Best writing implement

soutthpaw

Active Member
I got so excited about this, I ordered the one I linked to on Amazon. Fortunately I already have an old tablet sleeve so it won't get damaged.
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I have a spare cover from one of mine that I don't use. It's yours if you want it.
 

adamlogan

Member
@ Bottesini: Sorry! I didn't get email replies for this thread for some reason. But yeah, it just snaps off. You're not the only one who thought it would break. I looked at it closer and it made sense to me, although it is a really unusual design.

@ Southpaw
I might be interested in your cover, what are the inner dimensions of that cover? Do you have any idea of how much shipping would go for? I'm currently in Rochester NY which is a long ways from Nevada lol.

@ all

My notes so far on the sync and jot.

Sync 9.7:

By default the sync turns on with bluetooth ON. You have to press erase button first then power the unit on to turn on the unit w/ bluetooth disabled so as to save power. I think this should work the other way around, but that's just my opinion.

Using the digitizer function on the computer (to use this like a wacom tablet or mouse) with sync software, you have to be careful not to switch between window mode vs full screen as stylus position will not be the same once switching while in the middle of drawing.

Noticed live drawing on computer with sync software hangs up often mid drawing when sd card is mounted, unmounting the sd card seems to solve the issue.

File format is 200.025 dpi, 5.489 x 7.984 in DeviceGray (black&white) color space. (Files are by default in pdf format). Interestingly when I did a analysis I found that it's a .ink object that is embedded in the pdf.

Based on my experience playing with al.chemy.org I opened the pdf file in Adobe Illustrator and as suspected the vectors are there and editable being ordered from first letter/stroke being at the bottom layer to most recent/final stroke being at the top layer. Unfortunately the way .ink output seems to work is similar to how photoshop's brush works with the spacing option in the brush settings. When you paint in photoshop x amount of perfect circles are printed onto the canvas. It's so fine that human eyes don't really see it or notice it but if you zoom in enough you'll see it, or use coarse enough spacing like 100%. A nearly perfect line happens when you use 1%. The difference is that with the .ink the shape that gets printed to the canvas is more like a jelly bean than a perfect circle. In illustrator they are actually very short lines with variable stroke widths and round caps. Finally, this means tweaking lines would not be trivial since you would need to join all the strokes, but when you do this you get one uniform stroke width and lose the original appearance of your letter or line or whatever. You can still scale, move, delete, change the stroke colors of your letters/lines by selecting them as groups but you can't use tools like the smooth tool (since all the lines are composed of simple straight lines) so you can't really bend or tweak lines without great effort and time spent on it. If you want to really finesse things try rasterizing the image and then using live trace, expand it and then you have workable outlines.

Keep in mind that in the real world it looks like the "ink" is white on a black backdrop, but in pdf it is white on black. It's easy enough to invert using photoshop or illustrator or even use command line software to automate the process, it's just something to be aware of. Moving on.

Erasing actually saves to digital file as well, the difference is it gets saved to a separate folder, the Erased folder. Saved files get saved to the Saved folder. While the device has an sd card, it seems to be internal. It's not like a camera where you can pull it out and plug another one in. What this means is you have to use blue tooth or the mini usb cable to transfer files. The bluetooth method is a bit of a pain if you don't leave bluetooth on all the time on your phone or computer, but it can save you time since the sync software can be linked with dropbox. I'm old school and don't really like bluetooth very much so I prefer to use the usb. At some point I might automate shuffling files around and renaming them but it doesn't really take that much time.

When you save multiple times without erasing, by default the subsequent saves merge or append on top of each-other. This would save space on the device, but honestly the file sizes are so small to begin with. I changed this setting to not do that, so that everytime I saved, it saved a new file, this way I could see the progression of a drawing. This does mean more time sorting through the writings/drawings but not by much if it's me (or you) using it since you'd know how it works. I must say it is really fun to see what friends or family do on it. It does become entertainment at a party or gathering that other people might want to grab and use for themselves if you're not careful though.

The pen when in it's holster makes it so that the board does not lay flat. I've not found this to be a problem when resting it on tables or whatever, but when you keep it in your backpack, it might scratch your laptop or something.

Keep in mind that as simple as the sync is, it's still a slight hassle to have to turn the thing on, press erase or save, charge it, process the pdfs into images etc. OCR on handwriting does not yield great results thus far. I've only used acrobat so far though, and have not used any software that you can train to recognize and understand your personal handwriting. I would much prefer to type my notes as the ideal, but sometimes having a laptop feels a bit rude depending on the setting. The sync is lighter and more portable than most laptops, although apple's new macbook laptops are pretty much on par in size and weigh next to nothing.

It does "bruise" when not in use. I often have to use the erase button before using it. I'm not using a cover though, so this one is fair game.

Jot 4.5:
As expected I'm using this one more frequently because of it's compact size. It's just right for writing down things quickly. It sucks that it can't store what is written but most of the time it's not a problem. If I really need the info stored I will take a picture of it with my phone, although obviously I would not want to be doing this very often.

I've had a few people afraid they were going to break the stylus/ not being sure how to remove it. I imagine this bit will wear out over time and eventually not work. Not sure how I would keep the stylus and pad together then, but I'll cross that bridge if it ever comes.

Other than that it's a pretty bombproof device, although I would not put this in the back pocket, it feels like it would break if you sat on it wrong or something.

In a nutshell the Jot gets used on the go, and in conversations where we're standing up. The sync works better in group settings where we're sitting down.

I'll leave the sync powered on when there's a party or social gathering, I've not had it run out of battery juice on me yet, it seems to do pretty well in that respect. I make sure to recharge it afterwards so it's full for the next use. One thing that annoys me though is that the power seems to be powered on whenever I charge it, and it stays on after I unplug it. I've tried plugging the usb cable into a wall adapter but it shows the same behavior. You have to remember to unmount the sd card (if connected to computer via usb), and turn off the sync, whenever you unplug it.

The sync is just not something you want to keep on your body or use standing up. Leaving it on a table or putting it in a backpack/messenger bag/ large purse is your best bet.

If I had to choose one or the other solely for assisting communication with hearing people (as a hard of hearing person) I would pick the jot since I only need a word or a sentence to get back in the game. The sync would make more sense as a completely deaf person where you need space to write more than just one or two sentences.

So that concludes my observations thus far. May update again later as I experiment more with this.
 
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DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
@adamlogan- Thanks so much for your review-- better than most I've read lol (especially the parts pertaining to HOH/deaf usage).

I just got the Jot 4.5 and the standard 8.5 (I was really going back and forth on the battery part-- replaceable vs not lol). It helped that I had a nice lil Amazon card a friend of mine gave me a few months back but at the time I had no clue what to get. I should be getting them today so can take them with me on my trip next week- see how they work if I get the opportunity to use them with family (since I may or may not be running around with the 'ears' in lol).
 

adamlogan

Member
I lost my Boogie Board Jot 4.5 after awhile, or maybe someone liked it enough to swipe it, who knows. I still use the Boogie Board Sync though. Works great for tutoring English or in situations where using a laptop to type up notes would be frowned on. I liked the form factor a lot and found it the easiest to carry around but wish I could store the contents. Using my phone as a scanner which works, but that's more hassle than it's worth most of the time. I am considering buying this again for use at a silent meditation retreat. Hearing people often whisper when they need to share information, this would come in handy for that since in that environment phones are frowned upon and strongly discouraged.

Speaking of which I've discovered some really cool 3rd party keyboards that let you write with your fingers. My Script (iPhone,iPad) and easier to use IMHO MyScript Stack (iPhone,iPad). They have software for desktops and other mobile operating systems too. There are a couple other apps they have for mobile devices as well, poke around on their website or app stores if you're interested. I can't use this on a meditation retreat, but for every day life it is great when I don't want to look at my screen so intently to type out stuff.

There's a new (different) version of the Jot 4.5 that is translucent targeting kids practicing tracing stuff like the alphabets. I saw a review on there that said the eraser function tends to die after a few weeks though, so fair warning.

I've come across an exciting product called Remarkable. It's still in pre-order at this stage, and pricey, but it looks like it has a lot of potential. I am really hoping they include an easy to use written text to typed text conversion software, and perhaps audio recording and note syncing features like LiveScribe has. See videos here (written text to typed text) and here (audio recording and note syncing) to see what I mean.

Hope you all will update me on any cool writing implements you come across digital or otherwise, seems like every day something cool and new is popping up in design and technology products.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
Still using my boogie board.. that is if I remember to take it with me lol. It does come in handy sometimes with my family. The smaller one I "lost" for a year- I accidentally left it in my friend's car when I visited there in 2015. She said she was going to mail it; I figured it was long gone (as I know her...ahem..."cluttered"- more like hoarding-ish- house). Went back last year to help clean up before she moved and she actually had it stashed where she could find it lol.

Anyway... haven't seen anything new other than an app called Ava that is voice to text. I haven't heard or seen much reviews on it- the one person I know who has tried it hasn't exactly given a thorough review :P.
 
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