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By Carol de Giere

Use the other kind of flash card to gain knowledge and improve behavior

To most Palmtop users "flash card" means a memory storage device that fits in the Palmtop's PCMCIA card slot. But "flash cards" are also used in school to memorize facts. Self-improvement enthusiasts use them to upgrade their behavior and sales professionals flip through cards to become more familiar with the products they sell.

The principle is simple. Put the name of the word you're trying to memorize or the fact you're trying to learn on one side of the card, and the definition on the other. Flip through your cards over and over again until you've got it.

The goal of both types of flash cards is the same put useful information in non-volatile memory.


Traditional flash cards work, but who wants to carry around decks of cards on the off chance you might squeeze in some time to do a little memorization. Fortunately there's a software program that turns your Palmtop into a portable flash card file.

Flash Cards (FLASH.ZIP), a freeware program by Timothy McArthur, lets you create a deck of up to 20 cards. You specify both the front and back of each card, with a maximum of about 35 characters. After you've entered the text for your cards, the program creates your deck. It displays cards in random order. To flip the "card" and view "the other side," press (F).

DBLearn (DBlearn2.ZIP) is a freeware program to help you learn the contents of any HP 100LX database. If you load foreign language vocabulary or other material in a database, DBLearn randomly asks you words and records how many times you answer correctly.

Another approach is to use the built-in NoteTaker program to simulate flash cards on the Palmtop.

American inventor, statesman and author of Poor Richard's Almanac, Benjamin Franklin, worked consciously on developing his character by selecting 13 character traits to study and focusing on one trait per day. If he'd lived today he could have used NoteTaker to develop character flash cards.

Franklin's flash cards might list a character trait on one side of the card and a proverb or quotation relating to or exemplifying the character trait on the back of the card. Let's create a NoteTaker "card deck" for Franklin.

Open NoteTaker and press (F6) and (F2) to define a new Subset. Enter "Character" in the category field (leave title and notes section blank). Press (F10) and give your new Subset a name (call it "Character"). Press (F10) to save the definition and (F10) again to select the Character Subset.

Then begin creating your character flash cards. Press (F2) (Add) and enter Title, Category, and Note. For example, enter "Silence" as the Title, "A wise man has long ears and a short tongue" in the Notes field, and "Character" in the Category field. Here are a few other examples:

Title Note

Alertness Let your mind keep open house.

Resolution Be resolved and the thing is done.

Calmness "Keep cool. Anger is not an argument." Noah Webster Friendship "You cannot shake hands with a fist." Indira Gandhi

Now you need to configure NoteTaker to act like a deck of flash cards. Make sure the Character Subset is selected. Next, remove the Notes and Category fields from the main display. Press (F8) (Columns), tab the cursor over to the Note field and press (F3) (Delete). (The Note field still exists, it just won't show up on your index screen.) Do the same for the Category field and press (F10) (Done). HP 200LX users need to press (CTRL)-(D) to remove the NoteTaker card display from the screen.

What remains is the list of character traits. Now Franklin would be ready to test his memory. Looking down the list he could highlight the desired character trait, pause to recall the appropriate saying, and press (ENTER) to view the proverb or quotation on the Palmtop screen. If he had an HP 200LX he could press (CTRL)-(D) to display a card showing the proverb.


You can use this flash card technique to gain knowledge in a variety of areas, including: sports facts, foreign or technical language vocabulary, information and key benefits associated with products, Palmtop procedures and keys to press, employee training, principles of faith and related scriptural passages, public speaking ideas ( catchy opening; phrases that can bail you out of problem situations), and more.

iPhone Life magazine

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