Bad data made me go digital


Bill Hewitt

So, I have to admit it: Like most people, I’m a creature of habit. When I realized I was getting to the end of my trusty National® Brand 150-page lined account book (known to most people as a notebook), I fired up my browser to buy some replacements. Unfortunately, the company where we buy office supplies from carries something similar, but not identical. So I left the confines of our approved suppliers and found my product. I ordered 2, and selected 3-day shipping.

The next  day I received a message letting me know my order had shipped. 5 days later, as I neared the end of my current notebook, I began to worry. Two more days passed, and I was writing on the inside back cover. I went to the UPS website, entered my tracking number and was met with the ominous “insufficient information for delivery- attempting to contact recipient.”  I contacted UPS who politely informed me that only the sender could give them the correct address. But, I told them, they had the correct address, to which I was informed that if they had the correct address they would have delivered the package. The address was in fact, correct, but not complete – missing the floor / suite number of our corporate offices.

I then used the convenient online chat feature at the retailer to ask them to call UPS and change the address to the “complete” address. They told me that unfortunately, they could not do that. After some time, they informed me, the package would be returned to them, and they would refund my purchase, and I could place a new order with the “complete” address. Mildly panicked, I went to my local Staples store but they too carried a different brand. The next day I was headed out to a conference and was certain I would need to be taking notes!

Being too stubborn to accept a replacement, I headed off to the conference. I brought along my newly acquired iPad 2, and as I sat at the opening of the event I realized I could use it to take notes. Not only did I find it easy to use, I enjoyed being the envy of my attendees as they scribbled on hotel supplied notepads. I also found it easy to forward my notes to others at Kalido who were duly impressed by my new found digitization.

The Archive

So now I’m a digital convert. My old notebooks sit in a filing drawer in my office like some relic of an industrial age. My iPad now goes everywhere with me, and I’ve added yet another use for my favorite mobile device.

The moral of the story? Bad data does make you do things differently, and sometimes better.

 

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5 Responses to “Bad data made me go digital”

  1. Loraine Lawson June 10, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Do you use the keyboard function or some sort of handwriting recognition software? Was it awkward in a manner equal to, less than or greater than using a notepad and pen? Laptop?

    Can you tell I’m looking for a justification?

    • Bill Hewitt
      Bill Hewitt June 10, 2011 at 10:56 am #

      I use the notepad function and the built-in keyboard. There are apparently some better notepad apps out there but I found the native one just fine.

      How is this for a justification. It’s just really cool!

    • Lorita Vannah June 10, 2011 at 11:09 am #

      Loraine – I’ve tried a couple of different things, including a physical keyboard, handwritten notes on digital paper, and the included on-screen keyboard. My analysis is this:

      - The physical keyboard is clunky. Unless you’re planning to type out an article, I would use it only for intense writing – e.g. typing out an article. I wouldn’t use it for note-taking.

      - The ability to take handwritten notes is a nice to have, but only when I need to copy a drawing from a whiteboard. Otherwise I don’t like it because it isn’t as easy to search/review/send.

      - I find the on-screen keyboard to be more efficient than a pen and paper (I’m a slow writer), but less efficient than a physical keyboard. That being said, I think it’s well worth the ease of use. And you get more efficient with practice.

      Awkwardness – slightly more awkward than pad and paper, though significantly less awkward than a laptop. The added benefit of being able to save, search, sync and email notes easily outweighs that awkwardness by a mile. I use Evernote across all my electronic devices.

      I can honestly say, after having had it for a year, that I use it far, far more than I ever thought I would. It’s also easy to tweet mid-conference :-)

      Can you tell I’m now a digital zealot?

  2. Matthew Goldsbrough June 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    For taking notes and restructuring as you go, try the iThoughtsHD mind-mapping app.

    • Bill Hewitt
      Bill Hewitt June 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Great idea. Winston Chen also recommends Evernote, where you can share notes between iPhone, iPad and laptop.

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