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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Note-Taking Device For Conferences? 300

First time accepted submitter Duncan J Murray writes "I will be attending a 3-day science conference soon, consisting mainly of lectures, and was wondering what people thought would be the ultimate hardware/software combo note-taking device, taking into account keyboard quality, endurance, portability, discretion & future ease-of-reference. Is a notepad and pen still king? What about an Ipad? N900? Psion 5mx? A small Thinkpad X-series? And if so which OS? Would you have a GUI? Which text-editor?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Note-Taking Device For Conferences?

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  • Livescribe (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:35PM (#39544309)

    I think a livescribe pen may be the best choice.

  • OneNote (Score:5, Informative)

    by 404 Clue Not Found ( 763556 ) * on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:40PM (#39544365)

    Microsoft's OneNote is by far the best note-taking program I've ever used.

    1. Simple interface with notes divided by notebook, tab, and then sections.

    2. Fast, indexed search across all your notes

    3. Media-friendly; it's easy to insert hyperlinks, images, etc. and it'll automatically remember the source URL when you copy and paste something.

    4. Option to save notebooks to the Microsoft Cloud (Skydrive) and share them with people. Or you can just save and export as HTML, DOC, etc.

    5. Built-in audio recorder with speech recognition if you want to record lectures alongside your text notes.

    6. Easy content hotkeys -- headers, bullets, stars, question icons, priorities, to-do lists, etc.

    7. Support for inking/drawing with a tablet, including handwriting conversion to structured math equations

    Etc. It's not free and it's not open source and it doesn't run on Linux, but it's still awesome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:40PM (#39544367)

    I have to go with an iPad for the range of options. You can record the audio, film the conference or take handwritten notes. If it's a three day science conference there are likely presentations what would be best filmed, and yes I know they weigh 20lbs+ in some people's eyes butt hey are lighter than your average digital camera and I'm sure a stand could be rigged up to support it.

    For other presentations audio recording may be more desirable but other times you may just want to take notes and you'd have that option. Also you may want to check the web for additional information and the iPad is one of my favorite devices for that.

    I'm sure there will be mostly Android smart phones being recommended for their size and weight and most of all they aren't Apple but he asked what is the best all around and the iPad fits the question best.

  • Re:Livescribe (Score:5, Informative)

    by reason ( 39714 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:42PM (#39544397)

    Which is why a smartpen like the Livescribe helps. It is just pen and paper to operate, but it lets you upload your notes afterwards, makes them searchable, and records sound to go with your notes in case you do miss anything. Knowing that means you don't have to write every little thing down, but can stick to key points and jump to the relevant part of the audio simply by pointing to the note with your pen on your paper notes, or clicking on the uploaded version on your computer later. It can even automate most of the conversion of written notes to text.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @08:02PM (#39544555)

    The iThoughts app[1], available for Apple mobile devices, can be used for creating a sort of tree-shaped outline, with optional notes, links, and graphics on each node. iThoughts can export iThoughts maps in a variety of formats - including PDF, PNG+HTML, and some popular Mindmap formats - and supports map imports for those mindmap formats, in the same. As well as its own internal app filesystem, iThoughts can integrate with a variety of cloud storage options, including Dropbox, for cross-platform notes synchronization.

    iThoughts is good for making structured notes of (usually) short ideas. For the more verbose ideas, there are a variety of note taking options on the iPad platform, supporting, from the built-in iNotes app on up to word processing with such as the Quickoffice app.


  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @08:07PM (#39544593) Journal

    I'm still disappointed with the quality of the writing available. Unless you prefer to write like a 5 year old with crayons, the iPad interface is just too low resolution (input) to produce useful text with a meaningful/efficient density. I've tried Notability in several meetings, and I find myself grabbing a steno pad or a piece of scrap paper to write down critical information.

    Of all the things I wished for this time around on the iPad, it was that it would get a Wacom-type interface with pressure sensitivity and a high resolution digitizer. I might look at the tablet sized Note that's supposed to be released this summer, but with the investment in mobile apps on iOS, I'm not sure it's worth the switch.

  • Re:How Quaint (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @08:34PM (#39544783)

    Then you are going to the conferences for the wrong reason. The papers and presentations are only a small portion of the conference. The best reason for going to a conference is to be able to talk with people in your field and outside of your field. The beginnings of many ideas and collaboration efforts stem from people talking at conferences (and the bar after the conference).

    The actual presentations are typically used to see what type of work people are doing (or what progress they've made since the last time you talked) and can be used as "ice breakers" for talking to people you don't know yet.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @04:52AM (#39546865) Journal

    Plant Jihadi rumors about your conference - then have the NSA scoop up everything - lecture proceedings to passing hallway conversations.

    A neat idea, but you'd have to wait at least 2 or 3 months before you could access them on Wikileaks.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!