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(Archived) Digital Note Taking Comparison

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I have been trying to find the best way to eliminate taking notes on paper, but also preserving the "natural" note taking during meetings and thought I'd pass this along. I looked at several things like LiveScribe, Evernote, Penultimate, Stylus pens, multiple stylus applications and the Samsung Note 2 tablet and wanted to share what I found. 


The best of everything is using my Samsung Note 2 Tablet since it has a handwriting to text recognition input method that can open in almost any application and use it in Evernote. Evernote purchased Sketch which is there drawing application so you can open that directly in your note. You can also record your audio, take pics, etc...and have that all attached to the Evernote. If I want to actually preserve my handwriting, I'll use Penultimate who they purchased. 


  • LiveScribe - Cool, but it's just an audio pen and paper. You still need a computer if you want to search your notes and if you jut bring your pen and paper, you don't have access to any electronic files, emails, CRM, etc... in a meeting. You can search handwriting but need access to the LiveScribe desktop app or Evernote. There is a convert to text but is a 3rd party. 
  • Penultimate - This is way cool. It's just like LiveScribe but digital. You can just write on your tablet like normal and it can search your handwriting. Evernote also purchased them so there is a seamless integration (if you send to Evernote you can also search your handwritten notes). It's only compatible with iPad but they are working on Android support. There is no way to pull up the keyboard for text input. This is the best option if you want to see your actual handwritten notes along with any drawings on the page. Since there's note text conversion though, you can't copy and paste. 
  • Evernote - I use this for both my work and personal notes / research projects. It seamlessly integrates with LiveScribe and Penultimate. There is also a 3rd party app if you want to integrate with Salesforce.com
  • Samsung Note 2 Tablet - This is awesome if you want to have a pen in your hand to keep the natural flow of a meeting vs. typing on a keyboard. The Samsung keyboard lets you change the input method to a really, really good handwriting recognition input. You can use this in Evernote or in their S Note application. Their S note application is cool since it has several meeting note templates and can send "text" only to Evernote (if you scribble or sketch it can send to Evernote but only as an image)
  • S Note - Samsung's built in note taking application. It's great but if you send pages with drawings, it's only .pdfs and they have there propriety .snb files that limits ability to edit in other applications.  There isn't much it can do that Evernote/Penultimate can't do. 


Hope this helps. 

Note taking comparison.pdf

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  • 8 months later...

I started using ocr with a fax board in the early 90's.  Since then the OCR programs have gotten so good, I can't imagine any new improvements would make big news in the market.  There are a number of android apps that do a decent job at OCR with your cell/tablet,  I'm a note/data fiend and I find it ridiculous that Evernote is upgrading their program to all kinds of market .. but ignores folks that want their written notes converted to text on their pcs/tablets.

I use livescribe to take notes -- I have a Sky version ... the recording function I;m 50/50 on ... I mostly use it to go over my notes where I think I might have missed something / made a mistake and correct my note // erase the recording.  that you can get decent apps to ocr to your cell or tablet ... lots of apps to speak to text. 

Why  livescribe, evernote and myscript can't get together and make a much more seamless way to write your notes to text on whatever device is beyond me? 


going way back, there was no good PIM - personal information manager -- lotus came in with a useable app calles Lotus Notebook ...  Then Ecco Plus came out! it was near perfect in keeping list of contacts - linking notes and OCR's in many ways ... Lawyers were a big user ... they like being able to link their notes (which kept time and thus you use to to calculate your billing time) to clients to different cases .. etc.   But, modems became a bit more inexpensive and a lot faster, the internet was crawling out of DARPA .. so you could go to your local "licenses" internet -provider and ... you know the rest ... Outlook didn't steal users because it was bundled with office and thus "free" ... the originators of ECCO sold out big time (nothing wrong with making a profit on that kind of program) but the folks that bought 

Ecco Plus, were the useless capital investors that did nothing to improve (i.e. add email to Ecco and you'd never touch Outlook.)   


this is what I see with all the screaming about OCR programs ... been there for decades .. but someone needs to make them struggle through the mess that google. microsoft, apple and android has brought to the market

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