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Mobile Notes

During your normal day you may run into a number of things that catch your attention.  You may see news scroll across a screen, or an article pop up in your RSS feeds.  You may even save the article to read later.  But with so many things happening, how can you delve deeper into the content? How can you build the knowledge into your mobo brain if the information is coming at you, fast and furious?

The answer is: take some mobile notes.

It’s the perfect way to slow down your normal hectic day and jot down or clip things that interest you.  Store them in your device for future reference.  The more you snip, the smarter you get.  Best of all, it’s all kept right in your pocket, on your device, ready for that intense debate or when you need that off-hand factoid.  There are a number of activities that are well-suited to taking notes on your phone or tablet:

  • Reading both printed and on-line material,
  • Going to class or studying in small groups;
  • Listening to a lecture or talks;
  • Jotting down notes to yourself;
  • Shopping lists or things not to forget;
  • Attending book clubs or meetings of all kinds;
  • Preparing for a talk or meeting.

You’ll find that a tablet or e-Reader is ideal for the job.  These devices can help you snip highlights or jot down notes effortlessly.  By far the easiest method if your material is on-line is to clip the passage and store it to your portable memory.  This can be your phone or, if you have Cloud storage, on the Cloud.

Whether you are taking notes for class or sitting over an espresso reading online content, why not jot down some notes?  You’ll find that they help you understand the material to a greater degree. And, at the same time, you will have it handy when you need it later.

Note-Taking Apps

Note-taking apps are perfect for this type of new brain activity.  These are many different types of apps that can be used for note-taking.  Many, including drawing apps, are already set up to store your notes on the Cloud.  These types include:

Drawing Apps.  There are a couple of different approaches to drawing (raster vs. vector), but find one that let’s you easily draw maps for yourself.

Note-Taking Apps.  These apps are built around using a stylus to take notes, the same way you would on paper.  But many of these apps include other features that expand the types of notes you can take and store.

Cloud Apps.  Link to your Cloud Storage using your Cloud apps.  These come in different flavors but essentially connect your device to notes and information available on your account.

Word-Processing Apps.  If you collaborate on longer articles and documents, having a word processor on your mobile device makes sense.  There are a number to choose from and many will accept PC and Mac formats.

Web Snipping Software.  These are normally add-on’s for your browser.  They allow you to snip pages from the web and store them on your device or in the Cloud.

When looking for the right app to take notes, consider the types of notes you will be taking.  For example, if you are going to be entering mathematical formulae, you will want to enter the notes by hand and will not be as concerned with text conversion.  Or, if you have chemical structures, you will aim to mix figures with text.

Here are some features to look for:

Palm rest.  While writing on your iPad or tablet, you want to be able to rest your palm on the screen without causing extraneous scribbles.  Many apps come with the ability to define a place on the screen where you can place your palm.

Handwriting Recognition.  Whether you need to convert your notes to text or not, it is always a handy feature to have.  It allows you to scribble away and later turn your notes into text that anyone can read.  Apps offer both conversion of lettered and cursive handwriting.

Organization.  You want the ability to organize your notes into color-coded notebooks.  The notebooks in turn can be grouped into stacks or folders.

Text.  While you are taking notes, it is convenient to be able to key in text.  Not all apps have this feature.

Speed.  Many apps will lag when you begin writing, so make sure you choose an app that your handwriting can quickly and accurately capture .

Pen nibs.  Having different colors, shapes, and thicknesses of “pen nibs” makes it easier to highlight key words or phrases.

PDF Annotations.  Since a number publications are available in PDF format, some note-taking apps are able to annotate these files.  Look for this feature is you use PDF files.

Location.  Why not save the location where you took your notes?  This is handy, for example, when you have found a favorite restaurant, bookstore, or art museum.

Barcodes.  If you want to grab the barcode from a product you are taking notes about, apps will allow you to scan the package and store the barcode on your device.

Interfaces.  Once you’ve taken your notes, you may want to share them.  This can be done through the interfaces that are provided by the app.   For example, you may want to email your notes, place them into Cloud storage, or post them on Facebook.

Many note-taking apps allow you to mix and match the different types of notes that you take.

For more information on the best apps and techniques, see Mobo Brain: A Guide to Mobile Computing.



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