Fred's Analog Blog revisited

In Fred's first post, he suggested a Analog Blog with the following characteristics: ...a paper personal journal...that you use to put thoughts in and get...your own comments on past posts...
Around this Analog Blog Freds invents a system of references to make all information connected.
I suggested to call it what it really is, a diary. A daily written record of (usually personal) experiences and observations (Hyper Dicitonary).
Now Fred defends the reference system in the Analog Blog by comparing it with note taking:
I personally have over 1500 handwritten sheets, containing many type of information, in around 30 file cabinets. It's virtually impossible to find anything in a reasonable time without any classification system.
In that view I would agree that Freds system has its merits, but a reference system for note taking is not the same as a personal journal. In my opinion, a blog/diary has a very clear timeline, and is almost always personal thoughts and comments. Notes on the other hand has no clear timeline, and each note may be your own thought but might just as well be other sources, news clippings, excerpts from books, and so on.
So Fred, it's nothing wrong with your system. But call it what it really is, a Analog [insert favourite note taking software here].

Pilot GEL-X review

I bought myself a pen today. I can hardly remember when I did that the last time. I saw a Pilot ballpoint pen with gel-ink at the supermarket and decided to buy and try. It is the new Pilot Gel-X 0.7 mm, and it is really smooth to write with. I also get slightly different stroke widths depending of pressure wich gives a more natural looking handwriting. The drawback with this model is that its hard shelled and feels slightly clumsy.

Hey! I'm reviewing a pen! I never done that before, but when you are going analog the pen you use is very important.

Montblanc StarWalker

One of my friends showed me his new pen he got for his birthday the other day. A Montblanc StarWalker Resign Collection ballpoint pen with a "floating" star in the transparent dome. The price is somewhere around $250. Needless to say, I'm jealous... It would go nicely with a Roma Lussa journal.


Roma Lussa Leather Journal

I'm in love, one day I'm gonna have me one of these luxurious Roma Lussa journals.

The Roma Lussa journal is made entirely by hand in Florence, Italy. Pages are an elegant Italian wove paper, and the edges are enhanced by a stone marbling technique, giving a varied pattern for each journal.

Jenni Bick Bookbinding


The whip and the carrot

Juju at The Skinny Daily, a weight loss blog, recommends writing, logging and charting as great and supportive tools in the process of managing a massive weight loss. I can verify that, I lost a lot of weight two years ago thanks to keeping a daily log according to Hackers Diet. It made me review my goals daily, track progress and most importantly, it reminded me to stick to my diet. If you don't use a log it's very easy to "forget" the times when you don't follow your plan. And not following your dieting plan is a type of procrastination.

I imagine that you can take this concept and use it on other measurable goals:
  • Number of pages written every day on your bestselling book
  • Lines of code programmed on that Open Source project
  • Hours spent designing your award winning furniture
If logging is the whip, were is the carrot? When loosing weight the carrot is that you feel better and people tells you that you look thinner. In other scenarios you may have to set up rewards at certain milestones in your project.

Keeping a log of your progress (the whip) and reward yourself when you stick to the plan (the carrot) is an effective way to battle procrastination.

Cascading Next Actions

According to the gospel of David Allen, whenever more than one Next Action is needed to reach a goal, that goal becomes a Project. Project is placeholders for all those future Next Actions that needs to be done. One has to remember that David Allens "Getting Things Done" system is originally aimed at upper management people. We bottom dwelling geeks have instead lots of small projects with just a couple of Next Actions, so the process of reviewing and keeping track of these is often the big stepping stone in getting your own GTD system rolling.

MarkTAW suggests Cascading Next Actions as a solution; The concept is really simple. You just add a "To" or "For" to your next actions and write down the reason that step is important - what the ultimate goal is. By writing down why you're doing something, you're sure that when you're checking it off, you're re-reviewing the end-goal and thinking about the next Next Action.

I find this is an elegant analog solution, much like its digital counterpart the PigPog method.


Fred's Analog Blog

Fred's Blog suggest a Analog Blog. A Moleskine with a system for comments, links and categories. Fred admits that it is very geeky, and yes Fred it is. I would call it a "diary" and let it stay that way. There is for instance no need for [book:page] references, you just reference to a previous date.
This Analog Blog sounds more like something that Lion Kimbro would invent.
Now, this may work very well for Fred but I like the KISS principle, and rather start simple and add bells and whistles on the way when needed.
But I shouldn't talk, I don't even own a Moleskine....yet...

Fred's Security Vortex - Analog Blog

Keyboards destroy handwriting

I am a computer user, and have been one for over 20 years. Now when I have decided to start using the pen instead of the keyboard to write, I have noticed how my handwriting have detoriated. I blame that on the keyboard. Ok, you use pen and paper when sitting by the computer, but it's just for jotting down short notes like "call bob" or "2 large pepperonis". Writing longer sentences has put a strain on my hand. But I feel that it is rapidly becoming easier and easier, so in a while my handwriting will be back to how I remember it.
But still, kids today grow up with a keyboard in front of them. One of my kids got an assignment to write a short story. The teacher said that a print out from the computer was ok. I was astounded! If I was a teacher I would demand that short storys where handwritten.
So, I think that the fast growing use of computers in shools will have a negative impact on kids handwriting skills.


Mike Brotherton - Star Dragon

I have just finished reading Mike Brotherton's Star Dragon. It has been release as a free download under the Creative Commons license. I downloaded and read it on my Palmt T3. It was a good entertaining read, imaginative but still managed to stay close to known physical science. A 250 lightyear round trip will take 500 years, Earth time.

Posted by Hello
The SS Cygni probe sent back hours of video, captured by the Biolathe AI, but only a few minutes mattered--the four minutes that showed a creature made of fire, living , moving, dancing in the plasma fire of the double star's accretion disk. A dragon made of star stuff, so alien that only a human expedition to observe and perhaps capture it, could truly understand it. It's a perilous journey into the future, however, for SS Cygni is 245 light-years from Earth, and even though only two years subjective time will pass on board the Karamojo, the crew will return to an Earth where five hundred years have passed.


Getting organized is the new dieting.

I think they are on to something. Maybe it is not as big as dieting, but is definitely a fast growing trend. Will the Weight Watchers be replaced by the Stuff Watchers?

"Getting organized is the new dieting." (Boston Globe)


My notebook Terry pen holder hack

The excellent blog Journalisimo mentioned the Terry pen clip featured at the Museum of Useful Things. I have an original Terry that has been with me since the late seventies. Most of time it has gathered dust in my box of useful-someday-things. Of couple of days ago, in a sudden rush of inspiration, I hacked the pen clip on the back cover of my notebook:

This is the front of my "The Purpose Driven Life" notebook. I keep my notes and thoughts in this notebook while reading Rick Warrens book. BTW, I highly recommend taking this 40 day journey.
Another hack (sort of) is visible here. I printed out the book cover from Amazon, and glued it to the cover.

And the back. The pens are kept in place by the good ol' Terry pen holder.

I made a cut in the back cover with a an Xacto knife and inserted the pen holder.

And without pens. By putting the penholder like this I keep the size of the notebook to a minimum. No pens that are sticking out. When I'm done with this notebook I can remove the holder. The cut in the cover is barely visible, and can be protected by a piece of tape. Posted by Hello

Analog soul in a digital world

Mekkaniak is an name I came up with for a computer game way back in the beginning of the nineties. Maybe I'll turn it into a short story in the future. Mekkaniaks are cyberenhanced mercenaries who helps clean up trouble on pioneer worlds in the galaxy. They are also monk like, or like freemasons.

Anyway, thats all about the name. Me? You'll find out if you keep reading this blog.