One Month with a reMarkable 2 Tablet
I had been tempted by the reMarkable tablet for years now. I had gotten so far as to have it in my cart multiple times only to pull back because of uncertainty How much would I actually use it? Did I want to spend that much money on a niche e-ink tablet?
That was until I finally got to see one in person at CodeMash in January. In one of the first sessions of the day, I noticed that the woman next to me was writing on an e-ink table. Was that what I thought it was? Trying not to be too nosy, I kept glancing over throughout the talk to see how she was using it. There didn’t appear to be any lag and she wasn’t distracted by a laptop like I was. And her notes were gorgeous. I was very jealous.
As the talk wrapped up and everybody was packing up, I pushed past my introverted tendencies and asked her if that was a reMarkable and if she recommended it. She enthusiastically launched into an impromptu demo for me. I was sold as soon as she started. Seeing it in person in the hands of an enthusiastic user was all I needed.
Still, I dawdled for a couple weeks after CodeMash. Would I really use it? What specific use cases did I have? I knew I would use it for note taking while reading, but how else would I put it to use? I knew I had to make the leap though. I was overthinking it.
So, after one month, how am I using it? What do I still need to explore?
I immediately started using it for note taking while reading books. I expected this to be my primary use case. My previous method relied very heavily on sticky tabs and post-it notes. I would add sticky tabs to quotes I wanted to pull out later and expand my thoughts in the book with post-it notes attached to pages. But the post-it notes are of limited size and I often couldn’t expand my thoughts how I wanted to. My memory is often poor, so I knew I needed to be writing them down immediately. But also didn’t want to be taking pictures of my notes to add to Obsidian.
The reMarkable has been a great substitute for the post-it notes. I can expand on my thoughts as much as I want in both prose and pictures. And I can export my notes when I’m finished with the book.
I’ve also done a bit of reading directly on the reMarkable, taking notes in the margins. That has worked well so far, but I haven’t worried at all about pulling the notes out yet. It’s still TBD how well that will work for me.
Video Essays and Podcasts
I haven’t done too much of this yet, but I’ve been experimenting recently with taking notes while watching videos. I first tried this with the recent Philosophy Tube video on effective altruism. I’m cautiously optimistic about this going forward. Depending on the subject matter, I often find myself struggling to remember my thoughts or how I wanted to follow-up. I’m hoping this will help.
I haven’t actually tried this with any podcasts yet, but it’s on the todo list. The problem there is that podcasts are usually something I do while my hands are busy. There are a select number of them though that would benefit from more active listening and note taking. It’s TBD whether I can actually carve out the time for that though.
Taking notes while playing video games was nowhere near my radar when I bought the reMarkable, but here we are. I’ve been playing through Tunic recently. It has many layers of puzzles throughout the game and it became obvious the deeper that I got into the game that I was forgetting important details. I ended up skipping most of the puzzles on my first playthrough, but on my second I am taking notes on them.
This has been a very different use case because it’s much more visual than other types of notes. I’m drawing diagrams of puzzle pieces I’m finding throughout the world. And the game has a coded language that others have deciphered. That has led to me starting to take screenshots of text throughout the world and translating some of them on my tablet when I’m done playing.
I’ve been tangential to tabletop role playing games for years, but never jumped until recently. My group started a new CY_BORG campaign last week. I’m now experimenting with tracking my character sheet and world notes on the tablet. I downloaded the character sheet PDF and imported it to the tablet. Then I used layers to add data that won’t change, such as my name and basic backstory. One layer up I added all the information that will change over time, such as equipment and stats.
This is another use case that is still very new, but I’m hopeful that it will work well. The hope is to avoid my character sheet becoming an unreadable mess of scrawled text atop five layers of eraser dust.
There is still a lot that I haven’t explored. I tested out screen sharing on my Mac with success, but the app won’t even start correctly for me on Windows.
There is a small community around customization that I haven’t dove into it beyond skimming the wiki. I haven’t gotten into how to use it well with Obsidian, but I’m hoping the syncing information I found in the wiki will help make that easier. It would be great to automate some sort of export process.
Overall, I’m very pleased with how this experiment is going. For the first couple of weeks I was worried that I had overpaid for a gadget that I was barely using, but the use cases have really started to open up for me over the past couple of weeks. Hopefully more cases reveal themselves over time.