Damn you, noteslate

on November 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Yup, you guessed it; another eepiphanies original.

I am a tree killer. Not directly. Not like a lumberjack and timber and all that. But as a person, I waste a copious amount of paper and have from a very young age. My hands are very ADHD and they like to move and do things, and I found early on that they liked to hold pens and doodle on paper. I was maybe five years old when my mother discovered that I had discovered my dad’s collection of fountain pens, and despite not knowing the specifics behind working one, had still managed to get a lot of ink onto a lot of paper. This trend continues today. I doodle and take notes and write single words (usually “frog” or “fish”) over and over again on paper, usually right in the center so I can’t use that sheet for anything else. Then I throw it away.

This is obviously a little wasteful. It’s only gotten worse in college. My notes consist of around 5 notebooks and loose leaf paper and handouts that I lose, throw away, or otherwise mutilate. “Reviewing your notes” is something from a fairytale.

For years and years now I have been searching for technology’s solution to my paper-wasting. It’s less out of any concern for trees and more out of tech-lust, true, but it’s not an unworthy goal. When I was maybe 7 or 8 I had a series of pathetic little laptops that didn’t work or when they did work, ran DOS, which when you are 8 and it is 1997, is only a half-step above not working. I bought a couple wacom tablets, which are cool but attached to computers. I had a palm pilot (years after people used palm pilots). I have had modern laptops. Now I have an iPad.

From the first day I got the iPad I had grandiose dreams about never using paper again. Every lecture I had would be inscribed on the iPad. I bought styluses and note taking apps and drawing apps and note taking apps that turn your handwriting into text and your circles into perfect circles and that shrink your writing so you can write with your big stupid stylus.

Didn’t work. I still have disorganized notebooks and felt tip pens, because of various inexcusable flaws that exist in each and every iPad note-taking solutions.

I have a feeling that I’ve been at this step in gadgetry before. Remember right before the iPhone came out? We had phones, and they could do things, but they couldn’t REALLY do things, and if they could, people like me certainly didn’t own them. I wanted so badly to have something that could access the internet away from my computer and right then it either a) didn’t exist or b) was way out of reach. When the iPhone came out it was still out of my reach, but it was a solution. It existed and it was nearly exactly what i had dreamt about.

I am definitely not alone in dreaming about this. The impressive vaporware hope-getter-upper Noteslate and its subsequent ride around the internet on a wave of likes and +1′s proves that there are many people interested in some sort of virtual paper.

And there are a few solutions out there. Notable (hah) solutions include the Boogie Board Rip (disappointment in action), the Asus eee Note (difficult to obtain in the US), the Lenovo ThinkPad (gorgeous, but I have an iPad and prefer iOS), and probably most hopeful right now, the Samsung Note (probably not something I will ever obtain, because again, I prefer iOS and have only seen people be vaguely frustrated with android phones). The last two also seem to suffer from a too-limited selection of apps supporting the touch-sensitivity option.

Ten One, maker of the pretty shitty pogo stylus, is making something called Blue Tiger, which promises to be a touch-sensitive stylus for the iPad. Chances are if it comes out and has a remotely favorable review, I will spend money that should go to beer and vegetables on this pen. I currently have the Adonit Jot, which is hands-down the best stylus I’ve ever used for a capactive touchscreen. It’s still limited by the hardware and software, and it’s still not pressure sensitive. But it’s pretty good.

This all feels a lot like the market right before the solution. A big hopeful part of me is sure that a real solution is just a quarter or two away. I picture it being like the Noteslate, like the Rip, and maybe with some aspects of the eee Note, but still far enough from a full-featured tablet that costs are low. A similarly large pessimistic part of me is sure it will come out the semester after I graduate college.

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