I’m a notebook junkie. I’m currently toting a rather fetching Leuchtturm1917 in a very fetching orange. After much experiementation over the years, my pen of choice is the Pentel Sign Pen, usually in blue or black.
I love the immediacy of paper and pen. I love the tactility. It helps me to think, to explain, to share. And it’s the only part of my working life these days that is paper-based. I honestly cannot remember the last time I printed something out.
This week I’m trying to see if I can replace the Leuchtturm and Pentel combination with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. It’s going to be interesting to see how I get on.
I’ve toyed with pen-based computers for many years. I learned Graffiti, the stylised writing system that was the main UI for the Palm Pilot. I used shonky styli on Windows CE palmtop computers. I’ve tried “inking” on a few Windows devices over the years. But I’ve always come back to a notepad.
I’ve been using the iPad for around a month now, and have been very impressed. I’ve not quite ditched a more conventional laptop (that’s an experiment to come later), but am interested to see if I can make myself completely paperless.
It’s important to understand quite how the notepad fits into my life, because it has been a source of confusion for many advocates of digital pens in the past. I’m not using a notepad to create data.
For me, primarily, writing is an act of learning. Research has shown that the act of taking longhand notes aids memory in a way that taking verbatim notes by typing (or, according to journalists I know who still practice the dark art) or in shorthand. I might occasionally refer back to my notebook, but it’s rare.
The other major notepad use for me is as a portable whiteboard. Too many years working in management development, I guess, but I like to sketch pictures to help explain concepts when I’m working with others (or even, sometimes, when I’m working alone).
Will the iPad and Pencil be able to provide similar functions? Alongside the hardware, the software I’ll be using at this stage is Evernote, Google Keep and Paper. Other app suggestions are most welcomed.
Right, here we go. Wish me luck…