A Journal

If you aren't quite as addicted to Hacker news as most of us are, this is a reaction to this post. In the past few days, the idea/topic(HMM...Visual Basic 4, sure brings back memories) of a programmers journal seems to be gaining steam on the interwebs. The idea is really quite simple:

Keep a journal of daily things, todos, hang ups, ideas, etc that pertain to only the world of programming. You can look back on them and quantify the tragectory of your thought process

Pretty cool huh? Not sure if it needed to be a block quote but it happened. The above post really advocates keeping a physical journal (as do I); however, I was quite surprised how many people use text files instead. Why?

Yes, many programmers are generally concerned about creating a lot of paper waste. Most of our jobs are designed to rid the workplace of paper alltogether. This space though, just the programmer's journal space, should be filled with great physical notebooks. Edison, Tesla, and Darwin all kept a journal, and I am 99% positive that theirs weren't unmanagably long text files. Without further ado, a list. Here are my top requirements for a good, real, paper programmers journal.

  1. It must be bendy and 13x21 cm or larger. I have never been a fan of Moleskine's notebooks (although the new Evernote one could be cool) but, their journals are fairly great. The only thing missing in their exhaustive line is a dot grid option and I would leap on that in a second if a chance were to arise.
  2. The notebook should exude creativity but contain the user within a small grid. That is why lined and blank books don't really work. Grids are good and dots are about as good as you can get. Rhodia has a great product; however, all of their notebooks have a hard cover. which goes against the whole idea of "bendy."
  3. A great pen and pencil. Yep both! Most of the time I use a pen from Zebra or Pilot and a lead holder from Rotring. Experiment and find what you like in your hands.

As I mentioned yesterday, it is hard to incorporate something new, and perhaps difficult into your daily routine. With a notebook, slide it between your keyboard and monitor. That way it is always in the way of you and your creativity.

Fin...just promise me: "Don't use a fucking text file for your programming journal"