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Old 02-05-2008, 07:25 AM   #1
daudi
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Indexed notepad

I am still trying to find the best way to work with the iliad for note-taking, meeting minutes etc., largely to try to get around the slow switching between applications. Previously I created a set of notes for meeting minutes (see here on the irex forum) but I have found that I often need to refer to notes from previous meetings, so I press escape, wait . . . , go to the previous notes, open, wait . . ., etc. I got fed up with this. I then wanted to try to keep all meeting notes in one file, but there was no way to add a new page that used the first page template (with an outline for meeting details) when on the last page (did you follow that?).

Like others here I have also found that the lack of zoom and pan in the notes application limits drawing things like mindmaps because you need to be able to write clearly enough and also have enough real estate to be able to get all the ideas down.

So, like others here I decided that the best thing to do is create a large PDF file with the pages I need and draw, write, zoom and pan. The thing that I think is new with this notepad PDF is that it can easily be indexed. The PDF has 77 pages and there are 76 pages to write or draw on. The first page of the PDF is the index page and is divided into 4 quadrants. Each quadrant has a set of numbered lines, and the total is 76---one for each usable page in the PDF. The idea is that you zoom into one quadrant and write a short description of what is on each page. If you zoom out I find that it is possible to read everything that is written and thereby quickly find the page number of the thing you want.

Moreover, each index entry is in fact a hyperlink to the page in question. So, for example, you can write "Meeting with Fred on 2008-01-23" in the index page and then click on it to take you to that page. It does not use the keyboard and character recognition: the hyperlinks are just part of the PDF and you just scribble a description over the top.

This version of the indexed notepad has 3 types of pages: 18 plain pages, 18 lined pages, and the rest are meeting minutes pages. Each "page" is in fact 4 quadrants, so, as with the index page, you zoom into one quadrant and use it to write or draw, then pan to the next quadrant and can zoom out to see the whole page. For me this means I can easily write while zoomed in, and still read the whole thing when zoomed out.

The meetings and lined pages are the easiest to play with at first because they clearly have 4 quadrants. The meetings pages each have sections for Date, Title, Participants, Agenda items in the top left quadrant, with the remaining three quadrants being for notes. The lined pages are just four pages with lines.

The plain pages have (very) small "crop marks" in the four corners plus at the centre of each page edge. To zoom in to the top left quadrant you'd use the markers half way down the left and halfway along the top. There are also markers that identify a shape the size of a quadrant in the middle of the page. So, if you want to draw a mind map you might zoom into this centre area, draw, pan, draw again, then zoom out to see the whole page.

I am still playing with this and might try to make it prettier, once I am convinced that it works okay. At the moment I am not sure if I want to have a notepad with multiple types of pages as I have created at the moment, or separate notepads for meetings, and general notes.

Using
Alanine's continuous mode ipdf works nicely with this. Zoom in to the top left quadrant and then the flip bar just takes you through each quadrant as though going to a new page.
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File Type: pdf notepad.pdf (103.6 KB, 443 views)

Last edited by daudi; 02-06-2008 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Added comment about Alanine's ipdf
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:21 AM   #2
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Ingenious.

Thank you /very/ much!
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:35 AM   #3
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The template is really nice!

I borrowed the idea and create another one.

It is only a simple lined notepad, and the size fits to the device.
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File Type: pdf PDF_Notes_index.pdf (99.6 KB, 354 views)
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:47 AM   #4
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Cool. I went for the 'quadrant' zoom/pan approach so that I could see more at a glance when I wanted to. I like your index 1, index 2 in the footer. I've also thought of a few ways to improve what I have, but won't have the time for a while to work on it.

One idea I have is to create a tool for creating indexed notepads like this. The user would then supply a PDF template or list of PDF templates that would then be repeated and bundled together with the appropriate hyperlinks. The commandline would be something like this:
Code:
pdfnotepad lines.pdf:10 blank.pdf:10 meeting.pdf:10 calendar.pdf:1 info.pdf:1
I think I know how to do it already, I just need a bit time to implement it.

BTW, it looks like you created yours using word. Did you create all the hyperlinks manually, or did you have some way of automating it?
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:51 AM   #5
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I'm an idiot in programming, so I just created the hyperlinks one by one using the Acrobat Professional. My hands are really tired now... :P

I will look forward to your new templates!!
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazycat View Post
The template is really nice!

I borrowed the idea and create another one.

It is only a simple lined notepad, and the size fits to the device.
Oh, just what I wanted! I was going to do one just like this based on the previous excellent idea, but you beat me to it. Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:37 AM   #7
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Someone on the Irex forum suggested adding a few blank pages in a pdf file for making annotations.
(http://forum.irexnet.com/viewtopic.php?t=910)

Switching between pages using the bookmark function would be much faster than switching between files. So I created this template. If you're using the Acrobat Professional, you can extract the pages and insert them to your PDF.

Hope it is useful!
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File Type: pdf AnnotationPages.pdf (16.0 KB, 293 views)
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:23 AM   #8
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I've been doing this for a while and it is definitely faster. I've also played with having a large area at the bottom of each page or to the side of each page because we are not restricted to A4 or letter size paper. This way I can have the article page at the top and a whole load of space at the bottom of each page (imagine a huge footer margin) and then just drag to the right place, scribble, drag back to where I was reading.

When I get around to creating the script for making indexed and hyperlinked PDF notebooks from arbitrary source PDFs/PNGs it will be possible to process a PDF journal article and add the hyperlinked index page(s). It will be possible to specify the size of the index area for each page. That way it will be possible to write notes for each page and then click on the entry to go to the actual page. Notice the extensive use of future tense.

Another idea I have for processing PDFs with hyperlinks is to create an index of key (or all) words and have them link back to the pages they are used on. This would partially get around the lack of a search function. It would work something like this:
  • extract the text from the PDF using pdftohtml -xml (which also gives page numbers)
  • record each unique occurrance of each word and its page
  • exclude any words in a user-defined exclude list (e.g. "and", "this", "that", etc)
  • OR:
  • only include words in a user-defined include list (e.g. "retinopathy", "neuropathy", etc)
  • format an alphabetical index with the page numbers where each word occurs, with each page number being a hyperlink to that page
  • attach the index to the original PDF

Then when you want to "search" a PDF on the iliad for a word you go to the index, look for the word and click on the link, find that's not the one you want, click on "back" to go back to the index, and click on the next one. Not ideal, but I can't program in C++ so I can't hack the ipdf code for proper searching.

Another thing to do when I get time. I don't think it will be too hard to implement though.
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Old 02-15-2008, 02:10 PM   #9
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Haha, it seems the limitation of the device makes the community very creative now!

I hope to see your notepad soon. It sounds very good for those who like taking notes while reading.

Meanwhile, I will try to use the newly released Fluxbox (if I know how to install it). It seems to be a nice solution too!
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:08 PM   #10
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Thanks for the hard work

Must thank you guys for the hard work and willingness to share.
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Old 02-16-2008, 01:41 PM   #11
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Does anyone know if it's possible to create a notepad similar to these, but have it re-useable like a proper template? I.e., open the pdf and add notes, save that, but still have a blank version available for next time?

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Old 02-16-2008, 02:08 PM   #12
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Do you mean like the notes templates, i.e. you click on the (say) notepad entry in the contentlister and it creates a new item to work with, leaving the original untouched so you can click on it again to create another one?

If so, not directly, but it would not be hard to contrive something to work like this. It would be a simple shell script that would create a new directory with a manifest file (perhaps) and copy over the PDF template, then perhaps open it up with ipdf.
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Old 02-16-2008, 02:56 PM   #13
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Assuming that was what you meant, here's an implementation. Just unzip this somewhere and you'll see any entry in your contentlister to create a new notepad. Click on that and it will create one. You can then change the title and description in the usual way. Note that this does not automatically open the pdf. When I tried making it do that I ended up with the pdf permanently on the screen even after exiting (i.e. I was navigating the contentlister but seeing the pdf). There's something that I don' t grok about starting ipdf from a shell script.

Anyway, it mostly works. You could create your own templates and replace notepad.pdf with your template. If you want to keep things really simple just name your new template notepad.pdf. Otherwise edit run.sh to change the name (and title) as you wish.
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Old 02-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #14
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I've been thinking about how very useful the indexed notepad is, and whether we could create a whole bunch of PDF "stationary" for the iLiad.

Something I'd like to see would be a diary I could scribble appointments in, and maybe an address book with tabs down the side to go to different letters. Sort of old fashioned and yet hi-tech at the same time. I imagine there must be some way of generating the dates for a diary without having to do it by hand, though I've no idea where to start.

Then I went off on a real tangent and started thinking about decorative PDF writing paper. It would be possible to create pads of paper with illustrations on, which could be used for writing letters; the letters could then be emailed to friends for that personal touch, or printed out on A5 paper and sent via snailmail for that *really* personal touch.

Does anyone else think this is a good idea, or have I gone completely off my rocker?
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Old 02-16-2008, 03:57 PM   #15
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I like idea of the designer stationery for the iliad.

I was also thinking about the tabs idea and started working on this in November but never completed it. I was working on a way to add tabs to the right hand side of a pdf, the tabs being specified in a file. The most obvious use would be an indexed address book, but I was also thinking of things like book sections or chapters. I was doing this using latex and created the indexed notepad using latex as well (I didn't fancy doing the hyperlinks by hand).

Once I get the script to create custom indexed notepads written it would be pretty easy to do a whole range of things. I was thinking of including a calendar, diary pages, info pages etc. There are PDFs from the diy planner that could be interesting as well. We could essentially create a PDF filofax or timesystem.

I need to make some time to work on this script.

Last edited by daudi; 02-16-2008 at 06:51 PM. Reason: changed pocketmod to diy planner
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