Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nerd Scrapbooking (retrospective from a pack rat of moleskines and notebooks)

I decided to start a blog again to help keep myself motivated and get some side software development projects going that I keep meaning to get around to. I started going through some of my old notebooks and moleskine journals and realized I'm kinda of an obsessive note taker and collector of information.

I was going through a pile of legal pads that basically chronicled my short year at NCsoft (From my interview discussing the 3 spheres of powers of the Blighted Empire haha, to technical notes about converting the Guild Wars network protocol to a Java client, to model view controller design pattern notes on the last prototype project I was on at NCsoft).

Here's some other random crap I came across going through my old notebooks.

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when I interviewed with them in Boston, MA, I didn't get the job but it was a really good experience I wrote about it on my old blog (which may still be available on facebook my original blog site got hacked a while ago). If you want the gory details you can read my post about the google phone interview process and producer consumer programming problem.

Apple iPhone Tech Talk sticker for Austin, TX, Mark and I went to Apple's hosted iPhone tech talk it was pretty cool, to short though (but it was free).

3D Tracking using wii remote I found some random diagrams and calculations I was doing trying to make my own 3D tracking system using a wii remote infrared camera, I was inspired by Johnny Lee's Head tracking demo .

Over the years I've tried coming up with the "perfect" note taking system and organizational system mixing digital note archiving systems with GTD style moleskine notebooks, but every time I lock myself into a organizational system I end up becoming paralyzed by the discipline and end up not being able to take any notes.

The best process I can come up with is a completely informal process of dumping random thoughts on a variety of notebooks and notepads that I keep available all over my room and office, that I can just start writing in whenever I want to dump thoughts out or mind draw out some diagrams.

Currently this is what I have setup:

8.5'' x 14'' Legal Pads - For some reason I crave this large format note pad and because it's not like other side bounded notebooks I feel like it's more informal format.

Large ruled Moleskine notebook - I really love the aesthetic of the moleskine notebook I try to keep it with me wherever I go (work, home, traveling) I think of it as a slightly more formal or permanent place for notes and ideas.

Small moleskine weekly planner - I use the weekly planner to try to keep a daily/weekly journal of my life it acts as a more chronological journal that I can look back on (or plan ahead with).

Evernote - I use evernote application to collect task lists (project tasks, shopping lists) I also really like it's hand writing recognition image importing (I just take web cam photos of my notebooks and it will archive my hand-written notes).

Google Docs - I like throwing quick notes and ideas onto Google Docs because I can access it anywhere I can get to the internet, I use it as a sort of digital brain dump and private blog.

Gmail - Email is probably my main starting point for my personal information sometimes I find it easier to just keep notes by sending myself emails and searching for it later.