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Portables Education Handhelds Hardware

Note Taking Devices for Students? 144

Posted by Cliff
from the save-the-trees dept.
Gavin Scott asks: "I'm looking for solutions for a college student who needs an inexpensive mechanism for note taking in class. She suffers from a condition that makes writing notes out by hand slow and painful. One of the small sexy sub-notebook computers would be ideal, but at $1,500-$2,500 these are completely out of reach budget-wise. She has a perfectly good desktop system at home, so something that simply allowed typing in notes that could then be transferred to the PC would be ideal. I've considered things like a Palm-type device with an external keyboard, but I'm interested in knowing what other options people might suggest. Or any opinions on what kind of lightweight almost-laptop devices are good in, say, the sub-$500 range?"
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Note Taking Devices for Students?

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  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:24PM (#10027729) Homepage Journal
    Universities usually have an office for dealing with disabilities like what you mention. They can help with special arrangements if needed. I know this isn't what you wanted, but if note-taking is slow and painful, imagine what taking an exam would be like. :/

    As for hardware, I would recommend a laptop. They'd be of much greater use than a PDA would (from experience).
    • by SlashChick (544252) <ericaNO@SPAMerica.biz> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:27PM (#10027765) Homepage Journal
      Signed, Your Boss

      (Yes, I really am his boss! Note to Slashdotters: Don't send a link to your f1rstp0zt on Slashdot to your boss during your working hours. :D )
      • I'd go one step further- NEVER send a link to SLASHDOT to your BOSS at all- if you see a topic that would interest him/her, drill down and send them a copy of the original article.
        • by shufler (262955)
          That's a good piece of advice. There's no sense in wasting all that appearence of net-savvy or apparent in-depth knowledge of the industry.

          Seriously.

          Oh wait, links from slashdot? Nevermind.
          • That's a good piece of advice. There's no sense in wasting all that appearence of net-savvy or apparent in-depth knowledge of the industry.

            Especially given the fact that anybody with an arts degree (especially a Master's of Business ARTS degree) couldn't possibly understand anyway.
        • I wouldn't go quite that far. However if I read slashdot at work and saw something I thought the boss would be interested in I'd make sure to send the URL to my home account, then at home I'd write an email back (not a forward, a clean email) with that URL. That way it obviously comes from my home account after hours. Looks good to the boss - I'm thinking about work on my time, instead of reading slashdot at work.

          I have no interest in my boss knowing my slashdot id. True I have more friends than foe

        • by Kalak (260968)
          I'm on the flip side. Send links to /. to your boss to show that good, useful, and work related information can come as a result of reading /. It's called research, keeping up with technological trends, and a ton of other more management friendly phrases. I /. at work, but I do it with work in mind, so it is work (and I do it at home as well, so I wind up working after hours by doing the same thing, such as right now). I can say (with good reason) that the article on Simulating Network Latency [slashdot.org] is *very*
      • by menscher (597856) <menscher+slashdotNO@SPAMuiuc.edu> on Friday August 20, 2004 @07:18PM (#10028722) Homepage Journal
        More importantly, make sure you know your Boss' Slashdot username. Had an occasion about 9 months ago where my boss submitted an "Ask Slashdot". I posted a rant about how it was the most utterly moronic question ever asked, etc. As you might guess, that didn't go over so well. ;)
      • Do you not find it ironic that you're lambasting your employee for reading slashdot via a posting on slashdot?

        Apparantly, you "lead by example"...

      • You have a higher userid then him though, and yet you run him. How oh How did this evil come to pass? :-P
    • Get a Dana from AlphaSmart. It's just a laptop that runs PalmOS. Full keyboard so you don't have to use the stylus to take notes, although it may still be necessary to use a stylus as a mouse.

      Still, I think getting a laptop is best. Especially if you'll be taking courses that involve lots of math, you'll want to have a program that allows you to type equations easily (such as Mathematica).
    • I'd agree with parent.
      It's a lot easier to take notes on a laptop, especially since it is easier to structure the notes in a word processor than in, say, Palm Vx-notepad. Get on of those with a full-sized keyboard if she needs to take notes involving many numbers. ... Though, that would usually bust the economical frame you mentioned.

      In general, it's nice to have a laptop. If she buys a used laptop and a laptop-specific webcam, she can even take pictures to add to her notes, in case there's illustrations s
    • Agreed!

      I had a friend who had difficulty taking notes. The office arranged for notes to be taken by another student in the class and then copies were made at the office for the disabled student.

      They handled it very discretely and the other student's in the class weren't even aware of the problem. The note taker didn't even know who they were taking notes for.

      Extra arrangements were also made for exams though I don't know the specifics.

  • Dictaphone (Score:2, Informative)

    by lizardloop (721368)
    Might not be entirely ideal but it's a fairly quick way of making notes and they aren't massively expensive.
  • by applegoddess (768530) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:30PM (#10027792) Homepage
    Texas Instruments makes a keyboard compatible with some of their (older) graphing calculators. With their NoteFolio program it cant be too hard to take notes in class with a graphing calculator like the TI-89 and the keyboard. http://education.ti.com/us/product/accessory/keybo ard/features/features.html [ti.com]
    • Yeesh. What can't those things do?

      I wasted most of high school geometry making video poker and video blackjack programs on mine. Who knew I could do something useful with it?
      • We are approaching off-topicness, but I have an HP calculator (HP-48GX) from which I have surfed the net (yes, Slashdot worked), checked my e-mail, played ADVENT and Nethack via the serial port, and taken notes in class. It is possible to get software to remap the keyboard to be qwerty-like and to rotate the screen, to aid in note-taking. Not only is it cheaper (~$100 now) but it can also do a lot more than many other calculators. Back on topic, I also new a guy with the same writing problem, and he was
  • How about a small voice recorder and a digital camera ? Less than $500 and very effective.
    • Thats an excellent idea, but recording the voice and picture of the lecturer requires permission, which isn't always easy to get, not to mention a flash during a lecture would be very irritating for everyone. (My History Prof specifically banned anyone from recording his lectures in a class announcemnt, although I don't know if he would have made an exception in the submitter's case.)
    • Good idea although why not just buy a video camera? Then she can take it back to her room, and FF through the lecture. Sure, it's a little more expensive, but it's only one thing to worry about

      Heck, if she could set up the camera, she wouldn't even need to go to class. (unless the teacher required active participation)

  • Laptop... Ebay...
  • by ElForesto (763160) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {otserofle}> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:33PM (#10027824) Homepage
    Dell sells a lot of stuff on eBay. Most of it consists of refurbs and returned leases. Probably pretty good for saving a load on a lightweight laptop. http://stores.ebay.com/Dell-Financial-Services [ebay.com]
  • by Gangis (310282) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:34PM (#10027828) Journal
    Assuming you're in the US, each state has a Voc Rehab department which provides funding for the disabled going to college. They pay for the entire tuition for me, and my books as well. Sounds like she has a fully qualifying disablity, so VR should be able to buy her a laptop. They did buy me one too, and it was $1800. Just find a VR office in your area and arrange a meeting with the counselor. Also bring proof (doctor's note, records, etc.) of the disability.
    • Must be nice to suck off the Public Teat. Gee, I was broke in college, but healthy and worked my ass off shovelling snow and mowing lawns. I guess I don't qualify for anything - I have the privilege of strength, but you have the right of weakness, eh?
  • by daviddennis (10926) * <david@amazing.com> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:35PM (#10027837) Homepage
    It's durable and has a full keyboard. You should be able to pick up one of the year or so old G3 models for about $500. For that price, expect a 700-odd mhz snow (white) model. Those have 1024x768 displays. The older color, toilet-seat style models have 800x600 displays and because of that I wouldn't recommend them.

    When I advertised on Craigslist (LA) [craigslist.org] for an Apple laptop, I got a PowerBook G4 (original model) for $600. However, for a student the iBook might be better because it's closer to being indestructible.

    If you don't like Apple, any used laptop would probably do better than a PDA, even with a keyboard attachment. I used a color palm with the keyboard attachment for a while, and I found that the keyboard folded up on me whenever I tried to type! She would have similar problems, especially considering her health situation.

    For a non-Apple laptop, the best quality is probably an IBM ThinkPad. Older ones are dirt cheap, and they will still run reliably and connect up to the mother ship to send back the notes.

    If she wants something fuss-free, though, I really don't think you can beat an iBook.

    Hope that helps.

    D
  • by I_Love_Pocky! (751171) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:35PM (#10027847)
    Affixing Bionic Arms.

    Perhaps you could try to get her into some kind of pilot program so that it doesn't cost her anything. Then not only will she be able to take notes, perhaps with her new super-human strength she could fight crime on the side.

    Seriously though, I think the palm idea is a good one. A notebook is a lot to lug around, and the head aches involved with an out of date one (the kind you will get for sub $500) may not be worth it. I picked up my last laptop ($350) for this very purpose, and the stinking hard drive crashed on me in the first month. Laptop components take a lot more abuse than desktop computers, so it is worthwhile to consider the wear and tear a used laptop has already endured.

    A palm (or other pda) on the other hand doesn't have any moving parts, so they are a lot harder to break.
  • eMate (Score:5, Informative)

    by bandy (99800) <andrew.beals+slashdot@gmail.com> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:36PM (#10027853) Homepage Journal
    The eMate is probably the exactly right thing for her. It will sync with a PC or a Mac [even still] and it is easy on batteries. It will need its hinge problem fixed, but there are plenty of people on the net in the USA/Canada and Europe who know how to do that.

    • Sub-$500
    • Quiet
    • Bulletproof [once the hinge cable is fixed!]
    • Easy on the batteries
    • Can draw sketches as well as type
    NewtonTalk email list [newtontalk.net]
  • by jgaynor (205453) <jonNO@SPAMgaynor.org> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:38PM (#10027873) Homepage
    The now End-Of-Life apple Emate would be PERFECT for what youre talking about. It was basically an Apple newton in a small laptop form factor. If I remember correctly Apple marketted them to schoolkids for this exact purpose. Here's a nice synopsis [everymac.com] at everymac.

    It can at least sync back to a mac, getting it to sync back to a PC shouldnt be a problem. They're SUPER cheap [ebay.com] on ebay.
  • Get an iPod [apple.com] and the Belkin iPod Voice Recorder [apple.com]. No muss, no fuss, complete transcript of the class under 400 dollars.
    • Hopefully she isn't taking any classes that have figures or things written on the board, or she would be screwed.

      I had one or two classes like that in college, but the vast majority used some combination of white/blackboard, overheads, and powerpoint.

      I'd say no go on the voice recorders.

      On the other hand, I have also had similar problems taking notes with laptops in the past. It can be rather hard to takes notes in a math class using a keyboard. I did have some success using a windows ce pda to take
    • Or you could buy an MP3 player with a voice recorder built in, such as the Neuros or one of the iRiver players. They'll be MUCH cheaper, and have better battery life, so you can probably get one of the bigger (HDD wise) models and store 50 million hours of lecturing...

      As is mentioned elsewhere in the discussion, though, many profs won't like you recording them, you'll need to ask.
  • If she's a Windows User, I'd recomend an IPAQ with the $50 thumbboard upgrade (the H2200 series is what I use- total cost $350 retail, but you can probably find it in the $250 range online). If she's a Linux or Mac user, then PalmOS is your better bet, and I believe Handspring makes a Visor with thumbboard for under $400.
  • by Arkham (10779)
    If price is an issue, what about one of these:

    Apple eMate 300 [bott.org]

    I have one in the closet, and they work pretty well. You can buy them on eBay for about $60 or so, and they have a touch screen, a full keyboard, and 12+ hour battery life.

    I have heard of people getting them working with modems and ethernet, but I have not tried it myself. It has a PCMCIA slot though, so it's certainly feasible.
  • Disability Program (Score:5, Informative)

    by ewithrow (409712) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:44PM (#10027929) Homepage
    At my university if there is a student that may be unable to take notes for a class due to a disability then all he/she needs to do is inform the dean of students. They get in contact with the professor and the prof makes an announcement in class that they are looking for someone with good hand writing to take detailed notes. They make copies of the notes for the person with the disability and pay the note taker a small fee for their extra work. You may want to check to see if your college provides this, it beats spending hundreds or thousands on some piece of equipment.
    • I really hate saying this (because who am I, a lowly slashbot to influence the mods?) but mod this sucker up. Your student would definitely benefit from somebody taking notes - she would be able to focus solely on the lectures, then read the notes which were taken from a different perspective. Seems perfect to me!
  • Okay, this may not be very practical, but I thought I'd suggest it anyway:

    PocketPC with a voice recorder. I dunno if she can get away with talking, but I figured it's at least a unique answer. When I did system testing a year ago, I found it was quicker just to have my PocketPC nearby, press the record button like a walkie-talkie and record my notes. Then I'd get back to my PC, listen to each one, and transcribe what I said.

    There are a couple of caveats here:

    1.) Obviously she's gonna haveta talk out
  • many such devices (Score:4, Informative)

    by dalutong (260603) <djtansey@NOspam.gmail.com> on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:00PM (#10028061)
    I'm not going to remember the name right now but I spoke to a writer at a conference recently -- the device just had a tiny lcd attached to a keyboard. she plugged it into the usb port on one of the public desktops there and uploaded the text to wordpad. it was pretty cool. she said she got it because she didn't have the money for a laptop so it can't be that expensive.

    here's one i found quickly on google. http://www.calcuscribe.com/missing.html
  • AlphaSmart (Score:2, Informative)

    AlphaSmart [alphasmart.com] has a few products that may interest you. The AlphaSmart 3000 (US$200)is a dumb keyboard which stores about 100 pages of text, and 3 AA batteries run it for 300-700 hours. If you need to take notes involving graphics, the Dana [alphasmart.com](US$400), which is a Palm OS hybrid, may be the right thing. The Dana Wireless [alphasmart.com] also has Wi-Fi access.

    For something with a bit more power than the 3000 but not a full Palm OS hybrid, you may be interested in the Neo [alphasmart.com], which is due to be released in September.
  • Palm and Keyboard (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rider_prider (698555)
    Recently finished degree, had palm 3xe and folding keyboard, took all my notes, super easy to carry and small enough to use on any desk. No problems with battery life either, no way any laptop can make it thru a full day of classes without being plugged in...
  • Mobilepro (Score:2, Informative)

    by -=[Dr. AJAX]=- (17537) *
    I got an old NEC mobilepro for similar requirements. It's small, has a keyboard similiar to handheld keyboards and is nice and cheap. The only problem I had was that it ran WinCE 2.11. That version of CE prevented me from using my wifi card with it. So I installed BSD on it and now it works perfectly for viewing, editing, and transfering files on the go.
  • Palm M100 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sentry21 (8183) on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:09PM (#10028162) Journal
    As long as the student in question has good eyesight (or good eyesight correction), you can spend a few bucks on a Palm M100 (probably find them used for $20-40) and a cheapo keyboard. If you scrounged eBay, you could probably find them for less than $50 USD together. They're small and portable, can fit in a purse, and 2 megs of memory is more than enough for a day's worth of notes.

    Another option would be to get one of the fancy Sony ones with cameras, whcih can also capture overhead screens.

    --Dan
    • Second this. Used an 8MB visor + handspring keyboard (from targus, IIRC) for notetaking in my MBA classes. Worked like a champ, and I didn't have to lug around notebook, power supplies, etc. A couple of notes:

      1) ALWAYS have a second (or third) set of batteries handy. I got something like 14-16 hours from my setup, but it'll go down at some point.
      2) The keyboard really exacerbated my carpal tunnel, so I got a typical foam keyboard pad, and cut it down. The carrying weight went up a little bit, but it
  • Assuming her disability is legit and recognized, isn't there a department at the school that can help, or governemnt funding? I know that's the case here in Canada. She can probably get a laptop paid for by the school (or the government). Much easier to investigate that than using an "ask Slashdot" and far more effective ;)
    • It means that everyone else in your society (US, Canada, wherever you live) is picking up the tab. It's not "Santa Government", it's sucking 10% from everyone healthy's paycheck to pay for the 1 in 10 who can't cut it.
      Yes, -1, Flamebait, but +1, Not Mean If Its True
  • I recommend the AlphaSmart [alphasmart.com], they are basically portable keyboards with a bunch of memory. Connect to a computer with a special keyboard wire, and send. There are many different types, and all shouldn't be too expensive.
  • Alpha Smart! (Score:5, Informative)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:28PM (#10028328) Homepage
    The Alpha Smart [alphasmart.com] is exactly the device you are looking for.

    It's used primarily (and geared toward) the K-12 education market for students exactly like the one you described.

    They are excellent for notetaking and incredibly simple to use. The essential idea is that it's like a miniature word processor that will repeat your keystrokes once you plug it into the computer. Of course, you can edit what you're typing on the builtin LCD.

    With the original Alpha Smart (not being produced anymore, but easily findable on Ebay) and the 3000 ($200 direct) interfacing with the computer is embarassingly simple. Simply plug the thing into ANY PC or Mac's keyboard (has ADB and PS2 -- the new ones also have USB), open Word, hit send, and it mimicks a keyboard typing the document. No software required.

    That's $200, easily within your price range. I've used them in the school I work in, and find them to be an incredible tool for the students which need them.

    If you want something more advanced, $400 will fetch you a similar device with a bigger screen powered by palmOS and 802.11 built in. I've never used them, but with alphasmart's reputation, I expect it to be just as good.

    Oh yeah. Did I mention it's designed for K-12? They're durable as hell. I've seen them take a serious beating without being damaged. Thank god for no moving parts and shatter resistant plastic!
    • I'll second the Alphasmart. I used the original model in high school, and it was a god-send as far as note-taking and test-taking was concerned. All my teachers were fine with it too.
  • Product Idea ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Breakerofthings (321914) on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:29PM (#10028329)
    I am not a l33t hardware guy, or anything, but this gives me an idea for a product:

    a device consisting of a keyboard, with a 1 line LCD Screen across the top (can even be segmented, like on a cheesy calculator), that allows you to type, and see what you are typing, and not much else ... and which buffers your keystrokes into a couple of K of RAM, then writes it all out to a CF card (or flash card standard of your choice).

    Maybe even skip the flash; just have a MB of RAM; that's it. the KB could have a regular old kb connector, and you can hit a special key sequence to dump the memory to the KB Port. (The software here would be SO simple ... just increment a pointer on every keystroke, writing the scan code into the cell; decrement the ptr on backspace ...

    The point is, this could be manufactured REALLY cheap; and would be ideal for taking notes. You could even outfit it with the guts of one of these [slashdot.org] to take snapshots of blackboards, etc.

    It would seem like something like this could sell for < $50 .. maybe even around $25 (given enough volume ... keyboards are < $10 nowadays).
    Even starving college kids could afford one.
    • With the exception of the CF card, you've just described some of the word processors of the early 80's.
      • True.
        The point is that such a device can be manufactured today in a much more compact form factor, at a much cheaper price.

        People often overlook the fact that an item's price point directly affects its utility: I am fairly cautious with my $1200 digital camera, but I have a $200 one that I am not afraid to take where it may get dropped or wet ... the financial consequences of it being destroyed/lost/stolen are much less ($1200 is an awful lot of money to me)
        My brother and sister are both in college, and
  • If all she needs is a cheap device she can type on, then why not consider a TRS-80 Model 100 or 102? They are super-cheap, have a full-size keyboard, and an RS-232 port for uploading the notes to her desktop machine.

    I see two possible downsides: The keyboard doesn't have as good of a feel as a new laptop, and the small amount of RAM (32 KB) might be a problem. (I have no idea how many KB a day's worth of notes would be.) However, the websites about the Model 100 and 102 claim that there are a lot of w
    • I own a model 200, and am pretty happy with it. It may not be perfect, and for now I happen to like my thinkpad more, but it is a reliable bit of hardware, with no moving parts, unless I want to hang my disk drive off of the serial port.

      The disk drive has a capacity of about 100 k, or possibly two 100k partitions.

      club100.org has more information, and pricing. 102s are going from $150 to $350, depending upon memory and condition. 100's are going from $75 to $150, aldo depending upon memory and condition.

      O
  • Logitech io.

    'nuff said.
    • Re:pen OCR (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      the woman has trouble writing, but is apparently ok typing. this is the exact opposite of what she needs.
  • by cmowire (254489) on Friday August 20, 2004 @07:30PM (#10028846) Homepage
    I just used a laptop. A cheap one, either used or closeout. I got one partway through high school, which then lasted until my senior year of college. Walmart is selling new generic ones for a few hundered now.

    The trick is to set up style sheets and macros and such for Word to allow you to get all of the symbols and stuff.

    Of course, typing may not help too much if you have hand problems.

    Most unversities, when faced with a student who has a medically documented problem taking notes the normal way, will generally provide you with "accomidations". All you need is a doctor to vouch for you. Accomodiations will generally be some sort of notetaking service, at least.

    Different schools do it differently. Some schools can move heaven and earth for you if you have a documented dissability.
  • I too have a condition that makes writing slow, and slightly painful (cerebral palsy). That being said, I have no trouble with taking notes. It is generally doing essays and so on that cause me trouble, and most schools are more than accomodating (as well as the province for my provincial exams; I got to use a computer). I used to have a Palm and a PocketPC, both with folding keyboards, and I must say that it isn't a perfect solution. I still take notes by hand, and I just ask nicely for computer time i
  • Model 100! (Score:3, Informative)

    by DaveJay (133437) on Friday August 20, 2004 @08:16PM (#10029161)
    http://www.club100.org/

    Check 'em out. Cheap, unbreakable, full-size keyboard.
  • The (old) Apple eMate would be a good choice, as many others have pointed out. It's a durable laptop based on a hybrid of the Newton 130 and Newton 2000. It uses the software from the 2000, but the logicboard of the 130... still, it's more than fast enough for the bundled office suite and many other lightweight Newton apps.

    Note that some CPU-intensive apps designed for the 2000 may not work well on the eMate, as the Newton 2000 has about 7x the CPU performance.
  • It's easy to pick up an old Apple Newton from somewhere like eBay.

    I've got an MP2000 myself and it's great for taking notes with it's handwriting recognition. If you need something a bit more than a basic "Notes" program, then there's software like Newton Works and external keyboards for them (I have both).

    As long as you have a serial port (or a usb to serial adapter) you can sync it up and transfer documents and packages across. Or if you have a Mac, you can sync over TCP/IP.
  • Since you can get a Palm for about $80 and a keyboard for $25, I can't image why you would want to fish for $500 solutions, but - hey - it's a free world (in some locales).
  • But I gotta ask: what condition does your friend have that makes it easier to type than to handwrite?
    • Not only do I type about twice as fast as I handwrite, but typing gives you the ability of organizing, formatting and editing what you write after the fact.

      Handwritten notes simply don't (unless you feel like wasting time copying them over and over).
    • by Eevee (535658)
      It's called dysgraphia [nih.gov]. You'll note that about halfway down the page is "Some physicians recommend that individuals with dysgraphia use computers to avoid the problems of handwriting."
  • cassette? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neilsly (106751)
    whatever happened to using a micro cassette recorder?
  • I'm not sure if she has a problem with smaller keyboards, but if not I would check out a WinCE handheld PC. The Jornada 720/728 ($200-600 used or refurb) or the Sigmarion 3 (~$450 imported) are both very nice. They keyboard is smaller, about 75% of full size- however, the mechanism is just like a regular laptop, and I can touch type on one with my fattie fingers with no problem at 60-70 WPM. There is also the NEC MobilePro line (~$200 for the 780 to $600+ for the 900) which some folks prefer because the ke
  • Why not buy an old laptop from ebay? Some sell for less than $50. Even if it can't network, the floppy should at least work.
  • Maybe she could learn stenography ? and/or to use one of those steno machines.
  • Alphasmart Dana [alphasmart.com]

    Alphasmart Dana Wireless [alphasmart.com]

    Virtually indestructable, designed for people who tend to beat it, drop it, dunk it or slam it - i.e. for my teenage daughter, and me.

    And has a great keyboard.

    'nuff said.
  • The IBM WorkPad z50 and Vadem Clio (also sold as the Sharp Mobilon Tripad) are clamshell-style PDAs with full keyboards. They both get excellent (7 or 8 hours) battery life and are comfortable to type on, though the Clio's curved keyboard takes a little getting used to.

    I've mentioned these devices before [slashdot.org] in a different context.

  • This machine isn't in production any more, but it's actually a perfect notetaking computer: runs off AA batteries, has a small touch screen allowing stylus drawing, and a clamshell design with a workable keyboard -- documents can be translate to/from PC and a CF slot provides additional storage. It powers on and off instantly, and is small and portable. There's even a browser, email and other network tools, plus the inbuilt IrDA allows SMS/data interface to a mobile phone.

    You can pick up second hand 5mx's
    • Or if you can get it, a Psion 7 on Psion Netbook. They have larger keyboards and about three times the screen area. Switching from typing notes at dictation speed to drawing an imbedded diagram is even easier.
  • They have a reasonable keyboard, Windows OS, a voice recorder if you need it, plus the usual Microsoft apps. No messing around when you get back to home base, either, you just sync it and you're good to go on your desktop with what you've done during the day on the palmtop.
  • Why not just record the prof's lecture and then transcribe what sections she needs to back in the dorm?
  • I'd recommend getting a used but still in good shape laptop + new battery. Until fairly recently, I was using a 366mhz iBook (clamshell, baby!) for taking notes, and with a brand new battery I could make it through all my classes no problem. Shop around Craig's List, and since you're at a University, picking up a laptop on the cheap should be easy (my school surpluses them fairly routinely -- lately I've been seeing Lombards and Wallstreets -- and kids are always selling them towards the end of the quarte
  • by cube32 (794306)
    i know that at my uni, if you've got a good reason for not being able to come to a lecture, then the lecturer will provide notes for you. i've never had a "good" reason though (hangovers don't count, apparently)

    i use an ipod with a griffin italk, it works fantastically. i'm told it's better than the belkin, particularly the inbuilt speaker. having a copy of the lecture, along with the notes i jot at the time, helps a lot when exam time comes, i find.

"Hello again, Peabody here..." -- Mister Peabody

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