Monday, January 29, 2007

Why the Hipster PDA is Rubbish!

I don’t care if Merlin Mann from 43 Folders thinks this is a good idea – I think its falderal and I’ll give you 43 reasons why!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here:

I just learned about the Hipster PDA (so, maybe I’m behind the curve a bit), and the more I looked at it, the more underwhelmed I was. This idea sucks – and to think there are a bunch of sites about it too! Heck, spend the time solving either how to accomplish world peace (or making a billion dollars – either way) instead of how you can create a LAME D.I.Y. paper organizer people!

Here’s the list

1. Paper cuts. I never sliced a finger on my Palm device.
2. Paper costs. I don’t care if you’re printing out your own cards, they still cost money.
3. Environment: Trees killed (be serious – not everyone or even most people are using recycled paper).
3. Environment: Pens aren’t recyclable.
4. Who wants a binder clip in your pocket?
5. More expensive. This is only cheaper in up front costs.
6. Information doesn’t get lost in a PDA – that’s why there is the search function.
7. Who uses replaceable batteries anymore? Ever hear of lithium ion?
8. Note reliability: Writing by hand is still barely legible.
9. Data Sharing: my writing doesn’t help anyone.
10. Requires “carbon paper” for copies. (what is this, the 1950s?)
11. Carbon paper mess!
12. Have you tried to find carbon paper?
13. Keep carbon paper in the pocket of your nice camel colored cashmere sport coat.
14. Does TOO get ruined by coffee.
15. Card size restricts you from keeping all associated information in one place.
16. Supplies: Who wants to carry 200 index cards in their pocket?
17. Templates: Amateur designers redesigning what Franklin-Covey, Day Planner and scores of other companies perfected long ago.
18. Limit’s scope of notes that can be kept with you for reference.
19. 3 X 5 cards aren’t significantly smaller than anything other than a 7 year old Palm 3 or Palm 7. (Well, excepting most Windows Mobile based devices).
20. Printer ink.
21. Printer colored ink.
22. Fuel costs. What, you think getting to the stationary store – or getting the stationary delivered to you online isn’t going to cost you money?
23. Harm to natural resources: We only have a limited amount of fossil fuel natural resources – why burn them on trips to pick up cards that are created but cutting down tress – which are then delivered by huge logging trucks (burning gasoline) to mills, which then use all kinds of power (coal, oil and nuclear) to turn the raw materials into paper (and create nasty environmental issues as well). Oh yes, and those loggers endanger the habitat of spotted owls too! (Did you know that spotted owls taste a lot like chicken?)
24. Laser toner.
25. Ink printer parts.
26. Laser printer parts. (What? like you won’t use a laser at work to print these things out right? Be honest.)
Note: If you are insistent about using your printer (even if it's for stuff other than these silly paper based PDAs) then
be smart and (a) go laser - it's WAY cheaper than ink, and (b) check out these guys for your printer parts! Really, they're worth the look.
27. Can’t take pictures. I don’t care how good of an artist you are.
28. Doesn’t sync well.
29. Doesn’t provide easy access to archived material with you at all times.
30. Doesn’t network well.
31. Display resolution inconsistent and variable.
32. Doesn’t do word processing.
33. No spell check.
34. Limited database capacity.
35. Limited database design ability.
36. No alarms.
37. Can’t surf the web.
38. Can’t make phone calls.
39. No Bluetooth.
40. Can easily loose critical components – with no backup.
41. Limited calendar views.
42. No security.
43. Can’t listen to music on it.

OK. There are my 43 reasons why Hipster doesn’t cut it compared virtually any modern PDA. Obviously there are many more – but I think that should do. How about you?


Hashim said...

Excellent! The longer you use a hipster pda, the larger your data storage problems will become. You're creating a legacy that will be dificult to clean up.

Killer feature of my PDA? Being able to look up an old note and add to it on the fly when stray inspiration strikes.

danafu said...

this is all true, there are a lot of things an index card can't do. then again i doubt you would balance a wobbly table with your pda...

it's just part of a larger system, ubiquitous capture of information. I save very few of my cards, but i capture all the data that i put on them. in the right place, at the right time.

if you try using them for a while, you may be surprised what hey can do...

Dave Riley said...

Yes. All true perhaps and when I first came upon this accessory item I thought it was great satire. That dedicated geeks could be so passionate and embracing of it is most amusing...

Ha Ha.Someone is pulling my leg, I thought.

(I think your piece is satire too. Congrats!)

But then: it works and is cheaper to own than one of these devices you are dedicated to. If I lose it I just get new cards and a ring. I've always carried notebooks so it wasn't a major shift but with this little fella I could move the note taking from my bag to my breast pocket.(Try putting your computerizedPDA in one of your pockets then sweating or sitting on it). Since it's a hot summer here in Australia I've created a little plastic pouch to protect the PDA from perspiration.

And I do love it so.

I don't really think your ecological appraisal is that potent given the atmospheric carbon generated in creating computer devices and the batteries employed to run them.

Mine is always "ON". No switches. And I have arthritis and I use thick pens as small key boards are beyond my cumbersome operation....

And I'm poor.

But my main engagement isn't so much capturing information but ideas and I employ, I hope, a very simple system to set myself to right in which the Hpda is a partner.

I also appreciate the idea mapping I can do on the blank pages.I don't have to be linear.And when sharing information I pull out a card or note and hand around a copy.

But be more geeky than me. I can live with that. And I bet you've got a mobile phone too! And you want to preach environmental science!

But after years of being a dedicated note taker this is the best note taking hardware I've come across. But then, as long as you do take notes and do orchestrate your existence in some form of device outside your person you are at least ahead of someone else who keeps all inside their noggin.

CyberGal said...

Macphilly, I am going to prove our friendship. If I ever get word that you are using one of these things, I, CyberGa, will donate $200 toward your psychological evaluation. It would be the least I could do!

Only a male brain would have the self-control to ANALYZE The Hipster. As a female, I just laughed myself silly.

I believe the popularity of The Hipster demonstrates the crumbling of Western Civilization.

We are talking about AN INDEX CARD HOLDER!

This proves the thesis of the book: The Coming Dark Ages.

Matthew said...

Whoa there...

The idea of the hipster pda sucks only slightly less than the tired term "metrosexual."

Wow, haven't heard that word before...

butlimous said...

Thanks for the nice post!

Free PS3

Eric said...

And here's my response to each item, in order:

1. Paper cuts? I've been using my hPDA for over 2 years and never have had a paper cut from it.
2. Paper costs? Compared to printing documents, a hPDA is cheap. It doesn't have to be printed on a computer.
3. Environment? Actually, most paper is recycled in one form or another, or is made from renewable paper sources.
3. Environment? Yes, pens are recyclable. You have to remove the ink cartridge, but the plastic OR the metal is recyclable.
4. Binder clips? Big deal. A binder clip is smaller than most things I have in my pocket.
5. More expensive? No way. I spent $400 on a PDA. I've spent maybe $60 on my hPDA, and I have a top-of-the-line model and TONS of extra paper refills for it.
6. Lost information? You say info doesn't get lost in a PDA. Obviously, you don't use a PDA and have never had to do a hard-reset. I can run over my hPDA with my car and still retrieve my data. Let's see you do that with any PDA.
7. Batteries? Unnecessary.
8. Note reliability? My writing is very legible -- to me anyway.
9. Data Sharing: Not many people share data with their PDA anyway. And I can share data just by pulling out a page and handing it to someone. Or I can make multiple copies. I can even mail them to people.
10. Requires “carbon paper”? Carbon paper? Who doesn't use a scanner or a Kinko's these days?
11. Carbon paper mess? (See #10)
12. (See #10)
13. (See #10)
14. Ruined by coffee? Ruined maybe, but not unreadable. Try that with a "real" PDA.
15. Card size restrictions? Who needs to be restricted? Carry as many as you want. Leave others at home or throw them away as needed.
16. Supplies? If you're carrying 200 cards, you're not using it right.
17. Templates? Franklin Covey has hardly "perfected" time management. If they had, they wouldn't come out with new products twice a year.
18. Limit’s scope? Not really, and in fact it could be argued that it expands scope.
19. 3 X 5 cards aren’t significantly small...? So?
20. Printer ink? Not if you hand write the cards.
21. Printer colored ink? See #20.
22. Fuel costs? You mention buying them online here. There isn't a fuel cost to buy online, unless you count the electricity I use to surf the web anyway.
23. Harm to natural resources? By the time it gets to me, the paper used for a 3x5 card doesn't use much in the way of resources. As opposed to the electronic circuitry used to make a PDA.
24. See # 20
25. See #20
26. See #20
27. Can’t take pictures? No, but you can sketch. And have you seen the crappy pictures a PDA takes?
28. Doesn’t sync well? It syncs very well. I sync every day with my Outlook. By typing.
29. Doesn’t provide easy access to archived material? Easier than searching a computer or PDA. I keep my archive cards in a box I can thumb through as needed, easily.
30-43: None of these are essential or anything you would want a hPDA to do. A hPDA isn't a jack-of-all-trades. It does ubiquitous capture very well, and that's what it is intended for. My experience has been that a product that does LOTS of things does none of them especially well.

I'm sure a regular PDA has uses -- I use one as well -- but to put down a hPDA because it can't do the same things a regular PDA can do is like putting down a PDA because it can't do what a laptop computer can do. Each to their own purpose.

braynor said...

Reason for Hipster/notebook: Math. I've yet to see a PDA or light WIKI that supports latex and renders the pages correctly.

CuleX said...

1. Paper cuts? That happens maybe once or twice a year if you're clumsy and extremely unlucky.
2. Paper costs? It's a lot less cheaper than your PDA. And printing a full-fledged LaTeX document just to notice an error on the twenty-fifth page will cost more.
3. Environment and recycling paper? As far as I'm informed, most paper is already recycled, just not to a such extreme extent as so-called "recycling paper" is.
3. Environment: Pens aren’t recyclable? The Ink isn't recycable, the pen itself is. Your Palm isn't, either, once your re-chargeable battery lives only four hours at most after five years.
4. Who wants a binder clip in your pocket? If it bothers you for any reason, just place it differently or use an alternative method of keeping the paper together.
5. More expensive? Paper is cheap. Probably cheaper than the water you use every day. Pens usually easily keep up with at least a year of intensive use.
6. Information doesn’t get lost in a PDA? It doesn't get lost in a well-organized place. If you don't want to organize anything, you're mis-using your PDA anyway.
7. Who uses replaceable batteries anymore? Ever hear of lithium ion? These batteries can't be recharged forever. With every recharge, a tiny bit of energy storage is lost until it's barely able to stay alive for an hour.
8. Note reliability: Writing by hand is still barely legible? If you can't read your own handwriting, you're doing it wrong. Sorry.
9. Data Sharing: my writing doesn’t help anyone? If a whole development team uses Hipsters, it'll work out great. And there might be a situation you need to give someone a note.
10 to 13. Carbon paper? I never needed carbon paper.
14. Does TOO get ruined by coffee? Your current cards get hardly readable. Your archive gives a shit about it.
15. Card size restricts you from keeping all associated information in one place? If you put all your information onto a single, small computer, you're not caring about it. And you can use two cards for one note, ever thought about it? Also, don't forget that you can use simplyfied speech on your own notes (Who needs articles and correct questions in his/her own notes? Come on.)
16. Supplies: Who wants to carry 200 index cards in their pocket? You're supposed to keep an archive. You sync your Palm with your Computer, too, don't you?
17. Templates: Amateur designers redesigning what Franklin-Covey, Day Planner and scores of other companies perfected long ago? I don't see a need for templates at all.
18. Limit’s scope of notes that can be kept with you for reference? Your PDA can easily run out of space. And expanding THAT will be a pain.
19. 3 X 5 cards aren’t significantly smaller than anything other than a 7 year old Palm 3 or Palm 7. (Well, excepting most Windows Mobile based devices). You were complaining that the cards are too small, now you complain that they're too big. Get over it, you just don't _want_ to like the Hipster.
20 and 21. As said, you don't need to print your own cards at all unless you cannot contact anyone for some reason.
22. Fuel costs. What, you think getting to the stationary store – or getting the stationary delivered to you online isn’t going to cost you money? What about actually _going_ to a store? It can't be that hard to use your feet.
23. Harm to natural resources? Trees can replicate. Paper gets recycled.
24 to 26. Laser printer? Shut up with these printers already.
27. Can’t take pictures? Every PDA sucks at taking pictures.
28. Doesn’t sync well? It syncs with everything, anytime! No matter whether you use DOS, Windows, Linux, Mac OS (X), Haiku or UNIX, your keyboard will always support your sync.
29. Doesn’t provide easy access to archived material with you at all times. Keep yourself organized. That also counts for your archive. If you don't organize anything, you're defying the use of a PDA.
30. Doesn’t network well. Which part of _personal_ digital assistent don't you get?
31. Display resolution inconsistent and variable. Most people call this "flexible".
32. Doesn’t do word processing? You aren't limited. You can even write in 45.7549° angles with varying fonts, faster than you could ever write that with a regular PDA.
33. No spell check. Why do you need a spell check? The spell checking will kick in while syncing.
34. Limited database capacity? It's as limited as your amount of paper sheets. Paper is easily expanded. The memory of a PDA isn't.
35. Limited database design ability? You're absolutely free how you design your database.
36. No alarms. The Hipster is supposed to be simple and thus does only one thing at a time. Use your watch to use alarms or keep an eye on the clock.
37. Can’t surf the web. Most people use a browser.
38. Can’t make phone calls. Most people would use something called "phone".
39. No Bluetooth. There's no need for Bluetooth, since you can share your data easily.
40. Can easily loose critical components – with no backup. You wouldn't complain if your PDA slipped out of your hands? Same goes for your Hipster.
41. Limited calendar views. Use an external application for that, Geez.
42. No security. Learn Hangeul or some other foreign writing system. Nearly nobody will be able to read it. The others don't try to steal it, since a Hipster is already cheap.
43. Can’t listen to music on it. One last time, the Hipster is supposed to be simple. Music is not simple. Get it?

Anonymous said...

I think the best part of a hipster PDA is simply forcing one to become more efficient and quit using an electronic device to waste time, stockpile projects, ideas, and to-do items endlessly, and overextend one's self.

People love things that make life more complex, but this becomes a trap that ruins actual productivity. The Hipster PDA encourages living in the moment and getting things done timely.

As for trees, tree farms for paper production are a good thing. They are carbon sinks.

Proximo said...

I think many of you are taking the hPDA out of context.

The main purpose of it, is to capture information and process into your PC later.

This idea is from GTD by David Allen.

The hPDA was not intended to be used like a real PDA. That would never work.

The purpose is simply to capture your thoughts quickly, no matter where you are and when you get back to the office, put your thoughts into your productivity system. What ever that may be.

Now with today's PDA's or iPhones, I think the hPDA is still useless because the devices we have today are so much better.

Let's remember that this all started out as a joke but then people gave it life. If you don't have an iPhone, Palm Pre, or some other PDA. The hPDA can be a quick tool to capture your thoughts.

It's not a PDA replacement and if you think it can be. I will question your intelligence.

The man with nothing to say said...

All of you are completely ridiculous in your obssesive love of electronics. The purpose of a hPDA is to get what you need to get done, done. it's a simple as that. And doing that, the hPDA does a marvelous job.

By the way, people complaining about networking and syncing, long ago businesses used an invention called a memo board. Look it up.