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May 24 10 2:42 PM

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Hello,

I'm a recent University Grad (HBA Philosophy Major) looking to continue my studies and get an Masters and a Doctorate.  I work with troubled youths, to pay my way until I am done school, and have a fledgling web design business on the side.  I'm a geek, and lover of most things 'geeky'.

I too purchased my Modbook when I discovered the limitations of the iPad, though I'll likely pick one of those up too when they finally arrive in the great white north...

I purchased a black 2.4 gHz Macbook, used, to have converted by Carbon Computing in Toronto.  The rep there was stellar and their service and communication was excellent.  I had a new bottom case put on the modbook, a new Seagate 500 gig 7200rpm HDD, and 6 gigs of RAM.  I went for the conversion kit with the GPS unit.  I was disappointed to find that no matter where I looked I couldn't track down the Axiotron studio stylus...

So far my experience with the modbook has been quite good.  I have experienced various issues, mostly with a little bit of the dreaded 'jumping cursor' which is totally annoying... but luckily very infrequent and is usually solved through a cold reboot.  The other issue I have noted is with the metal bezel (top casing) that Axioron uses that seems to be overly conductive.  If I am touching the bezel with my bare arm or hand it (rarely) interferes with the pen input, jumping the cursor to the side of the screen opposite to where I am touching.  I've thought about having it painted with rubbery black paint to match the back, but not sure if that would help.  I have also had an issue at startup, where the indicator lights beside the power button flash continually during and after startup.  This does not appear to effect functionality in any way however.

I carry the Modbook in an encase neoprene sleeve, and have use the top half of a hardshell Macbook cover with the tabs trimmed off to protect the glass screen, inside the encase.  I bought a Cricket laptop stand which is phenomenal- the tripod design is very stable -even on my mattress when I'm watching a movie in bed- and the stand is heavy duty.

I've use the Modbook a lot- for drawing, writing, note taking, and reading for school, reading comic books, as well as using as a portable media station.  So far it is working well on all counts.  I love programs that operate full screen on this thing- it's just so clean!

I have found some software really helpful that I thought I'd point out for everyone: 

Axiotron Quickscripts
The Axiotron Quickscript software is unbelievable.  I have illegible handwritting, and it is nearly 100% accurate recognizing it.  I find every other hand writing recognition program completely unusable, and Quickscript is a dream.  If you haven't tried it you owe it to yourself to do so.  The one problem I've found with it is that there are some context boxes that it will not send to- so you can't quite ditch quickclicks yet.  Position the window at least an inch away from the bottom of the screen for better results.

1Password
I hate having to constantly peck out log-in info with the pen.  Will fill out identity info, credit card info, and passwords/log-ins with one click, securely.

Dock Gone
Screen real-estate is an issue on the Modbook, and hiding the dock helps a lot!  Plus, no dock jumping out under your pen when you are close to the edges of the screen.  Set it in the pen menu and map the top button to the menu, or click the menu bar icon twice to activate/deactivate.  I won't have a Mac without this on it if I can help it.

SizeUp
Map the top button on the stylus to the pop-up menu and add the keyboard shortcuts from SizeUp so that you can resize windows to fullscreen, left-half, right-half, top-half, bottom-half, and center.  You have to map the stylus button and menu first... if you already have it mapped in SizeUp you won't be able to enter it in the pen settings...  So I mapped the button first and then went into SizeUp and set the keystrokes.

Divvy
Similar to SizeUp: a little bulkier but more versitile.  I run both, and use Sizeup mostly.  I think you could use Divvy to do everything SizeUp can do, but not certain- need to play with it more.

Synergy
I have a Macbook (identical to the mac I used for the Modbook) and I often have them side by side with the Modbook sitting on my Cricket Laptop Stand (which every Modbook owner should have- it's perfect).  I run synergy on both machines so that I can control the Modbook with my Macbook keyboard and track-pad.  Even shares the clipboard (text only).  It's completely seamless, though I'd suggest connecting via cable rather than wireless.  If you use wireless networking, get a 2-3' Ethernet cable ($5.00?) and connecting the two machines just for this.  If you use wired networking it *should* work well out of the gate.

Screen Recycler / Jolly Fast VNC
Sometimes it is helpful to use the Modbook as a second screen for the Macbook (like for web design), or the Macbook as a second screen for the Modbook (for doing graphic design- but this is a little trickier to set up due to the pen input).  These two programs work well together for these purposes.  However, I would suggest a dedicated connection via Ethernet cable from one mac to the other, otherwise the refresh is just too slow.  Turn compression and degradation off in Screen Recycler.  Best for things that don't need a quick refresh.

Dockables
Great little scripts as apps that you can drop on your dock.  I have the sleep display one on my dock and it seems to help keep things cool.

Fan Control
Crank up the fan speed all the way to keep that thing cool! (there is only one fan in a regular  macbook- don't panic when you see [ 0 RPM ] for the second fan.  There isn't one.

iAlertU
Set a 'car alarm' on your Modbook.  Sets off a Siren if the modbook is moved when armed.  Will sent location and photos from the camera via email.  (Don't leave your modbook unattended! I do use this in conjunction with a cable lock at my local coffee shop when I have ot go to the counter for a refill.)

Awaken
Turn your Modbook into a full screen digital alarm clock.  Works great with the Cricket stand.  Wake up to an iTunes playlist!

Caffeine
Stop your display from dimming while activated, sits in the menu bar.  I get why you would want to have the screen dim, but I like the toggle control.

Nocturne
I use the Modbook to read in bed.  This app turns things white on black which makes it WAY easier on the eye-balls when reading a pdf in the dark, and your significant other will feel less like a prison inmate (I used to live beside a medium security prison: it never got dark!)

Times
Great newsreader that formats a newspaper out of your feeds.  Feels perfect with the Modbook.

Skype, with a bluetooth headset.
There is some issue with the mic cue to fan placement on the Modbook, but Skype works great -video and all- just get a decent cell phone headset.  I recommend BlueAnt.  They are the best I've used.  I'm told Jawbone is good too, but I suspect my facial hair would cause issues with their contact-technology.

Plex
-->make sure you either have remote, or enable the mouse, or have a keyboard of some sort attached before you enter fullscreen mode!<--

I have been using my Modbook as a mobile media station, and am a long time user of XBMC.  Plex get the crossover from the original xbox platform exactly right, imho.  It's also gorgeous, and a big hit when I want to show off the modbook.  The one issue is with remote input, is the IR reciever is ill placed, at the bottom of the modbook, for this purpose.

You can use the pen (enable mouse in settings) but if you have an iTouch or iPhone, check out...

Air Mouse
allows you to use the iTouch or iPhone (or iPad?) as a mouse and keyboard for OS X, and works extremely well for Plex, as well as iTunes etc.

Candybar
Set all your icons to look like iPhone icons!  Purdy!  Look for 'Flurry' sets at the Icon Factory (gratis).

Cursorcerer
Hides the cursor, sometimes.  This does not quite work perfectly, but it's all I can find for the task.  What I want ultimately is a menu bar icon that I can click once to turn the cursor off altogether and once again to turn it back on.  Haven't found that yet though.

ComicBookLover
Rotation, full-screen, and beautiful.  iTunes for comic books.  Make sure you turn on the OSD in the settings for full screen or you'll get stuck!

Skim and Skimflip
Discussed already on the site.  Excellent setup.  I also use Adobe Acrobat (the full version) which offers rotation of the document for landscape viewing as well.

Hear
The audio is a little wanting on the Modbook, as the Macbook.  Hear allows you to tweak your audio output ad nauseum.  Subtle adjustments work best though.

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ericn

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Posts: 284

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May 24 10 5:51 PM

Hi Dylan,

Hey, we are both recent University grads (me: Math). I'm hoping to get into teacher school next year.

From your post:

I carry the Modbook in an encase neoprene sleeve, and have use the top half of a hardshell Macbook cover with the tabs trimmed off to protect the glass screen, inside the encase.  I bought a Cricket laptop stand which is phenomenal- the tripod design is very stable -even on my mattress when I'm watching a movie in bed- and the stand is heavy duty.


Yes, the Cricket is cool. However, I've never made any special effort to protect the screen (aside from not allowing metal objects in the laptop compartment of my bag, and, after two years, no scratches (knock on wood).

1Password

I hate having to constantly peck out log-in info with the pen.  Will fill out identity info, credit card info, and passwords/log-ins with one click, securely.


I've always used Notational Velocity in encrypted mode for this purpose. It is not quite as quick, but I get to include an assortment of set up notes, in addition to passwords etc., that I would otherwise forget.

Awaken

Turn your Modbook into a full screen digital alarm clock.  Works great with the Cricket stand.  Wake up to an iTunes playlist!


Yes, I have Awaken do system maintenance, backups etc., right after it wakes me up.

Times

Great newsreader that formats a newspaper out of your feeds.  Feels perfect with the Modbook.


Grrr! Times has a great idea at its root, and I agree it is a perfect fit with the Modbook, but ... The 'posts' feed from this site does not work on Times (works fine on other news readers), there are a number of other things that don't seem to work, and my polite e-mail requests for assistance were ignored.

Air Mouse

allows you to use the iTouch or iPhone (or iPad?) as a mouse and keyboard for OS X, and works extremely well for Plex, as well as iTunes etc.


Remote Buddy and Mira are powerful alternatives.

Skim and Skimflip

Discussed already on the site.  Excellent setup.


Thank you. I'm a touch proud of SkimFlip.

Perhaps I should start a general discussion topic on note taking as I'm curious what others use. 

I use inkBook from which I print to PDF and then use ink Book's text recognition and an AppleScript to annotate the PDF. It is quite cumbersome, but produces notes that I can share with others and that are searchable.

EricN

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#4 [url]

May 25 10 12:09 PM

Hey EricN and d3c3pt1on, thanks for the replies!

I think Cinch might replace SizeUp for me.  Between Divvy and Cinch I think I get everything I need.  Thanks!

Re screen protection:
My concern is more impact than scratches.  I carry my gear in a backpack and I am pretty rough with it.  Better safe than sorry, and for $20... I'd still recommend it.

Nice call on Awaken- I hadn't even looked into other functionality.  Sweet!

Sorry about your issues with Times.  I use it to keep me apprised of new torrents from all over the place and new posts on NNTP through Easynews, but I have to fish it through a third party website to get the feed.  It scrapes the info from non-rss web pages and creates an rss for you.  Other than that I just keep track of national/provincial/regional/local news, which is pretty standard.  I just like the app because it feels like reaing a newspaper.

Mira looks cool, I am going to check that out more.  I like that it has Plex in mind.  I do like Air Mouse because I always have my iphone at hand, and it does pretty much all I need it to do.

I think I may have found a solution for my cursor needs.  I really don't know why I would need a cusror at all, with the pen.  There is an app called Mighty Mouse by Unsanity that might work if I can make invisible cursors... but they have yet to update it for OS 10.6 ...Grr indeed.

As for notes, couldn't you just use Quickscripts and Pages or Word?  I need to nail this aspect down a bit more, as I am going to need it soon for my MA...

Great to have someplace to go to discuss this stuff.  Thanks!





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ericn

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Posts: 284

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May 27 10 10:34 AM


From Dylan's (quintessentialpisces) post:

As for notes, couldn't you just use Quickscripts and Pages or Word?  I need to nail this aspect down a bit more, as I am going to need it soon for my MA...

In the sciences and mathematics, notes consist of equal parts text, figures, and mathematical notation. While Tex, Office, or Open Office are fine for composing and formatting formulas and figures for a paper, they are way too cumbersome for note taking and casual communication, and, unless one is some kind of Tex ninja, both Quickscript and keyboards are strictly for text entry.

Hence I need to fluidly create text, figures, and mathematical notation as if on a piece of paper or a blackboard. It should also be in generally available format so that notes can be shared, and, most importantly, the notes must be searchable or they are no better than the piles of paper notes now filling my shelves. 

EricN

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