Tag Archives: paper

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!

Going paperless

I had a tablet for a little while. Lenovo. Really liked it. And once I got used to using it with the pen and hand writing it was actually very accurate at converting it to type. For a little while I tried to use it for hand written notes to replace my notepads but undocking and carrying the tablet was a pain and obviously caused a few stares and raised eyebrows. So it was abandoned and I fell back to using notepads. I mean the using it as a notepad was abandoned but I obviously continued using it as a laptop! It just wasn’t suitable to replace the trusty notepad and pen on a permanent basis.

I have to admit I am not good at writing notes in meetings or during my work day. Actually quite poor as once I get caught up in the conversation or work I forget to write. However I do like to reflect on the meeting, the day or the weeks happenings during a journey, when at home or generally anywhere outside of the office once I get some quite time. Most plans and tasks generally start out on paper before getting converted into some type of electronic format. That is not exactly mind blowing stuff and I am sure there are lots of people with similar habits but paper remained a big part of my process in planning my days and reflecting on work.

Being paperless is obviously more than losing just a notepad in your bag. In work as a team we have put the majority of paper items that exist in our day to day work into some type of electronic system somewhere such as task and project lists, reports, contracts, invoices, etc. So most things are accessed in electronic format only. Sure you can never go truly paperless but you can try to eliminate what makes sense. The other paper in normal life such as books, newspapers and magazines I already get on the iPad. So paper was all but gone.

The only paper left was my A4 notepad for hand written notes. I carried it always. For a while i carried it with my laptop and iPad. Once I got comfortable with the iPad I carried my notepad and iPad only. The laptop stayed mostly in it’s docking station. This week however the iPad has been alone and unaccompanied in my bag. The paper notepad is gone. Replaced by an app called Penultimate and a writing pen called Pogo sketch. There are more complex apps for writing i tried like notes plus but I like this one as it’s very simple (queue the smart comments). It’s very quick and easy to use. OK so the writing experience on the iPad is not quite the same as using a nice pen and paper and because of the touch requirements of the iPad it’s hard to be super accurate but so far it has worked for me. It means the journeys now to and from work with the once heavily laden bag with newspaper, magazine(s), book, notepad, laptop, charger, broadband dongle, iphone and misc cables has been reduced to simply ear phones, charger cable, iphone and iPad. A very nice change over a very short period of time. If this works out the iPad will have succeeded in helping me go completely paperless. It will have all my paper – books, newspaper, magazines, photos and finally my hand written notes contained within it’s wonderful little interior.

Below is a sample of the app and a written page using the Pogo. So it’s not the nicest handwriting but it’s a more honest image compared to the beautiful complex drawing in the apps own sample. Which I am sure is possible just not by me! However as you can see it is very very usable and I do like it. Please note: the bad writing is not necessarily the fault of the app ;-)

Note that I don’t mention anything about saving trees or other green reasons for this. The primary reason is a bag with one small device that has everything I need compared to a very heavy bag with 8 bulky things is my driving motivation. I can’t say that I know a combination of paper items is less green than an iPad as an iPad has rare earth elements that I know are hard to get due to the required extraction processes via mining operations that are often not ‘earth friendly’. Maybe over it’s life the iPad is the better option and the greener option but I don’t know. You can always plant a new tree. You can’t plant a new piece of Lanthanum or Europium. However I do know that I like my new light bag and accessing everything on 1 item. And I can hope that it’s greener and the better option for the planet.