Monthly Archives: October 2011

iPad note-taking

<p>When I started at my new job three months ago, I decided to ditch the pen and paper and do all my note-taking on my iPad. I wanted the iPad to be a complete solution, and not require post-production on a laptop to finalise.</p>

So far, so good. I’m using Notability for pure note-taking, and it’s meeting 90% of those needs. It’s augmented by Dropbox for iPad to laptop sharing, Toodledo for todo list management, iThoughts for conceptual thinking and capture, and a small set of drawing apps.

Some general observations:

Tablet UI patterns are still developing. Many apps are just fiddly. Do I double tap, tap with two fingers, swipe, tap-and-hold or select a menu item?

Data stored in app silos doesn’t fit my need to use multiple apps to get a job done. The platform needs to support robust but decoupled sharing of data and content. This will drive use of standard formats, protocols, libraries, and patterns. For example, why not a lightweight services-oriented app architecture for iOS?

At a deeper level, I’m more conscious now that I rarely look again at the notes I’ve made. It correlates with my use of my work and personal email archives. Even at work I only revisit 5-10% of what I archive. It’s not that I capture because I have a bad memory, or to cover my ass, it’s about the “just in case” requirement, the faintest ink better than the best memory concept. It makes me wonder how can I take more effective and efficient notes for my current role. How do I pick early what I’m going to look at again? How best to capture it?

I keep meaning to journal on work activities more, to let thoughts coalesce and organise themselves by writing (like this post) but I don’t allocate time for it. It’s mitigated to some extent by a couple of high-level mind maps I maintain. Maybe that’s working fine.