Moleskin Soft-Cover Notebook Review

I wanted a larger page-size notebook that nevertheless was portable (ie, didn’t have too many pages).  I went to Target and saw the Moleskin notebooks.  I figured, ahh, Moleskin, that’ll do.  But the price was absurdly high.  18.95 for 2  48 page notebooks (96 sides).  The nice thing about them is that they are well bound (by that I mean, they are bound like a high quality book [sadly, I don’t know the terminology, so a picture and comparison will have to do]):

Good binding (will last through time):

well bound

 

Cheap binding (pages will fall out on heavy use):

poorly bound

I didn’t like my color options (red/burgundy, sky blue/baby blue, purple/pink [or something like that, only the red/bergundy I’m sure of).  I wanted more earthy tones.  But I went with them (burgundy/red).  I like notebooks with bendy covers and hate those with stiff cardboard covers.  I am the sort of person who is willing to pay premiums for quality.

For the most part, I was happy with the notebooks.  I used the burgundy notebook first because it was, of the lot, it was the only color I liked.

However, this review is being written because, in the end, the notebooks are not worth the money.  $18.95!!! for two (48 sheet) notebooks, so I expect a lot, which is to say, I expect them to be quality along a number of dimensions (beyond paper quality and binding).  Regard the cover separating from itself:

moleskin notebooks aint worth the money

 

This is after about 1 month.  I wasn’t gentle with the thing, but neither was I rough.  Basically, I put it in and took it out of my backpack each day.  I mean, I’ve only written on 24 pages (12 sheets), or so.

For the price, I expected more.  I won’t be buying these again.  And I’ll leave a review on Amazon too.  Way too pricey.  For this level of quality, I’d expect half the price.  For the price I paid, I expect this sort of thing to not happen.  I’ll pay for quality, but I refuse to pay for brands.  Full stop.

Hating Money

Some people say, “I hate money.”.  They maybe don’t really hate it, but pretending they “do”, what do you think they mean?  Or rather, just, what do you think they mean?

I don’t even know about money (huh!? [what I mean is, I see money through my own lenses and have difficulty imagining how normal people must view the phenomenon {I assume they just don’t think about it much or deeply <because if they did they would be confused by the confusing phenomenon |I have to admit to having read D’Anconia‘s Money Speech more than just a few times|>}]).  Money is an objective unit of value that can be exchanged.  In so far as money can be exchanged for work, it is very much like ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate [often called the “molecular unit of currency“]) except that ATP doesn’t “exchange” for work, ATP is “broken down into” work.  But the “exchange” (of money) can be simplified into a “being broken down”, for our purposes.  Thus, money is equivalent to the building blocks of the actualization of a “work request” in the “social body”.

Like me ol’ brain fires me finger to waggle.

Money becomes an “Action Potential” while the economy hardens into propagation networks (read: brain).  Money is very biological.  We use paper now, gold and silver, too, even bits of digital data.  These materials, and others like them, are bound together by our collective actions into our social body (and, like any stone giant, we trail debris along our rumbling, vortextual way).

Shifting metaphorical gears: Money is the token an individual passes through the market-API to communicate computation and perhaps a return value.

“Hating” money seems to come down to an ill-will regarding the requirements the physical world places on living within it.

Alternatively, “hating” money could really represent a hatred for the prevailing systems that administer and regulate the extant currencies.  In this case, perhaps “Bitcoin” would sooth.

Perhaps it is the patriarchal bias inherent in modern social reality as incubated by the world’s major cultures that is hated?  Yeah, I hate hate too.

But I don’t think people can hate what I think of as “money”.  What I think of as money is just like something you might see under the microscope when examining bacteria exchanging DNA fragments.  It’s hard to hate DNA or ATP or NADPH.  These are just the bags or the tokens that carry around the weight of a role in an abstract process that exists to further a purpose.  What’s your valuation of the purpose?  Do you hate life?  Growth?  Or is it that you think you have an alternative to money?  Or is it, knowing there is probably no alternative, you hate it anyway?

I think most people hate money like most people hate oysters.  They used to have a taste for it and then it made them sick (some serious financial stress) and now the idea of it still makes them sick.  Oyster’s would still taste good (oysters and tastebuds haven’t changed), but the Past does get its prior e-motion.

Then there are those that have seen money put to bad uses.  The same principle applies as above.

Mostly, however, I think people hate money because they are blind to an important reality.  Money is animated by the purpose behind it.  A soul could be expressing the beauty of life in one manner or another through the use of money.  Or the opposite.

Perceive that, the movement of the energy of purpose, underneath.  Hate or love that.

Money?  Perhaps there are better solutions (even grasping the problem money solves is difficult, probably more difficult than perceiving the problems it creates), but it’s nothing to hate.

Surface Pro

So, I got one.

I’d like to finish that last paragraph off with some sort of judgement, in a word, or so, but I can’t.  I don’t know yet.  I’m writing this on it.  They keyboard is quite able to handle fast typing, although I got the movable keys version instead of the touch version because I failed in my attentive efforts to make the touch version do what I wanted at the store.

In so many words, that is my judgement, so far.  A lot of random compromises or outright inexplicables, but subtle touches too, and general superiority in the market.

It’s vastly better than an iPad in terms of the fact that I already installed PhpStorm and played around with code.  However, I failed to get Visual Studio 2010 SP1 working (visual studio itself installed fine, although I can’t open my code until I get SP1 installed), and I don’t feel like tossing Micro$oft another $500 bucks this day for Visual Studio 2012 (although I haven’t given up hope).  And why does this keyboard intermittently skip words while I’m typing?  Is it because I have the whole thing at an incline relative to the position Micro$oft mandated with their single-position-only kickstand?  I literally had to put something under the monitor where they keyboard and monitor attach (I’ll call em by what we know em by) to get the whole thing to sit at a comfortable incline relative an upright, straight-backed seated position.  Otherwise, it’s too aimed at my stomach and not my eyes.

There are other foibles.  It goes to sleep every time, but it doesn’t wake back up every time.  There are three places I know to wake it up.  The button on the case at the top right (when in landscape).  The Windows icon button on the center bottom (gives a vibrational feedback when pressed) and lastly, when the keyboard is magnetically attached, you can seemingly press any key on the keyboard and if it decides to, it may show you the screen you have to swipe away before you can type your password (yes, there is a hidden hint in there for when Microsoft discovers this blog twenty years from now).  However, it is all more complicated than that.  Apparently, it takes time to load up?  Maybe 4 to 5 seconds?  But there is no light nor any indication that anything is happening nor even a way to know if you maybe were too gentle with your new device and you hadn’t actually clicked at all.

Ultimately, I either spent 2 minutes clicking it on and off before the screen could come on or it simply refused to turn on for two minutes.  Ultimately, I don’t know which.  But it surely is not as responsive as an iPad when you try and wake it up.  I don’t really care about that, but if I were microsoft, I wouldn’t try to pretend it wasn’t this way by not showing something, even a simple light that lets you know that something is happening.

I really don’t think modern technology companies appreciate the user interface genius in Knight Rider.  A single visual cue that peaks and troughs along with some logic.  Pure genius all y’all making hardware devices.

kitt-front

It’s on screen keyboard shows up at odd times.

It’s pen attaches by magnet to the side and strongly resists horizontal force, but peels off easily at the first sign of rotational force.  $30

The automatic screen orientation is way too sensitive sometimes and completely insensitive other times.  :*(

But I’ll tell you what, the pen is awesome.  I have learned a new interaction style.  When you hold the pen within a little more than an inch from the screen a new hover cursor appears that can be laser-pointered around.  Effectively, you can use one hand on the touchpad mouse buttons and the other on the stylus to achieve a very efficient method of working with small desktop interfaces on a touch screen.  It will even work with larger touch screens.  Don’t bother touching, much!  But that isn’t a detraction.  I love this way of working with the thing.  Perhaps I’ll tire of it, but it allows great speed with small movement as well as participation of both hands by default.  For a larger screen I would increase the distance the pen projects its cursor.

Battery life under heavy use sucks and if one were to use it for a day long work session, that one (me) would need to charge it once during the day and again at the end of the day.  Charge it on lunch or something.

Windows reported that I had an optional update for my Touch keyboard but fails every time it tries to install it.  I’m guessing that it has to do with movable keys vs. touch.  Apparently Windows doesn’t know its own devices.

Screen is beautiful.

I plugged my Logitech Anywhere receiver and my mouse and keyboard work fine.  Keyboards keyboards everywhere.

Next challenge is Sql Server.  Then there’s a million other minor challenges.

I’ll keep updating this with Pros and Cons.

A Better UI

An idea I’ve had for UI’s is to start new users out with only the most very core functionality available.  They are in a sort of semi-transparent tutorial in which they navigate a tree of knowledge to identify instances of what they want to do.  In response, the program “turns on” that functionality and demonstrates to the user how to access it (menu, shortcut, et cetera).  Beyond simply activating functionality in the UI, this process appends the activity, and it’s associated position in the knowledge tree, in the user’s navigable history.  Lastly, the user would have a good amount of control over the UI layout (as is normal with IDE’s and other editing software).

Or, of course, you can simply sign in with an already configured user, or merge your user with a preconfigured layout.

I’m talking about a discoverability tool intended to render itself usable by its very usability and usefulness.  Traditional “Help” in software, such as the F1 key in Windows has traditionally sucked beyond the point of uselessness in relation to the power of google.  What “google” (ie, passive search in a disconnected system) lacks is any idea of what you are accomplishing in the program itself.  Or what you have accomplished.  Or how you have things laid out.

google.com’s problem, just as I reported yesterday about Chrome and Wikipedia, is that it doesn’t help YOU organize YOUR information.  Google organizes “the world’s” information.  I always get back to how I want to organize my own information.

A UI oriented around enabling the user to “humanly” organize their own information could be a billion dollar idea.  In the end, we’re talking about an operating system.  I always get back to that, too.

 

What I’m Missing

Wikipedia really lacks user interface.  I’m NOT talking about making it more pretty or something.  I like it’s subdued look that emphasizes the information.  I mean, for instance, the fact that it doesn’t have a memory of what I have viewed.  It doesn’t give an interface into my wikipedia forays.  But what I really want is something that overlays wikipedia and gives an interface that helps me drill down into specific areas while keeping track of the purposes of my research.

This context is not negligible.  I want an interface that allows me to actively collect information.  Something solid that I don’t feel is going to disappear just because I lose my computer.  Something that frames the knowledge I have explored and anchors it.  Finally, something that can almost be “held” in digitalia.  Probably will be able to be held one day.  And also, one day I imagine it not limiting itself to wikipedia.

I might even start calling it a “web browser”.  It’d be interesting if a popular browser maker actually went out of their way to offer something substantial in the way of “tabbed browsing” and “history”.  I mean, I’m looking at about 31 tabs on my browser:

my tabs

Chrome is nice enough whereby usually, when I shut down my computer and restart it, I can open my last tabs (inexplicably, sometimes, I cannot [when an update is installed?]).  I could laboriously search through my flat history to get lists of websites that match certain slices of interest… but I want more.  I want to create a layout, like windows 8 metro, but much more fluidly and variable.  I want to open tabs in categories.  Of course, it would be easy to get this wrong and make it cumbersome enough to be unused.

How can you beat “Ctrl-t” and “Ctrl-click”?  Why would anyone consent to another layer between them and their content?  Inherit from the parent.

But that’s only part of the problem, because often one thread contains what I would consider to be content belonging to a separate thread of interest, or maybe it belongs to both?

One thing I like about Chrome that is seemingly incompatible with the direction of my thoughts is the fact that it almost maximizes screen real-estate.  I know they’re talking about (or were, once) getting rid of the address bar (autohiding), but rather than simply, solely giving that space to the web pages, I would consider giving the option of allowing two rows of tabs.  And I’d let either users of one or two rows of tabs to group their tabs into rectangles (single story for the single rowers).  And tabs can easily be dragged back and forth.  They can scroll when there are too many tabs to reasonably view.  Each “category” can be viewed as a whole webpage, so that even within a category, categories can be created and navigated.

The address bar should be easily summonable from any tab header or by keystroke (trusty old “Alt-d” works for me).

That’s a good start anyway.  I would like to name these “categories” and be able to manage my history “by category”.  Perhaps even accessible by a dropdown that can be “dropped down” by interacting with the tab-containing rectangle in some undetermined but exquisitely natural way (like an arrow pointing downward that expands into an overlay tab of “category” related activities [such as history]).

I can imagine collecting this information for years.  But it is my information.  Not Google’s or someone else’s.

And that’s why the title of this blog has changed from “What Wikipedia’s Missing” to “What Chrome’s Missing” to “What I’m Missing”.  It’s not that I have a problem sharing the record of my noetic wandering.  It’s that I want to be able to innovate against my own information.  I don’t want to wait for “Wikipedia” or “Chrome” to update their interfaces.  What I really want is to manage my own information.  Become my own data miner.  It’s almost possible to write a web browser and I guess that is what Mozilla is working on.  So it seems I’ll have what I’m missing soon enough.  Gonna hold out for a Firefone.

Windows 8

Another problem with Windows 8.  So, I had a Skype meeting.  I loaded Skype, was asked to update to “improve my experience”.  Okay.  That sounds like a great deal!  Woohoo!

It installs and opens and the icon I had pinned to the taskbar disappeared.  Probably something to do with the icon cache?  Blah.

If that were it, that’d be nothing much.  A minor blip.  Course there is the death by the thousand cuts and there are a lotta “minor blips” in my Windows experience.  But whatever, I have a high platelet count, so I don’t bleed to death from these little cuts.

Then I quite Skype because I was going to reopen with a different account.  I coulda logged out, but I closed it.  I still had the iconless taskbar pinned item.  So I clicked it.  Program can’t be found.  Obviously Skype put the executable in a new location.  So I go to my desktop.  Not there either.  I go to Windows 8’s “Start Screen”.  Not there either.

So, how do I open Microsoft’s Skype now?  Imagine I’m not a computer expert that knows to look in either “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)”.  How do I open Microsoft’s program on Microsoft’s operating system since they had the “foresight” to get rid of the the Start Button???  That useful repository for what was actually on my computer that I care vaguely about.  Makes me realize Windows 8 really is just an experiment.  “We’ll get it right in Windows 9, and be damned to all those who are stupid enough to pay to be our bug testers.”

I get so sick of dealing with these naiseries by billion dollar companies.  And they constantly happen.

God I can’t wait until I can vote with my dollar and give money to a company that comes along that is actually able to manage the complexity of a software ecosystem.  Microsoft and Apple suck.