Ming the Mechanic:
Note Taking

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Note Taking2004-05-11 16:35
9 comments
by Flemming Funch

Seb made a list of some of his favorite visionaries. I'm honored to be on the list too, of course. But I wanted to mention Lion Kimbro. Who's kind of a crazy guy, in the good way. See this interview. One of Lion's projects was a note keeping project, where, for some months, he kept track of all his thoughts on paper. Which apparently was a huge, but useful project. Albeit not one he'd recommend doing too often.
"The system described in "How to Make a Complete Map..." started about a year ago, and lasted 3-6 months. It's hard to say when it started, exactly, because it just kept evolving, and it evolved out of the previous systems. So, there's no real "starting point." For about 3 months, I was tracking thoughts pretty much all the time. The last month was the most concentrated period- it was more or less constant.

What inspired it was... Well, a lot of things. The book "Getting Things Done," by David Allen. "Wiki" was in the air, though I wasn't thinking of it consciously. The whole notion of "Intelligence," - in the CIA sense- not the IQ sense- was fresh in my mind. Remember, I was running medical records for a while- it makes you think differently about information, when someone's going to die if you can't find their chart. So it's a collection of things.

Anyways: I wanted to see if I could make myself smarter, by strategically placing notes to myself.

"Intelligence, as I define it, is: Getting the right information at the right time at the right place, towards whatever end you are going for.

So, to use the "Getting Things Done" analogy: You're at home, and you realize you need to get a Philip's screwdriver. If, the next day, you're walking down the street, and you walk by a hardware store- if you don't think to get the screwdriver, that's an "Intelligence Failure." You're not getting the right information, at the right time, at the right place.

There's deeper concepts to that map- "Intelligence Process," and "Intelligence Database," and things like that. You can get into the nitty-gritty of it.

But, basically, I wanted to see if I could make myself smarter, by strategically placing notes to myself. Adopting an Intelligence Process, and carrying around an Intelligence Database."
Interests me because I also really like "Getting Things Done", and I'm always looking for how to be better organized, and I might possibly also be crazy enough to come up with some kind of pervasive system like that. Anyway, Lion has a lot of energetic and smart things to say about notes and wikis.


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9 comments

11 May 2004 @ 21:08 by Emile @61.55.134.196 : Hehe
You're also in my list of visionnaires (despite occasional leanings towards dubious pseudoscience ^^), as are Seb, Lion Kimbro, Dave Pollard and Phil Jones (... so guess should go see the other ones on the list too *sigh* how am I supposed to spend time away from the computer that way ?).

After this post I went over and read Lion's interview, then went and read his notebook system. Now I'm applying it. I think it's worth trying out. Plus, I have some sympathy for something that doesn't involve high technology. Paper and coloured pens, aaaah :)  



12 May 2004 @ 08:52 by ming : Notes
Heheh, I'm glad I'm not staying altogether inside the lines.

I think as well there's something good about systems that work on paper too. Computers make us easily get a bit lost, thinking we're doing something, just because there's a lot on the screen. Simplicity is a good thing.  



12 May 2004 @ 10:34 by Emile @61.55.134.196 : In the lines
Thank Unconscious Randomness you don't stay inside the lines !

Even though I tend to mainly react on touchy/new age subjects, which may pass me off as Mr Grumpy, I generally find a lot of wonderfull things here.  



13 May 2004 @ 04:33 by celestial : & Buy lines too
Mr. Funch, Flemming, Ming...I'm not sure how you would prefer that I address you...so...I'll use Ming until corrected.
Your creation ov this sight earns you the distinguished title as one ov the "Ultimate Intellectuals" ov our time.
The activity reports are very encouraging.
I luv makin people think; it pumps Life back N2 them.  



4 Jun 2004 @ 16:01 by David Locke @129.42.161.35 : Computers and Post-it Notes
Post-it Notes beat computers as the means to manage our information, because Post-it Notes are very much like us. They forget. They forget by becoming unsticky and falling off the surfaces of our life. They are short-term memory. If we want to keep it, we'll find some tape, and put the note into long-term memory.

Computerizing our Post-it Notes fundamentally changes their purpose from actionable information into archival information. Where the stickiness made it knowledge, applying the tape makes the note an information transaction. The note was always subject to being rolledback. The taped up note made it backed up, and potentially restored.

The important thing is that we forget. Computers do not. We forget, so we can remember. We forget, so we can reorganize the associations into contexts we could have never recognized when we wrote the note down. We forget, so we can reconstruct.  



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Other stories in
2014-09-27 00:04: You must be an expert by now
2014-09-26 15:15: Brevity
2011-11-06 21:33: Counting what counts
2011-01-23 13:46: Authenticity
2010-08-23 01:31: Semantic Pauses
2010-06-27 02:28: Doubt
2009-10-25 17:04: Opinions, perceptions and intuition
2009-10-15 08:32: Abstraction
2008-06-29 16:47: Complicated and Complex
2008-02-20 16:39: The universe as a virtual reality



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