Keeping up, staying ahead and what I want for Xmas


As I’ve grown “up” in years alone, I’ve noticed that Christmas has become that time of year when I select my gifts carefully. Because of this I also try to not mention potential gift ideas unless they are ones I really want. This year is particularly selective I love technology, as those who know me are aware. I want what’s great and fabulous and new, BUT I also have my own needs in mind whenever I adopt a new technology. I get excited and want to buy immediately, but that’s not always the way to go I’ve found. I found a way to write better and the method I was employing was a trial. It would have cost me almost $200 to buy the first version and stick with it. That was a heavy decision for me to make around Christmas when I have kids to think of. So I waited and did some researching and did some serious thinking about what aspect of the software I was using I truly needed to become more productive and efficient.  I’m glad I waited. By narrowing down my needs I cut out a LOT of unnecessary steps I was employing in my process. Not only that I saved myself $200 because I found what I needed for free online. And no, I’m not revealing my method yet, that’s why there are no hyperlinks. I’m not done, I’m going to use the software this weekend and see if it works, if not, I’m going to improve my system. Whatever I adopt I want it to benefit my life by making me more productive, efficient, etc. So I’ve now turned my attention away from my writing to my reading and notetaking.

This year I’m in a PhD program and I want to be at the top of my game. Any technological advantage I can handle I want to incorporate, within my means of course. Given these parameters and desires, I have three things on my radar for consideration this year: Kindle 2, Nook and LiveScribe. For my purposes, this is how they break down for functioning in the world of a grad student.

Kindle 2 and Nook:

In one semester I have went through over a ream of paper, part of an expensive toner cartridge, almost two boxes of file folders and filled almost and entire drawer with these files. This is just for my classwork, this does not include my dissertation research which I am going to be starting on soon. I could not help to think with all the thoughts out there in the world no one has come up with a better system for this! So I started examining the Kindle & Nook. I need something that not only holds books, they both seem to do this just fine according to their websites. My needs though are a system that lets me use my multiple PDFs and do so in a really intensive way. I need to highlight important passages, I need to make notes about the passages and I need to take these PDFs back out of the device on to my computer so that I can search through them when I write my papers. It’s a tall order and I have went back and forth between the two devices for weeks now.

I like that the Nook has a way for me to use my memory card, so I can download my PDFs from class and then put them right in to the Nook to read. Kindle, from what I’ve seen has a more complicated process. Both allow me to highlight and write notes in the margin. It seems the feature difference for this is the Kindle’s keyboard vs the on screen keyboard for the Nook. Which would be best when wanting to make elaborate in-depth comments in the margins??

I lean to the Nook, but I’m worried that they released this device too quickly, I’m going to get it, then next summer they are going to improve it and I’ll be left screwed. I’ve already read random comments about them doing this, this does not reassure me in to purchasing their device. So I am left to debate still if I want to get the Nook that seems to satiate my desires, but will leave me and be outdated in a matter of months? Or do I go with the tried, true and tested Kindle who might not quite meet my desires, but I know isn’t leaving me any time soon? I’ll ask you…

Finally, let’s look at the LiveScribe. I take a lot of notes, as grad students do. I write them in my notebook, hope I heard them correctly from the professor, or copy them from another writing. Regardless I write a lot. After I’m done writing and I start writing a paper I transcribe EVERYTHING in to my computer. This makes everything searchable and allows me to connect thoughts I might otherwise have not seen because they were buried in my notes. I’m a busy girl and I want time to know more and understand more. So I found the LiveScribe, it allows me to handwrite my notes and then come home and upload them in to my computer, instead of transcribing them. NOTE: for all those of you out there who say “why not just type the damn things in to your computer and be done with it?” Well: 1. I like writing them, it helps with my retention of the information when I’m not just spewing out my own, 2. It’s annoying when you are in a tiny room of people trying to have a discussion to hear ‘tap, tap, tap’ on the laptop, 3. With writing I don’t have to be as linear as I do with typing, and with this pen I can write anywhere on the page. I have a lot of random ideas, musings, and inspirations in class or on the road. I don’t want these to be lost I want them to stand out on the page with stars and lights.

After typing this paragraph I really want one, but I want to hear thoughts and comments from people who’ve had them or know about them. Are there drawbacks, is it heavy when writing for a long time? I’m all ears.

2 Comments

Filed under self, technology, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Keeping up, staying ahead and what I want for Xmas

  1. someone in the same position

    Well I just read this, and it seems two years later, I’m in the same position. I have two NOOKs I’m trying to sell, and I’m wondering if I should keep one and buy a Livescribe Pen, or sell them both and buy the pen. I’m hoping you already bought and tested out whatever you chose to do. Any remarks would be appreciated.

    • I liked the Livescribe Pen, but it was a bit bulky. I used that and also got a Kindle. Other thoughts on the pen: I used it more for transcribing my notes for me and then search and find later. This was a good feature for me. It is also good for catching those ingenious thoughts you might have in conversation. Some downsides are that it is a pen and therefore, like any pen, is easily misplaced. Also, if your battery runs out or you forget to turn it on you have to retrace everything you wrote. Finally, if you run out of ink and you don’t have any replacements with you it can be a bummer.

      I ended up switching back to a regular pen and notebook system. I am not sure what you would be using your pen for, but if it is for studying (a friend pointed out to me) there is another process of retention and study involved with retyping your notes. Cutting out that step also means cutting out that study time. So, you might want to consider that.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. I’d be happy to answer!

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