The problem keeps coming back to the fact that I'm absolutely not the type of person who wants to carry that thing around everywhere and who likes or is good at hand writing or drawing. I realize I won't base all my life and processes around this one device that is also supposedly hard to get info off of easily into things like OneNote. If I was somewhere without a computer, then I wouldn't be carrying this big tablet on me. I've bought enough tablets and laptops with writable screens and MS surfaces over the years to know that I still never drew or took notes with the pen, but I still keep buying them hoping I will.
The thing is still so cool and I want it, but maybe I'll wait for version 3 or 4 and extra disposable income that will go to waste on it!
This is a low-commitment device that still achieves half the benefits of really writing things down.
The effects of pulling out a notepad and jotting notes are markedly different than pulling out a phone or tablet- especially in a conversation or meeting. IME a phone signals disengagement, while a notepad signals the opposite. When I pulled out my pad, I could see body language and word choices change almost immediately. If it was a positive or neutral conversation, people tended to show appreciation for my interest in what was being said. If it was a negative interaction, people started to be much more careful about what they were saying.
Now I carry an attaché case and use larger, more professional looking, notebooks. Even in the age of Zoom, I angle my camera to ensure it’s obvious I’m taking notes. Sure, it’s an extra step to digitize the important stuff, but I think it’s worth it.
This! It matters even if you are paying attention; in this day and age pulling a phone strongly signals disengagement. Even if you're actually the most attentive note taker, the rest of the attendees don't know this... and once one person signals disinterest, many will follow. It's like you're "giving them permission" to stop paying attention.
* My handwriting sucks (I literally can't read my own; I'm 42yo - don't tell me to practice / it'll improve, just don't be that arrogant ignoramus ;).
* I'll never be organized on paper. Ever. My circles are potatoes, my lines are squiggles, and everything is all over the place and disheartening to read (I love whiteboards but it's a whole other thing, somehow)
* I love love love my typed notes. I can type fast and asynchronously while I listen and look at the speaker. I can search them, retain them, review them, summarize them.
But I'm aware that I'll always look disengaged on my laptop compared to somebody with their notebook :-/
I've similarly noticed that interacting with someone wearing a bluetooth headset or smart glasses is off-putting no matter how much they indicate they are paying attention and not watching or listening to something I can't see.
Like you, I prefer to type my notes. I've found that angling the screen down so that I can't see it either and then maintaining normal eye contact with everyone makes the problem mostly go away. Possibly because I'm not constantly breaking eye contact to furtively glance at a glowing screen that they can't see. Or possibly because I wasn't paying as much attention as I felt like I was -- there is some research that indicates that people who can see a screen or TV while they are accomplishing a task often significantly underestimate how much time they spent looking at it and how much it negatively impacted their task performance.
* Remarkable's handwriting recognition is some of the best I've seen (but that's a low bar). Works well even on doctor chicken scratch but it's tied to their cloud stuff. The calligraphy pen setting helps with the aesthetics of bad hand writing
* This is why the remarkable has been a game changer for me. The pen selection tool allows me to draw an arbitrary shape and selects all strokes that fall within it. I can then drag or copy/cut/paste the selection, which I use all the time to rearrange my diagrams and copy/paste bits that I draw with a straightedge as a template. The big missing pieces are shape drawing tools and an infinite canvas so you can infinite scroll to the sides to keep drawing but with pinch to zoom, I usually just zoom way into a page when I open a notebook i know is going to be huge. Even zoomed out the resolution on the display makes it really readable (I can barely identify individual "pixels" with a 10x loupe)
* If the process of hand drawing/writing/annotating doesn't appeal to you or help with retention, the remarkable 2 is a really expensive ebook reader... with ssh.
It seems Note Air has potential but is not priced well. You might think reMarkable 2 is also expensive, but with Note Air you have to buy additional stylus too. The video above shows how Note Air works with reMarkable 2 Marker and Staedtler stylus.
I personally think if latency and price would get solved, Note Air has much more potential than rM2. I couldn't believe they actually put a lot of thought into designing the software that run Note Air, but the guy in the video explains things in detail.
Plus Koreader itself is in Lua and is relatively easy to make changes to.
I am close to 40, 2 - 3 years ago, I re-practiced handwriting with my daughter who wanted to learn (out of school) writing. To my surprise, my handwriting did improve and I was actually surprised by the result (cursive, I am French), hers was miles ahead of mine but really I was damn surprised by how effective it was.
I used to have teachers that refused to correct my copies because of my handwriting, so it's never too late.
2011 Every senior manager brings an iPad to meetings and seem to get distracted.
2015 (Tech co) Everybody brings an MacBook Air or a MacBook pro to every meeting
2018 (Entertainment Co) Any electronic device is considered disrespectful in a meeting, especially phones.
I normally make notes on paper and use the computer to fact check myself and the conversation (where it matters). It makes everything waay faster.
|Disengaged <----------------> Engaged|
|Phone Laptop Pen/Paper|
On a side-note, I do this on video calls too, keeping the window near where the camera is located so that there is still eye contact.
I would definitely work better with Graffiti-style input rather than full writing recognition; but:
a) I am a dorky minority - pretty much always a negative focus group for these things :P
b) even for me it's not ideal and modern lightweight laptops are a better solution -- I type at speed of speech these days; I don't think I could ever write / squiggle that fast.
I don't think there is anything equivalent on the Remarkable, I think the idea is handwriting then if you need you can OCR it.
[^1] - https://www.tapwithus.com/
After reading your comment, I decided what the heck and my TapStrap2 arrived Thursday. I know I should just take those 15 minutes a day and improve my typing skills, but where’s the fun in that?
In any case, I’ve got the alphabet memorized, and now (at the end of Sunday) I can consistently get 18 WPM. For extra challenge, I decided to learn on my non-dominant (left) hand. I’m pretty impressed with how quickly basic proficiency can be achieved. I haven’t explored the mousing features, or macros, but I can definitely see myself using this in meetings in the future— if for no other reason than some sweet show-off value.
I also wish they allowed using two of these things at the same time (on both hands) so that one could type on a "virtual" QWERTY keyboard instead of having to resort to weird multi-finger gestures.
You can even half-close the lid to make it completely obvious the only thing you could be doing is typing notes.
The notes might come out a bit messy, but you can clean them up later.
Even if some of my notes are difficult (or even impossible) to read, it's still sufficient to help remember what I felt so notable that I wrote it down.
I realize that everyone's not the same, but studies have shown that writing leads to better conceptual recall (but typing tends to record more information)
At the shops, I have no idea but she knows what she wrote.
I think it’s intentional.
We’re being tested somehow...
(I particularly like, when I’m sent to the store, reading “Wwwwwwwww” followed by a legible “etc.”)
ProTip: always bring home some flowers; it seems to distract them.
I think that is like wearable computing input devices such as the Twiddler keyboard: https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=twiddler2&iax=images&ia=ima... and the DataEgg was intended to hold notes inside it and be a standalone device.
Related, the classic MicroWriter AgendA which was a PDA with chording and normal keyboards from the 80s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MicroWriter,_AgendA,_and_...
I think it should be possible to build that pattern into a multitouch web page on a tablet and take chording notes on a flat screen.
How do you feel about learning stenography?
AFAIK digital steno depends on steno keyboards (which are very cool), and I haven't seen any portable device with one.
I would love to have a laptop with an ortholinear n-key rollover keyboard (it's easy to adapt an ortholinear keyboard to steno mode and switch between modes).
Also I have not seen any software supporting analog steno, but that would be awesome.
There are portable devices
It's simply an an ultra-simplified one destination email client.
One button on your homescreen opens up a little text input window. Hit send, and it emails yourself. That's it, and it has been absolutely life changing, I've retained so much and simplified so many things. Ideas, scheduling, notes, etc.
Then about once a month I copy paste the whole chat into a text file on my workstation PC, date and archive it, and clear the chat. Telegram includes the exact time and date of each message in the paste, and my consistent "tagging" of the notes with the topic means that I can programmatically parse the text files later to organize them, maybe on my website.
After years of note-taking in various forms, I find that I rarely actually need to peruse my notes archive. It's the act of taking notes itself which helps with retention of ideas.
Most everything else in my life organization-wise, I use http://zim-wiki.org for. I just go through them and file them in ideas or todos.
I try to avoid using my phone as much as possible. The rule of thumb there is -- if it's not a real human communicating to me directly/individually or as part of a small group, I should try to just use the computer or not use it at all.
I found a medium to large binder clip to work better than hole punching and a ring - you can't just open it up and use it while standing, but it holds together better and easier to add/remove cards.
A big advantage of this over journals (Moleskine, Field Notes, etc) is that there's no mental block of "I don't want to write something stupid or trivial in my journal/notebook."
>I'm never going to sit down and review the cards
Well, don't sit down then. Standing up flip through the cards you filled during the day and toss them into garbage, unless one is really important. You're strictly better off than writing down nothing at all during the day, which is the default state for most people.
Later in the day when I pull them out, many do get trashed. Lots of Todo items never make it to my digital Todo list because my brain processed them mostly in the background during the day. I find the physical nature of the cards means I can't avoid that processing step. The times I revert back to digital first, my notes end up everywhere (I input them in the fastest way, rather than finding the right place) and immediately begin rotting because now I have remember and force myself to condense and organize rather than it occurring naturally.
For me, it's a bit more adhoc than the suggested above. Recent uses: jotting down measurements of some furniture; writing for somebody the name of a book I was recommending them; shopping and todo lists; doodles and sketches. notes tend to be odd phrases from conversations.
The reviewing is minimal -- under 10% of what I write needs preserving, the cards mostly get a quick glance and then go straight into the recycling.
I use the same index cards when I'm writing something, for paragraphs or ideas which I can visually arrange on a table.
I've been doing this in some form for a couple of years, but just as a low-key background thing. For me it's just the minimal viable equipment for being able to write things.
I could use my phone for almost all of this, but index cards are a lower risk of distraction.
And then I get to referral scheme :). Eww.
But everything else is pretty solid, I will give it a try, love the idea so far.
On the other hand, I've got boxes and boxes of notebooks (Strathmore sketchpads and Moleskine-equivalents) that will outlast me -- to say nothing about cloud providers, backup media or outdated file formats -- unless I suffer a house fire or natural disaster.
Notebooks are cheap, and even terrible ones will last decades with little or no care. You can toss them into backpacks, lend them, get them (a little) wet, leave them in the sun, sit on them, forget them at the coffee shop, and even lose them permanently and basically not worry too much. If I was using a $400 gadget instead, I'd never carry it to the places I currently carry paper. My note-taking and scribbling would go down. I'm not even going to talk about battery capacity anxiety.
The gadget-lover in me would probably be happy with one of these things. My practical side and experience tells me that in the long run they are more trouble than they're worth.
Make it easy for your “short-term” self to do the right (from the “long-term” self point of view) thing.
I downloaded some PDFs on how to sketch, and I can sketch right there in the PDF along side the examples..
The futility of hand-written note taking was always my lack of organization, but the auto syncing of this really helps in that department.
I can't say it is for everyone, but while I was definitely not the target consumer for this device, I am more that person now after buying it. I appreciate anything that pushes any of my time from consumption to production, and this helps me to do that.
However I think each of these is much less expressive than actually having the Pencil, Marker, Paint brush etc..
These don't provide nearly the versatility, such as levels of shading, that the real tools do, but the convenience of having some form of all of them in one small "pencil" is extremely nice.
If your end goal is to produce good art on paper, I would probably not start here, but for having fun and developing an interest it's been fantastic.
Now that I think about it, maybe it is the "Undo" feature that sells me =)
For my part, all my best ideas are incredibly simple, abstract, and writing it down is both incredibly difficult and also worthless. Sometimes I doodle to work through an issue, but that takes little more than a napkin and a crayon.
All that said I really, really love eink. I could almost buy an RM2 just to support eink development.
Anyway, I claimed the coins, transferred them into dollars (just before the recent crash) and bought a remarkable for "free".
Honestly, it's a nice tablet, but, I'm glad I got it for free ;)
I was on the fence for the RM2 for a while for the same reasons you mentioned. Would I really use it?
Well I got it recently after trying a friend’s and I’ve surprised myself by using it daily. We’ll see if the habit sticks but so far the killer feature for me compared to a notebook is being able to erase, move text around and insert pages.
This makes me much more likely to just start jotting stuff down without being worried about “wasting” pages in a notebook.
By the way the device I hear comes with a 30 day trial period for this very reason. Lots of people don’t know whether they would really use it. So you can order it, find out how it fits into your life and return it if it doesn’t.
I do like the idea of no distractions and being able to move stuff around and organize it, unlike with paper, but most of my life is at home (since I'm self-employed) and I already have a computer on all 3 floors of my house that I'm usually at with OneNote and Notepad++ with a ton of tabs on each, so I'm worried that I'll never really use it unless I want to sit on the couch and focus, but then will I be wishing I had all my subsequent notes and such already on OneNote and in my various notepad++ tabs? What happens when I go back and sit at my computer for the majority of the day where I do work, play, research, side businesses etc.? Do I need some stand and will I just be cross copying notes back and forth?
Is it something I can comfortably hold and write on while sitting on a couch, or on some random chair or while leaning against a wall? Or am I going to be doing weird grips and being forced to counterbalance my writing on a floating pad if it's not sitting on a desk? I find writing in a small notebook way harder if it's not just on a table, so even that already worries me. Will I get less legible or not be able to as effectively write on the entire surface area of the device while holding it if not on a desk or having it setup on my lap (which may not even be that feasible without some cushion or stand)?
A 30 day trial could definitely help me figure this out, but I'm leaning towards the fact that it probably won't work out, at least not with the current version and I'm always afraid I won't commit the time I need to really test it in those first 30 days, haha!
If you’re already heavily invested in taking notes in OneNote then this probably won’t help much due to the overhead required to sync back and forth.
Getting OneNote on the Remarkable would be awesome though, I hope this will happen in some future version.
That said, a couple big advantages I haven’t seen advertised:
- I don’t have a dozen notebooks around, just one
- easy to start a new notebook, plus the centralization, is sort of an “organized by default” mode
- I can’t take notes on my computer, so it’s either this or paper
- distraction free is good, and the physicality of the pen and screen is a much better experience than an iPad
Your other criticisms are valid and a little too accurate. It’s still a useful device, there’s just a bit of a premium price because of the fancy factors you discussed.
This stood out "... and who likes or is good at hand writing or drawing."
Over the years many folks have seen me writing in my notebook and said, "Wow I wish I could make notes like that." It motivated me for a time to carry around copies of pages from my early notebook notes which compare unfavorably to cro-magnon cave drawings :-). I would explain to them they are written for an audience of one (me) and serve to help me recall details that I might otherwise forget, so there isn't anyone judging or evaluating them. At the same time, the more you write and draw, you tend to get more capable (this is especially true if you're somewhat self critical of your own results).
So I would agree that something like the ReMarkable is a big chunk of change to spend on something you don't feel you would use, but consider that a 5 pack of quadrule or lined composition notebooks is a couple of dollars/euros when school starts and can be thrown away. A stack of those, a variety of writing instruments (I like 1mm gel pens or the BIC 4 color pens, but others like mechanical pencils or roller ball type pens) And be intentional about writing things down for a few weeks (the various habit books suggest six as a minimum number of weeks but its an experiment right?)
Then at the end of your experiment go back and review your notebook(s) and compare your awareness and "presence" in that time with a time where you were not taking notes.
My guess is that either you will say, "this is a good thing, I should do this more" or you will say "interesting but not my cup of tea." Either way, you have a good understanding of yourself and how note taking and notebooks fit into your life. At which point the decision to buy something expensive or not has the backing of your lived experience of whether or not you find it useful.
But the core of all this is that the sitting-under-a-tree-habit came after the device. Before, it was a bit of a romantic idea I'd tried with moleskines, but it didn't really scratch my itches.
Voice memos, so you can add some audible context to each diagram
A few weeks of practicing 10 minutes a day or so will give you good handwriting.
A few weeks of a basic drawing course with a small amount of practice will give you decent enough skills to get your ideas down on paper.
People naturally do the things they like to do. I actually enjoy the process of writing with fountain pens, calligraphy, taking notes, etc. Strangely, I also really enjoy the experience of typing.
Taking notes and drawing don't make me cool. Carrying a notebook and a fountain pen made people think I was kind of eccentric more than anything. Carrying an iPad Pro 12.9 with a stylus made people think I was a geek. No one was mean about it or anything, but it definitely doesn't make a person cool. Just be who you are and do the things you enjoy.
If you think you would enjoy writing/drawing, put a little bit of effort into it and you will have pretty good results.
As far as the e-ink tablets go, I'm hoping the large format ones become more affordable and more polished. I would love to have one but the value proposition vs an Ipad is terrible. Single-purpose devices can frequently be better than a more generalized device, but in the case of these E-ink tablets the few things they do (reading, writing, drawing) generally offer a worse experience than doing that same thing on an Ipad. The only upsides are battery life and the e-ink screen.
Drawabox.com has some good free stuff too.
If you'd prefer books I think Andrew Loomis books might be public domain. Fun with a Pencil is a good one. If they aren't public domain you can get them for $10-15 on Amazon because they started reprinting them.
How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way is also a really good introduction to drawing. Don't let the title fool you though because its one of the best beginner's drawing books regardless of the genre.
Those are just examples though, there's tons and tons of great resources and everyone has their favorites.
Lately I'm using Notion though for journaling and I really enjoy it. I'm keeping up a journaling streak.
The beautiful part of the remarkable 2 is that you can erase and redraw. You can also copy and paste. When making diagrams, the arrows will look identical. Recently, they added zooming in.
I used to take notes on paper. I bought thick, quality paper. I used a nice Japanese made fountain pen. I loved taking notes that way. I still miss parts of it.
When I started, my writing was not very beautiful, but I used a couple of cheats that helped. I write in all caps and I write quite small so that there is some padding above and below my letters. I write slowly so as to have consistent lettering. Even if they are imperfect, they look consistent. The focus should be on letter spacing.
Before covid, people used to come up to my desk and say it was the most beautiful writing they have ever seen. It wasn't, but the techniques do work.
As far as the feel of the notebook. I let my kids play with it. They love it.
But I don't and I won't because that's just not how I work however much I'd like to. And that's OK. In fact, it's good to accept that about one's self.
Now that I know I have ADHD, I at least have an explanation why my desire to be something I'm not has always failed, but even without the diagnosis, we all have our personality quirks that mean that certain things just won't work for us. It's nice to have beautiful notebooks to give away as presents for other people though. :-)
So this kind of tablet looks really nice...
The reason I prefer to write on my moleskin rather than my laptop is because if I have my laptop, I get distracted and I do stuff I'm not supposed to.
Additionally I find it rude to be on your laptop when you're in a meeting, because people might think you're doing other stuff, and also because having your screen between you and other people creates a kind of "barrier".
Bizarrely, I've ended up using the RM exclusively for work-related notes, and still keep all my personal ideas in a paper notebook. Aside from a subconscious desire to work through my stationery backlog, I have no idea why.
RM is nice to use and I'd definitely recommend to note-taking gadget lovers, but the software quality prevents me from calling it a more general must-buy device.
On a serious note, this comment resonates so well. I actually bought a RM2 but returned it since the transcription & syncing was nowhere near what I expected. But, also what you wrote. Turns out, I'm near a laptop often enough that typing in Notion works pretty damn well for me. Coupled with all of Notion's rich document structures and fast navigation there's no way a RM2 can compete.
Also, for the record I have an iPad Pro and basically have one, very specific use case. I'm a private pilot and use the iPad extensively for flying. Writing down instrument flight rules clearances which I get over the radio from the tower has been the only persistent use case for the stylus that I've found. Cockpits are too cramped for the keyboard and there's too much information to write it with a finger.
What was awesome though was when my then 3 year old daughter found one of the moleskins and a pen and did a bunch of scribbles on every 10 pages or so.
I truly love that little moleskin.
I just recently (last week) bought an outdoor log with graph paper and some other logs....
Your comment makes me want to prove you (myself) wrong and actually use it.
I've always been impressed with the. Various engineers I have worked with, like John Blair of nerflix... he is really fn today keeping a solid tech journal
I also just bought a super mini and thick notebook for $10 that I haven't used, but was just so cool looking. I still feel like an idiot for buying it, but maybe I will use it someday.
Japan is on a whole other level with writing and stationary. Go to a Tokyo Hands or Muji and you'll feel like the type of person that should be writing constantly. I can't imagine we would fetishize writing so much if computers didn't exist.
This works well when I'm working 100% at home or at the office, my notes are where I work, but my company plans to have a hybrid workplace with employees working from the office 2 or 3 days a week, now my notes will be scattered between home and office. (well, worse, the office might move to a "hoteling" desk format where no one has a permanent desk, so I can't leave my notes on my desk at work).
So one of the electronic paper products seems like a good solution - write my notes in epaper, and I can access them from work (or vice versa).
Though they are still pretty expensive so more likely, I'll just switch to keeping notes in a notebook that I carry back and forth.
I'd love a sketch book with layers and an undo button, but at the same time, I appreciate the simplicity and realness of a physical notebook. I can smoothe lines with my thumb, or use colouring pencils.
When I finish a notebook, I scan its pages. It takes about 15 minutes. I suspect I'd spend a lot more time building a system around a digital tablet.
In some classes where we used Excel, I would do a mix of an iPad Pro (with pencil) and on the computer excel.
I like the simplicity of the Remarkable2, but it doesn't handle all my needs, but it does many.
The really good thing is that it's open. Like you can ssh into it from day one. No cloud forced on you. refreshing.
I think my #1 use is to jot down notes during a phone call. It is like an infinite stack of post-its. Jotting does not get in the way of a phone call.
#2 is reading ebooks and pdfs. It's a little slow working with .epub books, but with pdf files it is fast.
Actually I convert ebooks to pdf format using calibre. It's a pretty good experience. I've figured out the fonts, font sizes, margins and so forth, and made that my calibre conversion default. Works well for me.
was out jogging today and had a thought and popped it in. is in gthub right now so i think of it as safe.
But yes. I completely understand - i too want to be one of those people.
in fact watching this i thought there is a market for business pads - that look like your are taking notes and updating tickets not thumbing thorugh facebook in a meeting.
Slap a specialised JIRA client on this and I think you have a package winner.
That was me until I started bullet journaling. My notebook becomes whatever I need at the time. Todo list, calendar, journal. Flexibility with structure.
Small(ish), syncable (bit of a learning curve to do so, but it is possible), and even comes with a physical keyboard if you want to really type things out rather than just use a stylus.
In my experience its OCR software is on-par with the Remarkable, if not better.
I have never been more organised, I used to scribble notes on random bits of paper that would get lost - now o can refer back to meetings weeks ago.
These guys nailed it!
Why you gotta be a hipster about it?