But it was mostly about software, and even when I didn’t find my “best” software solution yet, I would like ask to about general practices/workflows and especially - hardware.
In my case, I found myself quite often needing to write down some sort of unrelated thoughts flow which could be important in the future. If you’re working on a desktop, the solution might be simple - install a global hotkey which launches your software of choice regardless of scope with new document, write your stream of consciousness down, get back to work, done.
I am not always at my desktop, recently started to be more “offline” which has some nice outcomes but not this. And when I don’t somehow bookmark my ideas, searches, reminders or something else in a quick manner, I might lost it. Sometimes that comes back after few hours/days but it’s not guaranteed. For some people that might sound like memory issues, but I’m pretty much sure about lot of neurodivergent/ADD/ASD/ADHD people here will feel me right now. Even more when I add the fact that event of “losing” the trail of information is clearly noticeable and irritates me very often.
The key is minimizing time to store / cache information on reliable storage medium to recall it later.
So, we get to the point. Which hardware combo should you use to dump your information stream?
You might of course think about smartphones, and for majority that would be correct. Just make a shortcut on homescreen with your notes app of choice, or even direct intent/deeplink to create new one. But it doesn’t do much for me - I don’t like typing on smartphones, my hands are big and touch keyboards don’t work with me so well. Mix that with the fact I’m not using English exclusively and while my native language has Latin alphabet it also has its own set of diacritics and suggestions/autocorrect isn’t so well calibrated. Plus the whole flow isn’t so smooth, I often find touch keyboards adding a considerable input lag compared to my desktop, even on top notch smartphones.
Another option would be a paper + OCR. That’s also nice and wins on many levels including no need for battery power. But my handwriting isn’t OCRable at all and due to being left-handed it’s a little too hard to change that. I was thinking about iPad Mini + Apple Pencil, but the ecosystem of “notebook” apps with handwriting recognition is so messy I don’t even know where to start. And while few of these support my language, it’s still a very rough experience.
I was also thinking about “some device with keyboard” as a last resort. That might be actually convincing, but there’s almost zero new handhelds with keyboard in 2020s. Tablets are nice and work well, but not when you want to pull the thing out of your pocked, spawn the editor and type stuff without looking too weird and distracting, all of that in less than 10 seconds.
At the point of desperation I was even considering getting an old-school clamshell device like HP Jornada, Sharp Zaurus or similar. These would be nice, many of them can run Linux and I don’t care about online sync as long as I could dock them at home once a day to exchange data in old-school “sync” fashion. But I’m concerned about their reliability after 20+ years, the time between waking from sleep and being ready to type as well as general battery life. Maybe getting Nokia Communicator would be okay since it also could double as a company phone, but I recall Symbian taking its sweet time at application startup. In the distant past there were also electronic organizers/databanks but these were very slow, had very little memory, zero way of import/export data (or some rudimentary, obscure one) and I actually remember typing on one which slowed down when I was trying to write few paragraphs into a single note. However, such thing with 2023 technology would rock - that’s not a market advice, though.
Anyway, my quest is still not yet solved, but I carried myself away a bit here - I would like to hear about your experiences, how do you approach the note taking / brain dumping or is that even a problem for you? I don’t expect solving my specific case, but maybe I could learn a thing or two from people in comments.