Note taking in the 21st century

mgates67mgates67 Security+Member Posts: 55 ■■■□□□□□□□
When I started out on my certification journey last year, I utilized the tried and true note taking method of using a textbook, notebook, and pen. This method has served me well over the years but, like most things, has its good points and its bad points. I much prefer reading from real paper as it is easier on my eyes. Like most people, I'm sure, I tend to remember things better when I write them out by hand. On the bad side textbooks are really not very portable because they are usually sizable. Also, trying to find an obscure reference to a sub-topic can involve flipping through many pages in your notebook because you know you remember reading and/or writing about it somewhere.

The digital age has provided some updates to the "old ways." Some of them are improvements; others, not so much. I simply can't read for a long time from a backlit screen, it bothers my eyes and I end up with a headache. e-Readers, on the other hand, offer a paper-like reading experience. Note taking in the digital age can be a challenge. I like being able to utilize a document search to look for that obscure reference, but my memory retention simply isn't as good when I type out my notes rather than hand write them.

I am a self-proclaimed "tech-geek" so I most definitely need to involve technology in most things in my daily life. So, my solution/compromise for modern day note taking is as follows:

1. e-Reader. I use an e-Reader (for me, it's a Nook) for my textbooks. It can be the equivalent of hundreds of textbooks but is uber transportable. The e-ink technology is just plain awesome. Since the screen is not backlit, I can read for hours without any ill-effect.

2. Digital notebook. For me, it is an iPad with the MyScript Notes Mobile app. I can use this to write out my notes by hand providing the better memory retention that I need. I can then use the included OCR function that will convert even my chicken-scratch scribbles to text - while not perfect (what is, though), it seems to do an excellent job with this. The app will also connect to the "cloud" to upload the notes (now converted to text) to one of a few different services.

3. Evernote. I love Evernote. You can keep several different digital notebooks (even arrange multiple notebooks logically into a notebook stack). The MyScript app mentioned previously will upload the text notes directly to my Evernote account. Once uploaded, I will generally read through them to correct any OCR faux pas (giving me the opportunity to review the topic again). Evernote also has a powerful embedded search utility, it will even find hand written text on any drawings or images you might have. Once in Evernote, my notes are now available from (almost literally) anywhere.


  • joehalford01joehalford01 Member Posts: 364
    I started out using pen and paper to take my notes, but you're exactly right, finding those notes is a serious pain. I use evernote now and type it in while I read. The best part is that I have evernote installed on my work computer as well, so if I need to do anything I've learned out of a book but can't quite remember, my notes are right there. I also access them from Kindle fire to review, much easier when I just want to read through them.
    If OneNote had a Kindle app, I might use that instead, but it dosn't, so evernote it is.
  • Teacher2013Teacher2013 Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I use an app called Penzu to keep track of all my notes. When you are at your computer you can just go to the website and type. It save everything and can be organized too. Hope this helps:D.
  • coreyb80coreyb80 Member Posts: 646 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I use an app called Penzu to keep track of all my notes. When you are at your computer you can just go to the website and type. It save everything and can be organized too. Hope this helps:D.

    About to give this app a try.
    WGU BS - Network Operations and Security
    Completion Date: May 2021
  • CISPhDCISPhD Member Posts: 114
    Another iApp you may want to try is Notability. If you're on a PC, there's simply no beating Microsoft OneNote. People give MS crap about their software development life cycles, but the OneNote team really did an expect job on this app. My notes are available to me anywhere I go, even on my phone.
  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I have had good luck with OneNote as well.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Totally old school. Pen, notebook & books.

    Also used to walk to school, uphill both ways. :D
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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