Input Methods - Palm vs Hand vs Keyboard

Date: 2008-11-02 11:52:02 Created: null

Noting in my Palm, writing by hand on paper and writing directly into the computer using the keyboard are the ways I write relevant things down. Each way has its merits and disadvantages.

The keyboard, of course, is the natural choice for getting notes directly into the computer. Speedy typing and the fact that everything ends up in the device where I usually want my notes in the end are the main advantages. The main problem, apart from the fact that other options just feel cooler, are all the distractions. Where do I put this? In what format? How do I structure it? And of course, there are all those other things the computer can be used for to distract you from the actual process of writing stuff. A quick break from typing might last all afternoon. I think that's one of the main reasons I seem to come up with the best ideas as soon as I step away from the screen, the number of distractions suddenly shrink drastically ...

Writing by hand has many good sides to it. It's much more substantial and physical than the other options, much more real. And of course it's got free structuring like nothing else can match. Sideways, backwards, on top of other stuff and with sketches, doodles and notes crammed in wherever you like. It also looks much more important and complicated to have a page full of written notes than a simple document with everything in bullet lists :-) ... The main disadvantage to me is that it requires extra work to get anything from paper into digital format, an extra rewrite of the text, plus you lose all the illustrations unless you put in even more work (or scan the page, but that doesn't benefit the text editing ...). Writing down text is also slower than the keyboard of course. Oh, and there's no undo ...

Finally, the Palm has the major disadvantage of speed, unable to compete with both hand and keyboard. So, things are kept short (if nothing else the slow writing speed itself can make you forget all those wild sidetracks). Other than that I really like noting on the Palm. It's just cool to use it! And it sure is easier and more comfortable than noting things on a paper notebook of the same size, not having to move the hand is a great thing. Plus it's only a quick hotsync between Palm and computer, moving the notes over is a breeze. Also, distractions are fewer than in front of the actual computer.

No, I'm not going to declare one option the winner, that would just be stupid. I like all the options, with the keyboard being the least cool, with the highest speed and risk of distractions. Nothing beats a paper full of words, arrows and sketches of things when it comes to looks :-) ...

Addtion on August 23, 2001

A real keyboard makes that input option much more fun :-) ...