Notes along the way

The subway floor is slick with muddy footprints. It’s crowded, so I sandwich my backpack between my feet and take out the Treo that W- lent me. If I write quickly I’ll finish this before I get to Don Mills.

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I kept my head down while walking so that the snow wouldn’t get on my glasses.  This meant that all I could see was the snow in front of me barely indented by the footprints of other people on their morning trek to the subway station. I had some portable sunshine – an inspiring podcast about writing.

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These are my morning pages, I guess. Stretching exercises to warm up my brain and limber up for an interesting day. There’s so much to write about. I’ll write about yesterday.

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I spent yesterday morning at one of my clients, integrating the wiki I made with a wiki that another team had put together. I joined a working meeting and shared what I knew. Things are going well.

In the afternoon, I prepared for the second part of a workshop for Web 2.0 brainstorming and planning. My team members  were happy to let me take the lead in organizing the information and creating slides.  I enjoyed creating a spreadsheet that organized the ideas from our brainstorming session. The spreadsheet made it easy to evaluate the ideas as well. We’ll see how well that goes!

End result: I’m in charge of practically everything on the second day of the workshop. :) This will be fun.

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When I checked my personal mail, I found an acceptance letter for an article proposal I’d sent to Linux Journal. (I have warm and fuzzy feelings about Linux Journal because that’s how W- first heard about me.)

With so many extracurricular writing projects on the horizon, I realized that I needed to do more than play on my DS during commutes. I’ve tried writing on the DS before, but I didn’t like tapping ideas out on an onscreen keyboard because that meant that one hand would be doing all the work. W- had an old Treo 270 that he no longer used, and it had a thumbboard. Now all I had to do was figure out the best way to use it to write.

I tried different outlining programs, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. I was looking for in-place editing, a quick way to add nodes, and drag-and-drop reorganization. Most outlining programs for the Palm separate editing the outline from editing the nodes. Bonsai looked promising, but my Microsoft Windows XP kept blue-screening whenever I tried to transfer it over. So it’s back to the built-in MemoPad, which should be fine for now.

So far, so good. I plan to use the Palm to outline, and occasionally to write blog posts like this. My voice recorder is always around my neck, so once I’ve fleshed out my outline, I can talk it through. I have earphones too, so I can review my braindump and write down interesting points. This involves my ear in the editing process.

Oops, I forgot the index cards. I had volunteered to bring index cards just in case they’re useful for the prioritization of ideas. That’s okay, we’ll make do.

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As W- expected, the meeting was cancelled due to the storm. Aaron Kim called me on my cellphone just as I was looking for the right bus at the Don Mills subway station.  Jennifer’s cellphone charger went kaboom, so there’s no way to get in touch with her right now. I’ll drop by the Innovation Centre and see if it’s worth staying there, or if I should just work at home. I didn’t pack lunch, but I brought some granola bars. If Bernie and Jen are there, then it’s worth working on Drupal next to them. If not, I’ll go home.

I’ve been working on my outlines, so I don’t feel that my commute has been a total wash. :) It’s surprisingly easy to work on a speech or article outline using just a flat text file. I still want Org on the Palm, though. Maybe Emacs on the Zaurus?

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Why not work on my laptop?

I don’t always have a seat, and the laptop is a little too big and heavy for me to feel comfortable about pulling it out anywhere. It’s the convenience factor, I guess. I’ll try it on the trip down Yonge to see if it’s easier than I think. If so, then I’ll take the Palm sync cable with me so that I can work either way.

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Oh, look at that, I’ve hit the 4K limit on MemoPad. See? Writing is easy. You just think out loud.

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Actually, no, I think I’ll head straight home. Healthier food. :)