Hacker News might be interested in the active development community around the device: https://github.com/reHackable/awesome-reMarkable
The device is open. It's just an embedded linux device. You can ssh into it, and run arbitrary code. The SDK is based on Qt. You can also connect a keyboard to it over a USB-on-the-go port.
I have been imagining porting a lightweight Qt-based virtual terminal to the device and using it as an e-ink unix terminal. Alas, I have not yet had the cycles to complete this project.
Now I'm not sure what effect this site has on the average customer, and if making it more selling for me would make it less selling for them, but they actually lost me, and after reading your comment I'm seriously likely to pre-order. And it's not about your positive evaluation, of course. So I've got a feeling all these marketing people do advertising wrong somehow.
I think we're simply such a small user-base that they don't think to include it on their landing pages. Most people probably don't care. But since we're on HN, we most likely care to some degree.
Also my experience with using those things is that you would be better off spending the time to learn sheet music because once you get past twinkle twinkle little star, the falling note style videos don't work. You can't keep up with them live and paused they only show you the very short term future.
Having said that, an e-ink reader that could read visual cues would be awesome, but I feel it could be very frustrating unless it was incredibly smart. Maybe some kind of blink gestures might be useful.
Also, eink screens are nice to look at but so expensive for non-kindle sizes.
chucking the ipad because of that is like chucking the baby out with the bathwater because the bathwater got cold. The baby still has value. you just replace the water.
I found it super helpful, and I believe it's based on technology originally developed for teaching guitar.
Not sure if it's open for programming your own songs in or not, and much of the library is behind a paywall.
And even if I'm mistaken and none of this matters, well, after all a sale is a sale.
They have been on HN a lot, and one of the founders posted here on some of the threads. My understanding is that they couldn't reach all of the openness they were hoping for, and in recent times they've taken VC money and (I predict) that will affect version 2 negatively for hacker types.
I recommend the Youtube channel "My Deep Guide", he uses Remarkable long term as a normal person (not trying to hack it) and has done several video reviews over the years about firmware changes, what he likes and dislikes; it's not a "great device thanks for the freebie, like and subscribe" hype channel, it's thoughtful and detailed: e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1B04TSL2cY (Looks like he's just done reviews of Remarkable version 2, I'll have to watch)
I have a sense that "lack of restrictiveness" is not something most users prioritize, as witnessed by Apple's phenomenal success. My daily driver is Linux (I've used Kubuntu for over a decade) yet I own Apple devices and am rarely bothered by things being locked down because for the most part, the constraints are tastefully picked (well based on my aesthetic they are -- others may disagree).
I watch MKBHD reviews regularly and it's not lost on me that Android phones for instance are so much more cutting edge and unrestricted relative to Apple devices. (I've owned Android devices in the past and have to admit they're objectively better in many ways -- Google apps for instance are more responsive and have more features than their iOS counterparts).
But I still find myself preferring the iPhone experience because everything feels right.
p.s. I ordered a reMarkable 2 earlier this year, but canceled my order because I decided that an iPad Pro (for consumption) + fountain pen/paper (for scribbling) fit my habits better. No knock on the reMarkable -- from all the YouTube reviews I've seen, it seems like a solid device.
It's just that from a social perspective, it's unlikely I'd use a reMarkable in a meeting room. It's still a touch too tech-y and liable to make others feel I'm not paying attention/being present (a sentiment which somehow pen-and-paper don't convey -- folks are ok with me jotting down notes with pen and paper. Don't know why. It's weirdly psychological.)
p.p.s. it sounds like reMarkable might gain a few extra orders by including "dev-friendliness" as a benefit. Why not add it to the marketing material? (I remember when Apple laptops were marketed to creatives, but the dev crowd -- who weren't being marketed to -- jumped on board when OS X became the main OS).
I'd call it groupthink but your assessment is probably fairer.
Maybe because everybody had the experience of taking notes at school, university, work meetings. And everybody spent time googling and chatting on their digital devices when they should not.
"All your work is instantly synced to the cloud"
Ugh. Nope nope nope.
But now maybe sounds like I could turn that off and just rsync the files to my Debian tower.
That is more win.
Yes, I can confirm this. I have never connected my device to wifi. I backup my notes to my home server using rsync.
I mean rsync via USB (but over ssh protocol - the USB mounts as a network device, rather than as a disk drive).
> Or can you rsync by WiFi without allowing it to send requests to their services?
I have never connected the device to wifi, so I don't know about this.
I think I'm missing out on features I don't care about, like OCR and emailing docs to people, but it's well worth it.
Shouldn't be too hard to figure out what it's communicating over the network, then put together a server to match that and do useful things with it.
When I'm elsewhere it can continue to not have the passwords to anyone else's wifi.
For those with more expansive threat models, intentional dvice or network spoofing or cloning might bebrisks.
Since firewalling is performd off-device (on the home-LAN router), this will resut in an unsecured evice.
My preference would be for some on-device configured networking limits. Putting full reliance in fixed-site infrastructure migh be unpleasantly surprising.
That's assuming the device doesn't use straight IP addresses for whatever it's communicating with. That's possible, but pretty unlikely.
Again my point is that relying on off-device, local-netork hardware and configs is brittle.
It's opt-in, FWIW, it doesn't work unless you log in to a ReMarkable account and you can just store everything locally. It has ~6GB of usable space (8GB but 1-2GB reserved by OS)
And if you mod it, it looks like you can fairly trivially handle the syncing yourself: https://github.com/verbavolant/reMarkable-autosync
Us 'hackers' have the dual detriment of being cheap people and demanding on company resources. It's just more profitable to focus on the larger client base.
That said, it may work well if they launch their own software sharing platform.
I have a feeling the HN crowd is a rather unusual one :)
High-quality normal user experience and a good power-user experience luckily aren't mutually exclusive at all (just appear together much too rarely).
I'm in the second batch and because of delays, I won't get it until early October (they claim) but it's the hackability that sold me on it, rather than anything else. I have an 11" iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and a 2018 Kindle Oasis (second-gen is I guess the parlance), so I don't actually need something like this, but I want it.
That said, I don't think they are marketing it wrong at all -- they might just not be marketing it to all potential audiences. This is definitely an enthusiast device with a niche audience -- people that want really a really good drawing/writing experience that is as similar to paper as possible. There are a number or e-Ink devices similar to this and most run Android, which has the advantage of opening it up to more consumer apps (Kindle, Kobo Reader, etc) but also tends to lead to a less ideal writing/drawing experience.
Some of the people who really want that pen on paper experience are like you and I and are really intrigued by the open nature/hackability of the device but the vast majority really want something simple and task focused. If you look at the Reddit for the reMarkable and the community around YouTube/Facebook/etc, although there are plenty of people who are hacking on it, that's not the core audience at all. In fact, the original reMarkable was criticized a bit for not being intuitive enough, even though the ink performance was always excellent. Even now, the biggest complaints are about the lack of features (primarily an e-reader), even though this is very much a uni-task device.
Small companies like this have limited marketing budgets so I don't think going after hacker enthusiast types at first is the right move -- especially when the people willing to spend $500 on an e-Ink notebook in the age of the iPad is fairly small. That said, I hope that the marketing can expand to the DIY/hacker crowd more after the rM2 is released because I do think that could attract some additional users and also help contribute to the ecosystem.
I understand what you mean but it makes me uncomfortable.
> there are plenty of people who are hacking on it.
https://github.com/reHackable/awesome-reMarkable Has many great examples indeed.
I was remembering mostly as binary patches on the UI components and it seems that it developed further, with source project on GitHub...
I feel a lot more comfortable with this kind of community than with Android mods, which always felt like colourful forum posts Over git, binary packages over source and leet speak over documentation.
In the mean time, no one has come with a way to export Apple iOS notes to markdown + images.
It has no capability to be used as an e-reader? eg ePub's, etc.
Ouch. That outright kills the idea of this for me. :(
All a business needs to be successful is a good product, and word of mouth. Advertising gets people to buy stuff they don't need. Instead companies scrimp on the product and spend more on advertising. The sooner society finds a way to clothe, house and feed everyone the better all of us and our planet will be.
They could add all of that, though thatd be disrupting their intended Apple-like presentation of the product.
If I'd seen the "open-source" pitch it might have enticed me to stay onboard.
Aug 28, 2020, 3:44 PM GMT+2
Users can gain root access to the device by using SSH, so the device is open for developing your own software.
The GPL and LGPL version 3 requires us to give users access to their own devices. It's part of the anti-tivoization clauses in the licenses.
A lot of our software is open-source. You'll find a lot of our open source code here: https://github.com/reMarkable/. If you're interested in developing for the reMarkable, a good place to start would be on here https://remarkable.engineering/deploy/.
Note that we do not currently provide any support for SSH related issues. Accessing the device and making changes through SSH is at the customers own risk.
Some of the projects on https://github.com/reHackable talk about having to be re-installed after upgrades, and other unfriendly vendor behaviour (e.g. https://github.com/reHackable/scripts/wiki/webui_invincibili...), which is slightly worrying, it'd be more assuring if they had better support for 3rd party software, or at least just a webpage saying "yes you can install 3rd party software, but note that it's not preserved over upgrades". The company I work for also sells a linux box, allows 3PS, and does have such a web page. Such a webpage might also cater to all the other people here commenting that their marketing dept is ignoring us.
Also, their GUI/DE is closed so there's no (easy) way to extend it with nice functionality. In my opinion the software was the bad part about that device that lead to a really bad experience with that device.
The hardware was great though. Wasn't super fast but it was light, felt good. I was very excited when I first took it out of the box.
They did a lot of great stuff with the ReMarkable but unfortunately it felt a lot closer to the semi-open Android than the Linux on my desktop.
The device is exposed over USB as a composite device, consisting of a virtual Ethernet port and a virtual serial port. Network communications may happen over that link, as well as SSH/SCP'ing files.
It also supports USB OTG, so one could plug in a libre-compatible Wi-Fi card and use that.
But Onyx definitely has a much wider variety of E Ink devices that's for sure.
Hadn't heard of this. Can you provide some references? A quick DDG search didn't turn up anything.
Feel free to tell them here:
Continually impressed with this company.
I could, however, see them building out a 'developer community'-focused microsite. But I wouldn't expect them to put anything related to that on their homepage, as it would likely be confusing and irrelevant to their target audience.
- Is the ReMarkable capable of running an open source OS behind the hood? Is it a hacker-friendly piece of hardware in case ReMarkable runs out of business in the future?
I was thinking about getting the ReMarkable 2 if only because my Kindle's display is too small. For ebooks it's okay but I do would like to be able to use an eink reader for sheet music as well.
You go to amazon.com/myk, switch to the Content tab, three dots next to the book, Download & transfer via USB. You then drag-and-drop them into Calibre with this add-on set up: https://github.com/apprenticeharper/DeDRM_tools
There's some initial setup required to get your decryption key (easy if you have their e-reader — just enter the key you'll find in device info, slightly complicated if you don't), but once that's done, the friction for decrypting ebooks is pretty negligible.
You'll have to convert them to epub or PDF to be able to read them on ReMarkable, but that's as easy as right-clicking a book within Calibre and choosing "convert".
Most of the other ebook decrypters are basically slapping some interface on top of this Calibre plugin and hiding it behind a paywall.
There is a significant omission here. Converting Epub to PDF doesn't necessarily yield a good quality.
As a matter of fact, at some point I was so annoyed by the relatively nondeterministially poor quality (I stress "relatively"), that now, every time I purchase something from the Kindle store, I download and use the pirated PDF version, which is never worse than the Calibre output (I guess pirates actually use Calibre and tweak the process per-book).
It's very annoying to highlight a converted ebook, and find 80 pages into it, that the conversion cut text lines/diagrams in half.
Is this ever true! I use three different workflows for converting ePub to PDF, and then look through each one and pick the one that converted best for that particular book. Generally speaking, the default Calibre conversion is almost always the weakest.
I've taken to using calibre or similar programs to output the epub as a pdf (with my preferred sytle at RM screen dimensions). I've also bulk cropped pdf's to the RM screen size instead of using the built in crop feature.
My principle need for a tablet has always been ebook consumption. The ebook readers on Linux I've seen all look like hot garbage. Sure, Calibre allows you to manage massive ebook collections. Now let me have a book experience that doesn't look like 1999.
It has an integrated reader as well I think but I never tried, I heard it's not great.
To my knowledge there is no tool that does both. Nor, better, that also includes the purchase and download steps at Amazon.
I personally have automation for all 3 individually but have not wired them together. I think there is a nice little business awaiting someone who does that.
For example, I'm bound to a specific PDF reader that has a very powerful annotations system. The last time I checked Epub readers, there was nothing that satisfied my requirements.
A couple of additional notes:
- the downside of reflowing is that you may not be able to take annotations that require absolute positioning
- for almost all the PDF books I've read (books; magazines are a different story, but that won't work with Epub anyway), a 3:2 10" tablet is enough; if the text is not large enough, good PDF readers can mass-crop the pages. Of course, there are ugly exceptions - books that have a different text positioning on odd and even pages (I hate them).
I don't imply it's best suited for everybody, that's the reason why I didn't specify the name.
Yes, the most common one is Calibre, which is also great for converting formats and bulk operations. There is a "DeDRM Plugin" for it on GitHub that does what you're asking.
> Is the ReMarkable capable of running an open source OS behind the hood?
Yes, and there has been some success with this including Parabola-rM. However, there seems to be no open driver for the radio chipset (so no WiFi!).
If this is something where I know I can get good integration with Emacs/Org-mode on my desktop (letting me insert diagrams on the fly into org-mode files, making one searchable interface between handwritten notes and typed notes, etc), I'd be very tempted to preorder right now. Especially if the handwriting recognition stuff they have is something I could hook around.
Yes, the notes just live on the filesystem. You can fetch them using scp or rsync. They are in a proprietary file format, but they are not encrypted, and I think there are some open source projects on github that let you view them on your desktop.
> Especially if the handwriting recognition stuff they have is something I could hook around.
I think the handwriting stuff lives on their cloud and is proprietary, so I have never tried it.
Emacs in '-nw' mode uses mostly black/white, with external keyboard via USB OTG.
The (L)GPLv2 requires offering physical copies of the source, so the required information is in a printed notice in the box (on the first tablet).
(L)GPLv3, which e. g. Qt is under, allows for only distributing the source digitally.
The full list of licenses for all pieces of software are on the device as well, and the SSH information is available as a part of the license page (explaining how the (L)GPLv3 requires companies to give access to the devices/anti-tivoization).
The (L)GPL requirement seems to be also fulfilled with https://remarkable.engineering/deploy/copyleft_sources/ apparently (the github repos are probably just more convenient for them).
The problem with this project was the lack of a affordable e-ink display with a decent refresh rate.
Would love to see a real terminal on the ReMarkable. A terminal + vim + usb keyboard would be the perfect distaction-free writing tool.
Having an outdoor-friendly typewriter where text is saved seamlessly would be awesome for focused writing. I did my best to make it easy on a phone+keyboard+kindle (with SolarWriter https://msolomon.github.io/solarwriter-website/ ), but the Remarkable is so so close to the ideal experience—it just needs keyboard support.
> Would love to see a real terminal on the ReMarkable. A terminal + vim + usb keyboard would be the perfect distaction-free writing tool.
I agree: e-ink display + terminal + vim + mechanical keyboard would make me very happy.
someone seems to have ported a terminal already https://github.com/dixonary/fingerterm-reMarkable
My main complaints are that it's not encrypted at rest, and the only way to use cloud features are to go through reMarkable's cloud (and you can't host a private instance). Makes it really hard to get approved in an enterprise environment.
I currently use one with a brydge ipad keyboard which fits quite well.
I use a Barnes & Noble e-ink Nook (Kindle competitor) to run AnkiDroid . I have tried to use some note-taking Android apps on the device, but they all had horrible feedback due to the very slow CPU and very limited memory of the device.
Is it possible to run either an Android app (AnkiDroid) or a Qt/Python Linux application (Anki) on the ReMarkable 2? If so, I would happily buy such a device.
“Appreciate the kind words and support. We are working to improve our products based on the feedback from our customers. If you are still wondering about SSH support for reMarkable 2, the answer is yes, the reMarkable 2 will have SSH access, just like reMarkable 1.”
Not same as guaranteeing the same level of openness, but it is indicative and promising at the very least.
You absolutely could homebrew a touchscreen ePaper "slate" with a similar broad set of features, but much like the Libre laptops (Purism, Novena, etc.) it's going to be slow, power-hungry, and chunky compared to a complete consumer device like the reMarkable.
> I have been imagining porting a lightweight Qt-based virtual terminal to the device and using it as an e-ink unix terminal. Alas, I have not yet had the cycles to complete this project.
That would be really cool! I pre-ordered a RM2 (my 1st such device) and am in the November cohort... if you make time for said terminal, I'd love to know about it.
Do you know of any RSS or saved articles sync? I use Feedly right now. Would love to save Reader Mode versions of long form to read/annotate. Right now I print them but…a lot of paper.
Do you find that bothers you, or can you just hold it like a notebook?
The reading experience on the remarkable is however not as feature rich as eink tablets that label themselves as 'ebook readers' but otherwise I think it's fine. I primarily use mine to draw and write notes, which it does very well but I also read.
That's all I needed to hear. Preordered.
Would also be great as an extra screen for e.g. man pages while you are working on your main screen.
15cm, 800x600, 8M RAM, 4M flash, wifi/btle, usb/sdio/i2c, 3 capacitive-touch buttons, battery charger, microSD slot, GPIO pins, and is programmable in microPython. Three-bit greyscale pixels.
(I don't have one.)
Everything is just files in there. The notes formats are proprietary, but there's tools out there for them.
Is that component opensource?
I don't want to buy an expensive hackable pad of paper that I then have to fight the manufacturer to keep hackable.
I'm fed up of tech that stops me owning it properly so that idiots can be saved from their ignorance.
I'm waiting for v3. Let's see what happens then.
It's in no way comparable to a some other devices (mentioned on HN too) where e.g. manufacturer actually cares about it. I agree it's technically better than "locked down bootloader with few chances of ever being unlocked" like some newer devices are, just not "miles better".
Plus the fact that it does run GNU/Linux rather than Android makes it more hacker-friendly out of box, at least for some types of hackers.
what sort of devices?
Although, I think a lot of their operating system is open source and on their github page (linux kernel and uboot configuration): https://github.com/reMarkable
Their Qt-based shell software, xochitl, is not open source.
> Wi-Fi connection and log-in is required
> You need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network and logged in to a reMarkable account (my.remarkable.com) in order to use the handwriting conversion feature.
I also copied my plugins (Goyo for focus, etc) and config from my linux box.
Full review: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsSI9-gaSSmiXwb7Vjk5V...
I ultimately passed on the device for a few reasons:
1. The RM1 and 2 both don't allow file transfers as a mass storage device. If you want local, non cloud based transfer, you need to use a flaky local web UI that hasn't been improved in years
2. The internal storage still hasn't been updated from 8 (6 usable) GB. This is an obvious attempt to sell cloud storage in the future
3. While the hardware is amazing the software moves at a snail's pace. This is either management holding development back by trying to simplify the device out of existence or the team simply lacks the resources or ability to improve it
4. There has been almost no attempt to improve reader functionality in years. Things as simple as font resizing are 30x slower than on a Kindle
5. It seems obvious to me that management doesn't understand the target audience for the device
In the FAQ at https://remarkable.com/store/remarkable-2:
> reMarkable 2 features USB-C for faster charging and data transfer.
Even if this does not mean that mass storage is or will be supported officially, maybe unofficial support could be added using the Linux Kernel's USB Gadget API g_mass_storage as a module. More info:
https://remarkable.engineering/ -- toolchain here
To be fair it looks like a pretty small team (7 people listed with 2-3 actively developing) so I doubt it is management. More likely not a priority right now, limited resources, or in the too hard basket.
There is this repo in their Github org:
Looks like the CTO had a crack at implementing mass storage in v1
This is the only other method I've found: https://github.com/nick8325/remarkable-fs
You'd think scp would work also but I haven't found info on the subject and I don't own the RM1 to try.
edit: found someone's scp script: https://github.com/reHackable/scripts/blob/master/host/repus...
The changelog is public so you can see the rate of development if you're interested: https://support.remarkable.com/hc/en-us/articles/11500546010...
I get it isn't possible from an end user point of view to connect as mass storage. But I wonder if it might be possible with the hardware after modifications to the kernel configuration.
> If you're considering the RM2 for anything other than a sketch/note pad
It is marketed as a sketch/note pad and that's about it. The e-reader feature is like the youtube functionality on a Switch. It's there because "lolwhynot" and little more.
I have one and I really love mine. But all I wanted was a digital notebook. If I wanted more than that I would have gotten a Surface tablet or an Ipad Pro. It's definitely expensive for what it is, but it's not really marketed as a mass market device either.
I personally disagree with this. I almost bought one because I wanted a good notebook and a lot of notes I write these days is specifically related to ebooks and pdf documentation that I work against. I almost ordered one after seeing this post.
However, from the review it appears like this will be impossible to annotate documents with. I want to be able to highlight text on an epub (like I can on my kindle) and write notes to reference later about that section. I want to draw some diagrams as I'm reading the book to make sure I'm understanding code/workflows properly, etc...
I'm not sure why that's so out of the realm for a notebook style device.
It's almost equivalent to being able to write directly on a textbook, however you can export your marked up document as a PDF.
Pretty much by definition people buying e-readers are buying them to read with.
Clearly the Surface/iPad are not comparable to e-screens for that specific purpose and the obvious UX (usability) fail in the Remarkable in that regard means there is still a significant market gap for people who want an e-reader which bridges those two worlds, particularly (for me and many others) reading technical manuals.
It isn't though. It's a note taking device and marketed as such. Heck, when it was released, the e-reader functionality was even more deficient than it is today and barely mentioned. It's a note taking device and marketed as such. They improved the e-reader aspect a lot since then, so now it's kind of usuable as one, sortoff, but it's very much not an e-reader first.
Conceding the point to you though means that there is still clearly a gap for those of us who want to read technical manuals (unless there is a device that somebody can recommend) between the brilliant linear-reading experience of e-readers and the smooth larger screen random-access UX experience of tablets like those you cite.
It's not a constant factor. This is best understood as a bug. Here's what the reviewer demonstrated: If you change the font size, then the interface locks up and you can't do anything, until the backend has generated new page images for the entire PDF—no matter how many pages there are. He showed that, while it was fast for a small document, it locked up for about 50 seconds when resizing the font on The Count of Monte Cristo (a large novel, perhaps 1200 pages). Furthermore, he said that if, during that time, you changed any of the other settings (resizing again, changing line spacing, etc.), it would take another 50 seconds, and another if you pressed two of the buttons, and so on. It is very clear that no QA person (whose reports are heeded) tested out those operations on a decent-sized novel or technical manual. (If they tried Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—not the largest book in the series—then, going by word count, it would have locked up for 20.5 seconds.)
A sane viewer app—one of which the reviewer demonstrated—would redraw the current page, then give control back to the user, while continuing to redraw other pages in the background. It's a bit tricky, because until you render the previous pages at some level, it might not be clear where the page break for the current page would be; but you could choose an arbitrary point, use that temporarily, and eventually correct it when rendering catches up.
The reviewer did show convincingly that the viewer app is very lacking in features or basic polish. (Another example: You can zoom into a page, selecting a smaller section of it to view. However, you cannot drag this view around the page; if you want to see elsewhere on the page at the same magnification, you must undo the zoom, then select a new region to zoom into.) This is odd for an e-ink device, whose homepage has a section titled "An eye-friendly reading experience: Comfortably read PDFs or ebooks for hours on end without backlight, glare, or eye strain."
Wow, thanks, I was very interested in this for marking up documents + notes. I guess I could still use my kindle for most of my reading anyway, but the video gave me the impression the RM2 was very fluid and fast.
If I'm understanding correctly, the screen's responsiveness to input is great, but the UI's responsiveness is not?
• The ReMarkable is primarily like a sheet of paper you can write on (or a paper notepad).
• This "sheet of paper" can also have a background template (like dots, a grid, or an arbitrary image), different for every page. (You can add your own images/templates onto the device with scp and editing a JSON config file.)
• When you read PDFs on it, each page (at your specified zoom level / crop region) is rasterized (reasonably quickly) into such a background image, with the result that you can write on the PDF page if you want. (These won't be "PDF annotations" in the PDF-standard's sense AFAIK, which some people complain about: it's just like writing/drawing on some image. But you can export your annotated PDF as PDF/PNG/SVG.)
• When you read EPUBs on it, the whole epub gets converted by some incredibly slow process into the equivalent of what it does for PDF (my understanding is that it's basically rasterizing each page). This means that if you're reading an EPUB (that you downloaded from the internet or transferred from your Kindle or whatever), and you do something as simple as changing the font size, you can expect it to take tens of seconds(!) even for a small 200-page book, as it's "regenerating" an image for each (resulting) page of the book. Once that is done, though (i.e. you don't change/resize font again), it's reasonably quick and straightforward to use.
So, now, I don't bother with trying to read EPUBs on the device; I convert to PDF first on my computer (where I can more quickly and interactively tweak font size, page size, etc), then read the PDF on the device. That works very well.
- The screen size is slightly smaller than a regular A4 or Letter sized sheet of paper. You can go to "Adjust View" on the reMarkable and choose a smaller region of each page to fill the available screen (i.e., get rid of the margins and header/footer), which increases the size a bit.
- Academic papers often have footnotes / references on the last page or two, and if you care about them you'll want to flip back and forth (or in some cases you may also want to flip between two separate documents), which is quite a bit more annoying on this device than it would be on paper. Using https://github.com/ddvk/remarkable-hacks adds some features that make it better.
On the plus side, on this device I feel more free to write on it and mark up etc (can always undo / erase cleanly), while on paper (even printouts, let alone books) I somehow hesitate a bit more.
3 - They have issued numerous updates to the software.
4 - They have made improvements to reader functionality. As I and others have noted - font resizing and first use of epubs is slow because those files are converted to a pdf which is what is actually displayed on the device.
5 - The company would not be on a 2nd generation device if they did not understand their target audience. What is clear (to me) is that they don't see everyone as their audience ala Apple or Amazon.
One major annoyance, though, is that it's clunky to switch between documents---I like to take notes in a separate document from the articles (mainly so I don't have to deal with the hassle of trying to export marked-up PDFs, which is a very suboptimal experience---the ios/mac apps are, uh, not good.). There's a pretty big lag there.
But the reading experience qua reading is so much nicer that I keep it anyway.
I pre-ordered the RM2 a couple a months ago and just got an email notifying me about a slight COVID-related delay. I don't really mind, I am confident that the company can deliver without to much fuzz.
Curious if those have been issues for you or not. I wonder if it's just how my mind works, or if I'm not "doing it right"?
There are some things I miss from paper but overall I found the pros to overweight the cons.
I haven't found that flipping back and forth on iPad is that horrible, to be honest.
Not sure how helpful this will be but I'll share what I've been doing for now.
I use the following apps:
* Mendeley (to organize papers)
* PDF Expert (to annotate PDFs)
* GoodNotes (mostly when working out the maths)
My usual workflow is:
* Read through the paper
* Annotate in the paper using Apple pencil as I read through
* Figure out the maths on the iPad when needed
* When I get back to a computer, upload the annotated file to Mendeley and type summary notes in Mendeley
A few things that I like/dislike about iPad when compared to paper.
+ Search for information on the web while reading paper more easily
+ Check notes/annotations quickly from my computer
+ Share notes easily
+ Search notes easily
+ Clean desk =D
- More context switching needed when I need to scramble something
- Mendeley misses some basic features on iOS (e.g. attach PDF to existing paper) so need to context switch with computer at some point after reading the paper
I would say that for 90% of the papers I go through, where I don't dive that deep in the paper, the experience is just as good on iPad. For the 10% of the papers I read where I go in-depth, redo proofs, etc, it's a little more tedious.
While it's for sure not perfect, given the above pros, I can live with the cons.
On the other hand, I love https://paperpile.com/app
We launched about a year ago and are REALLY close to a 2.0 release.
Do you have any recommendations for a tablet to use with Polar?
Noticed you have a typo on the homepage under the uni logos.
"Discovery why Polar [...]" should read "Discover why Polar [...]"
I have the same problem with e-readers and books, I miss the ease of moving backward and forward in a paper book.
Also, I have observed that I remember better what I read in physical books. Maybe it's because the content is associated to something real out there in the world with a cover, a weight, and a position of the content in the book and a position of the book in my bookshelves.
It's kind of weird because the first intuition is that the support where you read something shouldn't matter.
It feels like paper because you actually write over it with a real pen.
If I'm reading more than maybe 10 pages, or if it is material that I'm flipping back and forth in a lot, I print.
I've tried reading PDF's on my Kindle, but it's just so frustrating to navigate around the page. But the iPad is perfect.
Most documents have more than enough margin that the final cropped document is then readable on the RM1. (Eventhough I wear readers I don't like to see microtype). Those same programs can also be used to split two column papers.
RM1 has a built in crop tool but I find it slows things down a bit and it won't work to split a two column layout.
Plus, I can draw, animate, and watch youtube on the same device. It's been quite nice.
I was going to get the ReMarkable, but am very happy with my Ipad