I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, November 24, 2006

PDA vs. Paper?

A few years ago, I took the plunge and bought a Palm Pilot m515. Before that I’d used various daytimers to help me keep track of where I was supposed to be. I loved the ability to sync my Palm Pilot with my computer, and I loved having my entire address book at my finger tips no matter where I was. But at the same time, my Palm Pilot failed me when it came to recording thoughts and tidbits of information that really didn’t fit on the calendar. It had a memo pad, but have you ever tried to actually write or punch keys with a stylus?

I’ve continued to carry my Palm Pilot around because it does hold a lot of information in a very small place, but over the past year, I’ve also loved carrying a moleskine notebook around and capturing all the things that won’t easily go into a Palm Pilot. I’ve read and heard about people who are switching back from PDAs to paper and I can totally understand where they are coming from. Something about the freedom that paper brings is still alluring to me, but at the same time, I’ve never been able to make paper totally work for me. I’ve been stuck in digital vs. paper limbo-land and unable to decide between the two.

Recently, I missed a couple of key work-related e-mails when on the road and one of them almost cost me an assignment. Not because I did anything wrong, but simply because timing mattered and I didn’t get the e-mail until after I got back to my hotel that night—but the event had already occurred. So last week I took advantage of the fact that my cell phone contract ran out and I took the carrot they dangle in front of customers every two years to get a free phone (or a credit toward a new one if you get something a little fancier) and I picked up a BlackBerry 8703e.

I’ve only had it a week, but I love it already. I get my e-mail no matter where I am now and I can respond instantly if I so choose. It has a great calendar feature (which syncs with Google Calendar or Outlook), and it has Bluetooth technology so when I’m on the road I’m hands free on the phone. But with all that said, it still lacks the usability of a moleskine notebook for writing down thoughts, tasks to be done, manuscript ideas, etc.

So, I’ve come to a conclusion this past week. I know that most people are either PDA people or a paper people. I’m a PDPA (personal digital paper assistant) person. I need both. My brain doesn’t function on all gears without both. I know we are supposed to be heading for a paperless society, but take a look around the area you do your bills, taxes, and “paperwork.” If your inbox isn’t piled full of paper, then your filing cabinets are probably overflowing with it. So, I’ve finally come to the point where I embrace paper. Whenever I can use a digital device instead, I’ll definitely do it, but I’m not going to set my moleskines aside any time soon.


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