Sunday, January 25, 2009

In praise of paper

Following on from my Saturday rant, I just wanted to add another quick post in defence of a much-maligned method of data storage - paper.

One of my personal hates is the Personal Digital Assistant. Even the name is wanky. These are those hand-held gadgets that purport to save you time by storing lots and lots of data for you; the sort of data you'd normally keep in a diary or a notebook or address book. Some PDAs even masquerade as mobile phones too. I've had several of these evil machines and all of them have helped me to develop a bitter hatred and distrust of their foul ilk. The first I owned was a Sony something or other that sounded French. Firstly, it took forever to type in all of the data it wanted -schedules, contacts etc. It didn't even have a keyboard or a touch screen in those days and everything had to be tapped in with a stylus. It took forever. Then, just two weeks later, it crashed and lost all of the data. And because I didn't have my paper diary with me I spent the day wandering around various rooms and buildings in a pitiful attempt to work out what meetings I was supposed to be at. So what did I do? I filled the bugger up again. And guess what happened ...

My second PDA was a Hewlett-Packard ... but it was still all about tapping with styluses (styli?) and spending hours slavishly feeding it data. I dropped this PDA and, again, lost all of my data. Thankfully, I had backed it all up to my computer. But as that computer was at home, it was no good to me and once again, I found myself bewildered and confused and in search of my itinerary. From then on, a ridiculous scenario ensued whereby I carried both PDA, diary and address books around with me ... just in case. You see, if I drop my diary, the data remains. Even if I get it wet, it continues to function albeit more smudgedly (new word there maybe?). And it's a damned sight quicker to whip a book out of my pocket than it ever was to whip out the PDA, slip it out of its case, switch it on, find the right application and select the data I wanted. Yawn. Besides which, I can scribble in notebooks and diaries. I can doodle. Try doodling on a PDA while you're on the phone.

So I've now returned to paper. And I'm getting endless joy from some of the gorgeous notebooks produced by Moleskine. Admittedly, I can't back up my diaries and notebooks other than by duplicating them. But the simple answer to that is ... don't lose them. I'm no Luddite. It's just that sometimes the old ways are still the best.

If it ain't broke, why mend or replace it?

Oh, and while we're comparing the old with the new, can someone please invent a telephone that I can slam down when I'm pissed off? There is something immensely satisfying about slamming the receiver onto the cradle and cutting off the complete arse that you've been arguing the moral toss with. Pressing a little button with a red phone symbol on it just does not do it for me and leaves me unsatisfied no matter how hard I stab the bugger. Thank you.

9 comments:

punk in writing said...

I refuse to give up my Moleskine for any fancy PDA, cellphone or computerized calendar.

I can doodle, add stickers and customize my Moleskine to my heart's delight.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Punky - Well said young lady! I love my Moleskines. Besides which, there's a kind of power thing going on here. If I write in a notebook or diary, I know that I'm in charge. When my phone or PDA starts nagging at me to go to some appointment, I can't help feel that I'm doing as I'm told ...

SweetPeaSurry said...

I LOVE my blackberry, it has all of my contacts, birthdays, anniversaries, appointments and such. I even get little reminders when something is coming up.

In case it were to go kaput ... I synch it every night.

I'm actually considering upgrading to the new blackberry storm. I love that thing. I'm just concerned about actually typing on the touchpad ... freaking girl nails and stuff!

But hey ... Old style is nothing to scoff at!

jeanie said...

This little luddite never had a PDA and therefore has never had the sickening feeling you describe.

But the phone thing - nod from me and a big "oh yeah" from V who I read it to.

Winifred said...

Totally agree with you. I had one bought for me as a Christmas present one year when my husband couldn't think of anything else to buy. Think I abandoned it that Christmas Day!

Give me a proper diary anyday. You can stuff bits of paper in, staple stuff into it, stick post its on, doddle in meetings and it's not so easy to lose.

Mobile phones? The devil's curse!

I sound like a Luddite but I get withdrawal symptoms when I don't use my laptop.

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

I was given a Filofax for Christmas some 13 years ago. The batteries haven't gone flat yet and it never needs rebooting and no matter how many times I drop it the info never gets lost!

I do use the calendar on my mobile/cellphone too sometimes, but the old way still works for me.

Debby said...

You could try calling him a vulgar name before folding up your phone...

John Soanes said...

Oh, you know full well my feelings about them Mole notebooks, Mr C!
J

Stevyn Colgan said...

Hello all. Some mixed feelings there I see but some generous and encouraging support for paper. yay!