That thing when someone has kids running around in the background of a Zoom and it sounds like they’re right upstairs, behind you, and inside your head at the same time. Yeah, that. How’s your Wednesday starting out?

ReMarkable 2 Paper Tablet - 2 Week Update

TL;DR — I’m returning my ReMarkable tablet. It’s an awesome device, just not right for me at this time. For details, read on.

OK, 2 weeks in and I’ve got some additional thoughts on the reMarkable 2 paper tablet. It’s awesome. It truly is an amazing piece of technology. The writing experience is, in fact, just like writing on paper. Even my scrawling script/print hybrid looks just like usual and doesn’t even mess up the OCR — too much.

So why am I sending it back? It’s just not the right awesome technology for my life, at the present moment.

There are three distinct pieces of my life that involve writing. First, and taking up the vast majority of my time and mental bandwidth, is my day job as a business content writer for a local cybersecurity startup. Second, I’ve recently begun the research phase of writing a novel. I say phase because I’m learning HOW to write fiction AND simultaneously compiling the information I’ll need to build solid characters, historical information on the setting, etc. And third, I have an ongoing project to compile a bunch of disparate blogs, articles, research, and drafts that I’ve written over the last few years related to my work as a wellness coach (it’s not about hacking anything, people).

That’s a lot. And I’ve been working on several of these projects for quite some time, and for others I’ve developed a process that’s working for me, right now. I simply found that adding a new device was just one thing too many. And considering the cost I just can’t justify keeping it around on the off-chance that I can work it into my workflow at some later point in time.

I am considering adding an iPad mini with Brydge keyboard to my set up, as I already use iOS apps for various tasks, so moving those activities from my phone to a device with a larger screen and real -ish keyboard sounds more feasible right now. Besides, there are several tasks that I can see moving from my ailing Macbook to an iPad that may take enough strain off the poor bugger that it will live a bit longer before kicking up its little circuits and dying.

Do I recommend the ReMarkable 2 for anyone who wants the functionality of a paper notebook that can email you converted text for import into the drafting/editing app of your choosing?

That’s a resounding Yes. As long as you can make room in your process for it without sacrificing too much.

From The Mist - a short story

He’d seen mist like this before. A high desert snow storm was coming.

Something’s…different tonight. What is that? Midway along the horizon, between the clumps of sage, something was moving. Coming toward him, in fact. Despite the bitter cold seeping into his bones as darkness settled in and the snow began blanketing the chaparral — he waited and he watched.

As he stood in the gathering gloom, with snow piling up all around him, they emerged. It was like a slow-moving wagon train. The sort of thing he might have expected to see here 150+ years ago. In fact., just south of where he stood were the ruins of the earliest attempt to settle this desert, rusty wagon wheels and all.

But this was different. These certainly weren’t wagons emerging from the ethereal glow of the gathering storm. As they approached, a silence fell. He was used to the desolate, eerie stillness of the desert. But this silence contained the lyrical whispers of a distant past.

Before long they began to circle up. Slowly snaking their way into a rough ring around a small open space among the rocks. All the while the whispers grew louder and started sounding like a voice, like a grizzled uncle telling stories around a camp fire.

As he watched and listened, a fire sprang to life in the center of the clearing. At the same time the murmur grew to a low roar that competed with the incoming storm for his attention. Something nagged at the edges of his consciousness. He still couldn’t make out a distinct shape amid the motion. No people making camp. No dogs patrolling the perimeter. Not even a clear outline of that perimeter.

“…that perimeter…”

As he listened for clues, clear words started forming out of the din. A cloud here, snow there. Several weathers and a rock over there. Were they talking about how long they’d have to hunker down to outlast the storm before moving on?

“…the storm before moving on…”

That’s when he heard it. The exact sentence he had just said to himself bounced off the rocks and made its way back into his head. What just happened? How did these visiting strangers know what he was thinking? How did they even know he was there?

“…even know he was there…”

He risked being seen to move closer. He had to know what the hell was going on here.

“…what the hell was going on here…”

With the accumulating snow silencing his foot steps he was able to halve the distance without raising alarm. What he saw was unlike anything the desert had ever prepared him for.

“…prepared him for…”

There in the clearing, building a fire and setting out dinner — were words.

“What emerged from the mist that night was this story.”

Initial thoughts after a week with my ReMarkable 2 tablet

As promised, some initial thoughts about the ReMarkable 2 paper tablet.

I’m a note-taker. As in, I use pen and paper, even in the middle of a Zoom meeting. So with going to work full-time as a business content writer I found myself going through a legal pad in like 2 weeks.

Add to that the fact that I’ve started dabbling in fiction along with the non-fiction book project I’m knee-deep in and I’ve been using 4 different notebooks + at least 3 apps to contain and corral my thoughts, notes, and ramblings. That’s just not sustainable, by any definition.

I went back to my Bear database and found a link I had saved to the ReMarkable tablet. Billed as the worlds first “paper tablet,” the company promised a writing experience that felt like scratching away with a pen or pencil on paper – but with the built-in ability to convert those scribblings to a text file of some sort for digital use. I was intrigued and stored the link for later.

With the lovely insurance settlement I recently received thanks to an inattentive fuckwit (I won’t let this digress into a Seattle Driver rant, promise), I decided this was the time to indulge and buy myself a present. Enter my lovely new ReMarkable 2.

Background out of the way, let’s dive in to my thoughts on this little slice of technological wizardry – I think I’m in love.

There are some downsides, which I’ll get to in a moment, but first and foremost I have to say that I truly love using this thing. There are multiple pen types to choose from (I’m preferring the ballpoint with a medium line for most writing), and too many templates for paper types to list here (lined in 3 sizes, blank, dot grids galore, and even several versions of the Cornell annotation layout. Then, when ready, just hit “convert text and send” and you get an email with an OCR (optical character recognition) version of your text ready to move to Bear, Drafts, Scrivener, or whatever your composition app of choice happens to be.

The tech behind the e-ink interface is amazing. I’ve never had even a single instance of my wrist or hand causing a mark to appear on the page. The eraser on the upgraded pen I opted for works like a charm (even if there is a bit of ghosting where you erased until you close and reopen the file, then it’s gone). And the surface is just scratchy enough to actually, finally, feel like writing on real paper with a real analog pen.

What’s not to love?

Well, a couple of things. Since it has limited processing power onboard, you have to be on wifi in order to use the OCR. Then you can only send one page at a time (so the short story I just wrote, stay tuned for that, had to be sent in 4 emails. And it comes as text in the body of the email rather than a .txt file (not a deal-breaker, just annoying). And lastly, with wifi turned on, it syncs to the cloud CONSTANTLY, which is murder on the battery life.

One week in and I’m absolutely loving this thing. I have some misgivings about having spent this much for such a specialized piece of kit, but then again, I am working as a writer and have spend probably 2-4 hours a day using it in just this first week. Only time will tell if I still love it this much when the end of the 30-day return period arrives and I have to make my final decision. Those misgivings grew this week as I came to the unfortunate realization that my only 3-year-old Macbook Pro was approaching it’s last act, so I’m going to have to spend a chunk on a new laptop and/or Mac Mini/iPad combo in the distressingly near future. One more thing that only time will bring the best solution for.

Hey Mac folks, question for y’all.

My Macbook Pro is approaching that final curtain and I’m driving myself stabby looking at the new lineup. For someone whose primary use case is writing, with surfing coming in second, and with a growing amount of photo editing the more I get back into shooting…am I better served by a Macbook Pro, is an Air OK, Or should I consider an Air for writing AND a mini for editing? The specs on all 3 appear…the same to me, so I’m wondering about what if any differences you’ve seen in the field.

Please and thank you for any and all advice, suggestions, recommendations, and even constructive criticism of my whole approach.

The phrase “hammock-based mouse jiggler” just entered my internal monologue. I’m not sure how to feel about this.

Met a guy with zero exposure to Rage Against The Machine. I know, right?! Anyway, do I just tell him to grab the first album and hit play? Or give him a custom playlist? And if the latter, where to start?!

My “I got a full-time gig” presents to myself arrived! That’s a Kaweco Brass Sport and TWSBI Diamond 580 in limited edition Prussian Blue. Both will be inked later today, ready for a weekend of drafting.

I hope last night/ doesn’t wake up this morning/ and tell tomorrow what I’ve done.

Strangefolk

(I’m new to markdown so I hope that worked)

Ailing MBP, help needed.

Hey Mac peeps of Micro.Blog, I need some help.

The fan on my 2017 13” MBP comes on full tilt every 20 minutes or so, even when I’m just reading, surfing or drafting in Bear. Nothing processor intensive. In fact, it rarely even feels hot to the touch.

I’ve backed it up, wiped and reloaded Catalina several times, done a PRAM reset, and have scoured the internets for answers. All to no avail.

So I decided it was time to hit up this community in an effort to NOT have to replace an otherwise perfectly good laptop, no matter how much I despise the keyboard, just to make the fan STFU.

Any further thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or nuggets of wisdom?

Any and all input will be gratefully accepted.

Thanks.

Domain fiddling

One last (*coughcough) fiddle with the domain names and email and I think I’ve got it. I replaced my professional site with a dead simple one I tossed together with Carrd and redirected jessekelber.com to that.

I already set up a subdomain at micro.jessekelber.com to house this here microblog.

Today I joined Fastmail and have several of my emails including the @jessekelber.com ones going in there.

The next step will be to forward my main Gmail account into Fastmail while using the Takeout system to move my docs into iCloud drive – with the endgoal being deletion of my Google presence at some point in the not-to-distant future.

Acronyms are fun. I just finished up two days of morning MOOF sessions.

That’s “Marketing Out Of Facility,” apparently.

Sigh.

At least I got my draft post done during the breaks.

None of this is a complaint, mind you.

I love this job. I’m paid for words.

There’s this dog down the street that barks at every. Single. Dog. That walks past his domain.

His name is Reno and he has two speeds: asleep and apoplectic.

There is a road, no simple highway/ Between the dawn and the dark of night/ And if you go no one may follow/ That path is for your steps alone >Robert Hunter

#playdead

Can’t reply with photos, so starting a new thread. Love the shot of you and your AT, @odd so thought I’d counter with one of my V-Strom on the day I bought it. Took a 100-mile shortcut home from the dealership ;-) @maique