Author: FIGBERT <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 11:29:19 -0800
Add "Quite the reMarkable Device"
1 file changed, 138 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
diff --git a/content/posts/remarkable-tablet.md b/content/posts/remarkable-tablet.md
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+title = "Quite the reMarkable Device"
+description = "Lately, there’s been renewed interest in clean, simple technology built to help us focus. Protocols like Gemini strip away the chaos of the web. Hardware hackers fit screens in mirrors and build beautiful minimalist displays to read the news, display data neatly in a picture frame, or provide a daily summary. Hidden amongst these many awesome projects is the reMarkable 2."
+date = 2021-01-22
+Lately, there's been renewed interest in clean, simple technology
+built to help us focus. Protocols like [Gemini][gemini] strip away
+the chaos of the web. Hardware hackers fit screens in
+[mirrors][mirror] and build beautiful minimalist displays to
+[read the news][newspaper], display data neatly in a [picture
+frame][frame], or provide a [daily summary][dashboard]. Hidden amongst
+these many awesome projects is the [reMarkable 2][tablet].
+<!-- more -->
+I've been using the reMarkable for the past month or so and it is a
+seriously solid device. I use it mainly to take notes, at which it
+excels. The e-ink display is the best I have ever seen, barely ever
+refreshing the entire screen and almost entirely without the temporary
+artifacts that plague similar devices. The pencil is comfortable to
+use – slightly fuzzy – and, interestingly, entirely passive: it never
+needs to charge. Given that it's meant to replace your paper, it
+shouldn't be too surprising that the tablet's also incredibly thin.
+In one of my classes, I'm required to take Cornell notes. On what may
+be a related note, it's a terrible class. Regardless, I need to get an
+A and so notes I shall take. The reMarkable comes with a built-in
+Cornell notes template. It's slightly different than the format I'm
+used to, but it fits the bill well enough.
+It's hard to describe the experience of using the device. I would
+say that it feels shockingly natural. Using it to take notes feels
+like writing on a clipboard with none of the usual annoyances – the
+paper sliding, having finite pages; and all the benefits of a digital
+device – sending files via email, OCR, a select-and-drag tool, etc.
+It's convenient, feels nice, and performs well. Most importantly, it
+makes me *excited* to use it every time I turn it on.
+In another class, the instructor distributes worksheets every once in
+a while to complete during class. Now that we're in distance learning
+due to COVID, these are `pdf`s – perfect for use with the reMarkable.
+I download them onto my laptop, upload them through the app, and
+voila. Look Mom, no scratch paper! I can write directly on the
+worksheet. I've only started doing it this week, and it's amazing.
+Sure, there are programs on the computer that allow you to write
+on a `pdf`, but doing math with a trackpad sounds like torture. With
+the reMarkable, it's enjoyable.
+That's the device's biggest impact. I used to hate writing by hand.
+I would beg my teachers to let me type assignments so I didn't have
+to use a pencil – what am I, a caveman? Now, my paper has superpowers.
+It's also a suprisingly good reading device, with native support for
+`epub`s and `pdf`s. It doesn't have a backlight, but to be fair
+neither do actual books so I'm not too bothered. The default font size
+is quite large, and the UI is really minimal which makes for peaceful,
+undistracted reading. I own two Kindles already, but I've taken to
+using the reMarkable instead for a number of reasons:
+1. There's no ads or tracking. On Kindle there's an ad on the bottom
+of the homescreen, which expands to the whole screen when you turn it
+off – plus it sends every move you make to live forever with Big Papa
+Bezos. Not so with the reMarkable.
+2. The screen on the reMarkable is physically larger. Though sometimes
+the compact size of my Kindle comes in handy, like when traveling,
+having a nice big display is definitely an advantage. My Kindle is
+closer to a large phone, and the reMarkable is definitely a tablet.
+3. The reMarkable is a fairly open device. The Kindle, on the other
+hand, is locked down and dripping with DRM (fairly easy to break but
+still an encumberance).
+The developers have also made a browser extension for Chromium-based
+browsers called [Read on reMarkable][rorm], which I would love to see
+the insides of but is unfortunately closed-source. Basically, it takes
+any webpage, turns it into an `epub`, and sends it off to your device.
+I love it and use it near constantly: whenever I run into anything on
+HN that is either really long, or I just want to save for later, I
+hit a button and it sends it to the tablet. Again, just incredibly
+This section is titled "jailbreak," which is actually a bit of
+misnomer because the reMarkable runs Linux and you can `ssh` into it
+with ease. It's also not too fitting because I'm not just going to
+talk about modifying the device, but also about official accessories.
+My device came with a [Book Folio][folio] and [Marker][marker] in the
+box, which is pretty good value. I did find out while writing this
+that they offer a "Marker Plus" that comes with a built-in eraser. It
+is, unfortunately, out of stock currently but I plan on buying it once
+it returns in "January 2021," so supposedly sometime in the next week
+Ok now time for the jailbreak-y stuff. There's an active community on
+Freenode, an unofficial [wiki][wiki], and an [Awesome list][awesome].
+All of these are really great resources for cool stuff you can do with
+your device, and I'm planning to begin experimenting with them in the
+coming weeks. My first goal is to get [KOReader][reader] running so I
+can sync my extensive Calibre library to the device. I'm going to
+avoid adding any [games][games] so as not to add additional complexity
+to a device that aims to remove distractions, and proceed slowly so I
+don't brick my fancy new toy. Stick around to see how that goes.
+The recently published fairly viral [Ditherpunk article][dither]
+by [Surma][surma] gives a really interesting overview of image
+dithering. After reading the article, I noticed that the reMarkable
+itself uses dithering to "fade off" your writing and make it look
+like pencil. Neat.
+Also, comparing the reMarkable to the Kindle makes me want to
+jailbreak that too – I'll find some time to look into that soon.