Netninja site changes: Hipster PDA & Code


I have talked about my relationship with the Hipster PDA for years.  It is a sort of love/hate thing.  I find that the basics are invaluable.  I really love all the beautiful little templates and forms that people have made for the 3″ x 5″ form factor.  Alas, I find that most — if not all — of those templates are all but useless to me.  A blank page has so much potential.  ANYTHING you can think of (well, that fits between the margins) can go on there.  Once you start adding fill-in lines and check boxes and calendars and whatnot, its utility becomes less generalized and more specific.  You suddenly have to carry around blank index cards, blank Form X cards, blank Form Y cards, blank Form Z cards, and whatnot.  Uh-oh, I ran out of todo-list forms.  I guess I can’t do anything until I print out more.

That being said, I am going to get all hypocritical and mention the forms I have created for myself.  They work for me, they may not work for you.  Before I do that, though, I am going to mention the changes to

Yesterday’s Changes

Yesterday, when adding several new Hipster PDA templates to the site, I realized that one giant page with all the templates had become a less-than-ideal way of presenting them.  I rearranged things (thank you, WordPress as a content management system!) so that a top-level index led you to the individual PDF sheets.  In doing this, I also realized that the “Projects” section of my site is exclusively related to code I have written — except for the Hipster PDA “project,” which is, effectively, a bunch of PDF forms to print.  I decided to promote those to a new top-level navigation hierarchy.  If you are reading this on the site (as opposed to in your RSS newsreader), you will see the new “Hipster PDA” tab up top.

I also tweaked the front page of to better call out interesting and popular projects.  Previously, it was a dynamic list of recently updated project pages, but in looking through my logs I realized that few people care that the crude JavaScript-Minesweeper prototype was updated recently if that causes more popular things like LJProxy, wmap, or the Hipster PDA pages to drop off the list.

The New Hipster PDA Section Introduction

The following is the introduction to the new top-level Hipster PDA section of  It covers what I mentioned above, but in a little more detail.

Over the years, I have been a big fan of productivity tools. Back in the day, I would drool over the variety of dayrunner folders and their page inserts. Later, it was productivity software. After that, systems and frameworks and gimmicks and whatnot. I kind of stopped when I hit the “Hipster PDA.” Admittedly, I did not immediately stop there. I played with all the templates, especially the D*I*Y Planner templates. There is so much potential, so much hope, in those templates. I fell in love with the idea of those templates, but discovered most of them were just not as useful or flexible as a blank index card. As cool as they are, I had to give up most of those templates.

I discovered that, for me, there are two main types of Hipster PDA index cards that are useful. Your mileage may vary, but for me, there are two:

  1. The blank card. Okay, technically, I prefer the graph paper index cards from Levenger because I’m a nerdy engineer, but most people would consider these “blank.”
  2. The pre-printed reference card. There are times when I want to have something on-hand to look up at a moment’s notice. And I really do mean a moment’s notice — not take out the iPhone, turn it on, enter the lock code, launch Evernote, search for the note I’m looking for, then open it.

The blank card is just that. There is no system or template that can help there. The pre-printed reference card is mainly customized to me and my life, but might be useful to others — or at the very least, may serve as inspiration. For instance, I have one for work as a reference for things like model numbers and programming constants that is of little interest outside the workplace. I have a pre-printed shopping list where I can just tick off the things I need; the items are specific to me and my life but others may find them useful. The style, with different items, could work for others.

The New Templates

You will have to hit up the Hipster PDA template listing to view all templates, old and new.  Yesterday’s newly added templates include:

Scrabble Cheat Sheet

thumbnailThe Scrabble Cheat Sheet is a reference of high-scoring and unique words in Scrabble. This includes Q-without-U, words with large numbers of consonants, and large numbers of vowels.

Portland Map

thumbnailThis is the first revision of a not-quite-to-scale downtown Portland map with the bus routes and stops that I am primarily interested in. It served well over Christmas, in that I could mark down the locations of stores I rarely frequent. I know the locations I typically go to and their proximity to bus stops, but needed a good memory-jog for those rarely-visited locations.

Title Page

thumbnailThe Title Page is a quick reference of my contact information as well as a phone list for important numbers. It serves three purposes. First, I never remember my own phone number, so it’s nice to have it available at a glance. Second, if my phone (where I keep all of my phone numbers) breaks and I need to call someone for help from another phone, I have important numbers. Third, if I’m found unconscious in a ditch, the authorities can see who to call.

Posted in: Code

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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