If you’ve been reading my articles on Rocks Digital, then you know I’m a technophile. But now and then, I have a situation where technology might not be the best solution. Sometimes when you meet with clients or potential clients, it’s still not acceptable to be taking notes on an electronic device, and that’s where the Rocketbook comes into play.
The Rocketbook looks like a regular spiral notebook made for writing and sketching, but there’s a big difference. Notes or sketches are recorded electronically to create a digital document, a PDF file. Note that these PDFs render as images, and not as text that you can cut-and-paste.
There are actually two versions of Rocketbook. At first glance, they look like standard notebooks with a dot grid pattern. The cool thing about the dot grid pattern is that it makes it easy to take notes, draw or make graphs/charts.
For both versions, you’ll want to use Pilot Frixion pens. I’ll get into the reason for that more in a minute, but the Frixion pens come in a variety of colors and are pretty easy to find.
Now, here’s where the tech comes into play. Each Rocketbook page has a thick black border with a QR code and 7 symbols in circles at the bottom of the page. You can download the free app on both Android and iPhone platforms (and you’ll need the app to take advantage of the features of the Rocketbook).
The seven symbols at the bottom of each page are the key to sending your analog notes into the cloud. You assign each symbol to a destination of your choice, Evernote, OneNote, your email address, or any folder inside Dropbox or Google Docs. When you mark that symbol on your page, the Rocketbook app will automatically file your notes in the right place.
Version 1: The Rocketbook Wave
The first version was the Rocketbook Wave. The Wave is designed (once you’ve used all the pages) to be put into a microwave oven with a mug of water on the cover and zapped for a couple of minutes; let it cool a bit and *voilà!* your notebook is blank and ready to be reused. (Be sure to scan in all of your notes before you erase your notebook.)
For this to work, you will need to use the previously mentioned Pilot Frixion pens because they have thermochromic ink which becomes clear when heated (so, if you don’t have a microwave but DO have a hairdryer, you could still erase the book using the heat). And the pens will write fine over any residual “ghosting” but the scanning process won’t pick up the ghost text.
Version 2: The Everlast Notebook
The second version is the Everlast Notebook. Similar to the Wave, you’ll want to use Pilot Frixion pens. You can still scan your pages to the cloud BUT, you don’t microwave it, you simply wipe the page with a damp cloth. The Everlast pages are not glossy like a whiteboard, they are a synthetic polyester blend that feels like notebook paper with a smooth finish. The Frixion pen ink will NOT wipe off with a dry cloth.
They do offer a “test drive” and you can print the pages with the code and symbols and download the app to try it. I have the Rocketbook Wave (both sizes) and my Everlasts should be here in a couple of weeks (ordered through Kickstarter).
The Rocketbook Wave will last about 10 microwavings. The Everlast will last, well, indefinitely (although, you may want to scan & then erase the book every couple of months to alleviate the chance of ghost images on the page).
Competing Notes & Sketch Technology from Other Makers
There are a couple of similar systems on the market. Moleskine has a Smart Writing Set and Wacom offers the Bamboo Slate. But both of those options are more high tech and come with higher price tags. (Both over $100 while the Rocketbooks are about $30 each.)
As you can tell, I am a big fan of Rocketbook and I think you will be too! (None of these links are affiliate links btw. I just like to share about the products that make my life and work easier.)
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