Electronic Notetaking for School and Life

As I prepare for yet another semester of school, I’ve decided it’s time I finally find a method to electronically record my notes. At this point I’m putting a call out there for some help / suggestions on what would do the trick.

As a student there are a few main requirements I have for this project:

1. Cost ($500 would be ideal – $1K is getting out of control)
2. Functionality (must be able to draw notes in to it at a relatively high speed and resolution)
3. Reliability
4. Portability

As it stands there’s one device that meets 3 of these requirements really well, as far as I can tell. That would be the iRex iLiad (see image below).

iRex iLiad
Pros: Very thin

Uses e-paper display

Supports a ton of peripherals (USB, SD/MMC, Wifi)

Relatively large screen
Cons: Quite expensive (~$700USD)

First generation technology

Very slow startup / page turning times

So at present the iLiad is the best device I can think of for this job, but I don’t like the price tag and the fact that it’s a first generation machine. I seem to recall HP releasing a tablet PC for about $1K somewhat recently – so paying 70% of that for the iLiad kind of seems totally foolish to me, though a tablet pc will clearly be a lot heavier and thicker, as a student I don’t care, but I also don’t need a second laptop.

So the search goes on…

I’ve seen a youtube video that made reference to a new ebook reader from iRiver which looks pretty snazzy to me. In the video they said it had a touch screen interface, so that suggests it could be capable of recording annotations. See image below:

The challenge with this iRiver device is that it seems that iRiver still hasn’t decided if they’re going to actually put them in to production. Further it seems that the screens are relatively small and given I’m left-handed.

So that means that I’d only be able to annotate on the left screen as my wrist would ream pretty hard on the left screen if I were writing on the right screen.

So, community, please tell me, do any of you know of some other devices which will suit my needs? I wouldn’t mind the tablet PC option that lets me use MS OneNote – I think that’s an outstanding application, though I’ve yet to try Dia, which I hear is fantastic too.

One thought on “Electronic Notetaking for School and Life”

  1. Well, I think I figured it out. The correct answer to the above problem (aside from pen & paper) is a used tablet off of ebay. I picked up a Motion Computing M1300 tablet (1Ghz, 512mb ram, 40gb hdd) – I think that’ll be more than enough for the above challenge. Of course, I’ll post more on it – as I learn how easy it is for note taking. I’m especially concerned of my left-handedness becoming a significant factor. At least it’s not a touch sensitive pad like a classic pda. Tablet touch screens require a magnetic pen for input which is swell cause as I lefty my wrist is all over the page while I write. 🙂

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