Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun


Free Cornell Note Forms for American Digest Readers


UPDATE: Take Note: School's in Session -- First published in 2005, this item seems to get linked to various student sites whenever the colleges come back into session. So here it is again as part of our public service.

Taking better notes requires having better tools. Of all the various note taking systems I've used over the years, the best, by far, is "The Cornell Note Taking System" which was created by Walter Pauk, an emeritus professor at Cornell.

Deceptively simple, the Cornell System supplies an armature that both organizes notes and encourages review and summarization. I use it for reading, research, and for planning and organizing projects from the simple to the complex.

As an added advantage, I find that rigorous use of the Cornell system also aids and improves memory.

For a long time, I've used the templates here as the basis of notes. When I run low, I just have my laser printed spew out a few dozen. Having a pre-printed form for notes creates, I've discovered, better notes in the long run -- and it makes them more useful when you need to refer to them.

I'm making my templates available for free on the Web today in downloadable PDF format. You can use them as you wish and distribute them as you will. All I ask is that you pass them along as is.

The three files are:
1)    CornellNoteSystem.pdf <--- (40kb)     This is the classic explanation how the note forms are used and in what order complete with graphic examples. This is essential if the system is to work for you. If you post these forms on another site, make sure this file is always included, otherwise the forms won't make immediate sense to the user.

2)     CornellNotesPlain.pdf <--- (16kb)    The Cornell Note System formatted for printing on blank paper. US Letter Size. Make sure to select "Fit to Page" from the Adobe Reader Print Menu.

3)     CornellNotesGraph.pdf <--- (16kb)    The same structure but with a light 1/4" graph background for those who like some structure behind the structure. US Letter Size. Make sure to select "Fit to Page" from the Adobe Reader Print Menu.

That's it. And, take note, the gift must move. Pass them on.

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 1, 2016 2:13 PM |  Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Scissors / Hands

The Putter who puts scissors together at Ernest Wright and Son Ltd Scissors.

[HT: The ever admirable A Continuous Lean.]

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 29, 2014 12:29 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
iPod Faw Down and Go Boom


Is that an iPod in your pocket or are you just spontaneously combusting? Seven-Month Investigation Turns up 15 Incidents of Fiery iPods @

Backgrounder with documents: Here's the details that prove "It's not the flaming iPod, it's the cover-up." Apple Downplays Fiery iPod Incidents @ KIRO Seattle

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 22, 2009 12:07 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
New Tricks @ Google Books: Taking Cut&Paste to New Levels


One of the often overlooked transformative projects at Google is "Google Books." Over the past years, with ever-increasing momentum, books new and old have been digitized by Google and made searchable.

Today, the team at Google Books unveiled a number of new enhancements to this service: [Inside Google Book Search: New Features on Google Books] Chief among them is an ability to embed text selections or whole books within other pages with the same level of simplicity as the embedding of a YouTube video.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 18, 2009 12:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Tools for Fools: " We'll sell you a cure for a problem of our making in the first place."

Magnetic Paintbrush Holder - Lee Valley Tools

We never learn that what you see is not always what you get. A few days ago Dinosaurs and Robots highlighted some "Handy Painting Tools from Lee Valley" as, "a pair of clever painting tools made an impression on me while perusing the Lee Valley Tools Catalog." The item made an impression on me too, so, thinking to be "helpful" I pushed it along to the master craftsman, in wood as well as words, at one of my favorite pages, Sippican Cottage.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 24, 2008 8:01 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The "Not Insane" To-Do List

"There is no multi-tasking. There is only the monkey mind jabbering so fast it seems like multi-tasking." *

CHIEF AMONG THE RESOLUTIONS about to be made will be the one in which "we here highly resolve" to get more stuff done. "Productivity" has become a pagan idol and it's cult is GTD -- or "Getting Things Done." Merlin Mann @ 43 Folders is the high priest of this cult and David Allen is his prophet.

As Bokonon says in Cat's Cradle, "Busy, busy, busy."

But putter not, I am here to "restore you to life."

As you know, we all have far too much to do. But the only reason this is so is because of the proliferation of productivity tools that respond to our insane lust to be "productive." Driving this insanity is the To-Do list which is, being limitless, is unlimited in its ability to drive us insane.

It's time to stop the To-List insanity. To just say no to To-Do.

Toss all you've previous To-Do Listing Systems you've got out -- paper and/or electronic -- and convert to this new, improved certifiably not-insane system.

Click to enlarge

Prints out on 3x5 cards suitable for your Hipster PDA

A PDF file suitable for printing is located RIGHT HERE.

Don't say I never do anything to increase your sanity, because I just did.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 26, 2007 1:13 PM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Let Us Now Praise Famous Hosters


THIS IS GOING TO BE OF INTEREST mainly to those who blog or those who would blog, but bear with me since "attention must be paid."

Even with the smaller blogs such as mine the key to daily peace of mind is your hosting service. There are lots of these and I've been with a few. One service was, it turned out, a nest of vipers and spammers so devious they took a turn inserting a snippet of html into every page they hosted that pointed back to one of their own businesses -- a kind of auto-spam that their customers paid for. When caught they claimed that a consultant made them do it, but they were cheesy and sleazy and were soon on to other odious practices.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 4, 2005 10:22 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Tagging Up: Buzzmeme of the Moment This Month

Cluetrainer David Weinberger of Joho the Blog asked for some help on a presentation he gave last night. It concerned the Web's Next-Big-Thing-Right-Now, tags. Yup, tags. Social software. Folksonomies. Tag this, tag that. Be Get Furled. Tag for Technorati. The Tag is the piping hot buzzmeme of the moment. Tag, you're it.

Weinberger asks: "....then I go into tags. And it all falls apart exactly where it needs to get interesting: Beyond making things easier to find, what are the likely/possible social effects of tags?"

I found this request too late to help, but it set me to thinking. Here are some random thoughts on the life-cycle of tags.

Given the speed at which tags are catchng on, there's a chance they will just burn themselves out in a reasonably shot time, or at the least fade into the deeper armature of the web. Jumble Tag Sales are a distinct possibility.

As for tag spam, I've already seen spam just last night, so this will probably proliferate until tag spam killers come along. The overwhelming of with porn tags will tell you when this happens. Tag Spammers (Excuse me, "Tag Optimizers") vs. BlackTagListers, coming right up.

As to the overarching online effect of tags, that's already clear: Beyond the use as a kind of online anywhere bookmarks function, the greater social function of tags is as attention aggregators. Tagging attracts tags, and tags attract tagging. After a certain point a critical mass is reached and the page pointed to assumes a kind of stasis on the popular page. Its scroll rate becomes vastly slower than the main page's scroll rate. That's why the "recently" element on is so important. is already the main GoTo page for seeing what's hot on the web. css Zen Garden: The Beauty in CSS Design, 43 Folders, and Flickr! have been living there for months.

I look for a zeitgiest page or tool any time now. In fact, the sheer fact that I expect one means there probably already is one. One enterprising soul has written a bookmarklet that pops open tagging pages for, Furl, Frassle, Connotea, and Bag of Urls. [ Delicious Furled Tea Bookmarklet Maker ]. I guess that's for people who just can't have enough backups.

The other distinct possibility is that pages on become so popular that they inhabit that zone for extremely long periods of time. There will probably be a need for some kind of timer so that they will spool off.

Of course, a flashmob could, it seems to me, spoof the popular page for a long, long time.

"Flashmobs?" Weren't they the hot buzzmeme of the moment just a moment ago?

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 2, 2005 9:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Mac is Born

The Macintosh turned 21 this week, but what was it like on the day it was born? Now you can see it in

The Lost 1984 Mac Video

hosted at

"Never seen video footage of the introduction of the Macintosh in January 1984 was published for the first time on the Internet today. Renowned Mac user Scott Knaster kept that Betamax video tape for 21 years, and German media agency TextLab has unearthed this only surviving video tape of the launch."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 26, 2005 7:31 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Philosophy for Those With ADD

Squashed Philosophers- Condensed Plato Aristotle Augustine Descartes Hume Marx Freud Copernicus Hobbes Sartre Ayer Sade Wittgenstein Einstein

Glyn Hughes' Squashed Philosophers: The books which defined the way The West thinks now. Condensed and abridged to keep the substance, the style and the quotes, but ditching all that irritating verbiage.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 23, 2005 8:39 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Very Large Display Array

From an interview with Mary Czerwinski, enior Researcher and Group Manager of VIBE [Visualization and Interaction Research Group] in at Microsoft Research.ACM: Ubiquity

UBIQUITY: What are we talking about when we say "large displays"?

CZERWINSKI: Let's just imagine in the future that you have your walls around your office as your displays, or at least as additional display surfaces. So instead of actually having piles of papers on your desk, you might actually have — literally might have a visual design of piles of windows on your displays around you. And you may have a very large display like let's say a 42-inch or a 50-inch screen in front of you that you're working on, you know, as more of a personal workspace. But then you'll use your walls as additional display space so you can lay everything out, keeping it visible, so you can monitor what's going on in those separate tasks if you will. In contrast, you'll be working very closely and personally with information on your desktop.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 22, 2005 9:34 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
For those Annoying Traffic Jams


Okay, you've got every other vehicle in creation, right? Well, now its time for a JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank for a mere $19, 999.95.

  • Carries cargo or a crew of up to five internally or on the roof.
  • Piloted from within the armored shell or from an exposed standing position through the hatch.
  • 6hp Tecumseh gasoline engine, top speed 40 mph.
  • Includes head/tail and turn signal lights, trim and underbody lighting.
  • 400 watt premium sound with PA system, plush interior, and external camera.

Item Weight: 1100.00 pounds.
Shipping Weight: 1300.00 pounds.
Dimensions: 114.00 inches x 53.00 inches x 55.00 inches

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 18, 2005 7:35 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The iPods of the Ancients

upod.jpg  Tik_tefilim.jpg

Today, the iPod -- the portable MP3 player that can store thousands of downloaded songs -- is our modern musical phylactery. Like those little boxes containing scripture, which Orthodox Jewish men wear on the left arm and forehead during prayers, the iPod has become a nearly sacred symbol of status in certain communities. Introduced only three years ago by Apple computer, the iPod is marketed as the technology of the disconnected individual, rocking out to his headphones, lost in his own world. In certain cities, however, the distinctive white iPod headphones have become so common that one disgusted blogger called them oppressive. "White headphone wearers on the streets of Manhattan nod at each other in solidarity, like members of a tribe or a secret society."
-- From the fascinating Age of Egocasting by Christine Rosen @ The New Atlantis.
Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 17, 2005 12:10 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
When ALL.ALL Was All

Boggling the mind once again, Google now offers access to 800 million Usenet messages:20 Year Archive on Google Groups.

"Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981. This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account. "

They also provide a fascinating timeline of the rise and renaming and rise and flaming spamout of Usenet. The oldest message asks,

is ALL an acceptable newsgroup on the left side of the dot such that ALL.ALL will catch everything?
-- Oldest Usenet Message Mon May 11 09:00:58 1981

Eight... Hundred... Million... Usenet... Messages? I'm sure future scholarship will reveal that half of them were signed by Kibo and the other half written by mnemonic.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 10, 2005 12:09 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink

For the designer in your soul or for the not-so-designer in your soul, Essential Fonts For Designers | 300 Free Truetype Fonts You Should Have is performing a fine service for all.

Nicely organized. Mac and PC.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 7, 2005 5:19 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Site Note: Get the Fox and Win a Gmail Account

Get Firefox!

Chances are about three out of five that you are reading this site with Internet Explorer.

Well, stop it. Get and install Firefox immediately via the button above. It will change your browsing world for the better. And. It. Is. Free.

The benefits to switching to Firefox and dumping Explorer are myriad. Add an extension and bye-bye popup ads, for instance. If you are using IE now and you think about the time you are going to spend in the next week just clicking pop-ups closed, the time spent downloading and installing Firefox is a huge savings in effort and aggravation.

A month ago, the percentage of readers of AD using Firefox was 12%. Today is is over 23%. What do these savvy readers know that you've been putting off?

No more excuses.
Get Firefox!
"Just do it."

Note: A free gmail account to the first six commenters who swear they've downloaded and installed Firefox. If you've got a Gmail account, do it anyway.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 5, 2005 11:12 AM |  Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink's 800 Numbers

A RECURRING PUBLIC SERVICE OF AMERICAN DIGEST especially now that the Christmas Return Everything Season is now upon us and you can sneak them out using your company's mail room.

Clip this, print this, PDA this, memorize this.Sooner or later you're going to need it.

1.800.201.7575 (Toll free, US and Canada)
1.206.346.2992 or (Outside US and Canada)
1.877.586.3230 (Canada only)

Last year, an old friend called wrapped in a tsunami of rage and frustration. He is a heavy Amazon abuser and gotten himself into some sort of high-impact Amazon email ground loop. He needed a human with a voice. But of course Amazon doesn't really believe in this. He had searched for hours on the web site and informed me that he was sitting in his tub, had poured gasoline on himself, and was going to light his last votive candle if I couldn't give him the number. Luckily for him and his neighbors, I did.

Not everyone will be so fortunate. So, don't call me. Use the numbers above. At least until the volume of calls increases and Amazon changes the number to something unlisted.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 3, 2005 3:58 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink


Heidi of Coudal Partners came up with this snappy little solution to dealing with obnoxious cell phone users. The .pdf includes several different versions of a card that you can print, cut out and hand to cell yellers. Brought to you by SHHH! The Society for HandHeld Hushing.

(Via Cool Hunting.)

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 18, 2004 8:09 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
GoogleWorld: Google to Own Your Desktop. Short Microsoft.

With the huge momentum and capital built up by Google in the past year, it's only natural to wonder what's next. Many say, with the advent of Google Desktop Search (We note in passing that Google has no time for the Macs of the World), the Google Browser. But really, isn't that just so 1990s? Browser wars? Been there, done that, have the T-Shirt and the stop-loss forms. So, the real question is "Just what does Google want?"

The answer isn't long in coming. Google wants the world and it wants it ... if not now, by and by. D. Weinberger at Joho seems to be on the case with: Google browser browses the world. He looks at some recent purchases and releases from Google and states google+google=world. What would this item from Google ultimately look like?

It would not be a Web browser. It'd be a world browser. It would find pages on the Web, of course, but it'd also find the ones on my desktop (Google desktop). It would know about my email (Gmail). It would know that my own photos are categorically different from all the other jpgs on the planet (Picasa). It would let me browse the physical earth (Keyhole) and show on a map the documents that talk about any particular place (Keyhole Google Local).

And it wouldn't be just a browser. It would let me work with the information I've found: Manage my photos (Picasa), manage my desktop files, translate documents (Google Languages), shop...

If that's what Google's aiming at, they need a file manager (no big deal) and would probably want to have a e-wallet and maybe a digital ID offering (Whoogle? currently owned by AK PRadeep in Berkeley).

The result would replace current browsers but wouldn't look much like them. You'd do so much of your daily work in it it that it would feel more like a desktop...

...which is where it gets really interesting.

Desktop? But isn't that real estate pretty much owned by Redmond? I wonder why Steve Balmer at Microsoft is spending his time spamming, ranting and railing at Open Source. Seems to me that the Microsoft Oasis is being slowly surrounded by sneaky little seach agents with gleaming scimtars clenched in their geeky little teeth. Then again, Microsoft has a habit of batting last.

Yes, this is where it gets really interesting....

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 28, 2004 9:35 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Way of NoteTakerEctoBlogging

Say it three times swiftly: "NoteTakerEctoBloggingNoteTakerEctoBloggingNoteTakerEctoBlogging"

KEVIN SHERIDAN goes to the top of my list for living treasures of the internet with his masterful tutorial on blogging via NoteTaker and Ecto:

But what if blogging could be pursued with a virtual notebook? A notebook that has the power to clip and save items from the Internet? A notebook that allows content searchs of itself? A notebook that could be structured to mirror the organiztion of the user's weblog? A notebook with entries that are transformed into blog postings with the click of a mouse?

-- Notetaker Blogging

If you're working with a Mac, Sheridan's tutorial plus AquaMinds' NoteTaker - Product (best Mac Note Software Ever) and the brilliant Ecto , will change your life. It may even enable you to get one.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 10, 2004 3:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
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