Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm still here!

Yeah, yeah. I know. I haven't posted in nearly a month. It has been a pretty crazy month, however. My uncle whom I haven't seen in 8 year visited from Virgina. I've been sick, other family members have been sick. Works been crazy, in fact I think I've worked every single weekend since my last posting. Parent-teacher conferences. Co-workers being out for 2/4 weeks and me being in charge of taking over for them while they are out.

The list goes on and on doesn't it? Notice anything about the above list? It's real-life. Nothing really out of the ordinary. I could have even listed that our car is leaking coolant and will need major surgery to replace the head gasket, but that wouldn't really matter. What I see up there are a list of things that just happen to everyone.

The choice to stop updating the blog while the banana hit the fan was mine however. I could make up some excuse about how I literally didn't have the time, but I did. I chose to spend it other ways. I could have found a half an hour twice a week to squeeze in a really short but upbeat blog posting on some random topic, but instead I let it slip through the cracks as I dealt with real life.

Nothing wrong with this at all. To me writing is a hobby, and one that has to be set to the side for a while while I deal with other things in life. Like everyone else in this world, I have many other tasks, all pressing for my time. How we choose to spend them is ultimately what we'll accomplish in life.

So there ends my apology without apologizing. I'm still here, still kicking, still dreaming about writing, and still updating the blog.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We're going digital!

Last post, I extolled the merits of pen & paper. Today I want to talk about doing away with that outmoded system, We’re going digital!

I’m a proponent of going paperless. I know I’m a geek, I’ve resigned myself to that fact. Going paperless, however, is not as easy as it seems. We don’t always have immediate access to a computer, internet connectivity, and there are still many things that just don’t translate well from pen to keyboard.

I already talked about how universally easy it is to jot down notes on a pad a paper. So what can possibly replace such a universal, inexpensive, and portable option? So far I haven’t found anything. Short of expensive devices like iPhones or other PDA’s, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find something that beats the old standby.

If you have one, however, the iPhone comes close. Most smart-phones should fit this category as well. I can pull up notes and type out something fairly quickly. I can turn on the voice recorder and leave myself an audio reminder. I can even email myself, or look something up on wikipedia to find out if the idea I have is correct. It does come in handy, but it’s not perfect.

Something does get lost in the translation. It’s hard to doodle in the margins like you can on paper. Underlining does not have the same impact as ink, where the thickness of the line left by your pen can convey as much information as a full sentence typed out on the computer.

I also own and love the Kindle, Amazon’s ebook reader. The e-ink display is just like reading real paper. I don’t get eye strain like I do on a crt or even lcd monitor. I can store hundreds of books and take them wherever I go. I can create bookmarks and even take notes.

The Kindle, however, is not perfect. Battery life for an avid reader will only last you a couple days. I also recently read about a group of students in Princeton that found it difficult to take proper notes on the Kindle. Seems it’s just easier to jot down something in the margin of a paper book.

Ebooks have a ways to go. Right now I think the pdf conversion is seriously lacking, but that’s something that will eventually be fixed as more and more books are designed with ebook readers in mind and not just a quick port at the last minute. The cost does need to come down as well.

No, we definitely lose the personal touch when we go digital.

Still, ultimately I type everything into the computer, it’s my natural habitat and a place I know I’ll never leave. I’ll still continue to out-think my pen and my computer. Until we are one with our computers, able to spew down words as fast as our minds can think, I will keep straddling the digital divide hoping to hold on to a simpler method. One that I hope will never go out of style.