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Index > Heap > I can't decide: Pen & Paper or Computer?

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adroit



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Posts: 252
adroit
This dilemma has been bothering me for awhile now. I can't decide whether to keep notes using Pen & Paper, or just type it in a computer.

I want to keep some programming notes of what I learnt experimenting,
so that I can keep techniques and tricks and hints that I would have long
forgotten, if they were being kept mentally. The problem I face is how to
keep these notes.

I am afraid that with a book, I might lose it in a fire, water or from
someone stealing it. Also, with a book there is only a single copy; however, when
taking notes with pen and paper, I feel more connect to what I am writing.
But what I don't like is that it is difficult to edit and difficult keep a sequence
of related notes, like a blog (although common tags can be applied).

The computer, on the other hand, is faster, yes, but I don't like that there is
note necessarily any structure. I would spend time doing typesetting
and drawing diagrams, when they can be whipped up by hand. Also with a computer,
there is the code which can be copied, and URLs are instantly available.
Nonetheless, what I don't like about computers is reading notes on the screen.
Even if I have ability of printing a hardcopy, what if I don't need one?

Although the scale is weighing heavier on the side with the computer; regardless,
I still feel the need to use pen and paper. Can someone advise me,
I feel seized with this decision.

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meshnix
Post 30 Nov 2011, 18:48
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typedef



Joined: 25 Jul 2010
Posts: 2913
Location: 0x77760000
typedef
Use a pen and a paper (do not write everything down, just the key points that you need to know and add more as you learn) and that way, every time you do so, you'll familiarize yourself with the content, therefore knowing it.

Use your computer for future reference.

Very Happy

Just keep in mind that neither one of them is bad, each has it's own purpose.
Post 30 Nov 2011, 19:09
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neville



Joined: 13 Jul 2008
Posts: 507
Location: New Zealand
neville
You should make the Clayton's decision and use both Smile

Pen and paper has the advantage of immediacy, no waiting for boot-up, no need for a power supply etc. You can use it anywhere, anytime.

Computers have the advantage of better organisation, keyword searching etc. but less ability for freehand sketches, even for a tablet PC.

For pen & paper a loose-leaf refill binder is better than an exercise book because it gives some insert/delete capability Cool

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FAMOS - the first memory operating system
Post 01 Dec 2011, 00:47
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Matrix



Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Posts: 1171
Location: Overflow
Matrix
for coding, definitely a computer.

For drawing and things like that still paper and pen is best option ;/
unless you have to delete / move / redraw many times.
Post 01 Dec 2011, 04:43
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typedef



Joined: 25 Jul 2010
Posts: 2913
Location: 0x77760000
typedef
Post 01 Dec 2011, 06:00
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adroit



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Posts: 252
adroit
Thanks for the handy suggestions!

I completely agree, typedef that using a pen and paper for the small bits, for things like keywords and other small tips. As neville said, pen and paper is very accessible practically anywhere and that no power is needed (I like that mostly). And as both can be used.

Matrix, using the pen and paper for drawing and computer for coding is good (i'd really hate writing out a long piece of code). I'll be using both in MS OneNOte, which is very versatile. I've decided that the notes can be written in draft on paper, typed up and a hardcopy can me created and stored in a loose-leaf refill binder (^neville).

A drawing pad, thanks typedef. I've been planning to order for months now, as I do like to draw. This can replace the pen and paper.

However, I'll never neglect pen and paper. Drawings can be scanned and put into the document. Other draft writing shall be done on paper, but not directly that book. I wanted it to be like a research notebook. Also, something that I can look back at years to come. But then I realized that I can do that by just printing them out, which is much less work.

Once again, I say thanks!
Post 01 Dec 2011, 09:55
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AsmGuru62



Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 1408
Location: Toronto, Canada
AsmGuru62
I prefer to keep my drawings in code.
However, my code is nicely readable only with Courier (or other proportional) font.
Post 01 Dec 2011, 15:14
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OzzY



Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Posts: 1029
Location: Everywhere
OzzY
Keep the notes on the computer and email them to yourself.
They'll never be lost.

Unless it's a quick draft, then use the paper.
Post 01 Dec 2011, 16:31
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JohnFound



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 3500
Location: Bulgaria
JohnFound
IMHO, this dilemma exists only because there is no good enough software developed. The problem is that when the one takes notes on paper, he not only writes text, but also can make some sketches, schemes etc. But there is no good type&draw program developed. CAD and drawing programs can make high quality drawings relatively fast, but only compared to the high quality drawings on paper. They can't make low-quality sketches as fast and easy as the pencil on the notebook.
I tried several times to develop such user interface, but failed miserably, and never found program suitable for my needs. So, I continue to work with paper notes sometimes, at least when I have some complex problems to solve.
Anyway, needed (for me) user interface must provide following:
1. fast and dirty drawing with freehand mouse, but providing line rectification and some kind of little AI to guess what you want to draw.
2. formula drawing
3. free text typing with small formatting features.
4. there should be no tool changing manipulations, such as menus and tool bars. Even the context menus are too distracting IMHO, but they are almost acceptable.
5. Should provide hierarchical storage and search features.
Post 01 Dec 2011, 22:25
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adroit



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Posts: 252
adroit
AsmGuru62, courier font or consolas font are look nice, especially at 9px. Another reason why I've choosen the computer.

Ozzy, yes i'll do that. OneNote can sync with SkyDrive, so a backup will always be on SkyDrive in an instant. I'll do all draft writing, of course, on paper, and any drawing, if i am to lazy to start up smartdraw or some other drawing software, can be stored into the document easily. [All the official and final product will be put into the computer, once all thoughts have been clearly organized.]

JohnFound. Welcome back! Anyway, I completely agree. If there were a software like that then all of our problems would be solved. Yes that software allow have the pen-and-paper experience using that software.
Im not sure if it is the language or resources that the OS provides that limits your design, or you concept itself, however, if it is the aforementioned, then i suggest using python--not that i know much about it, but Blender [3D software] was designed with it, and it has a fair enough interface, so maybe you would be able to create your desired interface using python [IMHO].
Post 01 Dec 2011, 23:22
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JohnFound



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 3500
Location: Bulgaria
JohnFound
adroid, it is not the language or the technology the concern. It is the design of the whole thing. Above notes are only the very rough features description. But how all this have to be implemented in reality is not clear enough for me. For example - when you draw some sketches you need some different primitives - lines, rectangles, circles, etc. In the normal GUI you choose the tool from the toolbar, menu or using shortcut. When you draw on paper with pen - you simply draw what you need automatically. The result is that drawing on paper you can think about the problem, not about how to switch the tools.
I have made several attempts to implement such an interface in different languages in the last 10..15 years, but the result was not acceptable. Well, this project is "low to middle priority" for me, so maybe I simply didn't worked hard enough. Smile
Post 01 Dec 2011, 23:55
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adroit



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Posts: 252
adroit
Understood. Considering that modern operating system UIs are designed using the WIMP paradigm, it would be hard to discard the toolbars, menus and shortcuts. I would assume that this software is for common mouse users, and not as a general aim, tablet users, correct? In the case that you might want to be short-cut based (which in foresight, is a bad idea, especially when considering basically proficient users, IMHO). But I guess you've already thought of these before. I cannot imagine the system because of how complex it sounds. [The line rectification; it could be sort of annoying to users, if a line which they wish not to rectify is rectified, so I believe that one should be able to select of two different modes: freeform and structural. IMHO. But it's just an idea. Yes, I like the idea that much].

I like the idea though, and I think you should implement it soon, if not now.
Post 02 Dec 2011, 01:02
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OzzY



Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Posts: 1029
Location: Everywhere
OzzY
A touch screen based solution would be great.

With a canvas where you can draw and write with a pen directly to the screen.
Post 02 Dec 2011, 19:25
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