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Entries in Notes (3)

Penultimate 3.0 - New Custom Templates, Sharing, Paper Shop

We use Penultimate by Cocoa Box a lot, primarily for taking meeting, seminar or training notes and sending them to Evernote for archiving. Evernote's handwriting recognition engine also makes our notes searchable on all our devices/computers.

With version 3.0 of Penultimate a whole new feature-set is introduced - importing paper templates and the Paper Shop (in app purchases of templates).

The video below explains the new features, but we think one of the more powerful aspects is going to be the template sharing for different creative fields like the storyboard template in the video, or teaching templates, photographer field notes, model release forms, etc.

The pages can be printed/exported complete with the template too. As you will see in the video, you can create templates from any file in your Photo Library, so the possibilities are endless!

CourseNotes 2.0 - Share Notes via Facebook (and more)

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The first version of the CourseNotes app launched at the same time as the iPad earlier this year, but the app's Developers, Dear Panda LLC, have just released a number of significant new features with their 2.0 version.

In addition to the previous functionality that included:

  • Creating and organising notes/sketches in various ways
  • Creating To-do or assignment reminders
  • Integrated research tools to add to notes
  • E-mail and network sharing
  • A very attractive UI

the new features are:

  • Online export of notes, for viewing, sharing or printing notes online
  • In-app viewing of friends' shared notes
  • Support for bullet list formatting in notes
  • Premium note content available for in-app purchase

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Top Two

The two big features that stood out to us are 1) online sharing of notes and 2) the new premium content.

Online sharing takes the previous functionality a bit further and sits well with students who would no doubt already be avid users of Facebook. The app uses Facebook account verification to sync your notes online and make them available via a custom link that can be automatically shared via Facebook. There are three online sharing options:

  • Just Me - no sharing
  • My Friends - allowing existing Friends on Facebook to share your notes
  • Everybody - allowing any user of CourseNotes to see your notes

Additionally, you can login and see what notes your friends are sharing for all subjects they have made public. So if you were ill and missed that very important pre-test class, you can add your friend's notes to your iPad from their Facebook link, right inside the app.

This is in addition to the ad-hoc network and email sharing that was available before, so students really have a nice range of collaborative options with this new version. Facebook comments and feedback are starting to pick up with this release, so that should help spur on further development of these features.

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Premium content comes to CourseNotes via in-app purchase and initially takes the form of just two study guides, 'French verb conjugations' and 'the Periodic Table of the Elements', with the Press Release stating: "Additional study-sheets on topics including Art History and U.S. History will follow shortly after the launch."

'Shows Potential'

We are not sure who is developing these guides, but at up to $2.99 per purchase we are hoping that the quality and authority of the study guides is being verified. In a way, they can only be very generalist without official textbook Publishers being involved, unlike Inkling's official textbook replacement offering we covered last week.

That being said, with the addition of a raft of useful and popular learning resources CourseNotes could become the full-blown study companion and central repository that students need on their iPads.

If Dear Panda can build up a decent range of study aids very quickly then they could establish themselves as the go-to resource for iPad wielding students who want to share and learn together using a device that is always with them and instantly available.

Without the hassle of waiting for the OS to start up or booking a slot to use the Library PCs, students can already share, collaborate and research topics wherever they happen to be with the iPad using an app like CourseNotes.

CourseNotes 2.0 is out now in the app store at $4.99 (£2.99), a brief overview can be seen in the video below.

If you have tried CourseNotes out on your iPad and have any thoughts about it at all we would love to hear from you in the comments.

Live Notes Saves Your Brain, Helps Recall

GA_512.pngHave you ever sat through a seminar, convention or training session making frequent and frantic notes, only to find you can't read what you have written weeks later when you review them? Or have you scribbled down something really cryptic that was obviously meaningful at the time, but is a complete mystery to you now? Then you may well be interested in Live Notes the latest release from Hong Kong based developers Humble Gaming.

Live Notes is a Voice Recorder, of which there are many on the app store, but this one combines voice recording with synchronised note taking to create a very useful app. With this app you can find a handwritten note or sketch on your iPad from any event you have recorded and, by clicking on it, hear the audio that was being recorded at the exact moment you made that note or sketch, giving you the context around it.

Hopefully this will help your memory of what you were trying to convey by your seemingly random scribblings on your iPad (especially if you have used your finger to scribble with and not a stylus).

You can also flag certain moments in the audio recording as you go along, or even at a later time, so that your key points are easily accessible later.  It is a very interesting app, and we wish we had this available to us on numerous occasions in the past when we have looked at our notes and wondered whether we were even in the right room for all the sense they made.

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Here is a rundown of Live Note's features from the app store:

  • Flag important moments during or after your Voice Recordings to play back from that particular point
  • User Friendly interface inspired by professional productivity application “Pages”
  • Easy to use tools, begin recording in a single click
  • Thumbnails for Notes and ability to flip through them on the front screen
  • Use the iPad's Keyboard to type notes in different fonts
  • Highlight text with different colors
  • Drawing Lines with Variable Width and Color options
  • Free Hand mode for Handwritten Notes and Multi Colored Pens
  • 4 Different Paper Styles
  • Drawing Shapes in Multi Colors
  • Choose your own Size/Thickness for your Pencil, Highlighter, Eraser, Lines, and Outline to the shapes 
  • Email your notes as a PDF
  • Save your Voice Recording on your computer through iTunes
  • Landscape or Portrait Option Available
  • Eliminate or delete anything you have drawn or written within a note with a single tap

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Creative Potential and Learning Styles

We like Live Notes because of the potential it offers to Creatives for making notes that mean something.  Imagine recording a client meeting (after first letting them know they are being recorded, of course) and taking notes at the same time.  Rather than rely on your interpretation of some sketch or note made at that meeting, you can hear exactly what was being said at the moment you made your scribblings.  There have been hardware/software solutions to do this before, but it is so much better to do this on your iPad that you are going to be taking everywhere with you anyway!

This is in addition to the other uses in College lectures, seminars, training sessions, etc., helping you to remember the topic(s) discussed in more accurate detail, aiding your recall and learning.  As anyone who has studied learning even a little will be able to tell you, there are different types of learner, each type having a preference towards some sort of stimulation of the senses, and the more of those you can hit in one go, the better your chance of retaining and recalling that information.

In this case, Live Notes is going to obviously help the Audio/Visual learners, but there might be a bit of Kinesthetic thrown in if you are sketching something out maybe, we think most people will benefit from using this app though.

Live Notes is available now on the app store for £3.49 ($5.99), and for the functionality it offers, we think that is a fair price.  If you do get it, let us know in the comments below what you think of Live Notes and how you have used it.