There are some things technology can’t replace. We previously discussed the typewriter, and a good novel in paperback or hardcover format certainly is another. But an often-overlooked “utility” is the PostIt Note. Something that’s been around forever, and no matter how you do it, it can’t be emulated via software for a PC and retain the same purpose and magic touch.
PostIt note’s are an all-in-one answer to almost any brain-storming, visualizing, and jotting things down for later. With a PostIt Note, you can figure out an entire algorithm on a tiny square of yellow paper. Sure, Microsoft Visio may give you more options and actually let fellow programmers understand your flowchart, but it sure isn’t going to work miracles for your creativity.
Imagine if you had to minimize Internet Explorer/Visual Studio/Eclipse/GRAW/Whatever to access the PostIt Note widget on your desktop just to copy something down. Even worse, imagine having to alt-tab through them back and forth because it’s more than just a couple of words you need to copy. You think about that, then you realize just what a blessing PostIt Notes really are. Plus, you can’t really put your domain user name and password on your desktop then access it when your screensaver is locked and asks you for a password – but if you stick the PostIt Note on your monitor…1
You can use a PostIt Note to design an entire SQL Database instead of spending hours adding and deleting lines in a very confusing SQL file – so you can focus on the programming, and not the design on the PC. But most importantly, when you’re looking over your program for bugs, you don’t have time to fire up JIRA (or Bugzilla, if that’s what you use) to file each and every bug as you cross it – you’ll never finish finding them all in time for the deadline. Instead, you just jot it down and then you can key it in later, when you have the time.
If you need to copy down the names of subroutines or functions for quick reference later, or maybe you need to copy down an oft-repeated prototype – but you need to keep something else on your clipboard. Or you can just look at it this way: when your program permanently damages your Linux or Windows, and you really can’t do anything but format, your PostIt Note is safe – and so is your train of thought. Thank God for PostIt Notes – without them, computers wouldn’t be where they are today!2