My 3x5 Life

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This is another Hipster PDA report from the front lines. Previous ones are tagged hip­ster­pda.

A month or two ago, I picked up a shirt pocket brief­case from Levenger. It’s basi­cally a leather wal­let and writ­ing sur­face for 3x5 cards. It’s a fancy Hipster PDA vari­ant that’s use­ful for car­ry­ing around to meet­ings with clients. While I still use the ghetto binder-clip ver­sion for all of my own stuff–for that extra street cred, ya’ know–the fancy ver­sion is use­ful for work-related notes (and for keep­ing work at work, iso­lated from the per­sonal Hipster PDA, if that makes sense.)

I noticed that Levenger sells 3x5 file fold­ers that look like your typ­i­cal manilla 8.5x11 fold­ers, but put through the shinkotron. Because I did not feel like fork­ing over the cash and because they are sim­ple enough I made some myself (PDF forth­com­ing, if you’re inter­ested.) This lets me jot down notes dur­ing meet­ings and brain­storms, then group sim­i­lar notes together — like with reg­u­lar paper and reg­u­lar hang­ing file fold­ers, but smaller. It’s also a use­ful long-term stor­age for “back of the paper nap­kin” style notes and dia­grams. I ended up get­ting another cheezy plas­tic recipe-box style box to put them in, but only after spend­ing a week try­ing to find a local place that sells nice wooden boxes of the cor­rect size.

I’ve found a flaw in the Sudoko cards that I designed. The flaw is that the PDF is too accu­rate for con­sumer print­ers. I’m find­ing that most print­ers, when han­dling card­stock, get really finicky about every­thing. Depending on how much paper is in the paper feed and how care­fully you try to feed it through, the results could be as much as a quarter-inch off by the time the printer reaches the other end of the paper. It’s that whole thing about small angles grow­ing to large dif­fer­ences if you fol­low the angle out far enough. Trying to man­u­ally get every­thing to line up each time, then cut things exactly (even with a nice paper cut­ter), is start­ing to be a pain in the butt. I actu­ally talked to a cou­ple of local print houses about hav­ing some­one else do the exact print­work and cut­ting, but over $100 for 500‑1000 cards seems exces­sive to me. As much as I hate to do it, I may just have to shrink down the size of the grid to account for printer inac­cu­ra­cies. Another thought was to have some­one make (or make myself, if there’s a way) a rub­ber stamp to just put the grid on reg­u­lar blank cards, but I have not had much luck in that depart­ment. Most stamp com­pa­nies only want to han­dle text: return mail­ing addresses, check endorse­ments, inspected by #23, and that sort of thing, with maybe a piece of stock cli­part. So shrink­ing the pat­tern might be my only remain­ing option.

Posted in: Dear Diary Work

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