iPad for Engineers – Ghostwriter

GhostwriterOne of the main reasons I migrated to using the iPad is that I ended up having multiple notepads lying around, never had the right one with me or the one I had with me was full I needed to write something down. I went through several different note taking apps before I found Ghostwriter. It has several things going for it. You can export your notes to Dropbox where they will appear as a PDF. For those of you who are using Evernote, you also have the ability to export your notes to that application as well. The interface of using a Notebook to keep things organized has been implemented well. You can change the types of “paper” that you can use on demand which is something you can’t do with a regular notebook.

If you want to be able to markup or make notations beyond with GoodReader, you have the ability with Ghostwriter to import a PDF and make your notations. Each PDF will be its own notebook and each page in the pdf will become its own page in the notebook. A challenge with some of the other note taking apps was that you had to be careful where you rested your hand on the screen or you might find that random marks would start appearing in your notes. Ghostwriter has a wrist guard function built-in that prevents this from happening.

StylusYou will need one more piece to be able to use Ghostwriter and for now, that is a capacitive stylus. There are several to choose from. They all pretty much serve the same function by electrically extending your hand so that ghostwriter sees something that it things is your finger on the screen. I found several to choose from on Amazon’s site and they are all pretty reasonable priced.

There is an update that could be coming in the next few days from the folks at Cregle. They have created a product called the iPen that is currently working its way through the hardware approval process at Apple. From the limited information currently available, you plug-in a small receiver to the serial/sync port on the bottom of the iPad which picks up the signal from the accompanying pen. No pricing information is currently available but the form factor is very attractive and the much smaller stylus would definitely appear to just the specific area to be worked with instead of having to use the much broader brush stroke that you will find when using a capacitive stylus. Hopefully I will get a chance to work with one and share with you my findings in a future post.

For those that grew up with the Original Star Trek series in the 60’s, you have very similar functionality to what were then just wood and plastic props. By itself, GhostWriter is a very useful application. When you add the functionality of using either Dropbox or Evernote, you get an almost unbeatable application. I don’t use GhostWriter as much as I could because of the sometimes “clunky” operation of the capacitive stylus. That is not the fault of Ghostwriter, just the method of the input. The new iPen offering has the potential to make quite a difference.

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