Evernote, Moleskine debut techy Smart Notebook

If you think the word “debut” is a verb, keep reading.

[Note-taking service Evernote and Italian paper firm Moleskine introduce a 21st century notebook that aims to make written notes easier to digitally archive. On the CNEt site, from a story by Christopher MacManus. Here’s what they say: my comments in square brackets.]

Keyboards schmeyboards. Whatever happened to writing with stationary? Before we totally descend into a touchy-feely world of screens and buttons, at least the new can co-exist with the old through the Evernote Smart Notebook, made in collaboration with Italian paper company Moleskine.

[Spelling alert… A stationer sells stationery, my primary school class was told back in the 1950s.]

But to continue… Supposedly, the tiny dotted lines on the “smart” notebook paper allow Evernote app users to take pictures of written pages of text that later become searchable in the app through handwriting recognition technology.

moleskine_pagecam3The dotted lines ensure that the app knows the correct orientation of the document, which makes for more accurate scanning. The notebook’s debut coincides with an update today [2012-08-25] for Evernote’s iOS app, which adds “Page Camera,” a feature that makes document photo shoots easier by enhancing contrast and removing shadows.

Dozens of “smart stickers” also come with the notebook. Pictures of pages that contain a sticker automatically become organized under the related tag in the app. The Evernote smart notebook, now available for preorder, comes in either pocket or large sizes ($24.95 and $29.95, respectively), and includes a three-month subscription to Evernote premium.

Crave tried taking a photo of a regular written document with the Evernote app, but could not get the handwriting recognition to function initially.

An Evernote representative warned us via e-mail that “the app does handwriting recognition, but the app does the processing on the Evernote server side. Thus, it might take some time to work, and you’ll have to make sure things are synced.”

Evernote says — and I quote — “To use the Page Camera, launch the camera inside of Evernote, then tap on the new Page Camera icon at the top of the screen. Hold your camera above the page and center the image inside the rectangle. Snap a photo, then move on to the next page. Using your flash ensures that you’ll get the highest quality image. Tap on the page numbers to review the images you’ve taken. Tap the checkmark when you’re done.”

[So, before you can use this paper notebook, you need to invest in a two thousand dollar (contract over two years) pocketable computer/phone/camera device sold by Apple. Ernest Hemingway, with his school exercise book, his jar of one dozen sharpened pencils and his talent — total cost, three dollars — would have groaned aloud.]