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Digital Moleskine Concept

Lately, I've been spending more time carrying around and capturing ideas in my pocket Moleskine gridded idea book.

One idea captured in the idea book in February 2004 was that of a digital Moleskine-like pocket notebook, inspired by an email exchange with artist Witold Riedel. You can see the sketch below (click for the larger version):

The idea was to have a high resolution display and input area, combined with wireless (WiFi and Bluetooth) and wired high speed access. Witold's idea was to have the digital Moleskine generate an RSS feed of sketches, to be shared with other device owners and folks on the net. This way you could check for new sketches and then click to view them on your digital Moleskine.

Not only would it operate as a digital sketchbook, with overlays to simulate paper textures, gridlines and rules and so forth, but it would also be a viewer, showing your RSS subscriptions to other digital Moleskine devices out on the net.

It would also have USB and Firewire ports for input and output, a VGA out port for display of sketches on screens and overhead projectors, and an SD slot (or two) for storage of sketches. I imagine flash memory would be most sensible for a device like this, for both size and durability.

After sketching the idea, I thought it might be nice to make the input/view screen a two-page spread rather than a single page. Hey, I'm dreaming here, why not? :-)

It would need to be sturdy, so I imagine high resolution "digital paper" would be best for the screen/writing surface.

Anyway, it's a wild idea which will likely be realized when my son is my age, but you never know. I figure by putting the idea out there now, it might happen and maybe I'll get some royalties to put my him through college. :-)

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Reader Comments (9)

Patent it now, Mike. I love it!

(And we use the same moleskine!)
December 22, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Brad, hey, once I find a source to manufacture this thing, you are first on the list for a beta! :-)
December 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
This is called a PDA ... in fact, I got most of those features (minus the VGA Port and the RSS) in my 4-year-old Sharp Zaurus 5500G ( )
December 26, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMartin
Great concept man! I hope to see you send me a prototype in 6 months when you get out of R & D. Cheers!
December 26, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Schutzsmith
Martin: well, it's sort of a PDA except for the ultra-high res recogition screen. If you'eve ever tried really drawing on any PDA, you'll see that it's pretty rough still, at least on production models. Even the Newton was limited in this regard.

So maybe it's a bit better on a Tablet PC, but I'm thinking here of a resolution that equals pen and paper and at the size of a pocket Moleskine. Maybe that's been done in a lab, but nowhere in production.

Reason for this is that any truly portable PDA is not able to capture nuances of drawing and writing in the same way pen or pencil and paper can, that I am aware of. I would like to see this level of recogition on a portable device, but I suspect it may be a few years off.

Anyway, this is just a wild idea I wanted to share. :-)

Daniel: thanks for the note! You are on the prototype list. Looks like this post got Digged somehow, so I imagine it's interesting to others out there. Cool.
December 26, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Very nice post! In the big picture, it's quite similar to some ideas I've been thinking about for a long time with respect to handheld electronic notepad functionality in pdas and smartphones. But you've got some great new ideas here that are pretty exciting to think about.

More thoughts can be found here in a new post I've added here at Mobileread...
December 28, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBobR
Yup, I know this will bring flames, but... we used to do this with our Newtons. In fact, the first (classic) - sketch, share, archive - all in a notes area that worked like pages of a book.Gia, Inc (was in Oregon, don't know what they are up to now) took it a step further with a true 'book' look and feel.
December 29, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGar
I have been thinking about a daily digital notebook like this for a while. I invision something you could comfortably carry around all day in your pocket and when the mood strikes you could pull it out and sketch an idea or jot down anything information you might want for later. The information would save under the date you wrote it in, so say 3 months down the line when you remember jotting down Steve's work number, you could use the search feature by writing in "steve's work", and with the handwriting recognition it would pull up what you jotted down. I realize that this could be viewed as a PDA, but if you are like me, I always carry around my moleskine, and I jot down the most random crap, not exactly things that are to be easily organized or categorized in a planner. I also greatly enjoy doodling and sketching, also not something easily performed on a pda. Basically a very simple version of a PDA, no extra programs, just a lot of memory, a good handwritiing recognition software and a stylus. What do you think?

May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
Danny, check out this post by Michael Mace:

He suggests a similar idea to you.
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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