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Electronic Note Pad

Electronic Note Pad

Electronic Note Pad

(OP)
I am thinking of going paperless. I am a structural engineer that designs and provides analysis of existing buildings. I often times am completing hand calculations. Often, I will knock out a hand calculation for a beam, or column, or a footing, or something like that. I may sketch the load/shear/moment diagrams, perform the calculations by hand, and then take care of a report and/or a drawing, based upon those calculations.

I'd like to perform my hand calculations digitally on an electronic note pad by hand sketching. I've been looking at the "remarkable", but there's some things I want that the remarkable does not seem to have, and vice versa.

I want to do these calculations (by hand), store them to a file within the note pad, and eventually, when the job is done, transfer them to my desktop computer via a USB thumb drive or via direct connection to my desk top via the USB.

I do not want cloud storage. I want to store my files on my own hard drive.

I'm not interested in any subscriptions. I'd like to purchase the product, and be done with it.

Essentially, I need a note pad. I'm just trying to get away from having sheets of calculation papers all over my office.

Any suggestions here?

RE: Electronic Note Pad

iPad + Apple Pencil if you can handle the up front cost. For the actual notetaking OneNote will give you a lot of flexibility for synchronization between IOS and Windows for backup. DrawboardPDF recently became available for IOS which is a solid option for PDF markup.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 series includes their SPen tech which will come in slightly cheaper than an iPad and land you access to the android market of apps, again though for best flexibility I'd still recommend OneNote.

If you don't foresee any need for any of the other apps made available in the Apple or Android marketplaces the Remarkable may be an OK option. Their subscription service is not required to sync notes to your other machines you can either do the synch via their limited free cloud account or their desktop app via a usb connection to the device.

I'm making a thing: www.thestructuraltoolbox.com
(It's no Kootware and it will probably break but it's alive!)

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I get by quite nicely with SMath, Excel, Libreoffice, Bricscad, Thunderbird... and have for about 5 years now... and my memory... computer is liquid cooled. The Sabrent drives are M.2 and have the OS and the Applications loaded. pipe



So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

No cloud and no subscription will limit you to rather old software. I'd recommend keeping an open mind on both subjects.

I use OneNote on my phone and computer for most everything. Notebooks are shared and editable on both devices, I use the phone to take shorthand notes and add images/movies/sound then clean everything up on the computer afterward. Pictures of sketches are easily uploaded. You can also attach project plans, reports, and other docs so everything is easily referenced from a notebook. It is cloud-based, but my IT guy assures me that the work login saves to an internal server for data security, my personal account saves to a MS server. It is also subscription based but MS365 is fairly cheap and comes with other apps.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Bricscad is the only program I have that is out of date, and I don't do a lot of drafting... and I have image viewers and use Adobe Reader a lot... DoroPDF is my printer driver.

My stuff is local, and I don't use the cloud at all.

If I take my files out of the home to work on elsewhere I use an encrypted USB stick... just to avoid the embarassment in case I lose it... All my work files are also regularly backed up on my laptop (weekly)... all the other backups are daily (3 of them)... and on a local USB stick as the files are done.

I lost a critical file about 20 years back... since then, overkill. pipe

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I have been considering the Remarkable 2. They force you into a subscription service to be able to sync with your cloud accounts but it is a very realistic duplication of the feel of paper and pencil. No opportunities for distractions. It only takes notes and stores the files..

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I have that for my paper notes... little Fujitsu Scansnap 1500C... small, very good and nearly 10 years old, and a shredder I picked up at Costco. pipe

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

My son decided to go paperless at university 4 years ago and did his research and got an ipad pro 200 hz with a pen. Said it was great and the faster pen speed really made a difference when you are writing. He could draw, write, annotate, store, send via email or Google drive. No subscriptions I know of and swears by it

A good wallet for protection, maybe a keyboard to type things a lot easier and away you go.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

No one has mentioned Microsoft surface products, aurface pro plus surface pen and you can replace your current laptop or desktop. Not the most powerful, but works fine. Bit fragile though for taking to site.

Combine with onenote.

One warning about onenote, the printing to paper or pdf can be horrendous quality. It was never designed to print, it was always envisaged as a note taking app. To get anything good out of it I had to maximise the quality and only use adobe printer. Anything else including bluebeam just resulted in awful quality. The downside of maximising the quality is it could take an hour to print 100 pages to pdf.... But I'd rather have that than the pictures being down sampled until you cannot read any text, or pen markups inheriting a look like a child did them.

You can create local notes, doesn't have to be cloud based.

https://engineervsheep.com

RE: Electronic Note Pad

(OP)
Thank you guys for all of your input.

I really like the remarkable 2, but, I will not buy it if I can not operate it without a subscription.

Ideally, I would:

- Take notes at a meeting or do hand calculations
- Save them as pdfs
- Take them to my desktop via a USB thumb drive and store them there
- I back-up my desk-top regularly....not on the cloud, but via local hard drives

I have no interest in the cloud, drop-box, google drive, or any other cloud based storage. Like dik said above, I want control of my drawings and calculations and their safety. I've had "lost" drawings and calcs before, and I'm not doing that again.

I'm a simple guy. I do not need nor want any fancy bells nor whistles. I want to take notes, or do calcs, on the pad, by hand, and ultimately store them on my desktop.

I simply want to substitute a digital pad and hard drive files.....for paper and filing cabinets.

Again guys, I appreciate all the input.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

for what it's worth the Remarkable folks offer a 100 day return window if you purchase directly from them, Link

If all you want is simple note taking then your options are Remarkable, Supernote, Boox, or Fujitsu Quaderno
I believe all but the Remarkable are built off of a version of Android as a base, while the Remarkable is a custom linux alternative.

I'm making a thing: www.thestructuraltoolbox.com
(It's no Kootware and it will probably break but it's alive!)

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Quote:

I've seen dry erase boards with built in printers.

Recently? We got rid of all of ours about 8 years ago; the resolution was pretty pitiful, comparable to a older fax machine. We then tried some "smart" displays that had some form of applique that allowed you to "write" on a live display while in PowerPoint. Not sure why we got rid of those, but probably those 1st gen systems were clunky and unreliable.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I've considered one of the tablets from Boox, but haven't bought one yet.

It runs on Android, so in theory syncing between the tablet and PC should be easy as any app from the Play store, incl. OneNote, can be installed.

Remarkable also looks great on the hardware front, but I just don't see how to organize notes in project without a lot of hassle..

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I use an iPad Pro with an apple pencil for my notes/hand calcs. I use the Notability app, that at one point was a fixed price app, but now appears that it is "free" with monthly and yearly subscriptions. As a general rule, I don't like to recommend subscription based apps, but not sure what I'd recommend in it's place.

Please note that is a "v" (as in Violin) not a "y".

RE: Electronic Note Pad

IRstuff,
Yes, recently. I have not used one myself.
We have a fairly new one here at work. I don't know who uses it. I see it in the conf room.

Chris, CSWP
SolidWorks '20
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I recently bought an old Lenovo X220 Tablet, second hand machine in good condition at relatively low price.
Writing speed is not ideal but overall the pencil is not too bad for writing short memo.
I tend to stick with product that are of old design, even for phones. If I am able to make it work new software, OS etc., then it is my preferred approach. I know people may disagree but I find the quality of most products going downward since say 2012-ish.
So far I used basic/free sketching software; it is possible that professional tools could improve comfort when writing/taking notes with this laptop.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

With the "workflow" that you describe i cannot see why a paper pad and a scanner at your desctop would not be the ideal solution?

--- Best regards, Morten Andersen

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I have a Fuji Snapscan that works great and is used for the 'odd' bit of paper. Most of my work is from the computer to *.pdf files. My default printer s DoroPDF...

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Any updates here?

I'm debating the Supernote/Boox(onyx) Note Air/Remarkable. Or of course the do-nothing option, paper notebooks and digitizing using a smartphone, then sorting in a OneNote/Evernote system.

My current thought is that the Supernote's OCR and organization is the only real differentiator over paper and scanning. Still have some research to go.

----
just call me Lo.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I've only used the OCR software that came with the ScanSnap a couple of times and it's great... ABBY finereader... once used to scan a print of a program I'd written... about 30 pages with only a couple of errors.

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Alright, following a good quarter, I ended up picking up a Supernote for testing. I'll get some thoughts up here after I've used it for a few days.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I picked up a Wacom Cintiq on ebay after using a Wacom Intuos Pro for a while The Intuos is super handy for backchecking drawings in bluebeam, while the cintiq is great for generating new details and handcalcs. Bonus is that they use the same stylus. I started with the small Intuos pro, and eventually got a large size (after watching ebay for months for a good deal). It now acts as my integrated mousepad / pen input.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Early use has been really promising for my use case.

1. As a digital notebook, it's easy to carry around, quick to find the right file for a given project or meeting, and pretty responsive to start writing. I have had some inputs lag/hang, but not too badly. Quite nice to be able to insert pages in between other pages to extend a set of notes. They just released note linking, which I am looking forward to using.

2. As a sketchpad, while the drawing tools are limited, it's been more than adequate for a quick whiteboard explanation to a junior engineer or a FBD to wrap my head around a problem.

3. I did successfully sync the device with my work email and calendar. Haven't done anything with that yet.

4. Writing feel wasn't the most important thing to me (I'm generally fairly adaptable), but all my colleagues who have tried it have commented on how much more natural it feels than an apple pencil, surface pen, etc.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Good to know. I just ordered myself a Supernote, will report back when I've had a chance to use it.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Alright, a little more info:


The good:

I've now copied about two weeks worth of project notes into the supernote. The writing experience is superb. To me, it feels just like pen and paper. But being able to move notes around the screen, erase a messy stroke, and add space between notes after the fact is fantastic.

I've been using individual note files for each project (each linked to quick access) and titles throughout the files as section headings. Supernote picks those all up and creates a table of contents. Super handy. I haven't integrated keywords or links yet.

I'm primarily using the "notes". However, I did experiment with creating a word document using the handwriting input, then converting that to text with OCR. It was remarkably accurate for my sloppy handwriting. Then using proofreading strokes to manipulate the word file is pretty slick. I don't see doing this regularly, but might come in handy for something like meeting minutes where I expect to send the notes out to others afterward. It doesn't pick up greek symbols or equations though.

I was easily able to slightly modify a standard note template to include a company logo header.

I was easily able to sync a handful of common reference materials to the supernote using the cloud sync tool. Can just as easily sync sketches and notes back to drop into a file on my computer. (Also could be done over USB). For anyone who wants to challenge KootK's reign of timely sketches here on ET, this might be your ticket.

And it's relatively easy to navigate back and forth between a reference and a note.

The bad:
As I've used it more, I've found that the gesture erase (using two fingers on the screen to activate the eraser) is inconsistent. About half of the time it works. About half of the time it doesn't and I just end up circling what I wanted to erase. Takes a few extra taps to get the eraser from the toolbar and then back into pen mode.

Additionally, I've had it "crash" about a half dozen times, almost always when creating a new file or adding a page to a file. Each time, it has come back with all of the information saved from before the crash. Reboot time is about 30 seconds.

The ugly
If one were wanting to use the supernote to generate a calculation by itself, it's currently not possible to grab a screenshot from a document and paste that into a note. The best that can currently be done is to get a screenshot from the document, and insert that as the next page of the note (no ability to crop or trim the page either, see below). Not ideal. Theoretically, it's on their software roadmap, but no ETA.



RE: Electronic Note Pad

I recently bought myself the Supernote A5X, partly thanks to Lomarandil's good review of it.

I absolutely love it. I can see this replacing basically all my previous hand calculations and note taking.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Anyone have pros/cons for Supernote vs reMarkable2? Thanks.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Does the supernote actually do the arithmetic?

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

No dik, my job is still safe.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I was thinking that it adapted to the font used and actually did the sums... no such luck... even for some simple calculations, I use SMath... almost as fast as my calculator. If a real calc that I want to 'save' I often just create a project file on my calculator and upload the file to the PC...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Lomarandil... what is your frame text that you posted a clip from?

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

Agreed Dik. I do most of my production calcs in Smath, and historically also have a "scratch calc" file for each project just to run small numbers like this example. But I'm finding that the Supernote can be a reasonable option for those scratch calcs, particularly if they really benefit from being attached to a sketch. (Yes, you can put sketches into Smath easily, but that does take a minute or two).

The frame analysis screenshot is from Kleinlogel.

Small update: I mentioned my "soft crashes" (noted previously) to an experienced Supernote user. They said they'd never had that issue, and that I should contact support. A few emails and a week later, I have a replacement device. Only been a few days, but no crashes or instability so far. Supernote suspects the power button on my previous device isn't quite soldered down.

RE: Electronic Note Pad

I often use Windows 'snap shot'for putting pictures or formula into SMath... takes seconds... in minutes, I can do an autocad drawing and paste it in... works great. I no longer have Kleinlogel... I photocopied the book over 50 years back, with permission by my employer and came in on the weekend to copy it... but the copy has been lost to the ages. The text was in German, at the time.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Electronic Note Pad

dik, I just googled "kleinlogel rigid frame formulas", and the top result happened to be a PDF copy hosted at engineering.com..

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