The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Digital Pen for 3x5 index cards

I'd be relatively happy if the digital pen that I would like to buy would just email me the image.

Sure, I'd like to interface to good software to manage such images.  But I doubt that there is any good software.

AdapX's connection to Microsoft OneNote would be nice.  I like many aspects of OneNote.  Except that it is so much NOT what I am using these days.

Hmm....  if OneNote was in the cloud, and on a Windows phone ... that might be enugh reason to buy a Windows phone.

Although talk about data liberation (NOT).


Digital pen to Evernote might almost be okay.  

But digital pen to email might be good enough.


Wish that the digital pen could also take pictures.

Printing | Capturx

Printing | Capturx: "An initial Capturx purchase includes a large amount of unique digital dot pattern: enough to print more than 6000 8-1/2-x-11 pages or more than 2000 E-sized prints. Dot pattern is like printer toner: it gets used up as you print. Additional dot pattern is available for purchase and download from Adapx."

'via Blog this'

Oh, this is cool (in a cruel sort of way): just because AdapX/CapturX can print its dot pattern on regular paper doesn't mean you can buy the pen and use it forever without buying more stuff from AdapX.

Digital razor blades: you have to go back to the source and buy more.  And from their point of view, they don't even have to sell you anything physical: they just sell you the dot patterns.

Cool. And annoying.

I wonder if the dots are a Penrose tiling, or if they just have a numeric unique ID encoded in the dot patterns. (Plus probably a copyright watermark, eh?)

Hmm....  is there a way that you can look at a Penrose tiling printed on a piece of paper, and easily compute your coordinates, where in a sequence of such pages, you are?

(Modulo paper size and resolution, it will repeat.  But not for a long time, depending on the resolution.)

How to Print on Index Cards | eHow.com

How to Print on Index Cards | eHow.com:

'via Blog this'

Using blogger for a totally inappropriate purpose - capturing notes on web pages.

But only because I don't have takeout for Google+, my normal web page annotater.

How Do I Print 3 X 5 Index Cards? | eHow.com

How Do I Print 3 X 5 Index Cards? | eHow.com: "Print "

'via Blog this'

Ah, good.  It appears that standard printers can grab and print on 3"x5" index cards.

I'll try this when I get home.

This makes the AdapX pen more attractive: buy cheap index cards, print a bunch of them.  And then record.

I doubt any printer I have can auto-feed 3"x5" cards, however.

Checklists may need to be doubled

A checklist - e.g. a checklist for buying groceries - may need to be doubled.

Which is my attempt to say in a cute way that there are two separate checklist stages.  Which could be imagined as a checklist with two columns:

item in inventory purchased
honey Ο Ο
yogurt ✓ (half full) -
blueberries O
tomatoes Ο Ο
bread Ο Ο

Put another way: when you are building a checklist to go grocery shopping, first, while at the fridge or pantry, you may be selecting which items from your regular list of groceries you need to restock. I.e. select which items from your checklist template will go into the shopping list you want to buy today. While at the store you may be checking things off from that list.

Put this way, it sounds like two separate checkoffs, the first from the template producing the checklist for the second.

But, it might be nice to have both the in-stock and purchased columns in view while at the store. Say if there is a great sale on yogurt - you may already have some, but not so much that you would not mind buying more. (See my earlier rants about how it should be possible to attach notes to checklist items, as I have done above.) Therefore, the two column format above.

Put still another way: checklist items may have states that are the pair (in-stock,purchased). Some views may make the pair visible, some not.

--- This isn't just about grocery lists. Think required/verified, e.g. for a code review, where the reviewers have the option of making some check off items non-required.

Avery Laser Index Cards 3 x 5 Box Of 150 by Office Depot

Avery Laser Index Cards 3 x 5 Box Of 150 by Office Depot:

'via Blog this'

Well, "laser index cards" are pretty expensive - 7.5 cents apiece.

Hmmm...... if they were wipe off, they could be reused.

Printing | Capturx

Printing | Capturx:

'via Blog this'

AdapX / CapturX at least alllws you to print your own special paper.

Now, can I find a printer that will print index cards?  Business cards I suppose, although business card stock is pretty expensive.

Livescribe :: Store :: Livescribe Sticky Notes

Livescribe :: Store :: Livescribe Sticky Notes:

'via Blog this

Livescribe doesn't seem to have index cards, but does at least have sticky notes.

Interesting that the notes seem to have an ID in the dot pattern, and that is used to distinguish items that you add to after going somewhere else.

Livescribe :: Store

There seem to be two classes of digital pens:

(1) those that write on special paper

(2) those that have a separate device that senses the position of the pen.

I am aware of academic and research digital pens that are entirely self contained.  Some motion sensing. Some video based - like an optical mouse, they detect motion on nearly any surface that has texture.  (Even when lifted off....)

But I am not aware of any commercial product where the digital pen is entirely self sufficient.

I want such a product.


But...  oh shoot, special paper is the marketeer's dream.  Razor blades. Printer ink.  Sell the pen, and then keep selling the supplies.  Patent protected, I'm sure.

Recording Pens

I want a pen that can record what I am writing on an index card or slip of paper, and upload it to my PIM.

Because my cellphone / PDA doesn't always have a charge.

But I would prefer not to have to use that big acoustic sensor. Want a freestanding pen.

Of course, I would prefer not to have to carry a special pen.  I could scan after the fact  But if a special pen kept charged long enough, it would save a step.

User Interface Designers neglect Nesting and Linking

A common problem of user interface designers is that they neglect hierarchy and linking.

E.g. for note-taking programs: sometimes you want a note within a note, a note attached to a note.

E.g. for calendar programs:

  • notes on calendar items
  • links between calendar items
  • to-do lists and checklists attached to calendar items
For to-do lists and checklists:
  • notes on the top level lists and checklists
  • notes on individual items
  • links to calendar items
  • checklists nested within checklists
  • checklists nested within each other and linked to each other
    • e.g. when I go travelling on business I take all of the electronics I lug around every day, ++
For reminders: (which I am only recently realizing are distinct objects in their own right)...

You get the picture: all of the basic data types of my imaginary PIM (Personal Information Manager)
  • text notes
  • drawings and bitmaps (e.g. screen captures, although I still like vector grapics)
  • time scheduling and tracking
    • recording: diaries, logs, and journals
    • scheduling and planning:  calendars and schedules
      • hey, writing this made me realize that schedules and to-do lists and checklists are related
        - e.g. might want to reuse a schedule/plan for arranging a trip or a meeting - I guess that is like a template for a trip on a travel website - and when instantiating such  a template drop items onto your calendar/schedule relative to the target date (although likelihood is that you will tweak the dates
... and I am sure that I have forgotten some ...

All need the ability to be embedded in other objects, and to have other objects embedded in them.

(I want to say "of course there will be leaf types" ... but do there need to be?  Can we come up with a rendering scheme that is completely self recursive, without having to introduce leaf types (like TextNote, versus TextNoteThatCanHaveOtherStuffEmbeddedWithinIt). Certainly a data representation like XML, without DTDs, can be completely self recursive[*])

([*]: actually, it seems, based on tests, that DTDs permit recursion.  Which is okay by me: I like being able to have DTDs, as long as they can be optional.)

Access control and notifications are similar

Access control: if you know the name, the path to an object, are you allowed to access it.

Notification: the object, a cop or a link, is pushed to people via some communication system, saying "Look at this now".

These are dual.

I want much, almost all, of what I write to be public. Like this blog.  It seldom hurts, and once in a while somebody notices, finds it in search, and replies and helps me out.

I.e. basically I am thinking out loud.  Talking to myself in public.  People walk to the other side of the Internet when they see me coming.

But I don't want to push most of what I want to do to people.  Once in a while I will - once in a while I will share something via Google+, or email it, or copy it to my wiki, or copy it to USEnet newsgroups like comp.arch.

But, these are dual.  In an ideal world almost the same concepts should control access control and notifications.

Certain posts I may want to make publicly accessible, but not push to my Google+ stream. Or push to a narrow list of friends.

Confusingly, when I post to Blogger a Google+ window pops up and asks me if I want to Share via Google+.   But this notion of "share" is notification.   It is not to be confused with access control.  AFAIK Blogger has no access control.


It's like preschool teachers, or the leaders of the psychobabble training sessions that Intel made us take: "Do you have anything you want to share with the group?"

Maybe... I'm willing to passively share lots of my thoughts.  Give you access if you ask.  But I am reluctant to push all of my thoughts to others, to actively share.

I want kill rings in my browser!!!!

Heck, I want an emacs kill ring in my GUI.

Why use blogger rather than Google+?

Waiting at carwash...

Why use blogger rather than Google+?

Mainly, I know how to export data from Blogger.  I don't know how to grab all of my posts from Google+.  (http://www.dataliberation.org/takeout-products/-1s says "At the moment, this only includes sites that you have +1'd (no posts)").

I.e. for some things exportability trumps convenience and access control.

Perhaps in 100 years we will have ubiquitous access control, exportability, etc.  And then the differences between wikis and blogs and ... whatever Google+ is, a stream of comments ... will be just user interface and how the information is structured.

I'd like a world where the blog/wiki/stream boundaries are blurred.  But I don't need.

Higher priority: it sucks that issues for things that should be ubiquitously available, like access control and exportability, are often the criteria for choosing which tools to use.   I wonder how many good UI ideas are dying because they don't do the other stuff right?  Certainly, the big reason why I use so many Google tools is that they at least show signs of doing the "utilities".