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: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s2/sh/26ad5126-b637-4737-91ee-769da5d1f0e9/73d9556044ea819bc0b91e7208814a00
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