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The (Electronic) Pencil is Mightier than the Keyboard

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antedeluvian
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You've stolen my thunder...
antedeluvian   2/24/2017 3:07:52 PM
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Max

For my next blog (for March) on embedded.com I have report on using Notes Plus (plus the Apple pencil and the iPad Pro) as a replacement for a project notebook. I do think it's sufficiently different from this blog to warrant going ahead with its publication, but since you're the editor you get to decide...

Watch for it in your inbox.

When and if it gets published I will add the link here.

 

In the meantime I will take a look at Nebo.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: You've stolen my thunder...
Max The Magnificent   2/24/2017 3:57:47 PM
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@Antedeluvian: ...I have report on using Notes Plus (plus the Apple pencil and the iPad Pro) as a replacement for a project notebook...

That's wonderful -- I played with Notes Plus a year or so ago, but I was using my finger as the writing implement, which skewed my impressions.

My gut feel is that Notes Plus is the more powerful app, but MyScript is really easy to learn and use -- since you already have the Apple Pencil, if you download MyScript for free, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I look forward to reading tyour column on Embedded.com

 

Kevin Neilson
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Scanning
Kevin Neilson   2/25/2017 1:04:50 PM
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I'm about to get one of these.  Heretofore I've always made copius notes on engineering paper.  I spend a lot of time converting formulae to circuit diagrams with all the pipeline stages made explicit.  I have to do this because synthesizer tools are still poor, which I used to complain about, but now see as job security.  FPGA companies, please continue doing what you are doing.  I like drawing these diagrams, but if I want to email them I have to scan them, I end up with reams of notes that are difficult to search, and major editing is difficult.  The new iPad with the pencil comes pretty close to the feel of writing on paper.  It's not as romantic, to be sure.  Who imagines FL Wright with a big iPad at his drafting table, Claude Shannon taking notes with a stylus, or Hemingway tapping away on a screen?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   2/27/2017 12:08:49 PM
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@Kevin: I'm about to get one of these.  Heretofore I've always made copius notes on engineering paper....

You're about to get what? An Apple Pencil, or an iPad Pro, or...?

I'm really looking forward to hearing how you get on -- I was using mine yesterday evening and loving it!

Kevin Neilson
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Re: Scanning
Kevin Neilson   3/1/2017 4:26:55 PM
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Sorry--I meant I was going to get the iPad Pro, the pencil, and probably the applications recommended.  i really just want to draw on grid "paper" and be able to tag the sketches with keywords, but if the app also turns my irregular blocks and circles into real rectangles and circles, that would be great.  It would also be nice to paste timing diagrams, etc. into my notes, which now requires (literal) cutting and pasting.

I currently have an iPad, which I really like, but I decided I need to finish my flying license sometime and I'd like to take it along to use as a map.  (When I last flew, I still had to find my location by triangulating VOR vectors with rulers on a paper map, which is really stressful when you're trying to fly.)  But for some reason, the wifii-only iPad has no GPS, so I'd have to upgrade anyway.  I went to the nearby Apple store to check out the pencil and really liked it.

I think it's good enough that graphic artists are using it now.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   2/27/2017 12:22:47 PM
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@Kevin: ...The new iPad with the pencil comes pretty close to the feel of writing on paper.  It's not as romantic, to be sure...

In 100 years time, using a stylus on an iPad will seem like ancient technology

Rajan Bedi
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Re: Scanning
Rajan Bedi   2/28/2017 9:32:49 AM
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As someone who enjoys writing, the Surface tablet also has a very nice digital pen which helps productivity.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 9:51:46 AM
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@Rajan Bedi: ...the Surface tablet also has a very nice digital pen which helps productivity...

I've heard good things about the Surface tablet -- but, as strange as it may seem, I've never actually seen one in the flesh, as it were.

For myself, I think I'm now committed to the iPad Pro based on my investment in apps and videos (like all of the Doctor Who Episodes since the 2005 reboot). Having said this, I'll keep my eyes open the next time I'm at Best Buy or whatever and try to get a "hands-on" with a Surface.

Rajan Bedi
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Re: Scanning
Rajan Bedi   3/1/2017 10:56:04 AM
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I'm really pleased with the Surface tablet and am using Nebo on it to write and capture my thoughts. For me, productivity is the main thing and not having to duplicate my work. It is also compatible with my Windows laptop, physically smaller and I can use it on planes during take-off and landing.

I did not like Windows 8 at all (sorry dad), but Windows 10 is significantly better!

A really nice device which helps productivity ....

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 11:17:11 AM
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@Rajan Bedi: I'm really pleased with the Surface tablet and am using Nebo on it to write and capture my thoughts...

Are you as amazed as I am at how good the Nebo's handwriting recognition is?

Rajan Bedi
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Re: Scanning
Rajan Bedi   3/1/2017 11:25:10 AM
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I am very impressed at Nebo's recognition especially given that I often have difficulty reading my own handwritten notes. Being able to draw is also very helpful: I was on a flight last week and sketched the system architecture for an FPGA-based embedded system in minutes. Keep wanting to switch my Surface on to see what else I can do ...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 11:27:27 AM
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@Rajan Bedi: ...especially given that I often have difficulty reading my own handwritten notes...

It sounds like we are twins LOL

      Being able to draw is also very helpful

As far as I'm concerned, Nebo (plus Apple Pencil) is a dream app/combo

JGrubbs
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Re: Scanning
JGrubbs   3/3/2017 12:18:29 PM
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@MAX: Are you as amazed as I am at how good the Nebo's handwriting recognition is?

Yes.

Much better than this 1960 handwriting reader.

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/handwriting-reader/

elizabethsimon
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Re: Scanning
elizabethsimon   3/1/2017 11:39:05 AM
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A couple people at work have the Surface Book which is slightly heftier than the Surface but still very small and lightweight. I'm becoming tempted by the Surface. The ability to run the same Windows software that I'm currently running is a plus for me. The price of the Surface makes my eyes water so I'm still waiting for a good reason.

I occasionally write poetry and have found that I really need to write the first draft on paper. But then it has to be typed into a computer. Then sometimes I need to print it out and edit by hand.  If Nebo can handle that type of write/edit cycle, I might be convinced.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 12:11:41 PM
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@Elizabeth: ...If Nebo can handle that type of write/edit cycle, I might be convinced...

One thing about Nebo is that if you double-tap a paragraph of your hand-written text to convert it into machine-readable text (font, whatever), then there's no going back (apart from using the back button).

This isn't a problem in that you can still select that text and edit it -- deleting words and adding new handwritten words -- but... personally I like to see my original hand-written notes when I come back to edit.

But I think the Nebo would accomodate what you want as follows, You use Nebo on your Surface or iPad/iPad Pro to capture your hand-written notes. You use the "Export to Word" option (which auto-invokes your email) to send the document to your main PC -- this process automatically converts your handwritten notes to their machine-readable equivalent as part of the export process, but it doesn't change the handwritten notes on your tablet.

Then you print it out from the PC, mark up your printout, then return to your tablet to continue.

elizabethsimon
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Re: Scanning
elizabethsimon   3/1/2017 3:55:43 PM
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@Max

Then you print it out from the PC, mark up your printout, then return to your tablet to continue.

I was hoping to avoid the print it out part of the cycle...

Is it possible to save a handwritten file before you convert to text and then reload it to make changes?

I wonder if the Windows version of Nebo can convert to Word without sending it as an email...

It would be nice to be able to do a write/edit cycle from the campsite with no internet access.

Which, by the way, is one reason why I'm not even looking at Chromebooks...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Scanning
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 4:04:56 PM
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@Elizabeth: ...Is it possible to save a handwritten file before you convert to text and then reload it to make changes?...

I think you can take a copy of a document (they call it a notebook), so you could make a copy and then convert that to text.

Or you coudl just convert the whole handwritten doc to text, and then carry on editing it -- where your additions would be handwritten till you converted them

Rajan Bedi
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Re: Scanning
Rajan Bedi   3/1/2017 12:20:41 PM
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I use the Surface as a tablet and also as a laptop as the flip cover contains an integrated keyboard. It is expensive but improving productivity, avoiding duplication, having Office 365 and keeping the same PC environment were important for me. I give a lot talks and sometimes playing videos within Powerpoint on my laptop would start buffering and pixelating. The Surface and Windows 10 are much better at this!

Also, I can wirelessly or using a USB stick transfer files from my laptop to the Surface and it also allows you (although I haven't tried this yet) to extend the viewing area by connecting a second external display just like my laptop.

 

I don't work for MS by the way ...

realjjj
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Re: Scanning
realjjj   3/1/2017 12:21:05 PM
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There are lots of Windows machines with active pens and Chromebooks have passive ones but i think the OS itself has support for active. The feature in Chromebooks is aimed at education and passive is better considering that kids would always lose their pens. In Android tabs and phones, Samsung has adopted an active stylus in some models for some years now. No need to spend on overpriced hardware like the ipad Pro or Surface.

Taking a pic with your phone and using an OCR software could work well enough too, without having to spend on any new hardware.

Edit: Not an ideal time to buy a Windows laptop as Intel is about to get some competition , starting tomorrow in desktop and later this year in laptop. Perf per $ and battery life might improve significantly.

TonyTib
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Re: Scanning
TonyTib   3/1/2017 1:58:23 PM
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Actually, the Surface Pro line isn't expensive...at least compared to the iPad Pro.

I've started to see a fair number of Surface Pro's in the wild, but not many Surface Books.  (If I were rich, the SB would be my choice, since I normally use the keyboard, and love its very long battery life).

There are a number of Surface and Surface Book alternatives, but most aren't that much cheaper AND have a number of compromises compared to MS (like shorter battery life, much slower, screen not as good, etc).

One the cheap and cheerful side are low cost Chinese clones such as the Chuwi Hi13 (which is much cheaper than the SB at ~$450, but much slower, less battery life, fewer sensors, and such).

realjjj
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Re: Scanning
realjjj   3/1/2017 2:59:47 PM
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In my opinion it's extremely so. 800$ and up for dual core low clocks is silly for a PC. slower CPU than a phone. Maybe i am old school and still want for a PC to offer some computing.

If you want storage to make it usable as a proper PC, you pay for it and you also pay quite a bit extra for a keyboard that you can't quite use in your lap. The stand is wasting mechanical volume, battery life could have been a lot better without. As a tablet, Windows is the wrong OS. Can't quite agree with the design either, or any current tablet's design. For the last 3-4 years tablet design has been stuck and this one looks like a blunt photo frame.

If i need a basic convertible PC i'll get a Chromebook as paying 1000$ for Office apps and web browsing doesn't seem quite right. if i need a laptop i'll get a refurb as Intel has been pushing dual cores and you can't get a quad core based laptop at 400$ anymore - or 500$ with a 1080p display.

Hopefully AMD changes the game a bit this year and their Zen core appears pretty efficient. Oh yeah, you can't game on Intel SoCs either, not that the Surface has the storage for it.

It has a nice enough display but that's about it and that display is not worth the premium.

The iPad Pro is a tab trying but failing to be a PC and it's equally overpriced but that's the norm for Apple's products, although their tablets used to be a bit of an exception as Apple settled for lower margins in the segment.

Kevin Neilson
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Re: Scanning
Kevin Neilson   3/1/2017 4:38:22 PM
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In 100 years time, using a stylus on an iPad will seem like ancient technology

Sometimes people tell me that books will never disappear, because people prefer the look and feel of paper books.  (I'm one of those who prefer books.)  But I argue that in the near future, e-books will have the look and feel of paper books, if that's what you want.  You can have a paper book, but you can switch out the content at will.  

antedeluvian
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Review of Notes Plus
antedeluvian   3/6/2017 6:11:50 PM
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As promised, here is my blog reviewing the Notes Plus "The app I tried". I also did a blog comapring the two. Should be out soon.

antedeluvian
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Re: Review of Notes Plus
antedeluvian   3/8/2017 12:26:25 PM
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My blog "MyScript Nebo vs. Notes Plus Handwriting Apps" has now been published

Please comment in here or there with your experiences.

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