2004-09-17: Is anything better than paper?

Is anything better than paper?

I’m reading and surfing around wondering whether Anything really is better than paper. That page puts forward a lot of good (and some funny) reasons why no technology beats a simple pen-and-paper solution for most things. 43 Folders advocates the use of the Hipster PDA, and I’m slowly coming around to the idea.

For a long time, my ‘memory’ was the veritable Palm. I went through a lot of models through genuine wear and tear until the Palm M100 (a sadly, badly flawed model) put me off the idea and I moved over to using an Ipaq. I love my Ipaq. I love that I can play Super Mario Land on it, surf and read RSS feeds from the couch or in bed first thing in the morning. It’s got a lot going for it.

But as a PDA (appointments, addresses, todo list), it sucks. Adding an appointment is just too long winded. Addresses sort by last name/first name by default, but it you leave them blank and just put in a company name, the list shows the place as just ” , “. How useless and crappy is THAT?! The default Today view tells me I’ve got “3 High Priority tasks” but I have to tap through to see them. Why can’t it just list them, goddammit?!

OK, these (and many others I have) are minor issues, but a lot of minor ones make a major useability flaw for something that should be as simple and quick to use as…. well, paper and pen.

On the wiki page there’s this diagram that does a pretty good job at comparing computers to paper.

 Power-Simplicity Chart

    |  Computers
    |
  P |
  o |
  w |               Paper
  e |
  r |
    |
     ----------------
       Simplicity

I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate though – as is pointed out on that page, there are a lot of tasks where Paper-and-pen is infinitely more powerful than a computer or PDA.

To quote on example:

…paper aeroplanes (let’s see a pda float gracefully for 20 feet)…

GreyWulf 2004-09-17 10:43 UTC

Double your money. Fold a dollar bill

Go read http://www.intsoft.com/powers2.html:

Take a sheet of paper of the ordinary variety – letter size for the Americans, A4 for the rest of the world – and fold it into half. Fold it a second time, and a third time. It’s about as thick as your finger nail. Continue folding if you can. At 7 folds it is as thick as a notebook. If you would have been able to fold it 10 times, it would be as thick as the width of your hand. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to do so more than about 7 times. Try it for yourself. At seventeen folds it would be taller than your average house. Three more folds and that sheet of paper is a quarter way up the Sears tower. Ten more folds and it has crossed the outer limits of the atmosphere. Another twenty and it has reached the sun from the earth. At sixty folds it has the diameter of the solar system. At 100 folds it has the radius of the universe. “Preposterous!”, you exclaim. That is what I thought till I started calculating the thickness myself. If you do not want to pull out your trusty calculator here is a table that contains what I have described above.

GreyWulf 2004-09-17 08:09 UTC

We live in a sick world

I’m not a believer in “Animal Rights”. For that matter, I don’t believe in Human Rights either. I don’t believe in Rights at all. I believe in Responsibilities. Human Responsibilities. No one has a Right to anything. We’re born naked, we die naked. We have a Right to nothing, nada, in between.

But we do have Responsibilities. We have a responsibility to each other, to every single person on this planet, and to the planet itself. If a child dies because of malnutrition, we’re responsible. If a child lives to become a healthy adult with responsibilities of it’s own, we’re also responsible. It’s up to each and every one of us to ensure that the world is a Good Place and not a Bad Place.

Right now, I feel like it’s becoming more and more of a bad place each day, and that scares the shit out of me. It’s a bad place for big reasons – the US Evil Dictatorship is ensuring that – but also for reasons that are no less big, but are more individual, personal reasons too.

Helen posted two links up on her blog today. I’d heard about the first story, but added it to my selective story blind spot and filed it into the place where I stick my fingers in my ears and go lalala until it’s over. Helen has dragged it kicking and screaming out of that Idon’twanttoknow place and into the front of my mind. Thank you, Helen, for that.

This is the first, and this is the second news story Helen found. I warn you – don’t go there unless you’re willing to feel upset and angry. The people who did deserve the same treatment as the puppy for a while. Kick them around on the ground then, when their injuries are horrific, put them down too. Humanely, of course. Drop them from a bridge onto moving traffic. See the terror in their eyes. Anyone who can’t treat a puppy (or a baby, or any other helpless creature for that matter) needs a taste of what they’re done. People who do these things don’t deserve to be members of the human race. Harsh punishment, I know; though they deserve nothing less.

I don’t want to turn this into a rant about why I think that justice is dead nowadays, so I’ll stop now, and try to think happy thoughts to blog about.

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