RE: Engineering notebooks?

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From: Jeff Barr (
Date: Fri Dec 01 2000 - 11:08:53 PST

What I do is to keep a file called "Worklog.txt" for each project
that I undertake. I put notes into this file each day. Sometimes
a little, sometimes a lot. I also keep a record of my time for
billing purposes, and I also keep per-project to-do lists in there.

Some days (like yesterday) I will spend lots of time finding,
installing, and configuring random software packages. I dump the
URLs, command lines, config info and so forth into the file. Later,
when I need to write up a status report or something, I have a decent
record of what I did. The file is also good when I need to
quickly re-establish my context on a project -- I've had dormant
projects suddenly awaken after 6-12 months. I can quickly depersist
the file into my brain to get going again.

Regarding paper notes, I contend that the act of writing the notes
is what creates the memory, at least for me. I take notes but
hardly ever refer to them. But they do help me to focus on the
subject as I am taking them.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Whitehead []
Sent: Friday, December 01, 2000 10:12 AM
To: FoRK
Subject: Engineering notebooks?


I'm curious -- for FoRKs who areinvolved in Engineering of some form
(hardware, software, etc.)what is your opinion on the use/value of
maintaining an engineering lab notebook? I'm about to inherit a software
engineering project class where there is currently a requirement for
maintaining a lab notebook. However, I've never used an engineering project
notebook, and I know relatively few software developers who do.

I personally am more of a pad of paper person, although I have very rarely
gone back into these pads after about, say 3 months. Email archives, on the
other hand, I do consult fairly extensively.

I suppose this quickly gets into the whole issue of personal information
collection and archiving, across all forms of media (magazines, like Nat'l
Geographic, are a good example -- people hold onto these magazines for
years, despite having no good use for them, and the fact every public
library in America has a complete set).

- Jim

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