My New Gadget is…a notebook?

I am not usually writing about non-WiFi stuff, but sometimes it happens. And yes, if you paid attention to my sparse musings over the last half of 2020, I guess those included non-WiFi stuff too (like my evolving WFH/home office).

Anyways…I got myself a new gadget of sorts, and I had to share it with my few readers.

The headline gives it away. I sprung for a Rocketbook at the end of 2020, and finally got around to using it…and I have no buyer’s remorse so far.

A bit of background, at least on why I was even looking at it. And, I’ve been kicking around the idea for a while, but never did anything, until now.

I had been (and still can be) a bit disorganized when it comes to notes. I have, off and on for years, tried the idea of taking notes digitally to help, but never worked out. I am talking going back to when I bought an iPaq, whether it was notes typed out on that keyboard, or written by stylus. I figured way back then, something that would be digital could be easier and neater to keep, and means less clutter. But, every time I thought about it or tried, I gave up for one reason or another.

Even my years as a project manager-a role where something like a Rocketbook would be great-I never did it. I honestly favored a particular pen and old, reliable marble notebooks and the occasional yellow legal pad. I splurged a time or two for a Moleskine or similar notebook, but those were rare.

So, as I was cleaning up and consolidating and re-doing my office area, I noticed a couple things.

1, I have a ton of notebooks. Like, unused, never opened. This is the curse of being a bit of an OCD/hoarder type who buys the 10 packs when they are on sale.

2, on top of the new and unused notebooks, I had a lot where there would be literally a line or two and nothing else. Like, went to a meeting, write the date and meeting title down, and didn’t take many notes. I could either just go to a new page, or co-mingle. I sometimes did one, sometimes the other…

Between the quest to clean up and reduce the waste, and spurred on by my change to a new job and a desire to really stay better organized, I took a new look at Rocketbook.

I was hesitant. I had it in my Amazon cart for a while, debating off and on, for a few reasons.

First, it’s a different pen…and I am, like I said, a bit crazed for my particular favorite.

Second, different paper. I was used to how the marble notebooks and the legal pads felt.

Third, and perhaps the biggest? Cost. No, the Rocketbook notepads are not cheap. I can get a lot of marble notebooks for the price of a single Rocketbook notepad.

Fourth, I am left handed. The Rocketbook requisite pens are erasable. I hear that, I see that, and I am reminded of my experiences from grade school and high school-left handers and erasable ink pens didn’t mix back then. Heck, just the wrong ink in general and it was smear city.

But, I decided to take a chance, and bought in.

At the recommendation of another WiFi pro, I really went all in-I also got a couple pairs of Rocketbook Beacons. I have not used those yet, but the promise of converting my whiteboard (ten dollars well spent!) to something like my new notebook? Very appealing, especially now that I am getting into the Rocketbook itself.

So why the appeal? What’s the hook?

Well, the Rocketbook is erasable…and it works with an app (their app) that will take a picture of the page and then send it to one of many different services. It uses OCR, it has a few tricks under the hood, but it’s pretty slick.

So, just this past week, I finally decided to dive in-because I was doing the thing where I wasn’t using the entire page, and I had enough.

So, some initial feedback…

I am happy.

No ink smearing, no smudges. I have been, or at least started out, being abundantly careful about trying to not smear or write over too much, but by the end of the week I was less stressed about it, with no ill effects.

Scanning via the app works perfectly fine. It lets you connect multiple emails/accounts, so you can decide where you want the document to go. The way I am currently using mine, I have a bunch of folders set up in Dropbox. One master, and then several specific folders, based on work-tasks, clients, training, etc. I can then send those specific notes to that specific file/folder. If a folder does not exist, I can create it from the Rocketbook app. You can search the notes too, and you can get things really organized-there’s a trick to put your page title in this format: ##title_here## which works within the app for organizing things, for example.

What I know is that I wish I’d started this sooner. My notes can’t be lost, left behind, or otherwise destroyed, so long as I scan them and that folder is backed up.

On top of that…the pages are erasable. My book came with one pen and one cloth. You simply wet the cloth (damp, really), and you can wipe off the board cleanly. And it works just as simply as it sounds. So far, no residue or reason to hate it.

The beacons promise a similar level of usefulness…though there’s also supposedly a way to use them, plus a camera and your actual whiteboard, to share content from that whiteboard with just a brief (10 second?) lag. Stay tuned for that review.

TLDR? If you hate wasting paper, if you want to be more green, if you want to have your hand written notes quickly and easily accessible? Then you might want to check out Rocketbook.

Full disclosure: I have not been, nor do I expect to be, sponsored in any way by Rocketbook. I paid for my notepad and pens on my own, so there is no outside influence here, relative to feedback.

Yes, it costs more than an average notebook…but this isn’t average.

Yes, there are other OCR apps out there, but this one has an ecosystem to work with.

I am not urging you to rush out and buy one…but if you’ve been on the fence, or looking for a new way to take and keep notes? Go for it…I doubt you’d regret it.

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