12 April 2022

April 12 - Note automation with RocketBook and Devonthink

Play0:00-0:0011 min

I produce a lot of notes 

  • many of them are handwritten 
  • this since it is fast and easy to do 
  • it is slow and my thinking can keep up

There are multiple problems with handwritten notes 

  • They have a tendency to be in the notebook at home when you are not there
  • They easily get out of order and can't be sorted
  • They cant be searched when you need to find something specific

I have tried to use digital notes - e.g. writing in an app that I then can store in a repository or a file vault. It works for a few days and then I find my self with a pen in hand again. Inconsistency being a huge problem. 

As the tech geek I am - I bought the Remarkable2 - an e-ink device that you can write on. A special surface giving you a paper like feeling. I have a few problems with it.

  • The paper feeling is not really paper feeling. 
  • It is black and white only
  • It doesn't integrate well enough with other applications and notes get stuck in the device. 
  • The battery have a tendency to be out when you need to write. 
  • Not compatible with my fountainpens and my favourite green ink from pilot. 

I have tried a lot of tools and lately I have gotten a workflow with RocketBooks and DevonThing to work well. 

RocketBook is the old - half-tech - notebook that you write on with normal pilot friXion pens. You then take a photo of the page and you can upload an OCR:ed pdf to a location of your choice. Then you can wipe the page clean with a moist cloth and reuse the page again. 

In my workflow the pdf lands in an inbox in dropbox. Here I can tag them with special topic tags and when a specific "clarified" tags are added - keyboard maestro picks the file up and drops it into DevonThink. Keyboard Maestro is a tool I bought for it's multiple clipboards but has become one of my automation tools of choice. DevonThink is a document database where you can search and organise reference documentation. 

Did I say that I have programmed buttons on my Stream Deck to tag and untag files? I did. This means I can quickly process and work through my inbox and move things into DevonThink with quick buttons on my Stream Deck. Once the files hit's DevonThink there are rules created to take files tagged in a specific file and move them to the correct space in the document hierarchy. 

I finally found a workflow that brings my handwritten notes into a searchable format in my computer to be portable and come with me where ever I am. And I am super happy with it. 

There are however improvements to it. Right now I'm tied down to rocket books. I would like to expand this to be more general. To work with my remarkable and other non RocketBook notebooks. I have been doing some experimentation and I hope I will be able to update you with additions to this workflow in a bit. 

I hope you...