Handwritten notes and never-ending paper notebooks

Even I like having a new, empty paper notebook. I just can’t read my handwriting. Also, I know I’ll lose it and that irritates me when everything I ever type is saved safely all over the place. Plus, how do people use paper notebooks? How fast do they fill them and then what happens? Have they shelves of these things?

Rocketbook says hang on there, William, enough. Rocketbook is a paper notebook that you scribble away on and its pages are saved to the cloud. Dropbox. Evernote. Google Docs. You snap a photograph of the page with your phone and what is written on the page determines where it’s saved. So handwrite during a meeting, then take a mo to photograph the page and before you’ve put your phone away, the Rocketbook has saved that note to, say, an email that it is even now sending someone.

That covers my problem with potentially losing the book but there is also that business of filling up all the pages. Honestly, this sounds like a joke but it’s serious: put your Rocketbook in the microwave oven and wait for a bit. Every note on every page is erased and you have a crisp, new notebook.

I read that and think you must need special paper: yes, but that’s what the Rocketbook is made of. I read this and think you must need special pens: sort-of. The have to be FriXion pens by Pilot which I’ve never heard of but apparently are common.

There is nothing here to help with my handwriting but that’s my problem. Your pen work is much better than mine, you might love this.

One thing. This is an Indiegogo crowd-funded idea except it’s no longer an idea: it’s achieved its target by more than 3,500%.

It’s not all sunshine when you use the Cloud

We’re in that nebulous period where we keep hearing about the cloud and if we don’t understand what it is, we feel we should. Soon we won’t think about it at all and that ought to be a good thing. The less we have to piddle about making computers do what we want, the more we can spend time doing what we want and need to do.


Many years ago, I was in the office of a computer magazine when a power cut hit its network servers. Only the servers wherever they were, the magazine office and its PCs were unaffected. Or at least, they were unaffected by the power cut. They were supremely badly affected by the servers going down.

For this magazine ran all its applications from the server. Each PC had a tiny local hard disk and no applications at all. You started up your PC in the morning and it went on the network, got the applications, started working. It took forever. But during all this, you would go to the kitchen, get the tea and eventually start working. There were myriad advantages to the magazine in doing this but I suspect myriad really reduces to one: it made each individual PC cheaper.

Come the server powercut, then, everybody stopped working because everything stopped working. Except me. Yes, I was on a Mac, but I was reviewing some Apple notebook so I’d loaded the applications I needed. Even if the power had gone out in our office, I wouldn’t have noticed because I had battery power and I had all the software I needed to do my job.

On the plus side, I felt just a tiny bit smug and I also filed this away so that I could tell you about it twenty years later. This feels good.

On the minus side, everybody else got to go home.

We’re in a situation now where we are all relying on servers somewhere else. They’re now just servers somewhere else in the world and we call it all the cloud. The cloud is good. The cloud is very good.

Until it goes wrong and it does go wrong.

Adobe was in the spotlight recently when its Adobe CS cloud service, Creative Cloud, went offline for 48 hours, leaving users in the dark and preventing publication of the mobile edition of Britain’s Daily Mail. This was a disaster for the company and a much bigger disaster for thousands of Creative Cloud users trying to meet urgent deadlines — but in future failure in cloud services could damage the global economy.

Jonny Evans: Adobe CS and the dangerous cloud – Computer World via Macworld (5 June 2014)

Evans has some horror stories and a lot of statistic but he also has advice for us and for cloud service providers in his full piece. It boils down to this, though: rely on the cloud but don’t be dependent on it. There you go.