Tools and artifacts

December 13, 2013

I finally replaced my iPad last night having given up on the original being found.   I was still in a quandary between the iPad Air and iPad mini right up to the point of purchase but settled on the mini.  With a month or so of using the Macbook Air I was happy that it was light enough and small enough to not give any significant advantage to an iPad.  When I had the 17″ macBook pro the situation was different.  So I worked out that the mini could fit in a pocket and would be fine for day trips to London or quick hops to Europe for presentations.  

I used it today for the first time and I'm really pleased with it, and the snazzy red cover (which looks orange given artificial light in the photograph).  I've realised that I am moving away from black at the moment!   The screen is brilliant (or will be when I get my varifocals) and the keyboard no problem.  So my trip to Amsterdam next week will allow me to travel light.  At the same time it will not replace my small moleskin notebook in its leather cover with three fine drawing pens (black, red & green ink).  I've found that those pens force me to write, and draw more neatly.  The only downside is the need to ensure that each pen is full or empty of ink before getting on a plane, but that is no great burden.

So I now have a series of artefacts that are a part and parcel of my life and I couldn't help contrasting my approach with that of my good friend Euan who is working with fewer and fewer devices.  Like Euan I use my iPhone for navigation on the hills, but I also carry one of two cameras and use a satnav to get there.  Euan uses he iPhone for all.  I prefer specialist artefacts so I now have the following set up:

  1. The Macbook Air which is small enough for economy class airline seats and is good enough for what I need to do when travelling.  The only limitation has been the screen size if I want to watch the iPlayer while clearing email but I can now use the iPad for that.
  2. The Thunderbolt screen to which I connect the Air at home which gives me a massive workspace for when I am doing more detailed work.
  3. The iPhone which goes everywhere and handles so many functions that I don't know what I did without it.
  4. The iPad mini which gets used for emails, presentations, iPlayer etc. etc when travelling and is good enough for short trips.
  5. The notebook and drawing pens which allow me to keep notes, sketch out process maps and so on including keeping a record of all phone calls and meetings.   I can also snap a page with the iPhone or iPad and put it into evernote so I have a record.
  6. The Garmin Sat Nav which goes with me to the US and has more than saved the investment in both navigation ease and additional hire fees.
  7. The Nikon 7000 which is the highest quality camera I have owned and which I love, but it is sometimes to large and also vulnerable to wet and dirt so I also have the …
  8. The Sony Cybershot RX100M2 (I got the latest model in Portland yesterday) which is almost as good quality and is light and easy to carry on trips and long walks.

Of course all of that works with the iCloud in various and many ways so no matter what artefact I use I am always linked or connected to material created on the others.   Thinking back a couple of decades I carried a pager and dictated memos to a secretary.  Life has changed.

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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