Book Review - Maker's Notebook
Ok... this might be the most unusual book review I've ever done. I'm about to review a book consisting of... blank pages. Ah, but what blank pages they are! :) It's the Maker's Notebook by O'Reilly Publishing and the staff at MAKE magazine. I was given this as a gift from a friend, and I don't think she could have given me something that appeals more to me on so many levels.
The Maker's Notebook is designed to be a durable, long-lasting lab notebook for your projects and experimentations. As stated in one of the chemistry books I reviewed, it's imperative that you document your work in such a way that it's reproducible as well as leaving a chain of evidence of what you did to get to the final result. While you can do this with a number of blank notebooks, the Maker's Notebook fills the need in a classy way. It's hardbound, so the durability will be better than something with a light cardboard cover. The pages inside consist of graph paper with room at the top for project/idea, date, notes/signature, and a place to record the starting and ending page(s) of the experiment notes. And since each page is numbered, there's never any question as to whether pages have been removed or not. Beyond those core features, there's a touch of the practical and whimsical. There's a built-in ruler on the inside cover that's handy, and the last dozen or so pages have "important" reference information... common weights and measures (and conversion factors), area codes and international calling codes, common glue bonds, the robot laws and rules, caffeine amounts in common caffeinated drinks, common English to 1337 character substitutions, and so forth. Throw in a ribbon to mark your place, a rubber band to hold the book tight and hold loose items, and stickers to brand pages and/or the cover, and you have a complete tool for documentation. There's even a white space on the edge binding so you can write a title and still read it on a bookshelf!
I'll admit I'm a junkie for these types of things. Clean, empty pages... waiting to be filled... so many promises. In this particular case, I plan on using my notebook to take notes as I learn about my new digital SLR camera. I was convinced even before this arrived that I needed to take notes to become good at photography. Now I have the perfect place to put them.
My guess is that even though this is the first Maker's Notebook I have, it won't be my last...