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20 April 2006 / April

Note-taking

(Or, what I write about when I’ve got nothing better to say.)

There are all kinds of note-taking programs out there, from offline computer software to online, “access your notes from anywhere! yay!” thingies. There are rich text editors, simple text editors, little white boxes that sit merrily on your desktop just begging to be written in, public notepads, private ones, ones where you can submit via IM or email, stickies for your computer desktop, stickies for the internet, ones where you can create mini world-wide-webs with links and pictures and sound clips and various other doodads that may or may not ever be used.

All these I’m sure have their benefits, but there really are only two methods I use to record those random little thoughts I have while nominally working on research projects: Yahoo! Notepad, and the tried-and-true pen and paper.

There’s really nothing special at all about Y! Notepad, other than the fact that it was around to be discovered by me before most of the other ones– and yes, it really is accessible from other computers, which is quite useful. I’d switch to something more interesting, but I’ve built up such a delightful collection of quotes and other ramblings that I’m loathe to leave it. Plus, a bunch of features would probably just confuse me and dilute the functionality of it.

But paper notes– now, there’s something. It’s always around, even when my computer’s asleep and I know that this fantastic revelation will vanish into thin air if I take the extra moment to rouse that drowsy piece of machinery. And they’re “user friendly;” no need to skim through the FAQs here. A pen(cil) and paper are just so convenient.

I mean, suppose there’s this guy. Nel. He hasn’t any paper, not a scrap at all, nor any writing utensil to speak of, because he’s a citizen of the modern electronics-driven world and has no need for such old-fashioned gimmicks as those, and there’s a power outage, and the NYSEG workers are on strike and the boss doesn’t want to negotiate (they absolutely must have $12 an hour) so the power lines won’t be fixed for days, at least, which means his computer is essentially useless, plus his laptop and PDA and Blackberry are all out of batteries (darn things) and no store for miles around has got any due to demand from the power outage, and suddenly, while lying in bed at 10:36 PM wishing he could practice piano or write a novel, he realizes that there is a mathematical formula that correlates the consistency and moisture of a butterscotch brownie with the relative humidity of the surrounding air!!!

Stunned by his discovery, Nel leaps out of bed, sending the cat flying, fumbles hastily for the light switch– and remembers. The power’s out. The computer screen stares blankly at him. And there’s not a single place he can write down his unbelievable discovery.

(Insert first few bars of Beethoven’s 5th here.)

You see? Pen and paper notes are a much good thing.

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One Comment

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  1. Amy / Apr 20 2006 9:37 pm

    BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH! YOU MEAN BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH! I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY BEETHOVEN’S NINTH WHEN THEY OBVIOUSLY MEAN BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH! IT ANNOYS ME OUT OF MY MIND! PLEASE DON’T CONFUSE THOSE TWO EVER AGAIN! THANK YOU!

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