Tag Archives: app

Back to paper with Moleskine’s Evernote Smart Notebook

I have droned on in the past about how great it was to go paperless on the iPad and just how I achieved that.

After all that I am now going to tell you about how great it is to have some paper again!  Firstly, I love being almost paperless and my shelves are still paperless, I don’t print anything to read, sign or comment on.  I haven’t abandoned my paperless effort and I still do the majority on the iPad.  However, while the stylus and Studio i works great for note taking they do at times compromise how you can use the iPad.  Multi-gestures have to be turned off.  The Studio i doesn’t work in all apps that I like so I still need a capacitive stylus.  A couple of times my battery has run out just when I needed to take notes so I was left scrambling for a pen and paper.  Quite often I felt like I needed two iPads.  One with the document open in front of me and one where I could take notes as switching back and fort between the different apps can be a little annoying especially in meetings.

I wanted my hand written notes stored electronically in a manner I could use.  I tried a Livescribe pen and notebooks and liked the tech but it was all just a little cumbersome.  If they could get it to sync wirelessly and with some apps as opposed to having to go back to your PC or laptop every time it would be a big improvement.  I also tried a new iPad cover that had an integrated notebook so I could read on my iPad and jot down notes to the side.  I didn’t like it. More often than not I ended up pulling the iPad out of it.

Along came an email from Evernote on the new Moleskine notebook that they were planning to launch.  I signed up and placed my order as a Moleskine with some tech built-in seemed ideal.

Evernote Moleskine Smart Notebook

Evernote Moleskine Smart Notebook

As with all Moleskines the quality is excellent. So straight off just the look and feel of the notebook is pleasing.  The notebook comes with a selection of stickers that you can place on your notes.  The advantage being that when you use the Evernote App camera to snap the page, to record it electronically, it recognises the stickers and will auto tag those pages for you.

Evernote Moleskin Notebook with Stickers

Evernote Moleskin Notebook with Stickers

Obviously you don’t need to snap and record every page. Just the ones to want.  Once uploaded your hand written notes become searchable in Evernote and available across all your devices.  So when on your 3rd notebook and travelling you can still bring up those notes from the 1st Notebook that is sitting at home in your drawer!

Evernote App Auto-Tagging

Evernote App Auto-Tagging

Above is a screen shot from the iPhone Evernote App auto-tagging a Moleskine page.  Click the little check mark in the bottom right and it then uploads to Evernote.  Safe and secure and available anytime in the future for reference from your mobile device or computer.

I love being back organised in my Moleskine while also being able to archive to the cloud important notes for future reference.  I do have a few thoughts on it though:

  • Its expensive.  Overly so I feel but I am hopeful as more people use them then the price will come down.
  • The Notebook includes 3 months Evernote membership.  As I am already a premium member this is useless to me and probably just adds to the cost.  They should either get rid of it or make it optional on the notebook
  • Stickers – Should be able to refill your stickers separate to purchasing a notebook
  • Sticker types – I think there should be at least 3 more different types of stickers.  Possibly a web page I can log on to select the 6 option of stickers I want with my order.
  • Uploading a page – should have an option to overwrite if page was already uploaded.  Sometimes I snap a page and then a few days later there may have been notes added to the same page.  When I upload it again I now have two of the same page albeit one with edits. It would be great if there was an option to only have the latest version of each page (some may want to keep all but an option for those like me that don’t)
  • Some more variations for cover colours and types of notebooks

P.S. Livescribe if not already then you should start looking at how you can link your pen via Bluetooth to devices and sync notes just taken with an app such as Evernote – and do a deal with Moleskine to get some nice notebooks – Love your product but it’s getting out of date fast and it doesn’t need to!

Does the ‘Back in Time’ iPad app give a glimpse of the future?

Back in Time is an app that really utilises the power of  the iPad for delivering beautiful content in an easy to use format. It begins with the Big Bang and ends with the Human Genome Project. A timeline of major events from the beginning to now (whether the beginning was defined by a single event or has there there multiple ‘Big Bangs’ is a different thing and for another debate but this starts at our beginning).  It’s visually stunning and beautiful to navigate through.  The first night I got it I spent hours exploring it.  I couldn’t put it down.  The video below on YouTube from the makers gives a sample of just what it is like.  The sequence you see of the app is exactly as it appears, dragonflies and insects included walking across the screen.  The ability to slide so beautifully backwards and forwards through time either by the graphics or via the clock is fantastic.  The mix of text, pictures and video is so very nicely put together.  They have successfully been able to condense billions of years into a small app and allow us to understand and visualise just how small that portion of time for which man has existed.  They have tried to break away from the book type feel that normally accompanies many such apps and this new format works so much better while still providing vast quantities of easily accessible content.  When I was a child this was my World Encyclopedia, my Space  Encyclopedia, books that I would spend hours reading and flipping through.  This experience for my kids is so much richer, accessible and enjoyable.

This app for me is the future of books in many ways.  Imagine learning geography or history in school in this format as opposed to the traditional book.   I don’t mean simply digitizing the current books and putting them on a iPad type device.  I mean immersing yourself in a truly interactive app for example in a piece of history where you could read about it, hear it, watch it.  A speech from Martin Luther King, pictures of the 1916 rising, a video of protests in Tiananmen Square or the walk to freedom of Nelson Mandela.  How much better could we educate, excite and instill knowledge and curiosity into those young minds.  How much better would it suit all types of kids and learning types and abilities.

All that aside I said a glimpse in the title as I think it is only a glimpse as its not complete.  I said ‘truly interactive’ in the paragraph above on what the app should be like.  This app while excellent is not truly interactive .  I want this app to interact with the outside world.  And yes by that I mean the internet and not washing your dishes. I want to be able to enhance the experience and access to knowledge and material by easily incorporating the resources on the web.  Yes I could close the app and simply Google the topic of interest or search for a video on YouTube but what if I could just click on a word in the app that gave me even further options? What if I could touch the word ‘civilization’ and it brought me to the page on Wikipedia.  What if when I touched the word ‘Maya’ it auto built a Google search with that word, or it gave me options to go to the Maya National Geographic page, or Google Maps showing where the Mayan people lived.  I look forward to when this app is truly interactive with it and the web.  When I don’t understand a word its definition is only a touch away, a place named in the text is only a touch from viewing on Google maps and a topic I would like to learn more about can be explored simply by a touch!  Am I asking for too much? I really hope not.