Cloud-based Note Taking with Rocketbook

Every now and then a technology comes along that completely changes the way you do things. Now I am a big believer that good technology needs to be the solution to a problem, not just a gimmick. Sure some things can be really cool but their usefulness is limited beyond a certain point.

So my problem for some time has been finding a good place to put my notes from the meetings that are part of my daily routine. During the pandemic I went back to writing in the lined notebooks that most students carry in their book bags, simply because I am most productive with my notes when I am using a real pen and paper. This was a good solution for me because I can refer back to my notes when I need to by flipping through the notepad. I put the date on the top which helps me locate the note later and I can refer to my Google Calendar for the right date if I cannot find the note.

My problem was that those notes are in paper form and I have to carry the notepad around with me. I work some days out in our districts, some days in the office and the rest are in my home office. I really needed a way to have access to them wherever I am. I have tried the app based note taking, Google Keep, Evernote and others but none were as easy as writing with a pen and paper.

Last year I was introduced to Rocketbook by a colleague (Chris Malanga) and after being reminded of it again this year I decided to get a larger (8.5 x 11) Rocketbook Flip ($32) which I have been using for the past month to take notes.

This is how it works. You have the pad which on my flip is either lined or dotted (they have planners and music staff pages as well). At the bottom of the page is a QR code and a series of circles (more about those later).

You also have an app (Rocketbook) which is on your mobile device.

You use an erasable pen (Pilot Frixion) to write on the page and when you are done you mark one of the circles on the bottom of the page. Each circle has an icon that corresponds to a setting you make on the phone and you can choose a destination for each icon.

On my phone the bell icon goes to a “Notes” folder in my Google Drive. You can send it via email, put into Trello, Google Drive and other destinations. Some destinations allow you to auto send and to do Optical Character Recognition (OCR) so your notes are turned into text automatically.

Once captured your notes can be erased by wetting down the micro fiber cloth (or a rag) and simply wiping away the notes ready for the next meeting.

Here is a screenshot of what the notes look like in the file that gets created in Drive when you scan and upload a note with Rocketbook. Note that using ## at the beginning and end of text will automatically title your document with the text between the hashes.

The note is included as an image at the top of the page and below it is the OCR generated text. As you can see it is pretty accurate.

Once I have my notes in the Notes folder in drive I can organize them into folders that I have created for each of the meetings that I regularly attend. Using Rocketbook has really helped me to be more organized.

If you are user of the olds school whiteboards you will be glad to hear that they have you covered as well. You can buy quadra-triangular Beacons from Rocketbook that attach to your white board and when scanned with the app put your whiteboard notes to the same destinations.

So now your notes can be scanned easily to the cloud no matter if you are using a pen or a whiteboard. Best of all this is a cheap technology. The Notebooks start around $16 and the Beacons are $15. You can buy the pens at Walmart or Amazon. Give it a try… I think you will like it.

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