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One month with the reMarkable tablet

A month has passed. Time for an update on my experience with the reMarkable tablet. Here’s what’s happened since my last blog post on its use, plus a few comments about workflow, feature use, and improvements that I hope the company will consider.

I replaced the first nib. For several days my writing experience was strange, the tablet seemingly more fidgety and sensitive. I finally had another look at the new nib and found it had not been inserted it all the way. Problem solved.

I rsync the tablet every few days to my desktop. Eventually that will be a daily process, with weekly new full backups and daily incremental updates. Cleanup work on the forked script for conversion of notebooks to pdfs is ongoing.

reMarkable tablet with custom sleep screen

I leave WiFi off except during rsyncs; I haven’t yet attempted to convert any pdfs to text. I’d be using an out of band means to do that in any case, since I don’t want to save data on the company’s servers.

The problem with pages in the thumbnail view being cropped on top has still not been resolved. I make allowances by writing a title lower down in the page. It’s not great. (Where’s that open issue tracker, folks?)

I’m getting into the routine of things with my daily todo lists. At some point I’ll probably have notebook blanks with dates already filled in, in big bold text that appears clearly on the thumbnails, and with standard todo items above the date, to be duplicated for each half of every month.

I’ve not yet played with using layers to display titles in large text and free up the virtual lined paper for notes.

I have a thingiverse 3-d printed stylus clip (see https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2950560) which fits well and prevents the pen from rolling around on the smooth table surface. No folio yet, as I’ve not needed to travel with the tablet and have not seen a solution I like. I’d prefer a book-style cover that is both slim and does not require the tablet to be glued into the cover. Anybody have suggestions? DIY acceptable!

I take scratch notes on various topics while working through items in my todo lists. These eventually get cleaned up and exported into separate notebooks or added to existing ones. Moving out multiple pages is a bit tedious; that’s another feature that would be nice to have.

At some point it will be ok to move non-agenda notebooks off to the laptop; these should be converted to pdfs. That’s more incentive to get the conversion script working properly. I need to investigate the various pdf conversion tools and see what produces clean output as well as

pdfs of a reasonable size.

If I could add the pen switcher menu to the pen/pencil/marker in the small menu display, as well as the thumb view on top, I could stay in small or no menu view almost all of the time, instead of switching to large menu view to get these items and then closing that again. Consider it a step closer to the ‘no clutter’ intended design of the device.

A couple of times I have touched something in passing while holding the tablet with a notebook page displayed and the full menu open, that wiped the page. A couple of undos restored it, but it would be nice to know what cleared the page in the first place.

Sometimes the previous page and next page buttons at the bottom of the tablet don’t respond on first try and I need to press them again. Perhaps this is a sensitivity issue. It’s not a huge drawback, more of a small annoyance, but something that should be ironed out for future shipments of the device.

At this point, I don’t have any desire for other apps on the device except for rsync and some way to manage custom templates, splash screens and so on. Sure, everyone can roll their own but that’s a waste of hours of fiddling around by a lot of users. These items should be easy enough for the company to fold into the firmware.

I’m a little bit anxious about what will happen when the battery starts to fail to hold a charge in a couple of years, because it’s not intended to be replaceable. I’m not one of those folks that gets a new phone every couple of years; devices should be built to last and to be repaired and used as long as possible, rather than regularly added to the landfill. Maybe by then, a third party battery will be available and we’ll be able to manage replacements ourselves, even if completely unauthorized.

I have not once used the tablet to read a pdf or epub; that happens on the laptop. I don’t have commute time that gets filled by reading, and coffee shops are for socializing. We’ll see if that’s changed by the 6 month mark.

I still haven’t cracked open the paper notebooks even once. Maybe when I go somewhere without power for longer than a few days 🙂