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 â€œbeaming,â€ 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...
- Environmentally sound: 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 stationery 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.
- I constructed my hipsterPDA using the rings, and 3x5 pieces cut from the plastic cover, of a Levenger Circa notebook. You need to have one of the Levenger (or Rollabind) punches to make this work, but it makes for a compact, easily carried unit. As a bonus, the Circa binding lets me easily open to any NA list, to a calendar, or to a blank card, and lay the book flat. See photos here. -- TammyCravit)
 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.
- Currency converter - With a temperature converter on the side.
- Easy Sharing/'Beaming' - use old school carbon sheets when writing to 'automatically' create a copy to share or for backup.
- John Norris' Hipster PDA - all sorts of blanks, plus games, maps, reference cards for spelling, measurement, and codes, and even a sundial.
- Circular slide rule for the old-school geek.
 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
- 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.
An especially sleek and professional looking organizational tool for the hipster PDA is the Moleskine Memo Pocket accordian file folder. It's a nice-looking accordian file with six pockets that are the perfect size for index cards. The pockets can be used for various contexts in a GTD system, with the front pocket functioning as an index card "inbox," or the entire thing can be used to file reference information stored on index cards. Extremely portable and useful.
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
- Hipster PDA Hacks
- Hipster Variants
- Index Cards
- Introducing the Hipster PDA
- Organizing Your Hipster PDA
 External links
- Technorati Tags for HipsterPDA
- Flickr Photos tagged for HipsterPDA
- Supplementing with coin envelopes
- Del.icio.us links for HipsterPDA
- pictures of SusanBeth's "Writer Hipster"
- pictures of Douglas Johnston's Hipster PDA Kit
- Blog post and pictures describing Jon Lee's Hipster PDA implementation
- Recommended presents a pierced Hipster with fastener
- A few spartan OpenOffice.org templates