/ Travel & Leisure

The Lobby: can you rely on a digital diary?


The Lobby is Which? Conversation’s very own virtual coffee shop. In May, the community debated the limitations of digital diaries. So what do you prefer: a digital or paper diary?

Two bank holidays, torrential rain, Lauren’s leaky roof and several hot, sunshine-y days (at last) didn’t distract you from The Lobby this month, where among the many topics being discussed were perception of reality and illusions, birthdays, ransomware and teeth.

Digital diary

When Which? Conversation community member Wavechange was late for an appointment after changing the date but not the time of his meeting, a mini-debate about whether you should rely on electronic calendars to remind you of important dates or stick with an old-fashioned paper diary ensued.

Wavechange said:

‘I still use a page-a-day diary for notes but gave up on a pocket diary and reminders on the calendar when I bought a smartphone a few years ago. The phone provides a reminder of when a parking ticket will expire. Dentists, doctors, etc. send reminders of appointments by text and it helps reduce the number of failed appointments.’

John Ward was in the paper corner:

‘Despite synchronising, too many devices can lead to memory impairment as people tend to rely on them. I only use an old-fashioned book-type diary which, so far, has enabled me to avoid being committed to being in two places at the same time, but I meet a number of people who do seem to have that problem.’

While Ian proved he’d well and truly turned to technology to keep him informed of where he should be and when:

‘I do find the iCloud synchronisation of calendars to be invaluable. Previously, we’d kept everything on a week-to-a-page diary in the kitchen, which worked to centralise all our appointments, but the advantage of iCloud is that once I enter something it appears on every one of our 4 x laptops, 2 x iPhones, 5 x desktops and iMacs and 2 x iPads. It alerts us to appointments two days and one day beforehand and wherever we are we know what each of us is supposed to be doing. Beats carrying the kitchen cupboard around, anyway.’


Warmer weather led to talk of Galileo thermometers (for the record, wavechange’s has 11 balls, while Beryl’s has six) and air conditioning in cars, with John Ward saying:

‘Before aircon in cars, drivers and passengers could open the quarter-lights. Some cars had opening front windscreens [hinged at the top, the lower edge could be pushed forward a few inches]; it was advantageous if the motor car had a large bug-deflector mounted on the bonnet. For younger readers, this was a large perspex arrow-shaped fitment whose wings would either catch or divert the swarms of flies and storms of dust that the speeding vehicle would run into on a hot day [65 m.p.h. flat out with foot hard down on the metal].’

Finally, we’ll leave you with Beryl’s thought (courtesy of Albert Einstein):

‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that created them.’

Want to get something off your chest or discuss it with other community members, but can’t find a relevant convo? Pop into The Lobby, where you’re sure to meet someone to debate the issue with. 😀


These days, I’m quite content to use my smart phone as a digital diary.