Macbook Air - drawing pad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Labhras, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Labhras macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    Hi all,

    I'm a college student, majoring in business and economics. I wanted to try and and take notes on my MBA only, but I'm still stuck with my notebook due to classes like statistics or general finance where I have something akin to 5 or 6 equations in 5 minutes with a theoretical definition and explanation for each.

    Seeing as I can't build an equation on mac in such little time, a friend suggested getting a drawing pad - one of those connected to the laptop via usb perfect for equations, graphs or simple hand drawings.

    What's the best (and honest, cheapest - still in college :p) solution for an MBA?
    Would you suggest getting one, or sticking with the notebook and maybe adding that page with a scanner later?
  2. mfisa macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2014

    As someone that used one of the original Microsoft Tablet PCs through grad school (math), one of the newer Windows 8.1 tablets might be an option. Something like the Dell Venue Pro 8 (though stylus reviews are mixed at best) or an Asus Note might be a good fit since they're relatively small and light weight and seemingly getting cheaper by the day.

    Going that route would give you the option of using something like OneNote to sync between the tablet and the MBA and have your notes available on both. It would also give you the extra screen to use to both view notes (on the tablet) and work on papers or whatever (on the MBA).

    The same could be done with an iPad but the lack of a digitizer makes it too much of a bandaid and super glue type solution in my experience.

    Like you say, a separate drawing tablet is an option but I never could get used to a separate peripheral to draw while looking at the screen. Just didn't click for me. Maybe it's just me. Plus, it's still an extra piece of equipment that has to be setup with your MBA where you could just use the tablet for notes and leave the MBA in your bag unless you needed it.
  3. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    I really don't like working with tablets along with my laptop - I'd have to have different documents everywhere and in the end I fear it's gonna be a mess.

    My idea was having the hand-drawn equation and graphs already integrated into a pages file, with my notes of the class, and that's why I was thinking of a drawing pad - you can have them with usb or bluetooth as far as I've heard.

    While I agree that the whole keeping an eye on the screen and the pad at the same time to write everything good can be tiring, the tablet option just doesn't sound right to me. I'd have to take the whole notes on the tablet, and with a cramped bluetooth keyboard that'd drive me crazy.
  4. mfisa macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2014
    Yeah, but with OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc. and near ubiquitous wi-fi (I don't remember the last time I was on a college campus where they didn't have wi-fi) document management becomes a lot less of a headache.

    Also, as far as using a cramped bluetooth keyboard, I would suggest you're doing it wrong (just kidding :) ). Seriously, though, a solution like that would open the possibility of simply doing everything handwritten as opposed to typed in. OneNote (at least back when I used it for that purpose) did the OCR in the background to let you search like you would typed text. Plus, that's how our forefathers did it...handwritten on papyrus scrolls, uphill both ways, in the snow...

    Now, if you're set on having everything in Pages, then yeah it probably wouldn't work without cleanup, transcription, etc. from your handwritten notes. Then again, there's something to be said for going through that sort of review for retention purposes.

    And trust me, I'm not trying to convert you to Windows. I love my MBA. But I'm also a big fan of using the best tool for the job. If I was still doing a lot of handwritten notes, I would go that direction. And actually, I still keep an older Tablet PC around for writing out my notes and saving them for the math classes I teach. Ends up being a lot easier than trying to type them up on my MBA given all the equations.

    Good luck on finding something that works for you. It's definitely not a one size fits all problem.
  5. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    That still is file-sharing, I'd have a separate document with the formulas and explanations and then another one with the theory. In my opinion it only gets messy :p Problem is that the amount of equations and/or graphs changes between classes, so I can have a two hours lecture with just one equation or hundreds of them.

    All my class notes are handwritten at the moment (though I have textbook notes on my laptop because I can take them quicker that way).

    I get what you're talking about, especially with revision, but I have a mixed written/visual memory, so between writing on a keyboard, and remembering the text I'm good. Also, I found way more comfortable quickly sorting through notes on a tablet rather than going crazy turning pages :p

    I just got my MBA a couple of months ago coming from Windows so there's no conversion fear here :) I actually changed laptops because I really don't like Windows 8, I tried it on a friend's laptop and tablet and it just doesn't speak to me.
  6. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    For statistics and similar classes i just used a pen and paper.

    You could buy a wacom accessory, but then you'd have to carry it around and set it up for each class. Seems easier to write it and scan it later to me.
  7. skinny*k macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2011
    He could scan it later to you? Just kidding. :)

    OP, if doing it Traverse's way appeals to you, you wouldn't even need a scanner; just take a picture with your cel phone. It would be better to have a way to brace the phone so that you don't get blurry pictures, but it would work just fine.
  8. jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    Before you spend money, why not try Inklet? It temporarily turns your trackpad into a digitizer. I do not have to take a lot of notes now, but I have used it in the past with decent success. You can download a demo version of it from the website I linked to above.

    It works okay with your finger, but I picked up a $10.00 stylus at radio shack that made writing much easier.
  9. jplumey macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    For my math work I just use pencil and paper and scan into Evernote on my iPhone using the Evernote app or Scanner Pro.
  10. joshlalonde macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2014
    Have you ever considered a USB drawing tablet? I have a Wacom Intuos I use for drawing, but I imagine it could do well for writing too. It's pressure sensitive and everything. It can even act as a touchpad

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