A Man with a Plan to Scan (Whenever He Can)

You may have seen the blog entry containing a transcription of my notes from the Geek Girl Ottawa dinner, but have you seen the handwritten originals?

Scan of my handwritten notes from Geek Girl Dinner Ottawa, page 1

One of the items that came in the Bag O’ Stuff that I was given on my first day at Shopify was a Moleskine notebook and a Sacchi ballpoint pen. I have reasonably good penmanship and was once better known as a cartoonist than a programmer or accordion player, so I thought I’d put both to good use.

I know that in the age of laptops, iPads, Flip cameras and tweeting from your phone, taking notes with pen and paper seems a little passe, However, the old way still has a couple of advantages. First, you can be a little more free-form with where and how you write — you don’t have to do things is straight lines, and you can easily switch between writing and drawing and mix test and illustrations with abandon. Second, and possibly more important: paper isn’t as badly affected by crumbs or a spilled sauce or drink as electronic devices are, a consideration one must make when taking notes at a dinner.

Scan of my handwritten notes from Geek Girl Dinner Ottawa, page 2

At the end of 2009, I had a couple of coupons from Dell (thanks to TechDays) that entitled me to 25% off monitors, printers and scanners from their store. I used one coupon for their 24″ Ultrasharp monitor, which I’ve been using regularly at my home office since the start of 2010 — first with the developer machine first assigned to me, then the Dellasaurus, and now with “Vic Romano”, my Shopify-provided 15″ MacBook Pro (my machines are currently named after the hosts of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge).

Scan of my handwritten notes from Geek Girl Dinner Ottawa, page 3

I used the other coupon to get something I’d been meaning to buy for a while: a scanner. Not a cheap one integrated into one of those all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax machines chimeras, but an honest-to-goodness, dedicated flatbed scanner. I picked out the Epson Perfection 4490 Photo scanner. Unlike the monitor, the scanner languished unused, with its moving parts still immobilized in its packing material, until a month ago.

My plan was to return to cartooning, something I’d done for just about every student paper during my days in high school and Crazy Go Nuts University. I wasn’t going to go as far as posting webcomics, but perhaps I’d use comics as part of my blog entries. I fancied myself a less surreal, more saucy version of why the lucky stiff.

Scan of my handwritten notes from Geek Girl Dinner Ottawa, page 4

Like much of 2010, that plan didn’t quite work out. All that was prologue for 2011, which has been about throwing away old plans for new ones. Inspired by a brush with death and a couple of strange events in February that I like to call “The Battles in Seattle” (one personal, one professional, both unbloggable but tellable over drinks), I left  a comfortable and lucrative job at home for a startup and relocated, if only temporarily, to a town where I know only a few people and even less about where anything is.

So in that spirit of change, when the time came to pack my stuff for the move, I took the scanner with me, along with some sketchpads that had been lying fallow even longer than the scanner. I removed the last of the packing materials and hooked it up this evening. There was no better candidate item to scan than my Geek Girl Dinner Ottawa notes in my Moleskine.

Scan of my handwritten notes from Geek Girl Dinner Ottawa, page 5

So expect more scans of my handwritten notes, along with hand-drawn illustrations and comics in my blog posts. I hope you find them interesting.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Scenes from the Windows 7 Hardware Media Event / Appearing Tonight on InnerSPACE

Here are some photos I took at Monday’s Windows 7 media event showing off the latest Windows 7-compatible computers from six vendors:

The participating vendors were:

  • Dell
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Lenovo
  • LG
  • Sony
  • Toshiba

The whole day was a non-stop demo from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with journalists both mainstream and tech, associated with an organization or independent, print and television, streaming in constantly to get a look at Windows 7 in action on all sorts of hardware. I was there as the "Microsoft Guy" to answer questions about Windows 7 in general; the vendors each sent a rep to talk up their specific hardware.

innerspace I did some demos that will find their way to television soon: one demo for CTV News which should air next week. I also did a demo for the Space channel’s always-entertaining Ajay Fry which will be appearing on Space’s show InnerSPACE (formerly known as The Circuit) tonight at 11 p.m. (Eastern); it’ll repeat tomorrow at noon (Eastern). Alas, there is no accordion playing, but I think I did a pretty good demo of some of the cool multi-touch possibilities with Windows 7. I don’t know if you’ll be watching it, but I certainly will!

My thanks to our friends at High Road Communications and the vendors for making the event both a success and very enjoyable.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection and The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Apple’s Notebook Event: Tuesday, October 14th

Apple announcement: "The spotlight turns to notebooks"

I guess the graphic makes it official: Apple will be announcing new notebook computers on Tuesday, October 14th at 10:00 a.m. Pacific (1:00 p.m. Eastern). I guess we’ll find out:

This should be interesting…