiki is to give users a single repository for their GTD lists and support materials so they can create/edit lists, and then print directly to 3x5 cards for use with the HipsterPDA.

http://shared.snapgrid.com/gtd_tiddlywiki.html

No kidding. I wonder what we should do to get Planner to support 3x5 index cards sanely...

E-Mail from Miguel Javier

彼女は娘にパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

3. Colored index cards

I love posting my productivity ideas because every time I do so, I get comments suggesting even better ways to do things. Today's tip comes from Christopher Allan Webber, whose colored index cards are leaps and bounds ahead of my deck of plain white index cards. He has some cool ideas here!

He uses colored notecards to separate his notes into categories.

Yellowschedule & project cards
Redtodo cards (or just stuff I should copy to planner-mode)
Blueidea cards
Greenexpenses (writing down stuff to copy to my ledger file later)

He also uses cards that are lined on just one side. On the lined side of schedule & project cards, he writes down:

Photography

Mon5/9Lab
Wed5/11Critique of Assignment II & I (pics don't have to be dry - must by Wednesday)
Mon5/16Field trip
..Assignment #2 dry-mounted

On the back, he keeps a TODO list. When a task needs to be done multiple times--for example, preparing a print of a picture--he adds extra checkboxes before the task.

I think he writes down non-project-related TODOs and random notes on red cards, which are easy to pick out in the pack. Right now, I jumble them all together on white index cards. I'll try keeping the front half of the deck for tasks and the back half for notes.

Green cards help him keep track of his expenses. I keep receipts in front of my index cards using the handy fold-back clip, although an organized table view would be pretty cool.

I don't know where he managed to find lined-on-one-side 3x5 colored index cards. I guess bookstores in other countries are better stocked. On the other hand, I found 3x5 organizer refills, so I'm not absolutely deprived.

He was bemused by my mention of "two pages of month templates from a 3x5 day planner". If you crack open a pack of 3x5 organizer refills, you'll get year, month, and day views. Normally a single month would span two pages, but if you're using a planner where month views haven't been labeled "January", "February"--in short, blank ones--then you can use one page to represent one month. If you don't have organizer refills handy, simply print the numbers 1 to 15 down one side of an index card and 16 to 31 on the other. Leave space at the top for the month name, and space beside the numbers for appointments.

He also had this interesting anecdote to relate about a friend's way of planning.

"Oh, I gave up keeping track of to do lists," she sighed. "These days I just write everything on my mirror with a dry-erase marker, so when I groggily stumble into my bathroom in the morning I go, 'OH SHIT! I HAVE *THAT* TO DO TODAY!'"

I should do that with a random Japanese quote of the day. I'll write it down the day before, then groggily try to read it in the morning. Or I can scribble my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (superb teaching and quality assurance for computer science education, and strategy coaching for life planning (must find better way to summarize these things!)) on my ceiling at home. Ooooh. My ceiling is low enough for me to do that...

Check out Christopher Allan Webber's website at http://dustycloud.org/ . =)

I love swapping ideas with people, so feel free to send in more suggestions!

コンピューターは単なる計算機だと考えられている。 Computers are thought of as mere calculating machines.

2. How I use my Hipster PDA

After all my experiments with wearable computing using a one-handed chording keyboard and a speech synthesizer, I've found that the most portable device for me is still a 3x5 pack of index cards bound with a fold-back clip. Jokingly dubbed the "Hipster PDA" elsewhere on the Net, this low-tech device is surprisingly flexible and easy to use. I use mine to keep track of tasks and random notes for later entry into my online planner.

My Hipster PDA is composed of:

  • a colored index card with my contact information
  • my inbox: cards with notes on them that haven't been entered into the computer
  • two pages of month templates from a 3x5 day planner
  • a year calendar for 2005 and 2006
  • my archive: index cards that have already been entered but might still be useful
  • a colored index card with yellow sticky notes
  • a stack of blank index cards
  • a fold-back clip holding all of these things together
  • a black signpen or a mechanical pencil tucked into the fold-back clip

One of the things I've found much easier to do with my 3x5 pack of cards than with a PDA or a Franklin-Covey planner is to keep track of get-togethers. When my friends and I schedule our next get-together, I lay the month templates out so that I can see the next 30 days at a glance. This is difficult to do with a PDA because PDA screens are small. A Franklin-Covey planner would probably be more organized, but I like being able to lay things out side-by-side instead of flipping through pages.

When I need to jot something down, I flip the deck and write on the last card. After I finish one side of the card, I turn it over, clip it, and write on the other side. When the whole card is full, I move it into my inbox.

Index cards are handy because it's easy to give information away to other people. Paper gets crumpled and business cards can disappear into the chaos of a purse or a bag. An index card is big and bright. I'm thinking of replacing half of my white cards with brightly-colored cards so that people can easily find information I give them.

I'm planning to do other things with my pack of 3x5 index cards. For example, I can write my projects on the cards. Reviewing these cards will reinforce these goals in my mind and remind me to keep making progress.

Index cards totally rock.

新しいコンピューターは旧型よりも10倍速い。 The new computer is ten times as fast as the old one.

1. Hipster PDA: Month view

Being able to quickly see my schedule for two months totally, totally rocks. My iPAQ didn't have the screenspace for something like that, but my 3x5" pack of index cards with some inserts from an organizer. In particular, aforementioned monthly templates make planning get-togethers so much easier. I can print index cards for these too, but then it'd be a hassle to design the template and print it back-to-back. Anyway, this totally rocks.

(I also had another epiphany earlier: we're actually planning gimmicks! We have a social life! We have a barkada! Nifty. Now I just need to make sure I keep in touch with other people I know, too...)

問題はどうして難局に当たるかである。 The question is how we will bell the cat.

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Updated: 2005-06-16
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