PostIt Notes Have Defeated My iPhone

I love my iPhone. It is the one piece of technology that never leaves my side. Ever. It’s always there to wiki up the meaning of “Second Word Country”, to see how high the heat index will be today, or to snap a picture of a book I want to buy. It’s my second brain.

Yet it doesn’t work for tasks.

Sure, iPhone and all those other smart phones have app after app to help manage tasks and calendar events. Yet none work for me. Mostly it’s because its too much of a hassle to enter the task or date. Now I don’t have Siri, so maybe that would solve the problem, but I doubt it. There’s a fundamental issue of tactility and visibility that’s at work here.

I need to get the note written fast, be able to see it, and sometimes feel it. Otherwise I will forget. My go to tool are PostIt notes (the copyright is intended here as other stickie notes don’t cut it).

I stick PostIts everywhere. My favorite is to write one, fold back the sticky portion, and slip it into my pocket. Then, when I empty my pockets at home, bingo, there it is. Then I’m apt to stick it to a door or a wall. Someplace I can’t help but see it.

Some of the strangest places I’ve attached notes are to the dash of my car (usually reading, “Gas” or “Grocery”). Recently I stuck one to the seat of my chair so that every time I went to sit, I saw it. It’s the nagging that works for me. I won’t remove the note until I accomplish the task. And the notes can be damn annoying at times. Like a grandma that keeps harping over and over.

The notes are also location specific. The one on my chair had to do with something on my home computer. The car dash went along with driving. I also have notes stuck at various places on my classroom desk to remind me of all sorts of activities. I know there are apps out there that are triggered by location. I’ve tried them. They don’t work as well, either failing to go off or not being precise enough. Plus they drain the battery. So PostIt notes it is.

The ultimate event came a week ago. I’d had this note at home that was destined for work, but I kept forgetting to take it. I then decided to stick it the one place I knew I would look at and still have in my classroom: my iPhone. Yup, I had a yellow PostIt note attached to the screen of my iPhone. One of the kids giggled when she saw me pull out the phone. But it worked. The note took up residence in my classroom and the task was accomplished.

Long live the PostIt.

Tim Kane

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Staring at the Progress Bar

I used to make my living as a computer graphic designer. I was pretty good at it. I designed ads for Winston Tires (not around anymore) and designed the box for TurboTax (that’s still with us). What I hated about the process was the computer. Being totally reliant on technology to get the work done is frustrating. Mostly, it was the progress bar.

You know how it goes. Here’s the situation right now. I’ve decided to update and add a few videos to my iPad. So I hook everything up through iTunes and then the bane of my existence appears. The progress bar. It inches forward, sucking the life from me.

I should walk away, but I can’t. It’s hypnotic. I stare at it, watching the percentage creep forward. I can literally stand there for hours. It’s so pointless. Finally, head upstairs and take a shower because I needed to go out soon. That broke the trance. Once I was away from the progress bar, I could actually progress with my life.

Writing doesn’t have quite as much of that. First off, the file sizes are so small, there’s only a glimpse of a progress bar. Also, I can print out pages or switch to long hand and still be productive. Take that technology.

If you’re stuck with something that is technology dependent, I feel for you. No one likes the progress bar. The best advice I can give you is make sure your other outlets (creative or otherwise) don’t rely on batteries, updates, or Internet.

Tim Kane

When Will Apple Build a Car?

I recently took my vehicle down to the shop for maintenance. Well, it wasn’t voluntary, the battery died. I mean died. It took a tow truck to jump it and even then, when I stopped at the service department, they couldn’t restart it again.

As always, there were plenty of other nifty (and expensive) repairs on the docket. One had me scratching my head. My car needed a software update. I get this all the time for my iPhone or laptop. But a car? Plus I had to shell out a c-note for the update (no wireless download for me, thank you).

Then I thought: when will Apple build a car? The idea isn’t so far fetched. Google has created a driverless car. So why can’t Apple join the fray? People thought Apple was nuts when it teamed with AT&T to make a cell phone. Look what happened there.

An Italian designer, Liviu Tudoran, created a car prototype inspired by Macintosh and iPod products. Check out all the specs here. For a look at a Microsoft developed car, check this out.

Imagine it. The new Ford powered by Apple. It could happen. At least then I could get my software downloaded off the cloud. Hey, I’d probably be able to get all the schematics on my vehicle’s performance sent to my phone. That’d put all those specialized mechanics out of work. Plus, think of the apps you could download.

Food for thought.

Tim Kane