Today I ran, seriously, ran from person to person at work as I scrambled to make printers, websites, digital repositories all sing in techno harmony (interestingly enough, I ran at lunch to help burn off excess energy, go figure). As I moved from person to person, I took notes, jot down ideas and dictated conversations on my trusted graphing paper notebook. The sad thing is, the damn thing is falling apart. Pages are pulled and folded, order is only known by me. The notebook would represent chaos to anyone else, but it is my safe haven for my thoughts, work and doodles when I am stuck. I trusted my security blanket until today. Today I ached for a slate.
I was working with a co-worker on how we can engage vendors that can compliment our work with faculty. We came at a crossroads on how each can help the other. I started a mind-mapping exercise that generated too many connections, physically on paper and in my mind. I race to translate my thoughts and desperately needed access to the web to link idea to vendor and do it all on a single sheet. The paper felt old, obsolete, slow and unconnected. I was frustrated by the lack of layers my paper was providing me. I needed technology to help me here.
Wednesday Apple may, or not, introduce their infamous tablet. The blogsphere is HOT on what features it may have. Arstechnica is doing their damnedest to keep up and yes, I am scrambling to gather my pennies in anticipation of spending unholy amounts of money purchasing this beast, BUT only if it will do what paper can and cannot do. I will not go into any extreme detail on what kind of software or hardware this device should have. I am going to list three things below that would give me that Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz. The vibe that is, it is all about the vibe man!
I want a stylus, my finger is too fat for writing and keyboards take up too much valuable screen space. The stylus will allow me to write naturally, create images, allow me to prototype and most importantly DOODLE. Doodle is an incredible tool for the confused. When I am lost, I doodle. During that time, my mind is clear and new concepts can seep in. It is invaluable on paper, I should be able to do that on my tablet too.
Here is where the tablet can rule. I need the device to be able to link to words I circle to other ideas from the web, images, meta, I do not care. Linking words to objects allow me to carry a thought to it’s completion in a single product rather than keeping my paper notes close to my netbook.
Finally we have the physical layout of the product. I do not need something that can fit in my pocket, my iPhone can do that. But then again, I do not want something that is a pain to lug. It has to be thin and truth be told, forgettable. What I mean by this, the device must be so comfortable that you grab it for work without thinking about it, like your paper notebook.
I am not asking for much and heck previous generation tablets can do some of these things, just not good enough to replace my paper notebook. Can Apple succeed where others fail? I guess we will find out on Wednesday.
Heroes is over and the kids are asleep, I should do the same but first, let me gather the loose sheets from my notebook. Oh notebook, I wish I can say I will miss you if I get a tablet. But truth be told, you will still be useful. My charcoal starter can will need a fire starter.