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Outboard brain, analog or digital?

A year after getting my first Moleskine notebook I've filled it up and had to decide again whether to use a paper notebook or a Palm.

Moleskine notebook or Palm?

I love a beautiful Moleskine with its nice paper, leather(ette?) binding, and illustrious (if perhaps exaggerated) history. And as I've remarked elsewhere, they don't make a Palm shaped like my butt. But you can't do a keyword search in a Moleskine and you can't sync it to your desktop. If it's lost it's lost.

The Palm has certainly improved since the ancient model clone sitting unused in its cradle by my Mac. I think it's the second one I've bought with the best of intentions but decided it was too much hassle to carry it around or to squeeze my life into its teeny user interface. Meanwhile my use of the Moleskine is improving, too: this time I started out color-coding about half of the notebook with sections structured according to how my brain works (addresses, books, gifts, music, videos, etc.) The rest is for chronological use. That should save me having to do a linear search on the whole damn book the next time I'm trying to find that Spanish thriller I read about, the number of the plumber somebody recommended, or my daughter's shoe size.

There's one thing which still might win me over to the Palm, though: if my employers will share the cost of buying one that's integrated into a phone. Anything to avoid adding one more item to the pieces of hardware I have to strap on every time I go out the door -- at least until we all start wearing utility belts.

toys 2003.10.06 link


If you're going to color-code, use one of the mini four-color leaves notebooks that Miquelrius makes (you can buy at Book People and B&N). The pages are perforated and the paper is devine for fountain pens, pencil, and ballpoint. I have wanted a Moleskin forever, but I also use my takealong notebook as a doodle pad, and I thought a Moleskin was too decadent for that.

I'm contemplating whether I want to start using my Palm again. I've sometimes tempted to get a new one (with color, natch) but realize I'd have to be using mine to make getting a new one even remotely worth it. When I was using it to track meetings, it was great, but I don't have meetings now so I just keep forgetting to dig it out.

I really liked using it to keep track of money and my way of eating/exercise. Which I don't do on paper, no matter my intentions... I have empty check registers, but would use the Palm to record all financial transactions. That alone makes me think I could use the Palm to great advantage again. As long as I got an e-holster®.

christina [ataraxy cxe jeskey punkto com] • 2003.10.06
Miquelrius looks like a nice line, and the fact that part of their catalog is only available in Spanish and Catalán has perhaps even more snob appeal than Moleskine. :-) Pre-color coding is nice, but at present I'm using eight colors and may need more before I'm through. The Miquelrius notebooks I saw on their site were fat and/or spiral-bound and better suited to a bag than a pocket. Or am I missing something? No mind, I'll check them out at Book People.

(Notebook geekery -- are we at a new low or what?)

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2003.10.06
Uh, yeah, I think most of them are spiral bound. By pocket do you mean back pocket of jeans? Well, then, Moleskine might be your better bet.

Eight colors? OK, if they have four colors and you need eight, you could have front and back sections per color. I've actually done something like this with mine. The advantage to the smallest notebook is that the cover is translucent, so I put my to-do list on the last page and can check it without actually opening the notebook.

(That sounds *really* geeky now that I've typed it up. Yep, new low.)

christina [ataraxy cxe jeskey punkto com] • 2003.10.06
The paper is devine? Or did I mean detree? I think I meant divine. Yipes.

christina [ataraxy cxe jeskey punkto com] • 2003.10.07
I am now a proud owner of a Moleskine.

Unfortunately, I didn't pay extra for the Custom Butt Curve option, but I suppose I'll make do.

Thanks for the recommendation.

davidnunez [david cxe davidnunez punkto com] • 2003.10.09
(Sorry, joining the thread a bit late.) I've just started using a Moleskine as well, mostly for note-taking. [Ordered here -- B+N seems to perpetually be out of stock.] The notebook is getting along very well with my pen; I think the one makes me want to use the other: a feedback loop.

My current organization technique, from high school science class, is so left-brained it hurts: (1) When you get the notebook, before you do anything else, number every page. [I'm lazy, so I'm numbering every other page, making kind of a flip-book in the upper-right-hand corner of the notebook.] (2) Label the first page "CONTENTS". (3) Start actually using the notebook on page 5 or 6. Be sure to date each page [if you're scribbling down ideas instead of taking deliberate notes, this is somewhat tricker -- try to date sub-sections of the page if you can]. (4) Periodically, make annotations in the "CONTENTS" section about what can be found on each page.

So far, it seems to be working for me.

As you say, I still can't perform a fulltext search on this. But, pathetically, the Memo Pad that comes with Palm OS doesn't let you intermingle pictures and text, nor does it allow sorting by date, so it's not up to the task of keeping my notes. Stupid. [Disclosure: I work for PalmSource.]

As far as the butt-curve thing, I've heard from owners of Palm's (uhh, PalmOne's) sliding-case handhelds (the Tungsten T2, T3) that because of the overall decrease in vertical dimension, the devices are actually better suited to hiding at the bottom of a front pants pocket, obviating the butt-curve requirement in some measure. Being shorter, I guess they act as less of a splint for your thigh when you go to sit down. YMMV.

dsandler [dsandler cxe dsandler punkto org] • 2003.10.11
I saw one of these journals at Borders today, but they only had the sketch, and graph paper version. What interests me is the organization schemes. So what do you use to mark for the color-coding and where do you mark? Does anyone else have any organizational tips they would like to share?

Sergio [sergioarchangel cxe cox punkto net] • 2003.11.02
I just used colored markers, on the outer edges of the pages so the color is visible when the book is closed. (It's an old technique from my punch-card days. :-) )

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2003.11.03
ok, coming in a little late on this, but... i like the moleskine a lot, and i love my miquelrius (200 pages of graph paper). there's another option at levenger do a search for circa, and choose one of the notebooks.
they have different sizes, and the great thing? you can pop pages in and out as you please, which makes mistakes and rearranging easy. they also have a tab set, so you can organize however you need. i've had the starter set for about three years, and it's awesome. oh, and the small one fits in your back pocket easily enough.

dave [dave_com cxe dropcase punkto com] • 2004.06.07
that was supposed to just say - sorry 'bout that.

dave [dave_com cxe dropcase punkto com] • 2004.06.07
(just a bit off topic but you can apply this to the moleskine notebooks as well)

I'm a newbee to the moleskines but I've been using a journal for years. I keep one for work:

I use different highlighters for the following:

green: meetings

blue: good ideas (not much blue in my book, but there's hope)

orange: important (ip access passwords/userids etc.)

I keep my index in the back moving to the front. The index has the main topic and the pages is occurs in.


architecture of xyz: 51, 256, 257
access to abc: 89, 101

I also keep quick reference information in the inside cover pages such as restart scrips, etc.

This has worked well for me. I can draw the architecture modules, sequence diagrams, etc. that I can't do on the palm. It also copies well for the team. Each of my team members have purchased one and some of the teams we work with have also caught on to the idea.

Back to the moleskines...the small one is great for picking up conversations, lists, etc. for my personal writing needs.

Thanks for the site.

..dave [writedaveterry cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2004.06.28
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