Last week I finally upgraded my mobile computing unit. I am retiring my Lenovo T410, accepting it as the lemon that I put up with for 6 years.
With significant thought I settled on the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for my upgrade. Since school I have dreamed of a computer with a pen that is good enough to take handwritten notes. Unfortunately all the computer-tablets that existed when I was in class were clunky and the pen input was never fast enough or accurate enough to truly take hand written notes. The claims of massive improvement on input with a pen is what has draw me towards the surface line.
I have been enjoying my surface immensely. It is by no means a perfect machine, as windows 10 still struggles a little in high DPI tablet form, but its almost exactly what I wanted 6 years ago.
Microsoft encourages the use of their note taking application, OneNote, for use on the Surface for note taking and tout the pen integration in the application so widely that a long press of the pen’s eraser from anywhere in the OS will bring up OneNote. I have found that there is a much better note taking application (for me) that is, oddly enough, also made by Microsoft. The application ‘Plumbago’, Latin for lead, is a Microsoft Garage project, and application made by employees basically in their free time, and its is a much simpler but much preferred note taking application. The app just lets you create notebook with a wide variety of paper styles and then gives you 25 pages to write what ever you want in pencil, pen, or highlighter. Its pretty simple but what is does it does right, the controls are simple and intuitive and the pen integration is the best I’ve tried.
Just testing around a in a notebook with graph paper I started sketching the items on my desk and got the idea that I could raise my monitor a couple inches closer to eye level and remove the speaker amp from the rest of the clutter. So as I often do I started sketching designs for a little stand that would accompany the amp and provide a little storage. One I had a design I liked I modeled is in SketchUp and printed it out on the 3D Printer.
By the morning after having the idea I had created and installed the monitor stand. It had gone trough a few iteration of design on ‘paper’ already moving form squares to hexagons. For a project taking a few hours its, so far, been working wonderfully.