Idea: Filofax scanner

May 1st, 2006

I keep some of my notes in electronic form, and some on paper. This is a pain. I’d prefer to have everything electronic, but there are three situations where paper wins out:

  • When I’m on a phone call, at least without a headset. I need one hand to hold the phone, and writing is much more effective than typing single-handed!
  • When I’m in a meeting, if it’s a small group or a one-on-one chat. I think it’s most uncivilised to be typing and looking at a screen while someone’s talking to you.
  • When I want to draw anything. Keyboards are good for text. Mice are awful for sketching.

Moleskine
So I think I’m going to be using my Moleskine notebook for a while, but I’d love to be able to keep an archive of it on my laptop, even if only as a sequence of images. However, I really don’t want to have to scan one page at a time.

Anoto pen
I could use an Anoto digital pen, but I’d be bound to lose the pen, and anyway it doesn’t work with a Mac. It does now work with a Blackberry but only via a paid subscription service. Not for me.

“Aha!”, I thought recently, “I could go back to my old Filofax.” It’s loose-leaf and so I could take the pages out every couple of weeks and put them through the sheet feeder on my scanner. But it turns out that they’re too small, and the feeder doesn’t really like them.

Surely there’s a market here? There’s no shortage of Filoxfaxes and similar ‘personal organiser’ systems in the world. Does anybody make a scanner that can cope with them? Or, come to that, with index cards? That would be invaluable for many academics, as well as for devotees of the Hipster PDA.

If nobody else makes one, watch this space, and I’ll let you know when mine goes into production…. :-)

New TextMate Screencast

May 1st, 2006

Screencasts are very popular at present, and for obvious reasons; there’s no better way to demonstrate the features of some software you’ve written, or to learn more about software you own.

Here’s a new one by Allan Odgaard, the creator of the TextMate editor, which regular readers will know is one of my favourite pieces of Mac software. This one shows you some of the handy facilities for editing HTML in TextMate.

The best way to keep up with new hints is through the TextMate blog.