Goal: Creeping towards the paperless lifestyle
I’m trying to get into the paperless lifestyle this year. I’m making small changes to facilitate this.
I keep a paper notebook for scratch writing while I work. Mostly the notebook contains things I need to remember for the next 5 minutes, but can forget afterwards. Sometimes it contains more permanent notes: TODO times, thoughts, things to research
I want to be able to make these thoughts paperless. Yesterday I stumbled on a workflow that works for me.
Use MyScript Memo - this will do handwriting recognition and give you the text to be copied.
Send it over to the Mac via PasteBot, or save it via a Dropbox editor
But it can not do handwriting recognition on pictures
So when get idea need to save grab my iPad and stylus and enter it!!
Questions and Answers
Q: Why not Evernote?
A: I want to get the translated text, so I can make corrections to it. Evernote translates the text but I can’t go back and edit the guessed at text. I can’t even export the text: exporting the image gives me an XML document with the image data and each translated word in it’s own XML element with coordinates. I can see why this (for highlighting the text on the image), but seriously I don’t care.
Between my bad handwriting and all the technical terms I use, I really need to be able to go back and correct my text.
Also, with this workflow, the only thing that matters is the text: I don’t care about the
.jpg of a picture of my writing. Evernote sees the picture as the thing that has text metadata - I want the text as the thing, with the image being metadata.
Q: Why MyScript Memo?
A: I want to be able to handwrite my notes THEN trigger recognition. I don’t want to fight with computers when I’m taking notes in a meeting.
I also want a full page to write on - not just some small 3”x3” space at the bottom of the screen. I want a notebook page that works like a notebook page in the real world.
Q: What sucks about MyScript Memo?
A: I want a bigger digital canvas. Infinite Sketchpad is awesome at this, but there’s no recognition. But Myspace Memo I can get about half a page of physical notepaper (I rewrote some notes I had laying around) so I guess that’s OK.
I believe some of these concerns are addressed in another MyScript product: MyScript notes mobile. While I get a new iPad I’ll try it out (I have an iPad 1).
I’ll probably still use Infinite Sketchpad when I’m mapping out processes or code or something.
MyScript Memo seems a little slow on my iPad 1, but is quite snappy on my iPhone 4S. I’m looking forward to when I upgrade my work iPad.
Q: But why do this in the first place? Why write something?
A: when I’m in a formal and scheduled meeting I will often take notes on my computer. I have a special document for these notes so this has become second habit to me. However there are two places where I want to use handwriting:
- Random thoughts I have while working on something. I normally put these ideas in my scratch notebook - a 8.5x11 school notebook - but now I can put them in my iPad without swithving modes from “writing with pens on paper” to “pull up my notes file and start typing.” I’m aiming for low friction data entry.
- I can write faster than I can type on the iOS keyboard
I’ve recently purchased a Bluetooth keyboard to try and fix issue 2, but that’s useful when I’m writing an important email on my phone or writing text longer than a tweet.
It’s still early in the process - it’ll be another week before I know if I can stick with this workflow. I use my iPad to read technical books/PDFs, sometimes as a fourth screen, and as a tool when I’m brainstorming at my whiteboard. I look forward to seeing how handwritting turned into searchable text changes how I work