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Many people swear by their PDA; they use it for their calendar, diary, address book and store of useful information. Many use their PDA for capturing information on the move - ready to up to their PC at the office or at home. Traditional digital PDAs, however, all suffer from some persistent problems.

They are expensive
Yes, you can get them pretty cheap, but you're still talking about fifty quid and quite possibly many times that figure. For something you're gonna be carrying around with you all the time this can be a problem.
They're fragile
They break if they are dropped from a great height. Yes, some are better than others, but all have a limit to the stress and knocks they can take and I'll bet the Hipster beats any you can name.
They have bugs, and crash and stuff
Just like your home PC; you will experience crashes and lock-ups. You will find problems with the software. You will lose important work.
They use batteries
Batteries are a pain. Always running out just when you need them. You have to decide whether to bring your charger with you (and reduce the portability) or risk not being able to use your device after a few hours. Plus, charging costs money - especially if you want to buy the extras needed to charge in your car.
Problems with communication
You have some information on your PDA you want to give to someone else? Well, you could email it - if you're in range of an expensive wireless point. You could beam it - if your colleague has a PDA too, and they will talk to each other, and neither of you will run out of battery power. You could copy it onto paper by hand and give it to them...
Speed of access
"Oh, where's my PDA. Ah! It's in my jacket pocket. My jacket's on the back of my chair over there. Here we are, OK. I'll just slip off the cover and get out my stylus. Damn! Dropped the bloody thing on the floor. Where is it... ah. Thank you. OK. Now, where's that spreadsheet app. Uh-huh. OK, now that file...." And so on, and so on.

Well, you get the point. There's also the other reason. The one where we're all so surrounded by technology. Caught between our PCs, digital televisions, mobile phones and whatever else; sometimes it's nice to get out a pen and do some actual writing.

The Hipster PDA suffers from precisely none of these problems. Invented by Merlin Man who runs a productivity weblog cantered mainly around David Allen's "Getting Things Done" principles; from his site:

The Hipster PDA (Parietal Disgorgement Aid) is a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and beaming, and is configurable to an unlimited number of options. Best of all, the Hipster PDA fits into your hip pocket and costs practically nothing to purchase and maintain

At the simplest level, it is just a bunch of 3"x5" index cards held together with a binder clip. That's it. You then configure it how you will. Use different coloured cards, use plain, lined and squared. Use some for capturing information, some for keeping lists and some for reminders.

Optional Extras

  • At D*I*Y Planner, you can get free PDF templates to print on your Hipster PDA cards. Phone books, diaries, checklists, notes, planners, and anything else you want to think of is there ready for you. I used these (scaled to A6) for several months before I dumped much of it for a notebook.

  • Experiment with substitutes for the binder clip. Try rubber bands (my personal favourite), or punch a hole in the corner and put it on a key ring. Make a nice hard cover; optionally with a picture on it. Put them in some sort of wallet, like the Ducster - a wallet make from duct tape - or a Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase.

  • Possibly the coolest solution is to slip the cards into a Moleskine Memo Pocket. The six pockets give you categories and the cover protects the whole thing beautifully - not to mention whilst looking cool. Or, just stuff a few cards into the back pocket of a Moleskine pocket notebook (my current system).

  • Get yourself a copy of GTDTiddlyWiki. It's a version of TiddlyWiki - a wiki that runs in your browser - that will print directly to index cards, ready to stuff into your Hipster.

GTDTiddlyWiki Thanks, wertperch.

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