My note-taking tools, part 2: Moleskine and Wacom

In part 1, I laid out my tools, and discussed the primary component of my note-taking system, OneNote. Now, I’ll discuss the role paper plays in my system, and one of my favourite toys, the pen tablet.

While most of my notes originate in digital form, I still use paper. In class, for instance, while I could use my netbook, I’ve opted to stick with a trusty pad of paper. Or more specifically, a Moleskine notebook. I don’t really like having a computer open in class, and as great as digital is, I still just like pen and paper. When I get back, I scan my notes into OneNote. They are still in the notebook if I need them, but I refer to them onscreen usually after that. I also take a highlighter and make a mark on the top left of the page once I’ve scanned it. A quick way of remembering what I have scanned in and what I haven’t.

Once I’m digital, I use OneNote, as I described before, and my Wacom Pen Tablet. What is a pen tablet, you ask? Well here’s a picture from Amazon:
Basically, it is a pen and a tablet. It functions a bit like a mouse, in that it moves the cursor on the screen. Unlike your mouse, however, the pen tablet is a relative position input device. That means that when you put the pen at the top right of the tablet, the cursor instantly jumps there. That makes it really easy to move around the scree. It also, conseqentially, works much better for drawing, writing, and underlining than a mouse. In short, with my set-up, it’s about as close as you can get to handwriting on the computer. Within a few years, with the advent of touch screens, I suspect this will be largely obsolete–at least as I’ve described here. Fortunately, it is also a graphic design and art tool, and I have tried my hand a bit at “painting” with it. More on that some other day.

The pen tablet also serves as a touch pad, so when I’m not using the pen, I can use it just like a laptop touch pad. Plus I can do the cool swipe gestures (e,g. two finger scroll) that are becoming so popular these days, thank you Apple. All in all, it is a fun toy that, while not essential, I have enjoyed and grown to use quite a bit.

In part 3, I’ll discuss my backup strategy.


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