This is a problem, don't you know. People often take down notes under time pressure. People also want notes that give them the most information in the quickest way possible. Note-taking is an internal discourse that allows you to connect ideas over long periods of time, and very efficiently. Since I began contributing a couple bug fixes to the open source note-taking program called Tomboy, I've become aware of what kinds of features are most useful for note-takers. This experience has led me to researching note-taking in depth.
I really love Tomboy because it sits right where I spend most of my time: inside my computer. It's simple and intuitive for me, and it's more flexible and compact than writing on paper. For instance, I can link to websites. I can also link to other notes, which I've found is an amazing feature when I want to take notes on multiple academic papers within a particular field...like my note-taking research!
What would make Tomboy better? Well, the main problem is that it lacks free-form control of note formatting and writing. In other words, you use it like a flexible word processor. Being able to "draw" your notes is huge for humans. OK, let's take a step back from drawing. This is clearly beyond the scope of Tomboy, which is supposed to be "simple". How about an implementation of an ad-hoc layout manipulator, in which movements of the mouse determine the shape and position of text on the screen either future, present or past.
Don't quite know what I'm talking about? Well, take a look at the video demonstrating Crayon Physics Deluxe in the next post!