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A digital sketchbook

Reposted as public, originally shared with a limited circle

For years I have been wanting a digital device that would be as light and easy to carry around, and as useful, as a sketchbook.

Not a replacement for a laptop mind you, I have been looking for something with just a few functions:

1. Light and easy to carry around, like a standard 5" x 8" Moleskine notebook.

2. Something that I can sketch and take notes on as easily as I can with a paper notebook. And don't start telling me about the iPad -- I have one and I love it, but it sucks for sketching because you can't get the kind of precision you can get with a pen. Please don't tell me about the styluses you can get for the iPad. I've tried just about all of them and they don't help (much).

3. Wi-fi access with one-click uploading to Flickr or some other online repository so I can quickly publish them to the web from wherever I happen to be.

This week I got an Asus EEE Note and I'm pretty excited about this technology. It's very light, about the size of a Moleskine, and meets all of my criteria. It uses e-ink (like the Kindle) so it has an amazingly long battery life. It comes with a leather (or leather-like) case so it even looks like a sketchbook.

It has wifi and it automatically syncs with Evernote (well done Stepan Pachikov!). You can make a set of sketches and upload them all as a set. You can also tag your notes which is pretty cool.

PLUS it has a 2-megapixel camera so you can take photos of anything you want (like receipts for an expense report maybe? Or a document you need to sign right away?). The photos are in color even though the device screen is black-and-white.

It also has a pretty basic web browser -- not great, but just good enough to go and download some ebooks (yes it's an ebook reader too :) or check your email in a pinch. As an ebook reader it's pretty cool too, because you can highlight things or you can take notes and write in it just the way you would with a real paper book.

I'm just starting to play with it but so far I am very excited to have something that may be able to substitute for my paper sketchbook and which will allow me to share and catalog my sketches more easily.

There are only a couple of drawbacks:

1. Ideally I'd prefer a backlit screen like the iPad, but I am happy to give that up in exchange for the extended battery life.

2. You can't get them in the US (not sure why not) so I had to buy this on eBay and have it shipped from Taiwan. Not ideal.

3. When you post your sketches to Evernote they show up with a gray background. Not sure if this is a setting I can change, but I looked around quite a bit yesterday and didn't see a way to do that.

Here's a link to a quick sketch I made yesterday so you can see what that looks like:
Dave Gray's profile photoJulian Inasi's profile photoMatt Lichtenwalner's profile photoWilliam Ellerbe's profile photo
I'd rather draw on paper and have it map to a screen as I draw. Can someone invent that?
Have you tried the iPad2 with a good stylus? I have the iPad1, and a Acase stylus, it works really well for sketching, and the battery lasts for days.

It's also really good for making simple animations. Could be a great tool for sketching animated UI concepts or ideas that need motion.
+Joshua Jeffryes I disagree. iPads suck for drawing. They just suck. If it works for you, great. But IMHO iPads are for consuming media, not creating.
Did you use a good stylus? I went through 3, and the first two did, in fact, suck, the Acase one made a dramatic difference.
Did you read what I said in the post Josh?

" ... don't start telling me about the iPad -- I have one and I love it, but it sucks for sketching because you can't get the kind of precision you can get with a pen. Please don't tell me about the styluses you can get for the iPad. I've tried just about all of them and they don't help (much)."

The problem with the iPad is the capacitive touch screen. It's made for fingers, not precision. A capacitive stylus is a workaround for a technology that's not made for precise mark-making.
Ha. And did you read what I wrote?

"Just about all of them" could still mean you only tried ones that sucked. The first generation of styluses that came out were all terrible.

The 2nd generation Acase stylus is a lot more precise. It even makes the iPhone almost usable as a sketching device (see sketch I just posted).

I had the same opinion as you, then the technology advanced and changed it. If you've tried the new styluses, then I guess it just doesn't work for you. But if you haven't, you might want to give them a try.
Ok I'll try it Josh. But I can see by looking at it that it doesn't have a point :/
Like the concept. But for me one of the advantages I am looking for is not to have to carry so much paper around. You know how fast I can go through paper right? Well when traveling there's a big advantage to a sketchbook that never runs out of paper :)

It's similar to my iPad which allows me to carry around 100 books on one business trip.

Btw Scott I am in AZ through 2nd week in August FYI.

Also -- I think you will like circles as it solves many of your problems with linkedin.
Cool Scott, we can compare notes :)
+Dave Gray I like your video kind sir. What's the name of the software you're using on you ASUS Eee Note? I have the Acer A500 and I have the ability to use a simple stylus that I purchased from Best Buy a few weeks ago.
William it's just the software that came with the device. But I love it! Dave
Hey Dave. I'm glad that you're enjoying the software. We embark upon a new wave of creativity when we can draw directly on the screen of our Tablets. What a blessing. :)

Whatever it takes to awaken our creativity.
I agree, it's a wonderful time for tech-enabled creative work :)
Technology and Art make great cousins. :)

When I went to college in 1991, I went there to Major in Art and Minor in Computer Science. Many years later I would actually major in technology to the point where I would become a "genius" in this area. At the same time Dave I never lost my interest in Art. This is part of what I'm able to tap into artistic resources here on Google+. There's SO MUCH to explore and experience.
Thank you my friend. As you can see I can't seem to shut up when it comes to the subject of Art. Pray for me. :)
+Scott Mitchell Thanks for the offer, but I realize now that I have a typo in that last comment - that should have been "I wantED to get my hands on..." Thanks though!
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