A big hello to all those who’ve stopped by from lifehacker. Almost had a heart attack when I checked the stats page and realised that over 4,000 people read what I wrote!! Hope at least a few of you find the site useful and stick around to read more.
Categories: Tips and Tricks
Once you’ve spent many hours (or what seems like many hours) in lectures copying down words of wisdom flowing forth from the mouth of your lecturer, it seems a shame for them to be completely unreadable when you later go to review your notes. Here are five ways to make your notes (not just for lectures) more readable. These are written mostly for those of us who handwrite but the fundamentals are useful for computers too.
The minimum requirement for readability is actual, physical readability. There’s no point in spending an hour writing scribble. I’m not saying you have to have perfect handwriting but it must be at least able to be deciphered later on.
I’m a big fan of colour in my lecture notes. Not colour as in a gay pride rainbow of different coloured pens and highlighters (I save that for my reading notes!) but just two colours to add some contrast. Personally I use blue and red. Red for headings, key points, case names and legislation and blue for everything else. This helps to break up the big block of text. If you find two pens too much of a hassle try the four or two colour pens which are avaliable. If blue and red are too boring try a rainbow!
3. Use bold, italics, underlines and CAPITALS
This is easier on the computer but works on paper too. Typefacing techniques can help to make key points easy to read and find.
One of my favourite tricks is the use of square brackets ([ ]). If you get lost, bored or come up with an idea which could win you a Nobel Prize then stick it in square brackets. This works for stuff like “[I’m lost], “[NOTE: reread chapter 4]”, “[See lecture notes for quote]”, “[I don’t get this bit]”. This way your lecture notes will make more sense when you re-read them. This helps to avoid plagiarism too because you can clearly see which are your thoughts and which are others.
I love arrows. Arrows appear copiously in my lecture notes. I use arrows, lines and boxes to show links between ideas and key points.
Hope this helps!
[UPDATE: I still I’m still getting heaps of links to this site from Lifehacker and various other popular internet sites. For those of you who have visited from such sites I’d very much like to welcome you to my blog and invite you to have a look around at the rest of the site. There’s tips and tricks for university/school study and also productivity and other information which is more general. If you’re a fan of lifehacker, 43Folders and other productivity p0rn sites then hopefully there’s stuff here which would be of interest to you.]
After getting very carried away at the start of this little blog (40 or so posts in about two weeks) I’ve now, rather unsurprisingly, discovered that I can’t keep that up. Firstly I have uni, secondly I have a life and thirdly it’s just me here. Because of this I’m going to be posting quite a bit less. Expect one post per day most days of the week with a big post twice a week or so. I would like to write more but I just can’t think of ideas that quickly!!
Categories: fun, stumbles
I stumbled across this new proto-type product on the net the other day and I think it’s just so wonderful that even though it’s not strictly related to student life I have to post it.
The Chumby has been described as a glorified alarm clock and I think that’s the best place to start with a description. It works as an alarm clock but also runs widgets which can gather information from the internet (via wi-fi), play MP3’s, access RSS feeds and e-mail and play flash animations and programs. You control the chumby by a squeeze mechanism hidden within the soft exterior.
According to the official website:
It’s designed to show pictures that your friends send you from their cellphones, and messages from your IM buddies, your blogs and social network sites. It can display your daily horoscope and the weather, and a whole community of artists and animators can send their creations around the chumby network to entertain you.
The best bit, however, is that the people who created it did what I wish more hardware manufacturers would do – create some really cool hardware and make it open so that users, having paid their money, can do what they like with it.
It’s not avaliable yet but they’re expecting a price of under US $150 and from what I’ve seen so far I’ll be picking one up when they become available.
When I first opened Inbox what jumped out at me was the clear and uncluttered display. The second thing was that it is very obviously beta. The third was that it’s a very, very useful application. It’s a bit like a big notebook with spots for saving information, spots for keeping current projects and spots for keeping track of the why – why are you doing this. It’s also got space to record the goals of projects which is a very good way of focusing when starting a project.
I had a quick play on it but it’s really too beta to use as an organisational tool for the moment but it’s certainly shown me the potentials of the GTD system and illustrated what simple software is capable of. I’m hoping the final release will be freeware but I’m not so sure it will be. If it is, however, I’ll be sure to download it and it might even be the first productivity software which has kept me interested for more than fifteen minutes.