Digital notetaking

d.ro.ho

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Mar 27, 2007
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For work I'm thinking about moving away from writing in notebooks during meetings and am wondering how others have approached this, particularly in terms of hardware although software suggestions also welcomed. At various times I have made a lot of use of Evernote or OneNote to keep track of things, but when in a meeting I find it a bit socially off-putting to be typing away on a laptop (often mistaken for ignoring the meeting and catching up on email). I'm assuming a tablet is the way to go, with either a stylus and/or small keyboard, but perhaps something hooked up to a smart phone would work and eliminate the need to carry another device which would be nice. I won't be replacing my laptop, so for tablets I'm looking at something on the cheaper/smaller side. I'm wondering how awkward using a stylus or small keyboard is after some practice (testing some in stores, I find both a bit cumbersome), and what other things I should be thinking about.

I'd be curious to hear about people's experiences with this and any advice would be much appreciated.
 

uncannymanny

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I just decided to go the other direction, for the reasons you stated about laptops. I got a Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse. The transfer to digital (Drive, OneNote, Evernote, etc) is seamless; transcribing the text of notes to digital is a little cumbersome, but I do it once every few days. This system covers me to be able to take real notes and digitally archive them. The pen works amazing, feels like a pen and not a graffiti marker, takes cheap refills, and it recognizes individual pages (so you can append to notes post-sync). You can buy the non-branded version (Eno?) for more notebook options.
 
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mauf

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Why do you want to switch from paper to digital notes? Depending on your objectives, some solutions will work better than others.

Typing on a smartphone during a meeting is a no-no, especially if you’re under 40. (Not saying it’s fair, but a young person pecking away at his/her phone during a meeting is perceived differently than an older person doing the exact same thing — stereotypes about millennials and all that.) If you decide to capture notes electronically, use a laptop or a tablet. You can also take handwritten notes in meetings and digitize them later using a scanner app on your phone (e.g., TurboScan), assuming that you’re just looking to avoid organizing lots of paper, as opposed to having the ability to edit your notes or do full-text searching.

I haven’t found a stylus that works seamlessly with my iPad Pro, so I either type my notes (the Apple keyboard is pricey, but works well) or take handwritten notes and digitize them later. Others may have had better experiences taking notes with a stylus, but I doubt you’ll find an acceptable solution that is relatively inexpensive.

I organize my notes with Evernote. Scanned copies of handwritten notes chew up a lot of data, so if you’ll do that more than occasionally, you’ll need to upgrade to premium.
 

uncannymanny

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That’s the one. The Moleskine is a branded version which seemingly only works with their notebooks. Those currently only come in the 7x5 or whatever that standard Moleskine size is. The Neo ones have pocket sizes as well.
 

SumnerH

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There's also the Onyx Boox Note, which is supposed to be pretty slick for this sort of application.

The ReMarkable is a really cool piece of hardware I've been keeping tabs on, but by all accounts the software isn't quite ready for prime time yet. The worst problems are with it as a reader, though, so still maybe worth peeking at as a note-taking device. Everyone says it really feels like writing with pencil on paper.

Both of those are pricier than the smart pen solutions, but don't use physical paper.
 

cgori

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Oct 2, 2004
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I got an email from Sony letting me know that they have something coming for this space, available for pre order on amazon:

https://www.sony.com/electronics/digital-paper-notepads/dpt-series

Looks neat, but I imagine the actual experience and software UI is the most important part.

Edit: apparently what’s new is the smaller size version, the full-size one has been available for about 6 months.

Edit2: the reviews aren’t exactly raving :(
 
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dirtynine

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I’m not sure what this does for you that ordinary paper and a $3 scanner app for your phone doesn’t. Am I missing something?
Well, it's supposed to be a superior scan, and the notebooks themselves are completely reusable - so you wipe the ink away and start over when you fill one up. Also, you can circle an icon on the page (there are 5-6 generic ones that you pre-assign to apps) and when you scan, the circled icon will dictate which service it goes to. So you can seamlessly send some things to Evernote, some to Dropbox, something to email, etc. I think those are the selling points. I've been meaning to try them but haven't yet, so I can't personally say if it's a good ecosystem or not.