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Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tablet/App Combination For Note-Taking? 425

Posted by timothy
from the what's-wrong-with-yellow-legal-pads? dept.
EmagGeek writes "My wife recently started back to school to finish her 4-year degree, and one of the things that we've been considering is procuring for her some kind of tablet that would enable her to take notes in class and save them electronically. This would obviate the need to carry around a bunch of paper, and could even be used to store e-textbooks so she doesn't have to lug 30lbs of books around campus. At minimum, she would have to be able to write freehand on the tablet with a fine-point stylus, just like she would write on paper with a pen. We've seen what we call those 'fat finger' styli and found that they are not good for fine writing. Having become frustrated with the offerings we've tried so far, I thought I would ping the Slashdot Community. Any suggestions?"
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Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tablet/App Combination For Note-Taking?

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  • by davecrusoe (861547) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:44PM (#38061002) Homepage
    IPad with a fold-up keyboard? Taking notes with a small stylus (quickly) seems really hard -- end up spending more time to correct the notes taken than keeping pace with the lecture and notes that need to be taken.
    • Not all text (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pavon (30274) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:57PM (#38061302)

      Unless she is getting her degree in the humanities, there will be parts of the lecture that include equations, graphs, and diagrams that are hard to input with a keyboard. Nothing beats handwriting for that sort of content.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DriedClexler (814907)

        And if she *is* getting a degree in the humanities, she's probably best off abandoning the education altogether, which will probably do nothing for her earning power, but leave her with enormous undischargeable debt.

        Then she can afford a lot more iPads!

        • Re:Not all text (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hism (561757) <hism AT users DOT sf DOT net> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @05:13PM (#38065534)
          Statements like these make me embarrassed to be in the sciences for two reasons. First, for asserting that people in my discipline believe that there's nothing worthy in human knowledge in the humanities; and second, for suggesting that people in the sciences are just doing it for the earning power. These statements demonstrate a narrow perspective of the world. And speaking of that, I'd like to point out that there are plenty of countries where it is fully possible to get an education without "enormous undischargeable debt."
        • Re:Not all text (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Chicken_Kickers (1062164) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @09:13PM (#38068596)

          WTF is this shit? Never have I met people more hostile to the field of humanities then on the internet. I am a biochemist and I have nothing but respect for the humanities. Who do you think designed all the art in Skyrim? Who do you think wrote, produced and sung the songs on your iPods? Who made the movies that you obsess over? Who researched and wrote the books and encylopedias about ancient history, WWII etc. that fascinated you? Who taught you grammar, math, P.E., even science at school? Stop being such an arrogant douche. The world does not revolve around programmers. Ironically, some people in the hard sciences don't consider programming to be a science at all.

    • by johnkoer (163434) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (reoknhoj)> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:11PM (#38061498) Homepage Journal

      I like the Zagg [amazon.com] case that has a keyboard in it.

      For taking notes, I like notability, because you can type and draw with a stylus. Also, if you record audio, it can sync up with the drawing/notes you took. This feature is great if you want to listen to the context of the lecture based on your notes.

    • by bizard (691544) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:18PM (#38061596)
      I use an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard as well as a pen. For general lectures or notes in a class where there are few equations, the keyboard is great. For a few figures or equations I can zoom in and draw with my finger (in the same notebook app that I am typing in) or even quickly google the figures I see in the presentation and paste them directly into my notes. For my cosmology class, heavy on general relativity, I find that I can't type the equations fast enough and so switch to an app which has fantastic stylus response. Both apps allow exporting as PDF (among other things) and so for classes where I use both notebooks, I export to PDF and merge the pages in the proper order.

      Apps: iNotes [inotesapp.com] (typing with light figure work) and NoteShelf [fluidtouch.biz] (fantastic pen work with Griffen pen). The 'fatness' of the stylus is not an issue and for particularly fine writing you can write in a 'zoomed' area and have it appear on the page at a smaller size. The app also recognizes your wrist as opposed to where you are writing so that you can just write directly on the page. They also have lousy screenshots on their website...the control you have over line shape is superb. Both apps allow organizing your notes in different notebooks so that you can separate out your classes.

      The one thing I would still like is a better app for general note taking. iNotes is fine for typing but the drawing tools are rather limited. A previous app that I used, Notify, was fantastic until it crashed 45 minutes into a class taking all of my notes with it. Both iNotes and NoteShelf have been stable and I have never lost any notes.
    • by monoqlith (610041)

      You can always skip the handwriting recognition - just store them as hand-written notes using a paint program or some other solution. It won't help you with searching, but with cataloguing and retrieving it should be fine.

      Others have probably mentioned this, but LiveScribe [wikipedia.org] is also a really good example of a smartpen-only solution that will work to do this.

  • Recording (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532)

    Why not record the lecture? A stylus doesn't provide a very good handwriting experience, and not using one would allow her to use an iPad.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Why not record the lecture? A stylus doesn't provide a very good handwriting experience, and not using one would allow her to use an iPad.

      My thoughts perzactly.

      Until someone develops sufficient AI to filter what you need to know from what you sit through for 45 minutes, "please, only the bits I need to hear about", it's the best game in town. The next best game, IMHO is still pencil and paper notebook.

      • Re:Recording (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Big Smirk (692056) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:19PM (#38061634)

        My best notes were actually in pen.... more precisely a multi-colored pen. Black for subject headings, blue for text, green for examples, red for important stuff. I have very good memory recall for things like that and it worked well for me. A combination of actually writing down the notes, plus a vivid image in my head what the notes looked like, I found it really easy to recall exactly where in my notes a subject was covered.
        The problem I have with electronic note taking is that I have little concept on approximately where in my notes something is.. Was it on page 10, 20 or 30? With a physical notepad, I always had a rough idea.
        Of course I'm older, and my brain never grew up on I-pads.

    • Re:Recording (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:50PM (#38061134)

      Maybe because faculty do not want to be recorded? When I was in school I did ask to record the classes. Most of the faculty were against it. This was 20 years ago (dam I am old) it might be different today. I would ask before recording class.

    • unless of course the teacher or school claims copyright or such. Can you take photos provided you don't use flash (which the iPad doesn't have - its camera is weak but it can take passable photos of a presentation)

      I would recommend something to prop the iPad or similar device up and be sure to that the microphone is unobstructed.

    • There are a number of stylus (stylii?) for the iPad, ones good enough to to draw cartoons, [macworld.com] let alone write. I'd probably utilize the camera too though. Just don't let the professors know your filming, lest you give them stage fright.
    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:12PM (#38061510)

      Recording is nice because you get all the content, however, it is much slower to retrieve that content than flipping through notes. I've known several people who tried recording lectures, and only one who actually used them after-words. I for one hate it when information online is only provided in video form. Having my notes in that form would drive me crazy. Video is best as a supplement for notes in situations where you have a professor that covers material not in the book, doesn't post good lecture notes, and insists on lecturing faster than you can write. In other situations it is just a hassle.

      And like others mentioned, not all schools/professors allow recording of lectures.

      and not using one would allow her to use an iPad.

      So? Why choose a device that doesn't meet your needs and work around it, when there are devices that do?

      • by adonoman (624929)
        I didn't used to reecord lectures, but OneNote now has the ability to search through audio and sync audio with notes, so I can re-listen to a specific part without having to skip back and forth trying to find it.
    • How about something like this: Livescribe Pen [livescribe.com]?

      I've never used one, but it seems like a good idea to me. In particular is the ability to hear the recording at the time a note was taken. That way, the notes don't have to be much more than a way to "fast forward" the the relevant part of the lecture.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:45PM (#38061026)

    I'm just finishing a graduate program and my iPad and bluetooth keyboard/case combo have definitely made the long treks across campus easier. Evernote is fantastic for note taking and it has a feature that allows you to record audio... great for snagging lectures and random professor rants. Evernote syncs what you write/record to the cloud which has allowed me to have access to my materials anywhere. And I haven't lost a note yet!

    Word of warning: If she is going to use a tablet for taking notes, the external keyboard is a must. Before I picked mine up, my wrists were aching after even short typing sessions in class.

  • Old School (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2names (531755) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:46PM (#38061032)
    A pen and some paper. This method is proven to increase later recall of the subject matter. [too lazy to provide citation]
    • Re:Old School (Score:5, Insightful)

      by godrik (1287354) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:53PM (#38061184)

      and you write and annotate much faster on paper. If you want to keep electronic tracks of what you are doing, you can always take pictures of it. I take pictures of my white board all the time, and that works well for me.

      Computer note taking is painful in my opinion.

    • Re:Old School (Score:5, Informative)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:53PM (#38061200) Homepage Journal

      A pen and some paper. This method is proven to increase later recall of the subject matter. [too lazy to provide citation]

      Too right. I summarise as I'm writing. Often adding my own thoughts in a column, include some small sketches, lines, arrows, etc. Generally I have found, it I take good enough notes, I don't usually have to go back over them, unless I'm a bit uncertain on something - then I use the notes (which may include such marvelous comments as "*research this item*") only as a brief review.

    • That is probably part of the driver for a tablet and stylus vs. keyboard, though I'd love to see a study between the two. I suspect they might actually not have much difference--at least for people that grew up with a keyboard attached to their fingers. To my understanding it's largely an issue of attaching mnemonics to what is heard and probably doesn't make much of a difference. I forget the particulars but I recall hearing a while back about how an environment smells can affect learning proficiency.
    • by srussia (884021)

      A pen and some paper. This method is proven to increase later recall of the subject matter. [too lazy to provide citation]

      Anecdotal info, but this method worked so well for me (calligraphic pen and nice unlined paper) that I hardly needed to actually read my notes!

    • Re:Old School (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AshtangiMan (684031) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:57PM (#38061294)
      I'll second this. I have always found that the act of writing the notes goes a long way towards remembering what was written. I will rarely need to refer back to the notes. I tried taking a laptop for a while and typing the notes but for me this did not have the same effect, and it would often take me a long time to find what I had typed (somehow it was context free, whereas when I did have to find something in my written notes I would know what part of the page it was on).
    • For some people. It never worked for me. I learned much better if I don't take notes and just focus on the lecture.
      I tried to take notes and what happens is the info goes to my ears to the paper and I am not thinking about what is being said.

    • Yeah, I find the most effective note-taking method for me is to write it all down with pen/paper during the class/lecture/meeting, and then afterwards immediately transcribe everything to a digital form. Pen and paper allows me the freedom to draw webs/graphs/pictures, draw big arrows connecting things, underline/circle important ideas, etc. It's all very quick and natural. Then having it later in digital form makes it easier to look up and read later.

      But more importantly, the act of transcribing gives

  • Why not a laptop? Note taking by hand can be very tedious and much slower than using a keyboard.
    • If you decided to go the keyboard route instead, I have been using BasKet [kde.org] notes. This works really well. Doesn't give you the excuse to buy the shiny new iPad, but for those running Linux on a desktop, it's a good solution.
  • Livescribe pen? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:48PM (#38061082)

    Rather than a tablet have you looked at the livescribe pens - audio + hyperlinked notes.

    http://www.livescribe.com/

  • thinkpad iPad. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tragek (772040) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:48PM (#38061086) Journal

    If handwriting is desired, I generally would recommend against an iPad. I've been using one with a stylus, and the non-intelligent screen just doesn't work well enough.

    A friend of mine has a convertible X-series thinkpad, and it's great for them, with intelligent built in stylus + OneNote.

    • Re:thinkpad iPad. (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheSeventh (824276) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:53PM (#38061172)
      The Lenovo tablet was designed to enable note taking, with an intelligent stylus that communicates with the tablet, and handwriting recognition software as well. My girlfriend has one and likes it quite a bit:

      http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/tablet/thinkpad/ [lenovo.com]
      • The Lenovo tablet was designed to enable note taking, with an intelligent stylus that communicates with the tablet, and handwriting recognition software as well. My girlfriend has one and likes it quite a bit:

        http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/tablet/thinkpad/ [lenovo.com]

        There were three things that annoyed me when I tried to use tablets to take notes. The first is that I couldn't rest my wrist on the screen. The second is that there was a delay between writing and seeing the results on the screen, and I just couldn't get use to that. Finally, I couldn't get enough written to compare to a paper page of the same size (probably because of the fat-finger styluses mentioned above). How does the Lenovo tablet fare in these situations? I'd love to have a tablet I could reall

      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:53PM (#38062128)

        or there's the Samsung Galaxy Note [techradar.com] that is basically an oversized Galaxy S2, but comes with a stylus.

    • This. I've been using an X series tablet for my note taking needs for about two years now, and my productivity has skyrocketed since then... and the weight of my bag has plummeted, even with a 90W power supply, two 8-cell batteries and a regular X-Series Thinkpad in addition to the tablet.

      Add OneNote and PDF Annotator to the mix and I'm taken care of perfectly.

      Now all we need is Windows 8 ARM slates with Wacom digitizers - that would further cut the weight while keeping battery life the same and hopefully g

  • by tangent3 (449222) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:50PM (#38061118)

    http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-ZiiO-7-Entertainment-Tablet-16GB/M/B004DJQXDW.htm [creative.com]

    Resistive Screen, comes with a stylus.
    Runs Android but has not access to Android Market - not a problem, you can still download APKs and install it onto the device.
    Evernote would be the app you you are looking for for Note-taking, you can download the APK for that no problem - it's freeware.

    • by pavon (30274)

      I haven't used that device in particular, but from the windows tablets I have used, if you are doing any kind of drawing or notetaking an active digitizer is much nicer than a resistive touch screen. It is more precise and doesn't get confused when you lay the side of your hand on the display. IMHO, resistive touch screens are an attempt to provide a compromise between stylus and finger use, but do a worse job at both compared to active or capacitive touch screens.

      Furthermore, for any type of handwriting la

  • by JustNilt (984644) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:50PM (#38061130) Homepage

    Granted, Slashdot will ignore anything you type anyhow. That said, it would be helpful to know the solutions which were insufficient. Otherwise, we'll just all post stuff you've tried (assuming the OP is reading this).

    That said, I've found few things work as well at digitizing notes than the various digital paper options out there. I have a therapist client that uses it for her case notes and then an iPad for content she takes with her. I'd probably prefer the 7" form factor but by offloading the more finicky aspect, handwriting, to a dedicated medium you then have many more options for the content portability.

    My client uses a DigiMemo product but there are quite a number out there with various options you might look into.

    • by kiwimate (458274)

      I agree that more context would be helpful. But here's my experience, from a combination of business and technical classes over recent years.

      Will she need software?
      A lot of my classes have required software to be installed. Often it's been for assignments and not needed in class, but a number of times the professor would end a class by saying "make sure you bring your laptop on Wednesday night because we'll be using XYZ that you had installed". This was prevalent throughout my MBA as well as my IS master's

  • None (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manip (656104) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:51PM (#38061150)
    No tablet as exists today are incapable of taking good usable notes, or if they are (Microsoft OneNote running on a Samsung Series 7 with Windows 7) then they certainly won't exceed a regular laptop with a keyboard. People love to claim the technology is up to that stage but as someone who has foolishly wasted more money that I would like to admit on the tablet dream, I can tell you that, no, you're just wasting money.

    The "main issue" I've found is two things, first off handwriting recognition is crap. Secondly that even when it works there isn't any real integration with the rest of the system, so the resulting text and diagrams is an uncategorised orphan unusable by anything of use.

    Android and iOS are great consumers of content but they're terrible producers. The software is lacking, the interface designs are arse-backwards, and all it ultimately results in is an inefficient irritating system that you might have well not use. Things like the Android Transformer almost prove my point for me by opting for a keyboard and Microsoft Word-clone like software to increase your productivity. If the fact that the best Android can do is to copy a "normal" laptop then that is as damning of a statement of the state of tablets as I can tell.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by AugstWest (79042)

      Just for the record, saying "Android and iOS are great consumers of content but they're terrible producers" because of issues with capturing text is missing the forest for the trees.

      Graphic artists are having a field day with tablets, and for many musicians, an iPad is the greatest invention since..... ever.

      The idea that tablets are for consumption and not production *really* needs to die. As a songwriter, I've never been so productive.

      It's not entirely germane to the OP, but it needed to be said.

    • Re:None (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bizard (691544) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:27PM (#38061756)
      Having spent three semesters now taking notes on an iPad I couldn't disagree more. In physics and astrophysics classes it is quite common to want to add plots and other figures to your notes. If you have them at hand (ie googled for them) then you are correct and a laptop is as good. However, it is much more frequent that you simply need to add a quick figure or write down an equation with more greek letters than you feel like pseudo-latexing out. Switch the the pen, zoom in for smoothing or detail work, result is better generally than pen and paper. Since most of the content is typed, there is not 'recognition' problem. I have had a professor ask for my notes since they were more detailed than his slides (incorporating what he was saying as well).
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:52PM (#38061160)

    You don't have to give up on paper. If you are also thinking of getting a printer as part of going back to school, try getting a combination printer/scanner with an auto document feeder. I'm happy with our Canon Pixma 420 (around $100). It's pretty quick to scan 50 pages to PDF.

    If her handwriting is decent, it'll even OCR it for her.

    If she likes 4x8 notepads, those will scan and display decently on even a Kindle.

    If this cheap alternative doesn't work, you still have a decent printer and can still get something digital.

    • by GSloop (165220)

      +1 for the parent
      or simply shoot the pages with a digital camera and if needed do some post-processing.
      You can even have full color if you need it.

      This is overkill for your project, but may lead some interesting places.
      http://www.diybookscanner.org/ [diybookscanner.org]

      -Greg

  • by Bocaj (84920) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:54PM (#38061234) Homepage
    After trying many options over the years I still find the tried and true paper version [pendaflex.com] works the best. I recommend a small netbook + real notepad. There is just no real substitute for paper yet. I love das blinkinlights as much as anyone but when it comes to a classroom environment, a paper and pencil just works. Especially for math formulas. The only college classes where I used a computer to take notes were programming ones. A laptop or netbook works better because you can use VI or other editor of your choice to copy code examples much more quickly. Also doesn't hurt to be able to actually compile and test something right then and there.
    • What about a digital pen? Real ink on real paper, but everything's being digitalized at the same time. Win-win, in my opinion.

  • Paper, pen or pencil and try real hard to understand what you are being told.

    If you are trying to write everything down you are not trying to understand what you are being told.

  • It's the only 10" tablet with an active digitizer currently on the market. 7" is too small, let alone 5.3", Asus's 12" or the Atom ones won't last a day... HTC are supposed to release another active 10" shortly, but the Thinkpad Tablet is out now, has no glaring defects, and is a regular, if a bit bulky (comes with plenty of ports), Android tablet.

  • A tablet with a stylus is a very awkward way to take notes in a class. Outside of recording the whole lecture, I don't think anything beats a small laptop or netbook for this task. As long as can touch type fairly quickly, it's the best bet. And then you can use something standard like Word or OneNote or whatever OpenOffice and LibreOffice have. Or maybe use AbiWord and a AbiCollab account. I've used this for group projects and it is extremely helpful.
  • And the keyboard and screen easier on the anatomy than an iPad. I used to use a notebook computer, but their wireless is slow. There are sever new airbook competitors now.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:03PM (#38061380) Journal

    As others have pointed out, there is no viable substitute for pencil and paper, unless she happens to be taking a class where drawings and diagrams will not be used and everything can be typewritten and she had excellent keyboarding skills. Get a good ADF scanner and a good PDF program (such as Bluebeam for the desktop - about $150, but $100 for students) and for her portable (any reader for laptop or something like Goodreader with a dropbox sync account for iPad). Know that finding information in a tablet PDF quickly is an exercise in frustration. Doubly so if that data is in the cloud.

    It was my preference in school to use plain copier paper with a sheet of cardstock behind it printed with heavy lines or grid. I've scanned a bunch of notes, but I'll be honest - I keep a paper copy of my "test" sheets in a three ring binder next to my desk for reference. They condense a semester of graduate course work into about 8 very well organized notes per class.

  • LiveScribe Echo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Big Hairy Goofy Guy (866523) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:04PM (#38061388) Journal

    This doesn't meet the ground rules you laid out, but you could consider taking notes on paper and then getting electronic copies of them.

    I'm thinking of the Livescribe products. It's a smart pen/dot paper combination. The big additional win from the Echo or Pulse smartpen is that it will record audio while notetaking. There is an add-on app for the pen that lets you use it as a stylus for your mouse cursor on the laptop (the pen must be tethered to the laptop with a usb cable). I've never used that aspect of the pen.

    The recorded audio can be cued up after class by just pointed to the note you wrote at the same time, as well as by more normal play/pause/scrub controls.

    Also, the handwritten text can be searched in the base desktop application. There is an additional software that will convert the handwritten image to fully editable text - but again, I haven't bought it or used it.

    You can also send complete audio/image combinations to an online account and sync them with your iPad/iPhone, so you don't need to carry around all your notebooks just to read them, though you will need them if you'd like to take new notes (assuming you keep one notebook per class, as intended)

    To be honest, I bought this long after school, because I thought it was so damn cool. I haven't had much call to use it, so I can't really be for or against it. Anyone else use it in an actual class?

    http://www.livescribe.com/ [livescribe.com]

    • I second the Livescribe recommendation. It's been extremely useful when my notes no longer make sense later because the professor was talking too fast or whatever - I can just click on the note and instantly listen to what the professor actually said. This was especially true in an advanced math course I took recently, where the prof gave only verbal hints as to how one step followed another, while I was barely keeping up with what he was furiously writing on the blackboard. Plus there's nothing to lug ar
  • by adonoman (624929) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:04PM (#38061400)

    Get Microsoft OneNote - it has some crazy fuzzy search ability that lets it search through handwriting, text, and audio without converting the analog sources to text first. Since it doesn't first convert to text, it doesn't commit to a single representation of audio, and just searches by sound, so you don't have the issues of badly converted audio. It just lets you jump to the point(s) in the recording that match sound-wise. It also keeps track of when you take written / typed notes vs. the audio recording, so you can follow the lecture with your notes.

    Then go get a MotionComputing tablet off of e-bay. They are WAYY to expensive to buy new ($2500+), but they are awesome, and can be bought off ebay for $300. Something like the LE1700 - get the detachable keyboard too if you're likely to want that. Or else, find one of the fujitsu or acer tablets. All these tablets have wacom digitizers, with a pressure sensitive pen, a right-click button on the pen, and the ability to hover, so interfaces work as well as they do with a mouse.

  • Staples had a pen that would record your strokes as you wrote, that you could then download into your PC.

    Forget the name, (don't feel like googling), you still need paper though.

    I like to write my pseudo-code out ahead of time on certain projects, it would be nice to then import that in when I'm done.

    tablets are nice and all, but there's something about hand-writing it out. helps me with memorizing. Typing, "seems" less so.

     

  • We considered this for our son in college (he wasn't interested), and if I were attending lectures, I'd sure get one of these! The pen records audio as you take notes. Later, tap on the page somwhere and the pen plays back what the instructor was saying at the precise time you were writing at that spot on the page. Can also download the audio to your computer, and does many other things too. Check it out at www.livescribe.com.
  • Livescribe Pen (Score:5, Informative)

    by GreyyGuy (91753) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:07PM (#38061438)

    A Livescribe pen would let her take notes like normal and record the lecture. Plus Livescribe will also let you take notes for all your classes in one notebook, and then you can sort the notes into individual classes ion the computer. So only one notebook to carry around at a time. AND the notes can then be put into PDF or loaded into Evernote so you can read them on whatever device you want. Easy and familiar to use to record information and easy to sort it and use the notes later. I love mine for notes in meetings and my own projects!

  • I am in graduate school right now, and purchased a LiveScribe pen for taking notes in class. You write on notebooks made with special paper (they are inexpensive and last a long time), and you have the benefit of having a audio recording of the class synched up with the written notes that you take. You connect your pen to a computer to archive and back up the notes, but you can also leave them on the pen for listening when your computer isn't around.

    The pen I have is the 2GB model, which can hold the note

  • Try a tablet PC, or something with a high resolution stylus. My wife really loved note taking in OneNote - she does NOT want to type on the computer while taking notes. Taking notes in OneNote (or similar, but OneNote is very nice) lets you mix writing and diagramming, and then lets you go back and transcribe them to typeset text. I'm sure there's something similar for an IPad, though I don't know anything about how good their stylus is. The Wacom stylus and screens have been pretty awesome, though.

  • by ReinoutS (1919) <(reinout) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:13PM (#38061542) Homepage
    The HTC Flyer is especially designed for this type of usage. It comes with a stylus and full Evernote integration. Plenty of demo videos on Youtube [youtube.com], if you want to know more.
  • You have found that the issue is the stylus. This is what I have found as well. Every stylus I have tried has been pretty bad. The iPad with a screen protector is a good writing surface, but I cannot use a stylus.

    In terms of general note taking, the one app I do use is evernote. I like the way it integrates between the tablet and laptop or desktop. This might be useful in terms of organization.

    I have several note taking apps on my iPad. They all seem about the same. Some have more emphasis on or

  • I know you said you want to hand-write your notes, but unless you NEED to for some specific reasons, or are a terrible typist, I would re-think it. Most people can type considerably faster than they can hand-write, even under the best circumstances with pen and paper. Plus- typing can take advantage of modern spell-checking and auto-correcting functions. If you MUST hand-write- I recommend a good smart pen instead, like those offered by Livescribe. It provides a good level of handwriting analysis and can m
  • by timholman (71886) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:22PM (#38061686)

    Your only tablet choices, unfortunately, are bad or none.

    Engineering lectures have lots of schematics, equations, and diagrams, so keyboard entry alone just doesn't cut it. You have to use a pen.

    For myself (as an instructor), I use a Fujitsu tablet combined with OneNote to manage and organize my notes. It is your typical Windows tablet abomination, painful and clumsy to operate, with your hand constantly brushing against the terribly placed scroll control, but it is better than nothing. The "feel" of the pen on the screen doesn't match the feel of pen on paper, and no matter how you calibrate the screen, the pen registration is never quite right at the edges. The hassle was still worth it to me because I needed some way to edit my course notes and generate PDF copies on demand, but I wouldn't recommend it to a student trying to take notes during lecture.

    A tablet for handwritten notes is one of those markets that I fervently wish Apple would enter. At least we'd have one vendor that might get it right, as opposed to all the Windows kludges out there. But for now, I'd recommend taking notes on paper, then scanning them into some soft copy format.

    As for recording the lecture: DON'T. Take notes. It forces you to engage your mind during the lecture, and dramatically improves your recall of the material. Recording a lecture just means you're forcing yourself to sit through it twice. Take good notes during lecture and you'll save yourself a lot of time and effort afterwards.

  • OK, so I realize I am completely going against what the poster asked ... but I've actually found I prefer paper for this.

    I've got engineering lab books going back 15+ years, and they're what I use to record stuff at work and keep notes. For something a little more transient I occasionally use a notepad or a whiteboard.

    Having a chronological set of books going back that far is actually handy.

    YMMV, but I've been taking paper notes for so long going digital doesn't even seem like an option to me.

  • The tablet alone is a good tablet, but with the keyboard it becomes what a netbook always wanted to be but could never quite manage to pull off.

    15 hours of battery life -- good for an entire school day and then some. Physcially connected keyboard (useful if the campus has bluetooth restrictions). keyboard also has full-sized USB connector (2) so you can back it up to thumb drive for use elsewhere... As for specific android apps, that's sort of a mixed bag. None of the "office compatible" apps have spellchec

    • ASUS Slider also works, and since the keyboard is stowed away underneath the pad when not in use, it it's less junk to carry around.
      • by brennanw (5761)

        The slider looks neat, but from what I understand the battery life isn't nearly as good. What's your experience with the battery life? Maybe I just read some sloppy reviews...

  • While this does not really solve the OP's issue as expected, it might be a worthwhile consideration. LiveScribe [livescribe.com] is a digital pen [wikipedia.org] which can be used to take down notes on digital paper [wikipedia.org] in tandem with audio recording capabilities. As a result, you can listen to a lecture as you go through your notes along with a bunch of other features. While this is nifty in itself, you can also hook up the paper/tablet [livescribe.com] to a laptop and digitise it effectively in real time. While you can buy everything including the paper from

  • Don't take notes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:33PM (#38061826)
    I found it to be more useful to do all the day's reading ahead of class and then don't bother taking any notes. Just listen and pay attention. And ask questions.

    Before that, I'd go in clueless and spend the whole class furiously taking notes. I'd miss major points and then go home with incomplete notes that I'd never have time to review anyways.

    Probably that and learning how to prioritize are how I went from nearly flunking out to a 4.0 on an overload schedule.
    • ^This, this, this!!! My problem with notes is, while I'm concentrating on writing down what the instructor was saying 5 seconds ago, he's still talking, and I'm missing it.

  • Serious question. Why wouldn't a netbook or laptop work just as well, other than it's not as shiny and new as a tablet?
  • http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-io-Personal-Digital-Pen/dp/B00006JP23 [amazon.com]Logitech IO pen will allow to have notes, digital notes and some sort of text recognition at the same time. I used it long ago with some satisfaction. Note that technology has evolved since, and I cannot refine my statement with today's standards... Anyone?
  • All the comments I've seen are naysayers. I use my iPad with unote. Unote has a neat zoom feature. you write with a stylus in the zoomed section and it acts like a typewriter, moving the real position of the drawable section left as you move left, letting you write a lot on one line, while letting you write clearly. It is good for formula and Greek lettering.

  • by rwa2 (4391) *

    Palm T|X with pedit32 (for text files) and DiddleBug (for freehand notes pages). Writing and drawing with the stylus is still much more precise than any of the capacitive fat-finger interfaces I've seen on modern smartphones.

    I wrote part of my master's thesis on my Palm T|X, using a free portable IR keyboard I got with the device.

    Still waiting for some set of Android apps that would give me a similar experience.

    "Draw & Share" is the only free app I've found that comes close to DiddleBug, but still i

  • From the perspective of a psychology graduate student at a large university: 1) Get used to taking notes on a laptop via typing. 2) Use Preview to annotate lecture outlines; this works wonderfully (you can draw arrows, circle things, type notes, underline, highlight, etc) 3) For course involving mathematics, print available lecture slides or outlines, and then take notes with a pen and paper (i.e. right on the slides themselves). Trying to find some way to use a tablet seems to just make things more compl
  • I personally use mindmapping software for notes during meetings. It allows for the information to flow naturally and be reorganized and regrouped quickly (i.e. during the lecture). You might need other stuff for diagrams but mind mapping is terrific. I use mindjet because I learned it a decade ago, but the market is much more competitive now and I would likely pick another brand today.

    Notebook by circus pony (link [circusponies.com]) is specifically designed for what you want to do and I've heard good things about it.

  • by mario_grgic (515333) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:13PM (#38062380)
    Why don't you just buy a notebook (not electronic) and a bunch of pencils. Nothing beats the flexibility, increases uptake of the new material and still allow for active listening, is not distracting (no internet and facebook or chat) than pen and paper. If you really want to have your lecture notes in electronic format, type them up in LaTeX later at night and compile to PDF. But for actual note taking nothing beats pen and paper.
  • by Terrasque (796014) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:26PM (#38062578) Homepage Journal

    Galaxy Note [samsung.com]

    No one have mentioned this yet? Weird, it looks perfect for what he asks for. Top of the line Android smartphone/tablet hybrid with support for both hands and stylus.

  • by amirulbahr (1216502) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @08:09PM (#38067996)
    The ThinkPad Tablets [recompute.com.au] are tough as nails and include a digitizer screen and stylus [lenovo.com]. They sense when you are using the stylus and can filter out your palm touching the screen so they are very comfortable to write on.

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