Anybody here uses an eink tablet like boox, supernote or remarkable? What’s your workflow?

Hi there!

Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of buying an eink tablet to ease the strain on my eyes, further pursue my goal of accomplishing deep work and digital minimization.

This concepts mainly come from Cal Newport’s work.

After working with a computer in front of my face for hours, it’s hard to get to home and want to read or pursue another goal that involves the analysis/reading of complex subjects. This because my eyes are that point are uncomfortable and a headache is possible.

However, working with this kind of devices can help. Specially supernote or remarkable and any other brand that doesn’t have an App Store (that’s why I don’t mention boox). They are just good for reading, annotating pdfs/EPUBs and taking notes, while at the same time helping you to ease the strain to your eyes. So you get two benefits, a work without distraction and no more headaches attributable to LCD screens.

I’m thinking of buying a supernote and all the notes I take and pdf or EPUBs I annotate, then export them to Devon Think and run OCR. Having all of my processed information ready when I need it.

Does anyone of you own a similar device or a similar workflow?

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I have a Supernote A5X. Got it as a gift over the summer. It’s a really nice device, and I play with it fairly regularly, though I admit that I don’t really know what I want to do with it yet, so I don’t have any particular workflow.

Pixel Leaves on YouTube has some really brief, well-made videos about how to use it generally and how she uses it in particular, including a workflow that incorporates Obsidian.

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Here’s a recent thread:

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Thank you, I’ll check that channel. From what I’ve seen I think it’ll replace most of the annotation I make with my iPad because the LCD screen can get annoying.

From what I’ve heard the supernote delivers a great writing experience, and although the lack of a backlight could be a con, for some people is a pro because I believe the hardwire requieres for it could affect the writing experience. This last thing also makes the writing experience with the supernote really similar to paper.

I’ll keep using my kindle oases for reading though. I don’t like reading my kindle books on my iPad for the same reason I described previously.

Supernote feels a bit like writing with gel or rollerball pen. Remarkable feels more like writing with a pencil. (My wife has a Remarkable, so I’ve been able to compare the experience firsthand.)

I think I would like the Supernote better with a light. I’ve actually been using it lately with a book light clipped to it, and I prefer that during use. Don’t really like the clunkiness of the book light when moving it around or setting it on the table.

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That’s why I would prefer my kindle to reading while on my bed, and the supernote when I have to work. Thanks for sharing your experience.

I’m going to add this as a potential reason not to get a boox device: https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/onyx-boox/

Do double-check your workflow before you commit to anything. When I researched it before I think there was an issue that annotations in PDFs are stored in a non-standard format and so can’t be exported by apps like DT (I think this is with Remarkable, although I did research another device that I can’t remember the name of and isn’t what you’ve mentioned here).

Since I don’t want to change my actual workflow without very good reason, this rendered these devices a bit of a non-starter :frowning:

I annotate PDFs and then use the summarise highlights function in DT to create a markdown document of my highlights and notes. I believe - although hopefully someone will say if I’m wrong - that the problem is that some services (e.g. GoodNotes) create annotations and highlights as a vector layer rather than handling them as actual annotations, which PDF does support (PDF can support marking text, adding notes, etc., through its annotation function). If annotations are handled in a non-standard format, you’re basically drawing on the file rather than annotating it. This makes it impossible for other apps to “read” and process your annotations.

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I’ll check with support how supernote handles those annotations. Also, it has a nice “Digest” function. By the way, do you annotate with your iPad? What app?

At present I use DevonThink To Go for PDF annotating. DT annotates pdfs in the standard format so they are exportable to other programs if that’s your jam.

I’m in the Readwise beta for Reader. They haven’t yet built the export function for PDF annotations so I don’t use Reader for PDFs at present unless I know I don’t need an annotated copy. This is rare for work stuff, which I think is probably similar to your use case (research) - I like to keep a copy of my annotated PDF alongside my notes in DT, and for me that’s a dealbreaker.

Once Reader has released its function for exporting annotated PDFs, I will test it. I don’t know if I will stick with it (my DTTG workflow is fine), but I like Reader so I will give it a go. The Readwise/Reader folk are already aware of the issue of non-standard PDF formats (Reader itself already handles PDF annotating, it’s just exporting annotated files that’s not possible at present), so I don’t foresee an issue once it’s up and running.

None of this solves your screen issue though. I’m prone to light-sensitive headaches so I totally get where you’re coming from, I just haven’t found a comfortable solution.

Reader is one of the few apps I use in Dark Mode though, which helps a bit. I never really settled with Dark Mode generally and use it for very few apps.

I do also dim my ipad screen a lot and have it on “Night Shift” which makes it yellower. Not sure that helps much but it makes me feel like I’ve at least tried not to trigger a headache.

I’ve thought before that what I really want is an iPad that magically changes to an e-ink screen when you’re ready to settle in for some reading, but then switches back to the regular screen when you’re finished. Someone should invent that! :joy:

Well, I recently saw this regarding apple incursion in e-ink environment: https://www.macrumors.com/2022/05/17/kuo-apple-testing-eink-display-foldable-devices/

I also use DevonThink to go to read while on my iPad l, but yeah, the strain on the eyes is a real issue :frowning:

I have asked the supernote team about the vector vs annotation issue, I’ll reply later when they answer. However, I have seen some workflows using the digest function of supernote (kind of like the export function of the highlights in Devonthink) where what you annotated is exported with context in pdf. You can also export your notes from a notebook in pdf.

Yes, that’s how it works. For annotation, making the notes is simple. The rest of the workflow, less so.

In a PDF or epub document on the Supernote, you can draw simple square brackets around the text you want to annotate, and then you are presented with a field in which you write your own note about that bracketed text. That creates a separate “digest” file on the Supernote. That digest file contains a series of entries for each annotation you make in that particular PDF/epub document you were reading. Each entry in the digest contains the text you bracketed with your handwritten note below it. So far, I really like how it works.

But then you can export all, or a subset of, those entries from the digest file, and that leaves you with a PDF of those entries that you can save to your Mac. In that exported digest PDF, the text is like the text in any PDF – you can copy and paste it out of the document. Your handwritten notes, however, are some kind of image. I was unable to copy that image easily out of Preview. In my brief experiment in trying this, I instead used Preview’s export to convert the file to a JPG, and then from that JPG I was able to copy the handwriting. I then pasted that copied handwriting into Notes, and Notes did a reasonable job of converting my terrible handwriting to editable text.

If the Supernote had a front light, and if I had the patience to figure out how to use Calibre to convert ebooks into files that I could open on the Supernote, and if I could figure out a less cumbersome way of getting those handwriting images converted, I’d read a lot of my books and PDFs on the Supernote.

And if ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

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Thanks for sharing your workflow, that’s my concern with exporting the hand made notes. I don’t know if when I add the pdf or the note to DevonThink I’ll be able to run the OCR process to it and make it searchable. I guess I’ll have to see for myself or ask in the Devonthink forum. If I’m not wrong I remember Devonthink can also convert a file to different formats, maybe with a simple script that work can be automated.

Here’s another choice.
Color e-ink, 8”, Android

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bigme/galy

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You need a big asterisk on that one. Kickstarter is extremely risky in my experience. I know there have been some great products, but I have burnt the few times I have done it.

I’ve backed 12 successful projects (new keyboard coming this week today!, in fact), and 2 that were canceled. I haven’t lost any money. Your mileage may vary, and full disclosure about the risks is on every project.

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It looks great thank you! Now I have to save 500 dollars :smiling_face_with_tear:. Did you backed it up?

No, I have a reMarkable, so that was my big spend for a while.
It would be nice to read comics in color, but that’s really the only use I can think of for a color tablet (well, illustrated books, books with graphs, etc.).

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With the Remarkable or Scribe (or any other), can you just leave a notebook open all day, so there is no turning it on or navigation? As if it was a piece of paper and pencil, I can just pick it up and start writing in the same place I was using it hours before.

Edit: Answering my own question. Remarkable can for 2 hours and 40s minutes and then it goes into light sleep. Scribe looks like you can’t do this at all.

Supernote has a sleep mode that it rouses from very quickly (when you press the power button or, if you have it in a folio, when you open the cover) and returns you to wherever you left off when you were using it last. I know you can adjust how long it stays awake, but I don’t have mine with me right now and I can’t remember the range of options for that setting.

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