Thursday, July 7, 2011

iPad Scribbling

In almost a month of using the iPad 2 it hasn’t yet proven to be the bonanza I read and hear about almost daily. The biggest worry prior to purchase is now taking on real shape with fears it might turn out to be nothing more than an expensive toy that requires feeding with regular tidbit apps from iTunes. Certainly numbers of enthusiasts will disagree, but productivity on the iPad is hard without laying out the money for a bunch of apps that will boost the device to its full potential. Out of the box it’s a cool-looking, whiz bang game console that does few of the things you see on iPad commercials. For that you’ll need a handful of outlays on your credit card.

The other day I noticed someone in Starbucks scribbling away on his iPad screen with a small black stylus. The words, or in his case math formulas were flying across the page just exactly as if he were writing on a piece of white paper with a pen or pencil. Perfect legibility, and as I looked on over his shoulder, he tapped an icon at the top of the screen and erased some numbers, tapped again and resumed his calculations. If I knew any math higher than Roman numerals I would have been able to read and understand every mark on the ‘page.’

I got the name of the app from the man and within five minutes pulled it up on iTunes. Three minutes after that I was scribbling lines on my own iPad. The program is called Noteshelf and comes from Fluid Touch for the reasonable price of $4.99. It is currently in version 3.0, is compatible with the iPad running iOS 3.2 or later. It is English and Japanese capable and has an average user rating of 4½ out of 5 stars.

Noteshelf has an incredibly rich set of features that make for easy writing and note taking in a wide range of places, situations and options. A few of my favorites:

• Choice of seventeen ink colors and line widths from fine to broad

• Templates of seventeen notebook styles; paper choices include blank, ruled (wide or thin), graph, music score, journal, day planner, task manager and more.

• Embed and annotate photos or other images with a couple of taps.

• Export options allow notes to be emailed or saved in Word or PDF files; printing is also possible.

• Apart from the eraser, Noteshelf offers unlimited undo/redo steps.

• Backup/restore function included.

• Easy to follow User’s Guide

• Wrist protection feature

Writing with the finger is easier than you might imagine and with a half hour’s practice the words begin to flow like fine ink in an expensive fountain pen. If you prefer, instead of your finger use a stylus. The Targus stylus works very well, though it costs four times the price of the Noteshelf app.

This type of app is not completely new. iShodo is a similar Japanese app for the iPhone, but then how much note taking is possible on a small iPhone screen? A couple of days getting used to the feel of Noteshelf and chances are good it will enhance productivity on your iPad.


  1. While I don't foresee having an iPad anytime soon, I enjoyed very much this review... and with that and the fact that we share a mutual Apple Newton past, it's nice to know that Apple finally got the handwriting part of the gizmos right.... thanks for the review.

  2. Well, yeah, it's like the old days: you want a stick-shift or automatic?; whitewalls or black tires? Point is though since you spent plenty bucks for the device you might as well spend more and soup it up. Just got an iPhone4 and can't wait to download some apps. Problem is my debit card has been compromised and need to go to the bank for a new one. THAT'S the eventual problem with easy cyber-paying of any kind. But gotta get those whitewalls on the iPhone4.

  3. You might be qualified for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.


    Get professional trading signals delivered to your cell phone daily.

    Start following our signals NOW and gain up to 270% a day.


About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America