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PDA - Good for Taking Notes?

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  • PDA - Good for Taking Notes?

    When I go to workshops or meetings, I use a pad to take notes, which can include pertinent points to my projects, questions, actions, other ideas, etc. However, during the meeting many use their PDAs. Not owning one, my question is: can one take notes easily on a PDA? Are they perhaps just doing other PDA stuff and people like me aren't the wiser? As an aside, some don't do anything, perhaps due to superior memory retention, boredom, or they know it already.

  • #2
    I have a Verizon XV-6700 with a slide-out keyboard and I take notes during meetings with it.

    I am all too aware of the many flaws that my smartphone has, some of which I have written about on this forum, but I can take notes on it. It's handy to have something very small and portable that creates digital notes.

    When I am at my desk I still take notes on paper when on the phone.


    • #3
      I have a Blackberry 7250 and the idea of taking notes on it sounds nuts to me. Paper all the way!


      • #4
        how about a smart notebook or lab book instead?

        If the person is not using a keyboard it is unlikely (but not impossible) that they are taking notes and are indeed fooling around with the PDA. Smart phones with keyboards and the services people use with their smartphones like e-mail are expensive and there are a lot of personal fit issues with them I am told, like the size of your hands and where you work. There are folding portable keyboards for the Palm that are almost fulll size when they unfold but the keys very close together. They work by infrared I think. I had a Belkins version and could never get it to work and you need a desk or table surface to align the PDA and keyboard perfectly. But I have read of whole books written using these. You will find picture if you go to a Palm website. Something that I think is more worth exploring is a smartnotebook that takes your handwritten notes to digital and then if you can upload them and create searchable documents. It would be great to from people who actually use these and/or smart lab notebooks.


        • #5
          gadgets will never replace paper

          im a gadget junkie and have taught workshops on how to use a PDA to manage your life and work, but still take notes on paper because there are no limits or boundaries and it is much faster.

          By the way, I LOVE my iPhone, (am posting from it) but it is HORRIBLE for taking notes as it keeps changing what you type thinking It is correcting mistakes when in reality it is making mistakes and drives me nuts!

          Paper all the way for note taking.


          • #6
            I love my Palm but I think it's almost impossible for a PDA to be as effective as a pen and paper for capturing notes in a meeting. With a pen and paper you can do things like draw diagrams and draw arrows between related items.

            You want to be focussing on the meeting at hand, rather than battling with a gadget to do things you can do on paper without even thinking about it.

            After the meeting all my notes/NAs gets entered into my palm + pc based system.

            I only use my PDA in meetings for checking my @meetings list to see if there's anything I need to bring up.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
              If the person is not using a keyboard it is unlikely (but not impossible) that they are taking notes and are indeed fooling around with the PDA.
              For what its worth the Sprint PPC 6700 (which is Verizon's XV 6700) does do a superior job of allowing you to take notes without the keyboard (which it also has). These phones have what is known as "transcriber mode" which essentially allows you to write directly on the screen. It does an amazing job of handwriting recognition.

              I, myself, do not use this to take extensive notes. Only to write the occasional comment, question or some input for my inbox during meetings and seminars. But I do know some people who do take notes constantly and are emphatic about the phone's abilities in this area. It may be a very viable alternative for at least some people.

              There are folding portable keyboards for the Palm that are almost fulll size when they unfold but the keys very close together. They work by infrared I think. I had a Belkins version and could never get it to work and you need a desk or table surface to align the PDA and keyboard perfectly.
              I also own one of these and it does work well. I'm told that they don't work well in bright sunlight and I'm also told that the Bluetooth versions, which are slightly more expensive, are more reliable. There is a "holder" for the phone which does keep it in place so a table isn't needed for that purpose on this particular model. However, I found typing on it in my lap to be very inconvenient so I would agree with the recommendation that it be purchased only if a table is commonly available.

              Tom S.


              • #8
                Good old fashioned paper for me. I've got a palm Tx and I find that using the Graffiti handwriitng data entry is painfully slow and often gets its wrong. I haven't tried using the stylus on the keyboard, as I know I can write faster than that.

                It's also easier to make notes in mind-map format if it's just a sheet of paper. I use a spiral bound 14x21cm notebook, designed that the pages can be torn out easily and thrown into my in-tray for processing.

                What I haven't cracked yet though is finding the time to process all the notes!



                • #9
                  I carry a Levenger Circa Jr. notebook to take my meeting notes. It's much quicker than my Treo and allow flexibility in formatting and doesn't require fiddling to capture what I want for later processing.


                  • #10
                    I think note taking on a PDA is definitely possible, and while typically not as fast as traditional paper, it offers other time-saving benefits such as searchability and a means to quickly translate notes into action items.

                    Folks needing to input a great deal will probably be best served by using paper, but more moderate volumes of writing can be nicely managed by using software that augments input (Fitaly comes to mind, as well as predictive text tools like TextPlus). I've used these and found PDA input to be quite efficient, overall, but it takes practice.


                    • #11
                      PDA notes possible

                      I use my PDA for note taking all the time. I have a PocketPC without a built-in keyboard. I have a thumb keyboard that I can attach for note-taking but have found a much simpler solution. I have PhatNotes and Calligrapher installed. I take notes at meetings in handwriting just like paper. When I return to the office, I can have the notes converted to text if I want to save them for future reference, or I can save them in the handwritten form if having them in text is not important.


                      • #12
                        I carry my Palm always with me and use it for notes if there are not to much of them. In conferences I carry normally a notebook with me and decide on the fly if the notes become to much for the pda.
                        Naturally the necessity of drawing a diagram assists to speed up this decision.



                        • #13
                          I use my Palm as Universal Capture Device. I collect everything in Notes section (Draw Mode). I collect voice messages while driving (Recording Mode). When Planning I prefer to use paper.



                          • #14
                            My BlackBerry Pearl is great for taking notes. I use the internal MemoPad and it works fine. It even synchronizes my notes with my Mac


                            • #15
                              Not really

                              I've owned a PDA since the Palm 1000, and about half a dozen since then. I always have it out and ready during meetings, classes, etc.

                              In theory, it should be perfect for my note-taking needs. I don't draw diagrams or even arrows when I take notes; they're pure text.

                              But it never quite seems to suit my needs. It's just too slow. I've tried both Graffiti and Jot, as well as a "retrainable" version of Graffiti. Both too messy and slow. I've tried various alternate tap keyboards like MessagEase and Fitaly. I've tried word-completion dictionaries.

                              All had their advantages, but none really helped me enough to make the transition. I got pretty fast at Fitaly (they include a training tool, "Letris", that's pretty addictive), but it still takes a lot more *thinking* than handwriting, and I had trouble taking notes and listening at the same time.

                              None of the handwriting-recognition programs can recognize my handwriting, which isn't really their fault, because I can't recognize it either.

                              YMMV, especially now with thumb keyboards widely available. I haven't used one yet, but my next cell phone will be a PPC with a slide-out keyboard.