For some reason my mind just races in the shower and I get all kinds of good ideas for blog essays while scrub-a-dub-dubbing in the shower. However, I forget most of them. I try to hang onto at least one idea, so that after I get out of the shower, dry off, get partly dressed, exercise, get completely dressed, eat breakfast and back at the computer, I can write it down. Often even that single idea doesn’t make it to the more permanent memory of my word processor. I really should learn to type in the nude while wet.
As you can see, I’m not the only one with this problem of wanting to take notes in the shower. It seems showering is well known for stimulating ideas for writers. Karen Woodward made a homemade scuba writing tablet with materials from Staples in “How To Write In The Shower.” However, Amazon has a ready made Scuba slate that’s cheaper than Karen’s put together solution. The problem with both solutions is erasing the board. But one of the customer reviews at Amazon suggested a Mr Clean Magic Eraser, which my wife has been buying lately, erases the slate well. Amazon also offers a larger Scuba slate. I ordered the smaller one for $7.78 with free Prime shipping.
The little scuba slate turned out to be good enough for now. Capturing my thoughts usually only takes 2-3 lines, and the small slate, about the size of of a trade paperback, can handle 4-5 notes on each side. I write with water streaming all over me and what I’m writing. Pretty cool. Problem solved.
However, I noticed there were other good solutions, include Aqua Notes, a waterproof notepad specifically designed for the shower. It’s $7.00 plus $3.99 shipping at the site for a 40 page pad, or $10 at Amazon. I’m going to try this next if the slate doesn’t work out in the long run. This solution could get expensive. However it has an advantage over the slate in that you can pull off a page and take it to the computer.
I expect the scuba slate to solve my immediate problem, but I’d like more elaborate permanent solution. I need a system for taking notes all the time, and from any location. My iPod touch has a good voice recorder app called Recorder. I used to own an Olympus digital recorder for dictating notes until I rocked on it with my La-Z-Boy. Digital recorders are great for in the middle of the night note taking, but I wouldn’t want to take one into the shower, or even a steamy bathroom.
But wouldn’t it be cool to have a smart home that constantly listened to me? Or even talked to me? Over the years I’ve seen various science fiction movies where houses had AI butlers built into them. Now wouldn’t that be cool? Of course I might go crazy talking to my house all the time. In the future they might have personal robots that I could chat with and they’d take notes, and be my very own Dr. Watson, but I can’t count on that now.
I created this blog to record my thoughts and called it Auxiliary Memory because I wanted to record my thoughts. I forget too easily, and I’m forgetting more all the time. I often reread my older blog posts amazed at forgetting ever writing them. There is even a movement called lifelogging to record everything a person does in their life, see “Lifelogging 101: How to record your life digitally.”
Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell wrote a book Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything. Bell was a researcher for Microsoft that became the subject of MyLifeBits, an early lifelogging project.
Now, I’m not actually interested in recording my whole life. I want to record ideas. I often write in my head thinking I’ll get up and write it all down later, but I don’t. What I’d really like is a brainstorming recorder. I just searched “brainstorming recording” on Google and got hits. See, everything I think about has already been thought of before. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with these crazy ideas.
Ultimately I’d like a transparent way to record my thoughts, then mind map them with XMind, research and collect additional information and store that research in Evernote, and finally write it all up in an essay. Sooner or later some savvy young inventor will invent an app that does all those things at once.
JWH – 9/26/12