reMarkable 2

I am a big fan of handwritten notes. I write down a lot while reading, brain-storming ideas, working on code, working on side projects etc. Naturally, I end up going over a lot of notebooks. I have some at work and some at home. To give you an idea, at work, it takes me around 1.5-2 months to finish an entire notebook. At home, it is usually around 3-4 months. That’s approximately 8-10 notebooks per year.

My biggest problem is storage. I am not a fan of storing these notes long term, since most of the notes are only useful at the time of my brain-storming. I usually store just the pages with notes I like to hang on to and throw away the notebook. I’ve always hated doing that.

I digitize my handwritten notes every now and then to store them permanently. This system has been working out ok for me so far. I was hoping to improve this process.

reMarkable 2

In order to solve this problem, I got the new reMarkable 2. I pre-ordered it in early March and after a lot of waiting, got it mid-October. After using it for two months, here are my thoughts.

reMarkable 2 and its Marker with eraser

What I like

I primarily use if for reading pdfs (love the highlighting and notes feature) and writing notes. What I like about it is that it has a distraction-free setup. The limited browsing access is something I really like. The display is great and the writing experience is just enjoyable. The sound that the marker makes while writing emulates the feel of writing on paper. The marker’s writing latency is just too good. It almost matches the Apple Pencil 2.

Writing experience on reMarkable 2

Also, the fact that it’s just a linux box open with the SSH interface, makes it more appealing to me.

The handwritten notes to text conversion feature in the reMarkable 2 tablet works well. I do have to make some changes to the final text, but that’s more easier than writing everything down again from the scratch.

What I don’t like

The price point of $399 (+ $49 for the pencil) seems high for what it offers and might not be right for everyone. I wish it was around $199. I do feel the marker is a bit heavy, but, it doesn’t bother me too much.

Its feature set is perfect for my usage and that was exactly what I was looking for.

Final Thoughts

I think the reMarkable 2 is a fantastic device and I like it. But, I don’t think it is meant for everyone. If you are like me who likes to write a ton, then it might for the right device for you. If you don’t care about the writing experience or are not bothered by the distractions an iPad ships with, then getting an iPad might be a better option.

Google Fi Review (2019)

Google Fi

After ten years of using AT&T, I switched to Google Fi and here are my thoughts. Before I start my review, here’re some details you might be interested in. I use Google Fi on an unlocked iPhone XS. I knew very well about the limitations before I signed up for the service. So, here is my review of Google Fi on iPhone.

Application

I’ve been a Google Voice (GV) user since the past ten years. I love the service. I’ve used it for my voicemail and for making international calls to India. I liked the voicemail transcription feature too. This is a pretty common feature now, but, GV pioneered it.

Anyway, I was able to sign up for Google Fi online from this page here https://fi.google.com/signup and apply for the SIM card installation kit.

During the application process, you’re presented with the following 3 options:

Google Fi Sign up form

If you select Use another number you own and use your current phone number, you’ll lose your GV number for good. I didn’t want to lose my GV number. So, I canceled the sign up process and logged in to my GV account and transferred my GV phone number to another Google account of mine. Once I did that, I restarted my Google Fi sign up process. Now, the form looked like this:

Google Fi Sign up form without the Google Voice option

Everything else was pretty straight forward. The SIM card itself is free. It ships in a week or so. Since, I wanted the SIM card ASAP, I chose to go with the $15 expedited shipping option. I got it the very next day.

Activation

Once I got hold of the Google Fi SIM card, I installed the Google Fi app from the iOS App Store. I placed the SIM in my iPhone and opened the app. I was able to follow through the steps and have the service activated within 5 mins. Yep, it was that quick and simple. The app guides you through the process of setting up SMS/MMS/Voicemail on iPhone.

Caveats

In order to check voicemail, you need to check the Google Fi app. The native iOS Phone app doesn’t have access to the voicemails. Personally, this wasn’t a big deal. I never really used AT&T’s voicemail on my iPhone anyway. I always used the GV app to check my voicemail. The only difference now is that I need to check my voicemail in the Google Fi app.

Billing

I am all praise for Google in this section. Google nailed it with the UI. Honestly, I didn’t expect anything less from Google. It is extremely minimalistic and easy to understand your Fi plan. AT&T on the other hand, I had to watch this video to prepare myself before I opened my AT&T account.

Rocky Balboa Inspirational Speech

I had to tap through 5-7 different screens to get any information that made sense to me.

See how clean the UI is? Good job, Google.

International Calling

I absolutely love how Google Fi supports international calling from the United States. This basically renders my GV account useless. All the features of GV that I loved are baked into Google Fi. General information about international calling can be found here: https://fi.google.com/about/international-rates/

Speed Test

I performed a speed test on fast.com and here’re the results for Google Fi LTE

Google Fi LTE speed test results from Fast.com

The results are pretty good. I tried streaming videos (YouTube) and audio (Apple Music) with positive results.

Conclusion

While I’m missing out on the automatic carrier switching feature of Google Fi by using it on an iPhone, I still like the service. So far, the signal reception hasn’t been bad. The data speeds are pretty good. I just hope Google comes up with a solution to make automatic carrier switching work with the iPhones soon.

The Social Network (2010)

After a long enthusiastic wait, day before yesterday I got a chance to watch the movie – “The Social Network”. I loved the movie. Of course not everyone who came along with me loved it. In fact, a friend of mine even slept in the theater itself with a loud snore. It always is a pleasure to watch movies about geeks. I loved every single aspect of the film. The background score blended well. So did the actors. The dialogues in the movie were quite impressive. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I wish I were in Harvard or any of the other elite schools. The life there can no way be compared to the life here or any other school similar to mine. The way students think there is totally different from the way students in normal schools think. They are the 1337 of not only the student society but also the society in general. Damn me for not being in a topnotch school. I would definitely recommend you to watch the movie.

Review: Internet Explorer 8

Now that the latest version of one of the most bashed-up (Yet, the most popular) Microsoft products is out, the bashers can’t wait to get their hands on this new baby. But believe me, I tested it and I can confidently say that they will have a tough time bashing up IE8. Coming to the review, Microsoft seems to have developed IE8 as an answer to all those web developers who hate IE for its noncompliance towards the W3C standards. Now let me start off with the some of the most important features that are “visible” to the average user.

Feature 1: The Speed Microsoft has drastically increased the speed of IE8 since its previous version 7. If you have used IE7, you will definitely notice a drastic change in the speed of IE8. This is probably the first thing that an average user would notice apart from the interface. The rendering times of some heavy sites like Wikipedia, Orkut, Microsoft etc seems to have reduced. IE8 seems to be in a fair contention with Opera 9, Firefox 3 and Chrome 2 in case of Speed.

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