Saturday, 13 January 2018

Picking the right Onyx Boox N96

Onyx's N96 e-reader comes in different versions and it is confusing to choose the right one. Below are the different versions of the Onyx BOOX N96:
  • Onyx Boox N96: No front-light; supports pen and finger touch. 
  • Onyx Boox N96C: No front-light; supports finger touch.
  • Onyx Boox  N96ML: Built-in front-light; supports pen touch. 
  • Onyx Boox N96CML: Built-in front-light; supports finger touch.
The above four models are previous generation devices with an E-Ink Pearl screen. The current generation is available in two models (there could be more but below are the ones I identified):
  • Onyx Boox  N96 Carta+: No front-light; supports pen and finger touch.
  • Onyx Boox  N96ML Carta+: Built-in front-light; supports pen touch.
The above two models are latest generation ones with an E-Ink Carta screen. Both the previous generation and the current one support Android 4 and come with the same screen resolution (1280 X 825). The important difference is that the latest generation models have an E-Ink Carta screen. Onyx claim the E-Ink Carta refresh means darker text with more detail.

I have not tested any of these devices but, on paper, the model to choose is the Onyx N96 Carta+ (dual touch). In my view, dual touch is more important than front-light functionality, as it is more convenient and with greater flexibility. In addition, if the stylus is lost, the device is still functional with touch support.

The eBook Reader reviewed the Onyx Boox  N96ML Carta+ and I recommend reading the article here.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Winning away in Test cricket

I've recently developed an interest in cricket and this article on winning away in Test cricket is thought-provoking. In football, the major factor that contributes to disparities, in the modern game, is financial power that comes with lucrative broadcast rights deals. Playing conditions are important - e.g., Russian football clubs don't travel well - but in cricket it appears to be a huge disadvantage for travelling teams.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Tech for studying (2): Digitizing notes

There are studies that indicate traditional pen and paper note taking is better for knowledge retention and understanding. To back-up handwritten notes, it is a good idea to digitize them and there are different notebooks designed for this purpose.

Moleskine and Leuchtturm both sell notebooks optimised for digitisation. Moleskine collaborated with Evernote to produce a 'smart' notebook. The notebook's paper has dotted lines that are optimised for scanning via a smartphone/tablet camera. After scanning, content is enhanced for OCR to enable searching handwritten notes in Evernote. The notebook also includes stickers that can be pre-set, within Evernote, to tag scanned documents or to send notes to certain notebooks.

Leuchtturm utilises Whitelines paper that is designed to work with the Whitelines Android/iOS application. Similar to Moleskine's 'smart' notebook, Whitelines paper makes lines disappear and notes standout after scanning. The lines, in this case, are white and the background grey, with four corner markers that auto-detect the page selected for scanning. At the bottom of the page, there are three squares that can be ticked to send the document to an email, Evernote and Dropbox. In the app, it is possible to set destination preferences for each of these options.

I prefer Whitelines paper to Moleskine's Evernote notebook, as the latter is tightly integrated to work within the Evernote app; Whitelines, in contrast, is platform neutral. The results of scanning can vary but Whitelines, from experience, consistently produces better results. Further, it is not necessary to purchase a Leuchtturm notebook to use Whitelines paper, as Whitelines produce their own notebooks that can be purchased in different formats and sizes.

Rocketbook notebooks perform a similar function to the Evernote smart notebook and Leuchtturm’s Whitelines Link notebooks. The difference is that Rocketbook sells re-usable notebooks. The Rocketbook Wave can be erased using microwave heat and re-used up to five times. The Rocketbook Everlast is marketed as “endlessly reusable”; the notebook's pages can be wiped clean using a damp cloth. The Pilot FriXion pen is required to re-use both notebooks. To test Rocketbook’s scannable paper there are PDF downloads here; to get the best result, the sheets should be used with the Rocketbook app.

A final point: handwritten notes, in a regular notebook, can be uploaded to the cloud with a designated scanning app and some of these apps support OCR too. The paper, in these notebooks, may not be optimised for digitization but often, from experience, I found the difference in results negligible (one issue to consider is that lines, in lined notebooks, remain after scanning a document). I regularly use Adobe Scan but there are other applications.