Sunday, March 12, 2006

TechnoGeek's Lust for Low-Tech

I really must resolve to stop questioning my gut.

Three years ago I wanted a low-tech data conveyance and could not find one to suit me, save my life, or data for that matter. What I wanted was a day planner, contact tracker, journal, research record & scrapbook all rolled into one. The idea was that at the end of the year, I would archive the whole of the contents and start anew with all the junk in one package. Rational: My kids will not care about the nitty-gritty of my life; perchance my grandchildren would find it entertaining.

I did not want a full-blown Franklin/Covey/DayRunner type deal. I did want a simple tasks/appointment page shielding the journal pages behind it; low tech stealth. I wanted the ability to insert a quote, daily bread, picture or postcard associated with my scribbling if the mood struck me. I wanted my research notes with me in some protective covering not the scraps of library note paper and miscellaneous post-it notes which fell out and got lost with maddening frequency. All this stuff had to be portable, interchangeable and reconfigurable on the fly. Additionally, in the months prior to the affordable jump drive, I needed a Codex for all my favorite snippets of css and javascript as well as my favorite html templates.

In the end, the the blank book my Codex was made from fell apart rather quickly as the binding medium was nothing more than scratch pad glue. The pages on the other hand are far from wearing out and can be rebound in some other binding package. The planner, journal, research archive book is virtually empty. A few pages in the front have some scribbling but the project as a whole was for the most part, abandoned. Perhaps it was the process of imagining, creating and constructing which was an end unto itself.

Or that is what I thought until today. While doing research for three papers due in less than a month, I stumbled across a whole user group who has passion now is to create their own p.i.m. Some like the so-called, "HipsterPDA". Nothing more than three by five cards bound by a variety of means from biner clips, hair bands to bulldog clips and pocket protectors. (yes, you did read that last one correctly) Pages included; one for To-Do, one for Next-Action, one for Contacts and so forth. Others preferred a more traditional approach. Their own choice of cover, moleskins or actual binders and pages created to suit their needs.

Eventually, the web site owner published a series of pdf documents as templates. Users have contributed templates for specified professional note taking from blank staff pages for musicians to mini spread sheets. To my delight there in this creative mix were the templates I had been looking for in various professional websites; System Administration Log documents! I spent way too many hours today with these creative low-tech rebels when I should have been researching serious topics. I choose to think that perhaps the time was well spent. I was vindicated in my three-year lust for low-tech and my creative side with thoroughly satiated.


Many Thanks to the creatives at the D*I* user group. I'll post some pictures at some point.

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