If Moleskines are a throwback to a time before PDA’s, then 18th century version of the PDA is the pocket notebook made of sturdy brass stock with 4 old ivory pages and a pencil can be written on with pencil, smudged off with your finger, and used over and over again. It closes into a 1-1/8 inches by 4-1/2 inches by 3/16 inch thick package. It seems like an 18th century version of the Magic Slate.
Now the Kodak Zi8 seems like a better pocket-sized point-and-shoot video camera. The digital image stabilization provides better video than the Flip. It has some hardware and software advantages over the Flip. It needs SD or SDHC memory cards which I see as an advantage even if it makes the Zi8 cost more.
I have written previously on taking notes using audio, images, and handwritten notes. Now I am contemplating taking video notes using a simple camcorder called the FlipUltra. This seems like a briefcase-friendly device for this purpose. The problem with the alternatives is the size and weight of the device. This simple plug-and-play device is good for conducting interviews, taking street scenes, and other recordings that use-up less than 60 minutes of recording time. Using the FlipUltra should be a lot easier and give better results than using my point-and-shoot Lumix camera and of course, longer recording time.
This interesting thing is really handy. The Pen-Sleeve is a great gadget that allows you to keep a pen where you need it.
the best pen they can run down to the store and buy right off the shelf.
The Pen Communicator from the Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV series would connect agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin with U.N.C.L.E. headquarters in New York City if they said the phrase “Open Channel D”. It also included amnesia inducer and electronic scanner functions.
Now we have the Pulse smartpen that records conversations and indexes them to what you write using special notebook paper. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of ways one might use this during investigations.
The Commonplace Book is a written scrapbook filled with things one learns, but doesn’t want to forget.
The name, commonplace, is a translation of the Latin term, locus communis, which means argument or theme for general application. The theme of my Commonplace Book is the concepts and facts that I have learned and the books I have read.
The Confidential Resource is a modern analog for a Commonplace Book with the theme of Sources & Methods for the Investigator.
Steve Osborne’s article, Ultimate Note-Taking: Capture Text, Audio and Visual Notes, provides some good pointers on taking good notes using audio, images, and handwritten notes.
A few weeks ago I sent Moleskine a picture of a small defect in a large notebook. It’s still usable, but the cover material was not properly affixed.
Today, I received a replacement notebook mailed from Italy. A lot of companies could learn from this simple form of customer service. This company understands that while building their brand is important, building a relationship with the customers is more important.
I use a lot of the large squared Moleskine notebooks. Sometimes I need to mark sections of the book for easy reference. Those little half grid-squares at the outside edge of the page are ready made for the purpose.
I use my razor sharp pocket knife and cut a few of the partial grid-squares away on the edge of 4 or 5 pages to mark the start of a section. I usually make this inverted tab about 4 or 5 grid-squares long and use a Pilot Hi-Tec-C to label it. If I don’t need to label the inverted tab, then I just use a single hole punch to make the inverted tab.
For less permanent markers I use book darts.