Did I write that? Cool! | Cypress Semiconductor
Did I write that? Cool!
Here is my confession: my memory is great and terrible. Not in the way the Russian tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich was great and terrible (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_IV_of_Russia for more on Ivan the Terrible). My memory is simply great in that I can store and categorize vast amounts of sometimes trivial information (did you know Alan Parsons engineered the Beatle's Abbey Road album?) and it is terrible in that once stored I often lose details about the data, such as who said what at what meeting on what date. When I am asked the same question twice with some time between the askings, it is likely my answers are not identical. And don't come back to me and say "Remember what you told me last week?" because I will definitely not, not without some contextual prompting.
I went through one of these inverse deja vu experiences this week, after an editor sent me a copy of an article of mine they are publishing, titled "Creating Embedded Systems with Changing Requirements". I originally pitched this article over a year ago, and finished my writing of it probably 9 months ago. But when I reviewed it today as a final editing step before publishing, I had a hard time remembering writing all of these exact words. Certainly there wasn't anything I couldn't have written, but unlike a song, one doesn't re-recite an article over and over to reinforce it. Another way to say this, given the exact same outline and figures 6 months apart, I would write two very different articles.
So what? The reason I share this is that I have recently accepted the terribleness of my memory and the need in today's environment to be able to recall not just what, but when and with whom something is said or agreed upon. We work today in such a group-driven way, and the groups are meeting often through email across many time zones, and not everyone always gets the same context. So I have become a strong proponent of detailing my work in a notebook/diary form.
Mind you, proponent and proficient are not the same thing. I realize the huge benefit of detailed notes, but also know that for me, when I am writing about what was just said, I am not listening to what is being said. So I have to balance what I write and when I do it in my notebook with participating actively in the meeting discussion. Taking notes is somewhat easier when I travel to meet with customers where they speak another language. Those meetings provide more opportunities to put you head down and scribble down a few phrases, while a local language discussion is under way.
But in just the course of writing this I have also realized that since so much happens outside meetings, through email and conversations, my notebook diary approach is still flawed. I guess I really need to keep it open all the time, jotting references and notes and dates and names whether the exchange is in email or phone or the hallway. Another challenge in moving from proponent to proficient. Wonder if there is an automated way to do this?
Last year I heard about an automated memory system called SenseCam, which essentially records everything that goes on. The company Vicon is trying to commercialize it (read more here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/dear-diary-i-did-what/833). There is a motion detector and a camera and it essentially takes short snap shots of your life as it happens. Can't remember if you get the audio associated with the snaps.The target audience is alzheimer's sufferers, and the notion is that reviewing pictures of past events, where the past is even the last hour, improves recall. This product is an interesting beginning, and I do feel as we are bombarded more each day, something along this line will need to be incorporated in our everyday life.
I just hope it has a great online help manual :)