Family time at Taipei and my notebook choices

Makzan’s Dispatch 2020 Week 4

This week I was in Taipei with my wife and two sons. They are 4 and 1.5 years old. Bringing children to trip is challenging. We bring both baby stroller and hip seat carrier. This ensures that when both are sleeping, we can still move around the city. Or when we buy lots of things, the stroller can be our shopping cart.

Overall, it was a success trip that we executed all our plans. We visited local night markets for delicious foods. We visited children-oriented playgrounds and science education center. We bought books at Eslite book store and underground street. We also refilled notebooks and pens at MUJI.

Customizing notebooks at MUJI.

I still write a lot with my pens. As an IT guy and programmer who built my own digital collection system, I still believe in analog writing. The writing process is a reflection to myself every day. It is kind of diary but divided into 3 stages: 

  1. Planning the day in the morning

  2. Fragment notes during the day

  3. Reflection at the end of the day

For the notebooks, I switched between different brands. They have different purposes for different scenarios.

MUJI 5mm squared 30 pages notebooks that I carry in my back pocket every day. It is one notebook per month. Mainly diary there but there are also creative drawings and ideas.

Baron Fig Vanguard dotted softcover notebook for meeting notes at office. Putting all meeting notes in specific set of notebooks helps me to have a single point of backup for those meeting notes. I scanned all meeting notes right after meeting so I have a digital copy anyway.

Leuchtturm 1917 dotted grid, in medium or large size, was my every day notebooks until I switched to MUJI. Leuchtturm 1917 replaced my Moleskine normal notebooks usage. For anything that doesn’t fit into my 30 pages MUJI notebook, I put it on this notebook.

The Moleskine two-go is the go-to notebook for event-based note-taking. For example, I use it at WorldSkills to record the whole two-week journal. Indeed, I use one for preparation stage and one for competition week. The two-go is not as thick as Leuchtturm 1917 so it is easier to carry around during the trip at WorldSkills. The blank left side and lined right side allows me to both sketch and write for the same topic. That encourages thinking, planning, drawing and recording information at the same notebook. Often I finish around 85% of the notebook after the event and I can have few extra pages for writing reflection and lesson learnt of the event.

Links worth sharing

Tiny Helpers
https://tiny-helpers.dev/

A collection of free single-purpose online tools for web developers.

CSS Cascade: How browsers resolve competing CSS styles
https://wattenberger.com/blog/css-cascade

Very detail guide on how cascading works. I always ask my students what is the word “Cascading” means in “Cascading Style Sheet”.

Google’s ads just look like search results now
https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2020/1/23/21078343/google-ad-desktop-design-change-favicon-icon-ftc-guidelines

I try my best to avoid Google since they dropped the “Don’t be evil” motto. For email, I use Fastmail; For search, I use DuckDuckGo with its !bang extension.

Optimizing Your Images Didn’t Improve Your Load Time? Here’s Why

https://www.machmetrics.com/speed-blog/optimizing-your-images-didnt-improve-your-load-time-heres-why/

“Good performance is a process, and is more than reducing size.”

The misunderstanding of UX design
https://vanschneider.com/the-misunderstanding-of-ux-design

“UX designers cannot ignore the "design" part of their work. If they do, we might as well just call them user researchers.”

A new Tetris game on App Store
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tetris/id1491074310

I put the Tetris game on my home screen to remind me that life is like Tetris. Time to have a refresh icon. My theme choice is the retro 8-bits.

Code worth sharing

A responsive email input layout in simple Flexbox CSS:



Until next week,
Thomas Mak