[nycbug-talk] Diagrams.

Charles Sprickman spork at bway.net
Sun Sep 11 13:24:03 EDT 2011

On Sep 11, 2011, at 12:32 PM, Isaac Levy wrote:

> On Sep 10, 2011, at 6:44 PM, jeff at jeffmau.com wrote:
>> Pen and paper, Ike.
>> Cheers,
>> Jeff
> Ha!  You and I have been having this discussion for like 15 years now Jeff :)
> --
> There's actually a ton of paper in my world too, (all of it gets scanned regularly), plus time alone with a whiteboard and phone-camera are pretty amazing for working through and capturing ideas.
> However, I've come to draw a line where I take it to the computer:

I find it bizarre that in this day and age there is not a simple way to sketch something on a napkin or whiteboard, scan it or take a picture of it, and import it into Visio/OmniGraffle/Dia/whatever.

When you think about most diagrams, the elements are pretty simple - boxes, ovals, clouds, arrows and lines (and text, but I'd rather type that).  OCR has been around for ages.  As a visual person, I find it frustrating that I can't combine the "input method" that I find easiest (drawing on something physical, and NOT a wacom) and import that to a computer for touch-up, labels, and further editing.  I just find doing the initial draft on screen to be really frustrating and counter-intuitive.

The whiteboard + phone camera thing sounds like something I should be finding on smartphone app stores really - take a pic, it gets uploaded and processed server-side and then emailed to you when done.

Sometimes it's really frustrating not being a programmer.


> - Whenever there are many variants/multiples in the diagram
>  - copy/paste is just way faster than drawing
>  - visual libraries can be kept for later re-use
>    (e.g. a server, a service abstract, a design pattern)
> - Whenever there may be many variants of the diagram itself
>  - Design A vs. Design B
>  - Unknown Details from a bigger picture
>    (diagrams quickly help me find weak or ill-understood parts of larger systems)
> - Whenever the subject spans multiple layers, (OSI, Logical/Physical topology, etc...)
>  - the idea of drawing layers saves a profound amount of time
>    (overhead transparency film would be a solution, but...)
> - Whenever the output needs to be shared with others, weather collaborators or outside parties
>  - difficult to get people to address hand-drawn notes, line weights from pen-drawn diagrams are not often legible when displayed from a video projector or even some remote screen resolution I could never have considered.
> Best,
> .ike
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