Trying bullet journal

When starting journal again, I soon gets reminiscent of my previous diary experience, which is not really fun.

To start with, there’s that feeling that you need to write a lot in detail. This is fueled by the existing image of diary in movies that are more like a Holocron, something that keep thought of the author. Yes, that’s really a big burden.
In the end, the journal ends up more like letter of complaints filled with negativity.

Blogging, in its current form, has evolved from personal journaling into an article writing art form that demand thoughtfulness and creativity. For the Average Joe, the experience they have with their mediocre skill has became much less rewarding engagement. Why do you think they flocked to social media ? Even there the creatives are pushing them away to the dark side, stealing away little bit of light they have.


Bullet Journal seems to be a nice form. It’s touted as a simpler form, and the to-do list format is geared at productivity.

But even this newly trending journal in paper book is also taken by the creatives. If you see online, inspirations from Instagram, the Bullet Journal note, or myMoleskine all showcase highly decorated journals that looks like design student’s typography assignment.

Again, if you have the almighty “Winner Mentality” then fine. But an average person will see that this is the standard, that this is how it should be done, and saw how boring his journal are.

Yes, boring. The journaling experience became boring because rather than focusing on their own, they instead are thrown into feeling of inferiority against the Creative who form the “average score”.

“Winner” will feel challenged and up their game, but those so-called “Loser”, who probably just want a place to channel their personal thought, will feel they don’t belong and give it up altogether, even though it’s not those decorative journals they want to make. Remember the Sturgeon’s Law, the population below will always be larger and they are being robbed away of a place they want to be in.

Really, if just the major channels would also showcase more of the “normal people”. They are kind of raising the price of entrance, which is in a way a good way since it show it’s the cool people’s club.


In my case… I need to adapt it to my own need. The adaptation I have made so far since starting it is:

  • Not focusing too much on the productivity. I’m not so interested in getting constant reminder of things to do. I am not the over-achiever who feel the need to achieve three or more things everyday, who need to set plan ready until the day they gloriously join the feast of victors in the Winner in Life’s version of Valhalla.
    I want to enjoy a more idle life at least in my personal journal. So the calendar and task list go somewhere else (I have a Campus Monthly Planner for that need).
  • Not being bound to the short and concise list. Bullet Journal seems to write things shortly and elaborate in other page, which is not really what I want. Writing in other page will be a waste of paper if I don’t use up the entire page.

On the second point… my idea of daily journal is more like the original idea of Micro Blogging. I want to write short to medium length ideas that are loosely connected, or disconnected. So each bullet point is filled with the whole idea, but the next bullet could be totally about something else.

This is unlike blog or diary where there’s a feeling that you need to fill the page with one coherent thought. The idea is much more chaotic, random blobs of texts that are grouped by date.

Well, in the end I still use three (or four) books instead of putting all into one. There’s the journal, the planner, and a sketchbook for drawing practice on the move.

Systemic Notes

The Kokuyo Systemic note cover is a fun and useful product if you carry more than one notebook. In the sales pitch, they touted this as a way so you can separate two different needs, like Business/Personal, Planner/Journal, Notes/Sketch, etc. All in A7, A6, B6, A5, B5, A4 notes size.

In addition, the notebook also provide two bookmark ribbons, pocket on the outside, and enough space to slip in paper notes inside.

They have two version. The older version is slimmer. I choose this one at first for the cheaper price, but eventually choose the later version. The smallest version (A7) also came with reporter style model.

Capture1

The later version is designed to accommodate Kokuyo’s twin-ring notebook. The twin-ring is thicker so it wouldn’t fit into the original version. New version doesn’t just have wider binding, it is also wider to allow the ring binding to hang. So this is a consideration if you want to keep it smaller.

The Ring Note version is three page wide, in accordion setup. And by the virtue of ring binding, you can use it like that picture above. The maker say this is for two notes, but actually you can put third notebook. In my case I put a thin Campus Planner in the middle section that is actually for slipping document notes.

Oh, and the ring note version also have thicker and stronger elastic strap.

My carry are:

  • Kokuyo CamiApp notebook A6. But since I don’t use the CamiApp a lot, I think I will switch to normal notebook after I burned through this one.
  • Kokuyo Buncobon plain A6. This is my pocket sketchbook for rough sketches. The paper is not too thick so I can only use one page on each sheet. Planned on changing to a Moleskine pocket later since this one is almost all consumed. The Moleskine is smaller though.
  • Campus monthly planner. The bullet journal method I tried doesn’t work so well for my style.
  • Pure Malt 5-in-1 pen. Slipped tightly into the elastic pen loop. But clearly it is made for smaller pen.
  • Post-It note inside the back cover pocket.

I haven’t tried the Moleskine in practical use yet since I’m still waiting for the sketchbook to run out. Will update with pictures later :)

Journals

Recently I’ve been looking at journaling again. Paper book journaling for keeping note of random things. I hasn’t been successful on doing it all though.

The main problem is the difficulties about putting what where. For random thoughts, Twitter should be a great place. It offer sharing as well as timestamping. But I found myself too lazy to pull out my phone and with the instantaneous nature of social media, it’s not always that relevant to post about something that already passed.

Blog always hit on me as the media where you’re writing newspaper column. It requires long thoughtful trail of words to be actually worth it.

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Drawing book

Remember that saying about how keep writing/drawing to get better ? I didn’t fare so well with writing because basically I use simpler words and thus sounds boring. Yes, even with much less vocabulary than a typical writer, I tend to use even less of the words I’ve already known.

Luckily the drawing side is a bit better. Although I still don’t feel like showing them to anyone, I think my drawing has got better, albeit still monotone and too lazy to pay attention to the details.

My “recent” jump into drawing again starts around middle of last year, after I got my iPad mini and bought a stylus (at that time, Pencil by 53). I’ll keep the stylus review for later (tried four already) or the drawing apps review.

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Crowd curation service

One of the difficult thing after taking picture is to organize the pictures, group them and separate the junks from the decent.

So is there a crowd curation service that will let many streamers rate and group your photo? You can then choose which one you feel is the best.

The use case:

First, user upload their pictures, all the pictures they want. These pictures will be automatically published in batch based on user selectable timeframe (per week, per month) or a custom set (per project). This is to help keeping track on pictures that are already organized before.

Picture owner can also set the deadline and number of maximum and minimum photo inside the curation.

Main feature of the review sets are speed because hundreds of pictures will need to be reviewed.

Other users will then be able to rate, set tag, stack, or group them into stub sets. The decision by each curator is invisible to other users to keep independence. Name of the set owners can also be made invisible if the user wants to.

Picture owner can then review the reading spread and the most common organizations. When decided, the curation chosen will be used.

Curators who won the task will get points and is possible that they set price for peoples to request their service when their ability is acknowledged.

The user profile won’t have pictures of the photo they uploaded, but it will show their custom sets (except for private galleries) to present their taste.

Numerous apps

Numerous is an iPhone application that do one thing, display numbers. The idea is to present numbers in our life, not just what’s kept in our phone but dynamically updated numbers.

Unfortunately there’s still some small things that could have been improved in my opinion.

  • The blog need an RSS feed.
  • Button to delete a tile is too small to hit. A bigger button would have been nice.
  • A button to set the date/time data to “Now” will help with manually updating data.
  • A customizable relative number of days (x Year x Month x Week x Day) will be more useful than the current day only.
  • The date tile can’t be updated with IFTTT.

Especially on the number of days. Seems like the use case they have when designing is for counting down to certain day, so the number of days are more important. In my use case, I use it more to count numbers since a certain day so it’s a lot more useful if I can see the repetition of that date, be it a birthday, anniversary or the monthly bills.

Microsoft customer

Continuing the previous rants, since Microsoft aren’t showing any prospective in short term for Windows Phone to close the gap with the other two platforms, I’ve decided to just end the agonizing about the biggest pain point for that OS, at least for me.

As non-deniers would know, platform is only worth as much as how much you can do with it. In Windows I can do many things from writing text notes, to browsing the internet, to designing skyscraper, to creating a movie.
Okay, I lied, I can’t to the two later tasks. But point being, there’s tasks that can be done. In the phone platform, that doesn’t change, especially since despite there’s more time wasted using web browser in the desktop, tasks in phone is increasingly done using applications. That’s the pain point often repeated by groups called whiners by the deniers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft aren’t showing they realize that they need to be faster and more aggressive in pushing the developers. Reach OS feature parity, show developers they have everything needed to build something like they have in iOS and Android without limitation, and deliver it faster than anyone else.

In the other hand, they kicked the supporters with slow release, lack of devices, and treating their own platform as 3rd class citizen.

So, since the CEO said they want to focus on service and availability in all platform, I decided to be the customer they wanted.
I’m still using Outlook for my mail and PIM like calendar and contacts. I’ll be using OneDrive and OneNote. I won’t be using Bing though, because in all their wisdom about “US and the rest of the world” the application for search and maps is not available.

Most importantly though, is that I will stop giving any expectation to Windows Phone. Let them do whatever they want and die when they choose to. I’m getting an iPhone 4s for the application and practical use need.

Like I said before, I really prefer Windows Phone’s interface. I read faster than I recognize icon, so there’s another win to Windows’ application list compared to iPhone and Android. I like the calendar and contact display better.

But if that’s the only thing they can offer (and the camera, which is kind of moot since I always bring my camera), they could have treated the OS like S40, an OS for feature phone and peoples who are content with whatever they get out of the box. Why promise apps if the famous and popular apps are not coming ? And if an apps become big in Windows Phone, you can be assured that it will move to other platform and could even get updated more frequently over there.

So, bye. I’ll be watching, but stop giving any expectation that things will be going for the better.