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Business and work Events and Life Mindsets Writing

In person kudos at the Automattic Grand Meetup

Appreciating our colleagues

We have an amazing culture at Automattic that includes giving each other kudos as one form of recognition for great work, whether that’s delivering happiness to a customer, or to each other.

Typically we use a Slack bot to share kudos, and that’s posted to an internal WordPress site dedicated to showcasing internal kudos.

At the Grand Meetup (which we attended in mid-September – I’ll probably share more from that soon), we also have the option of giving handwritten kudos to each other. I like the ease of giving digital kudos, and at the same time I really like being able to write a note to my colleagues to express my appreciation for their efforts.

Automattic kudos card
Kudos IRL

This year I was fortunate to receive a few cards from my colleagues, and really appreciate each of them.

I decided against sharing details of all of the cards I received as the messages can be pretty personal. At the same time, I’m grateful for each card.

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Applications Writing

Write: where handwriting and digital editing meet

Write is a curious product. The goal is to take your handwritten notes, and make them editable in a digital format. You have to watch the demo video to really see how this works:

I’m not sure what to think about it. I take handwritten notes quite a bit these days, so the idea of making my handwritten notes more useful to me than a static PDF or image (at the moment, I capture many of my handwritten notes into Evernote where they’re OCR’d – hypothetically).

At the same time, being able to edit my notes almost like I’d edit typed notes seems a little weird. One of the reasons that handwritten notes are helpful is because writing apparently helps improve retention, and because I don’t need to open an app on a device to take notes. I can just open my notebook and start writing.

Bringing those notes into a digital editor seems to remove some of the benefit of writing in the first place. Or perhaps a better way to think about this is to see it as a sort of post-processing stage where you take your raw notes, and finish them off in some way.

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Business and work Mindsets Writing

Are handwritten notes better than typed?

I like to think that I am more digital than analogue but, in recent years, I have started returning to handwritten notes as my preferred note-taking medium. I like plain text and use it for almost all my writing (at least as my “source text”). At the same time, my yellow pad and pen works so much better for me when I want to think through something or I’m in a meeting.

An article in Lifehacker titled “The Benefits of Writing by Hand Versus Typing” reminded me about this discussion about whether handwritten notes are better than doing it all digitally? I’ve read a number of articles that even go so far as to say that a stylus on a tablet still doesn’t match an ink pen on paper. Of course, now that I’ve just typed that, I can’t find the articles I read confirming that.

The Lifehacker article includes a really long infographic from the National Pen Company (so, yes, they have a preference) which is really interesting. Many people wax lyrical about various premium fountain pens. Om Malik, in particular, is a fountain pen fanatic and I like his perspective on writing with fountain pens:

On writing with fountain pens

My preferred pens tend to be off-the-shelf Pilot G–2 pens which I enjoy using. I have a couple fancier rollerball pens and they are nice to use too.

That said, I am still digital-centric so I usually capture my handwritten notes into Evernote when they are done. The thought of only working on paper with no backup or cross-platform accessibility freaks me out. Paper is great for original capture and brain noodling but that is just the beginning. It almost all becomes digital at some point or it’s subsequent value for me is limited.

Here is that infographic. Let me know what you think?

The Benefits of Handwriting vs Typing - Infographic

Image credit: Pexels

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Business and work Mobile Tech Useful stuff Writing

Trying out the Ozaki Stylus R with my iPad

Styli comparison

I bought an Adonit Jot Pro stylus a while ago to use with my iPad 3 and I struggle writing stuff on my iPad with it. It seems to jump around a bit. It is possible I am not holding it correctly (or something) but I tend not to use it even though I have some awesome apps on my iPad for notes, drawing and brainstorming stuff visually.

I was at a meeting a while ago with a couple agency people and noticed Ramotse Phalatsi (I think it was him) using a fat stylus and asked him how it works for him and he raved about it. It is cheap and you get 3 for the price of 1. I thought I’d check it out and went to the iStore today. I couldn’t remember the brand but I bought the Ozaki Stylus R which I am pretty sure is the one he was using. The stylus comes with 2 replacement tips so you basically do get 3 in 1. The Ozaki costs R199 (I received a discount due to some sort of FNB Business cheque card promo I was unaware of).

I played around with the Ozaki for a few minutes and it is really smooth and seems to work well. It is definitely chunkier than the Jot Pro (I lay the two styli besides a couple pens and a marker for a size comparison below) but it feels good in my hand. I’ve been taking more handwritten notes in a Moleskine notebook I carry in my laptop bag lately mainly because doing that on my iPad has been more frustrating than its worth.

Stylus and pen comparisons

I think fairly visually so my notes include diagrams and handwritten notes that probably don’t make much sense to other people but that works well for me. My process has been to take a photo of those notes afterwards and stick the photos into Evernote for later reference. If the Ozaki works consistently for me, I’ll have the option of doing something similar on my iPad and just moving the images across to Evernote either using Penultimate’s integration or importing images I create with Paper.

The only catch with the Ozaki is, because of its size and shape, you don’t see the point where it makes contact with the screen so really fine work can be tricky until you get a great sense of how it feels in your hand and where it makes contact. It is very possible I am not using the Jot Pro effectively so I’ll keep working on that. For now, though, the Ozaki works pretty well. I’ll see how well it works when I am using it for a longer time period and how accurate it is. At R199, it’s not all that much to spend if you want to try it out and like the size and form factor.