With all the tools available in the form of software, I still always have pencil and paper at my desk. Nothing can beat this tool yet and I don't think nothing will. The existence of softwares would only specialize it's positioning but I don't think it will threaten it's existence.
Here's the task that pencil and paper that I find still unbeatable :
- In coding, you deal with screen, taking occasional notes in physical form instead of fully in screen help to "refresh" perspective occasionally.
- Instant noodling, take scrap notes. I use freemind heavily for tracking what I am currenlty doing but when things got really hot, the speed of entering things to it cannot keep up with my head. The physical note-taking can keep up with flow of the mind really well.
- Braindump. Even in the not-too-hot situation, pencil and paper still shine in the brainstorming-style writing. For large-scope brainstorming, I sometime do mixing : Mindmap applications or outliner as a main media with papers for more chaotic, instant thoughts.
- Drawing your thoughts. Just try to draw your thoughts in Visio, good luck with that.
It's funny. People who do papers all day need software to help them. On the other hand, I think those who work on software should utilize paper more to help them finish it better/faster.