How taking notes in meetings hasn’t evolved over the years

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1987: I sit in a meeting and I have a notepad and a pencil with me and I’m scribbling what ever I can on a piece of paper in the hope I can later read any of this. Later, I sit at my computer and copy all the stuff that’s relevant, that I can read and maybe add one thing or another that didn’t make it on to the piece of paper.

1991: I sit in a meeting and I have a laptop with me. I try to take notes using the keyboard but my typing isn’t fast enough and it disturbs the meeting and I can’t concentrate on what’s being said and what I’m typing.

1995: I sit in a meeting and I have my Newton (MP120) with me. I can scribble on it and it tries to figure out what I’m doing. Some stuff is not identifiable and doodling isn’t working too well either. Later on, I transfer my notes to my desktop/laptop. Life is good.

1999: It’s more or less like 1995, except that the Newton has been replaced with the more powerful MessagePad 2100, the last model Apple has ever made.

2003: Back to the dark ages. I’m now using an HP/Compaq Ipaq. It’s horrible and it’s missing all the great built-in stuff the Newton had. Handwriting recognition is useless. The Newton is no longer an option, since it got axed and there is no longer any support for OS X.

2007: The iPhone arrives, but at this stage, it’s not helping much when it comes to note taking.

2011: The iPad is now around for a year. Scribbling notes is nowhere to be seen. Handwriting recognition – what’s that? Typing notes using the on-screen keyboard is even slower than in 1991. And an external keyboard isn’t the answer either.

2015: I sit in a meeting and I have a notepad and a pencil with me and I’m scribbling what ever I can on a piece of paper in the hope I can later read any of this. Later, I sit at my computer and copy all the stuff that’s relevant, that I can read and maybe add one thing or another that didn’t make it on to the piece of paper. If this sounds familiar, look at 1987. We now have Siri and we can use it for dictation. But that doesn’t work very well in a meeting.

Does it really have to be like this?

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