Evernote’s Amazing Moleskine Smart Notebook Has Already Been Hacked

Evernote’s Amazing Moleskine Smart Notebook Has Already Been Hacked

The sweet embossed cover might justify the $25 asking price.

Evernote’s Smart Notebook might cost $25 – double the price of the almost identical 3.5 x 5.5-inch Moleskine version – but it will likely sell by the pallet-load. Why? Because it is a genuine paper Moleskine which integrates with Evernote itself.

The Smart Notebook has special paper which – in combination with a new update to the Evernote iOS app – makes scanning and tagging easier than ever.

The new feature in Evernote App is called “Page Camera,” and is a purpose-made tool for scanning single or multiple pages into Evernote. The interface presents a clear rectangle in the middle of the screen with a darkened border. This rectangle is the same shape as a Moleskine page and makes it easy to scan it just right.

Evernote’s Amazing Moleskine Smart Notebook Has Already Been Hacked

PageCam in action.

The scanner works fine with any regular $12 Moleskine, but the Smart Notebook has its lines or grid (there are two versions) made out of dotted lines. The app sees these and uses them to correct for distortion. It also removes shadows and enhances contrast.

I tried it with a stock Moleskine and it works great, although you can’t review the picture once it is taken – you can just end the scanning session or scan the next page, meaning you could end up with blurred images.

Speaking of images: the full frame of the iPad’s camera is used to snap the scans, so even though you lined up a single page, you get the edges, too. It seems that the frame is just to help the app know what you want it to look at.

Once scanned, the page is sent off to Evernote’s servers to be processed by its uncannily-accurate OCR engine and made searchable.

Evernote’s Amazing Moleskine Smart Notebook Has Already Been Hacked

Everyone loves stickers. Everyone.

If you’re using the Smartbook, the rear pocket comes loaded with stickers. These tiny squares are used to tag pages. It’s a gimmick, sure, but it could be a good one. In the app, you can choose what these stickers will mean (kind of like colored Finder labels) and also set a default Evernote notebook for each one.

Can you hack this to give you Smartbook smarts without the Smartbook itself? Kinda:

Evernote user Mark Evans made his own dotted paper (PDF), and his own Smart Stickers. The stickers need the special paper to be recognized, but he says his own version works just fine.

I downloaded the PDF, turned it into a JPG and imported it as a custom paper into the Noteshelf handwriting app. I wrote a few words, added some thumbs of the stickers and exported the page to Evernote (Noteshelf is well integrated with Evernote).

It didn’t work. I suspect that you need to actually scan a piece of paper for the Smart Stickers to be recognized, and as there is no way to add a photo from the Camera Roll when scanning, there appears to be no way around it.

Still, these stickers are for tagging paper, and as such are pretty ingenious. I will be buying the notebook come September (the launch date), and in the meantime I’ll be enjoying the new Page Camera.

One note on that price. The $25 for the small notebook (or $30) for the big one includes a 3-month subscription to Evernote Premium, which normally costs €15 or €12, depending on whether you buy it through the iOS or Mac apps.

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  • Marc Negron

    That looks silly. :D

  • technochick

    That looks silly. :D

    Agreed.

    If the goal is to digitalize everything then why put it on paper first

  • grelca

    If the goal is to digitalize everything then why put it on paper first

    Believe it or not, some people prefer writing notes on paper, but would still like it accessible without having to carry around their notebooks. Or even better (for me anyway) – for searchability.

    Personally, I go through notebooks like nobody’s business, and on more than one occasion it’s taken me at least half an hour to find old notes I needed again. I might really have to look into Evernote if its OCR can do handwriting. Not necessarily the “smart” notebook, though. I buy cheap $3 notebooks :D

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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