Hipster PDA

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* [http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/introducing_the.html Introducing the Hipster PDA] * [http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/introducing_the.html Introducing the Hipster PDA]
* [http://www.43folders.com/2005/01/organizing_your.html Organizing Your Hipster PDA] * [http://www.43folders.com/2005/01/organizing_your.html Organizing Your Hipster PDA]
 +== External links ==
* [http://www.technorati.com/tag/hipsterpda Technorati Tags for HipsterPDA] * [http://www.technorati.com/tag/hipsterpda Technorati Tags for HipsterPDA]
* [http://flickr.com/photos/tags/hipsterpda/ Flickr Photos tagged for HipsterPDA] * [http://flickr.com/photos/tags/hipsterpda/ Flickr Photos tagged for HipsterPDA]

Revision as of 02:44, 22 May 2006

Hipster Stage 1
Hipster Stage 1
Hipster Stage 2
Hipster Stage 2
Hipster Stage 3
Hipster Stage 3



The Hipster PDA (Parietal Disgorgement Aid) is a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and “beaming,” and is configurable to an unlimited number of options. Best of all, the Hipster PDA fits into your hip pocket and costs practically nothing to purchase and maintain. -Merlin Mann - Original post: "Introducing the Hipster PDA"


There are a number of benefits to a Hipster PDA over a digital PDA:

  • Cards can be arbitrarily resequenced, given away, and writing by hand is freeform and unrestricted
  • Card size encourages concise notes
  • Can be put into a pocket
  • Won't run out of batteries
  • More durable: won't be destroyed by water, coffee, dropping on floor, etc.
  • Cheaper: cents per card compared to hundreds of dollars...
  • Environmental: Use recycled cards, recycle them when you're done, keep batteries/worn out electronics out of landfills
  • Information doesn't get lost in there; when something's no longer relevant, you throw it away

The Hipster is also cheaper and smaller than the traditional planner, making it easier to carry and easier to keep stocked.

A Hipster even has geek value: when everyone whips out their digital PDA, watch what happens when you whip out your Hipster PDA...

Ingredients and Assembly

  • Small stack of cards (3x5 or business cards are most often used), fifteen or so
  • Binder clip, paper clip, or similar holder
  • Writing utensil

How to assemble it:

  • Clip the cards together

With exam season coming up, lots of shops have sales on and handy tools not around the rest of the year for index card storage and retrieval. In WHSmith (UK) you can get plastic index card sized boxes (hold about 20-30 cards, come in a pack of 4), rings for holding cards and ready punched and bound cards. There are also mini revision card packs (called "crammers" and "flippers") and other stationary goodies.

  • If you use a larger size clip (medium), then you can clip a pen to the Hipster. Put the pen along one side of the cards (assuming portrait orientation), and clip both pen and cards. This puts the clip on the long side of the cards.

Hipster Contents

Part of the beauty of the Hipster PDA is that the same blank card can be used for either capturing or sharing information.

  • Shopping list - groceries, books, movies, etc.
  • Next actions - things you can do when you're away from your work area.
  • Today - quick schedule to keep yourself where you need to be.
  • Research - notes about interesting ideas you run across, to follow up later.
  • Calendar - if you print and fold a single sheet of paper the right way you can keep a readable four-month calendar with your schedule in your Hipster.
  • Travel info - Flight schedules, hotel addresses, confimation numbers, contact phone numbers, etc.
  • Rulers - US Customary and metric.
  • Temperature conversion chart - Fahrenheit <=> Celsius.

Hipster Variants


Oxford Padded Index Cards
Oxford Padded Index Cards

If you like the Hipster PDA, but find yourself constantly fiddling with the clip, pick up a pack of "padded index cards" from Oxford. (They can be found at Staples.) These puppies are tear-off pads of index cards (goodbye clip) and the lines on the cards are portrait not landscape (odd, but compelling for the moment). If you don't want to carry around a big block of cards you can tear off a hunk at a time.

Another alternative to the clip is the Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase.

You can also go to Target and get their $5.95 index card holder from their home office section of the store. Very convenient: one side has corner tabs to hold 1 - 2 cards and the other is a pocket that will hold 5 or more. Fits in pants or coat pocket.

The Ducster

The Ducster is basically a modified duct tape wallet designed for the Hipster PDA and 3x5 cards. There is a complete description on how to make it complete with step by step photos.

Guest Check PDA

  • Recently, server/waiter friends of mine and I have been using Guest Check pads that we take home from work, either accidentally or on purpose, as PDAs in a kind of parallel to the Hipster PDA of 43 Folders fame. Here are some shots of mine: Guest Check PDA photoset. --atduskgreg
  • As another idea along these lines, the guest checks are available with carbon paper in them; this gives you an instant backup of anything and makes "beaming" easier, as you don't lose the document you're beaming. Also, stealing guest checks from a restaraunt can be dangerous, You can purchase them from either Office Depot or Staples.

Hipster Mini

The compact Hipster Mini variant of the Hipster PDA uses business card or flash card blanks instead of full-sized index cards.

  • If you use blank inkjet business card templates—like the ones made by Avery—you might find that your pen will only write on one side of the card. The other side is coated with something that causes normal ink to smear right off.
  • A local print shop may be willing to cut and box business card blanks for you by the thousand, for less money per card than the Avery inkjet sheets.
  • For an "end card", use one of your own printed business cards. This doubles as a way to identify your Hipster if it gets lost.
  • If like me you get issued business cards (usually 500), but don't tend to give many out, and they keep changing the company name, phone number, your job title etc, you'll probably end up with a regular supply of unused obsolete business cards, ideal for your Hipster Mini.
  • Staples carries a "mini-folio" from Wenger that is a perfect size to carry your Hipster Mini. It even includes a writing tablet and a place for a small pen. Perfect place for a Fisher Space Pen.--ACGelwicks 13:33, 13 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Moleskine Hipster

The Moleskine Memo Pocket is just large enough to hold 30-40 index cards (although they're a bit of a squeeze width-wise) plus assorted receipts, Post-Its, business cards, and other scraps of paper. The six pockets allow you to sort your Hipster, and the durable cover keeps your Hipster safe from pocket lint. It's ultra-sexy and portable; ideal for those who love Moleskines but don't really use blank books.

D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition

D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition v3
D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition v3

The D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition is a series of a hundred different organisational, planning and creativity templates designed for printing onto index cards (a.k.a., the Hipster PDA). These are a subset of the regular D*I*Y Planner forms, re-designed for the smaller size, and may be used either in conjunction with the full kit, with a notebook (such as a Moleskine), or especially as a stand-alone system. Although chiefly inspired by David Allen’s Getting Things Done, an emphasis has been placed upon tweakability and multiple methodologies. The package includes covers (including folding ones with envelopes), plenty of calendars and action lists, a GTD reference card, forms for storyboards and plotting, and various project and notes templates. The kit is available in a number of formats for printing and modifying.

  • The two-up version of this set has got to be the best alternative to buying Day-Timer, Day-Runner, or Franklin Covey inserts. Well designed, flexible, and well thought out, the PDF file occupies a corner of importantance on my computer desktop.--ACGelwicks 13:27, 13 Jul 2005 (EDT)

[No they don't - they are much smaller than a 3x5 card. Pete Phillips 8th Oct 2005]

Pierced Edition

HPDA Pierced Edition
HPDA Pierced Edition

The Pierced Edition of the Hipster uses the same 3x5 index cards, but adds a protective plastic cover and a metal ring through the top corner. The cards can be bound up using the regular binder clip or left "semi-looseleaf" without a clip while still keeping the cards together. Pierced Hipster Description and Pierced Hipster: Construction Documentation --LetterJ 16:00, 20 Jul 2005 (CDT)

There are also further pictures of the completed project on Flickr.

Rubber band Edition

Simply wrap your index cards with a rubber band. This is an improvement to the binder clip because it allows you to easily pull out a card without unbinding the whole set. Depending on how tight you wrap the rubber band you can determine how easily you will be able to pull out your index cards.

Two-Fold Edition

After using my hipster for a few months, I realized that I wanted more pages and less bulk, and I was also interested in being able to quickly print out my DIY inserts & templates. My solution: standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper, folded twice (once lengthwise, once width-wise), as many sheets as I want, then trim the bottom edge. Instant loose pages. I tend to lump my paper into 2 or 4 sheet "signatures", which allows me to easily group lined, graph, or sketch paper into chunks. I threw a card-stock cover around it and rotate in sheets as needed.

Slickster Edition

To add a touch of class, use a vintage money clip instead of the triangle clip. Looks a little slicker, clips just as well. Combine this with a nice, classy pen, and you have an upscale 'Slickster.'

Checkster Edition

Uses a vinyl checkbook cover with clear insert. The cards are visible, protected and accessible, and when the cover is closed, a Pilot G-2 gel pen clips nicely in the fold.

Lanyard Edition (Neckster)

If you happen to attend trade conventions and have amassed a large collection of nifty, corporation-stamped lanyards (or if you are Billy Collins' mother), you can combine two great tastes by attaching your hipster to a lanyard and affixing the combined contraption to your neck. This will allow you to take your PDA anywhere and everywhere while avoiding/exacerbating all the unsightly item bulges that so frequently mar today's slim, flat front pantaloons. In addition, the Neckster provides a much needed NYPD Blue flair to most outfits.

Hipster PDA templates using Scribus

I have made some Hipster templates available along with the Scribus source at http://ccgi.philfam.co.uk/wordpress/2005/10/08/7. They include a music manuscript card, a two column next actions card and a TV/Radio scheduling card. They are all based on the design of the awesome D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition (see above).

XL Edition

If you have the space to hold it, try using 4x6 cards instead of 3x5. It gives you more space, and if you use templates like in DIY Planner If you have sloppy handwriting, big hands, or just want more per page, use bigger cards.

Hipster Accessories

I have started to add so many index cards to my Hipster PDA that I needed a place to put them when I didn't need them any longer. I looked for an easy way to file them, then I realized that I could just throw them on a cork board. I didn't want small crappy cork board squares, so I looked online, and found that people are selling cork board by the roll. You can pick up a roll as long as you want and its only US$2.40 a square foot.

Sites offering cork board:

  • Manton Cork
    • Under 100 feet: $2.40 per square foot
    • Over 100 feet: $1.90 per square foot
    • Comes in three and four feet high versions
  • Flex-A-Chart - also sells colored cork board
  • CorkStore.Com
  • BangorCork - also sells colored cork board

An alternative to accumulating a mass of index cards is to use the hipster as a data acquisition device, transferring cards into an intermediate storage area such as a small index card "inbox" bin, and then finally, periodically off-loading the data in the "inbox" bin via SCANNER and OCR (optical character recognition) software! This system would allow you to eventually transfer all data into a desktop personal management environment such as the freely available Palm Desktop or even Microsoft Outlook for organization and archiving.

This method benefits from all the advantages of something like logitech's io2 digital pen but sidesteps the necessity and (constant) expense of the special Anoto paper (the patented paper contains a special grid of fine dots that tells the pen where it is on the page - made necessary by the necessarily simple, low sample rate scanner electronics embedded in the pen head).

You might be out of luck with this method if you write in prescription-worthy cursive. But if you write in ultra-legible block letters like i do, this will be perfect for you.

Avenues for further exploration in this section would include links to the best scanners for auto-feed scanning index cards, best/cheapest/free OCR software, as well as attractive "inbox" bins.

See Also

External links

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