Typed 3 x 5 inch index card. The top title in red ink reads "The Power of Information" with the following quotation: No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them. --- Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum
A lot of discussion in the Zettelkasten space has taken place on the debate between digital and analog with handwriting being the default analog option. Why not split some of the differences and opt for the mechanical typewriter option? Where’s the subreddit for that? It can’t just be me and Umberto Eco, right? 🗃️

A wooden table arranged with a black Smith-Corona Clipper typewriter next to a Shaw-Walker wooden dovetailed card index, some index cards, and a black fountain pen.

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

18 thoughts on “”

  1. @chrisaldrich I was considering a system based on index #cards with date-based ID labels (both QR codes and human-readable) from a label-printer.Periodical “stocktaking” of a #Zettelkasten would have meant to feed its card stack into a #document #scanner, and the output would have been a database that you could query for the box of any given card, plus a snapshot of the current card state. Did not sound robust enough for me, though.

  2. Things handwriting instill that machines don’t:

    Flexibility: larger smaller hand writing to suit volume of text.
    More portable
    Changes to pressure, and pace. Reminder of thinking process and circumstances. ( Good mood, bad mood, being in the flow, etc) Aids memory.
    Quick, integrated diagrams, graph, sketch


    Improvement on messy hand writing
    Sterile layout

  3. @chrisaldrich As much as I adore Eco, wouldn’t this literally be the worst of both worlds? You miss the tactile feedback of using a pen, but also miss all the plusses of a digital PKM.Of course Eco wrote In the name of the Rose the way he did so we would feel what it would be like to live in a convent, so he would be totally ok taking his time…

  4. Pretty much what Eco did and describes in

    Eco, Umberto. (1977) 2015. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. ISBN: 978-0-262-52713-2.

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