11-01-12 05:46 AM
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tools
  1. kill_9's Avatar
    Ok so I need a new laptop. But then I realized BlackBerry Playbook got a mini keyboard which seems to turn it into a laptop. I also am a Crackberry addict and I have my Bold 9900. Putting 1 + 1 together makes me think I should get it for university! To write notes and such. Do you guys think it would be a good idea?
    First, I highly recommend the Hipstreet Playbook Portfolio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard combined with the Logitech V470 Bluetooth Mouse, although in class you will not need the mouse most of the time. The Hipstreet keyboard is larger than the BlackBerry OEM Bluetooth Keyboard but still requires a bit of time to gain speed over a traditional full-size keyboard. Since you have a BlackBerry Bold 9900 you could use the smartphone keyboard to type notes in class and the larger Hipstreet Bluetooth keyboard outside of class.

    Next, in the absence of any mention of your intended area of study at university the following recommendations/suggestions are best-effort and cover general student academic requirements.

    For term papers and similar writing assignments you could subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 web service, although the functionality is somewhat limited, or you could use a LaTeX document editing and processing web service (Verbosus, ShareLaTeX), or SmartOffice which is available through BlackBerry AppWorld. Additionally, if your university provides student access to their LaTeX system you could edit your documents complete with LaTeX mark-up codeusing a plain-text editor and submitting the file(s) to the system. The latter suggestion is particularly beneficial for science students (astronomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, zoology, etc.). Reading documents provided in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) you could use the included Adobe Reader (cough) or one of the PDF reader applications, such as PDF Reader available in BlackBerry AppWorld. In the case of LaTeX you type the content in plain-text with some mark-up language elements and can choose between various output formats including PDF and RTF.

    Applications to schedule your time or serve as a daily diary include Groovy Notes and Diary Pro.

    An application called Book Reader which can handle most ebook formats. There are utilities available on the Internet to remove DRM restrictions if necessary. Why Adobe refuses to release a version of Adobe Digital Editions for the BlackBerry PlayBook continues to baffle me.

    Wikipedia is accessible via an application called Wikipedia or via the built-in web browser. However, never cite Wikipedia as a source in any academic paper because it is not a primary source nor even an appropriate secondary citation source.

    There are applications for FaceBook, Twitter, TweetBook, WordPress (an Android application), plus these services are available through the bullt-in web browser if you do not want separate applications.

    If you want a very basic text editor there is PlainText Editor. You might find the utility UurToPDF useful if you want to save a local copy of a web page for later reference instead of bookmarking it.

    The options for off-tablet file storage are numerous though my preference is Box.net which is supported natively by some applications for the tablet as well as supported by the file management application Files & Folders available from BlackBerry AppWorld. If you need to access file stored on a Microsoft Windows network server or workstation, Ghost Commander, an Android application, is available through BlackBerry AppWorld.

    As to the thorny issue of printing directly from the BlackBerry PlayBook such capability is not possible at the present time. You have options such as sending via email a document to an e-printer. Some colleges and universities provide e-print access to their printers for students. Alternatively, you could purchase an e-printer for your personal use. Hopefully, your university is progressive and prefers assignments submitted electronically rather than printed on dead trees.

    Another consideration is whether you prefer typing notes during the lecture, handwriting the notes in class and transcribing them to the tablet after class, or even handwriting all notes and scanning them into one or more PDF files. This is a very personal and use-case sensitive preference but I wanted to get you thinking before the academic year begins in earnest.

    Hope this information will be helpful.
    Last edited by BB9700CA; 08-30-12 at 11:42 AM.
    diegonei and Max741 like this.
    08-30-12 11:25 AM
  2. mikeo007's Avatar
    I do a lot of note taking at work.. my pb is great for that. Don't see how school would be any different.
    How do you get those notes from your Playbook to a piece of paper?
    08-30-12 11:26 AM
  3. cesarpq's Avatar
    i use my pb for my classes, take some notes, read some documents and books, some web searches, etc. but for homework i preffer the laptop, but regularly i do them at home so i dont need to carry it around, u just need to need to know ur needs, and see whats the best for you
    08-30-12 11:28 AM
  4. kill_9's Avatar
    I answered all of the above because i use my PlayBook as a device for content consumption. For creating the content, i still rely on my laptop/desktop. But everyone is different.
    I use my BlackBerry PlayBooks to create content as well as content consumption on a daily basis. I maintain a wiki, a blog, a website, edit my curriculum vitae and other documents for publication as PDFs after transferring those files to a server for processing, among a variety of other tasks. The BlackBerry PlayBook is my notebook computer when away from my office where I use a notebook computer instead of a desktop computer.

    As for the OP's questions and situation, for many university students a BlackBerry PlayBook is more than sufficient or at the very least a portable adjunct to their notebook computer in their dorm room or apartment. These days you can buy both the BlackBerry PlayBook (16GB) and a good notebook computer (3GB RAM, 250GB HDD, 15.6-inch screen) for approximately CAD500.00 total (taxes excluded). Hades my first notebook computer cost over CAD7000.00 in 1995, and the only tablets were the paper kind. Kids today have it much easier.
    08-30-12 12:03 PM
  5. jayemmbee's Avatar
    Don't do it. It's a trap.
    Like it's great for putting already typed notes and readings on. So that you can read in class or in the halls, bus or library. But as for note taking and essay writing its no good. And this isn't a knock on the playbook but tablets in general. Get yourself a laptop for school its the way to go in terms of software, school websites and note taking.
    08-30-12 12:39 PM
  6. rjkolo's Avatar
    Iusemine for University daily, even before the mini keyboard cam out but with that addition it works even better and most professors actually prefere the use of a tablet because it is smaller and is less of a distrsction to others in the class room
    08-30-12 12:43 PM
  7. AfroZepher's Avatar
    Personally, on heavy note taking classes I use my laptop. . .on not so heavy days I bridge my PB to my 9900 and type on the 9900. . . (my professors understand I'm not txting or anything. . .and they are pretty impressed. . .lol) I still end up doing most of my work and edit my notes on my laptop but I get a lot out of reviewing my notes on the PB during my long commutes (Print to Go and cloud stuff like box and Dropbox/Bluebox really come in handy here. . .)
    08-30-12 01:02 PM
  8. dusdal's Avatar
    I should weigh in here OP.

    I am completing a BBA degree with pre-med requirements currently. I have been using strictly the PB for my studies since it was released.

    I have had to resort to using my PC when it comes to completing the formatting on office documents, but outside of that I have not been left wanting.

    The apps I use most for this are the following:
    • qPDF (for annotating handouts, text etc)
    • PDF Reader (textbooks, quick search, TOC, remembers where left off last)
    • word to go (for typing lecture notes)
    • powerpoint to go (for making notes on powerpoint lectures)
    • voicenotes (I record lectures and listen to them on my bb later when running, riding, gym, on the bus etc)
    • flashcards
    • splashtop (used this to complete some formatting on a document while I was overseas and only had my PB)
    • box.com (there is an app but I prefer the website)
    • PDF Creator ultimate (any handouts I get I quickly make into a pdf and hand back)
    Last edited by dusdal; 08-30-12 at 01:14 PM.
    uncaringbear likes this.
    08-30-12 01:12 PM
  9. PedroBorgas's Avatar
    Lol i take my notes on the paper, on a draft notebook(a paper one).

    Then, when i have the time, i copy and rearange the notes on another notebook, keeping the notes organized by discipline.

    I only take the netbook or laptop when there's a school work to do.

    Carry more junk to school?

    lol Never!

    Sent from a old but beautiful BB 8520 or a new and shinny PB 2.0
    08-30-12 01:21 PM
  10. kill_9's Avatar
    But as for note taking and essay writing its no good. And this isn't a knock on the playbook but tablets in general. Get yourself a laptop for school its the way to go in terms of software, school websites and note taking.
    I create lots of content on my BlackBerry PlayBook. For example, I maintain the wiki that documents the information systems deployed for internal applications and external applications. From within the web browser I log into the wiki and create new content as well as editing existing content all from the comfort the chesterfield in my livingroom while watching television. Another example, writing an article for publication on the tablet within PlainText Editor, adding the appropriate LaTeX mark-up tags, and then secure copy (scp) the article to an internal server to produce a portable document formatted document to review its appearance once transferred back to the tablet.

    In an academic environment or in meetings, in particular, the beauty of the BlackBerry smartphone and tablet combination is whiteboard/chalkboard content can be captured by the smartphone camera, stored on the media card, and made accessible on the tablet. Unless the BlackBerry PlayBook gets a Bambo Paper-like application we will never have free-hand note-taking ability in the same sense as a pen/pencil and a pad of paper.
    08-30-12 01:35 PM
  11. mikeo007's Avatar
    I create lots of content on my BlackBerry PlayBook. For example, I maintain the wiki that documents the information systems deployed for internal applications and external applications. From within the web browser I log into the wiki and create new content as well as editing existing content all from the comfort the chesterfield in my livingroom while watching television. Another example, writing an article for publication on the tablet within PlainText Editor, adding the appropriate LaTeX mark-up tags, and then secure copy (scp) the article to an internal server to produce a portable document formatted document to review its appearance once transferred back to the tablet.

    In an academic environment or in meetings, in particular, the beauty of the BlackBerry smartphone and tablet combination is whiteboard/chalkboard content can be captured by the smartphone camera, stored on the media card, and made accessible on the tablet. Unless the BlackBerry PlayBook gets a Bambo Paper-like application we will never have free-hand note-taking ability in the same sense as a pen/pencil and a pad of paper.
    It's nice that you can do all that stuff, but it seems like a lot of workarounds just to accomplish a simple task. Web content management I'll give you, you can accomplish that on almost anything with a web browser.

    But needing external services and piles of workarounds for simple things like creating documents? No thanks. Presentations are big in uni (at least in Canada) these days too. I could not even fathom creating a professional looking presentation in docs to go. What about collaboration? Do you think your teammates would be happy with always having to deal with content formatting and printing?

    Let's be honest, you could probably get through school without owning any electronic devices at all. Most schools have a plethora of computers available to students and you could conceivably survive using their computers alone. But owning your own computer is for convenience. The convenience afforded by a tablet is so minuscule compared to the convenience of a laptop. At least in terms of uni studies.
    08-30-12 01:47 PM
  12. tirza12's Avatar
    I tried. It didnt work

    My school policy is for the lecturer to put the lecture slides online before lecture. So i usually download and write my notes on them using Adobe Acrobat X Pro

    Then sometimes I use the playbook to revise the annotated lecture slides
    08-30-12 02:11 PM
  13. kill_9's Avatar
    Let's be honest, you could probably get through school without owning any electronic devices at all. Most schools have a plethora of computers available to students and you could conceivably survive using their computers alone. But owning your own computer is for convenience. The convenience afforded by a tablet is so minuscule compared to the convenience of a laptop. At least in terms of uni studies.
    Hence the mention in an earlier posting in this thread about the affordability of both a BlackBerry PlayBook for on-campus stuff and a notebook computer for outside the lecture theatre and library when the student is back in their dorm or apartment.

    I agree wholeheartedly about the shameful lack of a full-featured office suite for the BlackBerry PlayBook but RIM failed to negotiate such application development with Microsoft, a long-time partner, nor with another industry powerhouse Adobe. I never claimed this tablet was perfect in its present incarnation with respect to application availability. However, people must learn to think creatively instead of always moaning "that is too difficult" or "that is not possible." The open source office suite LibreOffice could be modified to run on the BlackBerry PlayBook if some developers were provided with the necessary incentive; but they'd have to dump Java and move to Qt and C++ or Cascades and whatever underlying programming APIs it provides.
    08-30-12 06:30 PM
  14. rolextwelve's Avatar
    I use my playbook for taking notes during lectures at my university and it works for me pretty well. Docs to go is great. I was an early adopter so I have gotten really good at typing on the virtual keyboard quickly with two thumbs. Imo, The 7 inch screen is perfect for two thumbed typing in both landscape and portrait modes. I still recommend you have a laptop though for long writing assignments. I could probably type out a two page essay on my playbook but more than 2 pages might be annoying.
    Max741 likes this.
    08-30-12 09:54 PM
  15. annon91221's Avatar
    I tried using the PlayBook for university once and it didn't work out – the main problem was the missing functionality in Adobe Reader. Writing notes in Office2Go is great and works, but when you have pdfs and want to draw something or add notes/comments there, it just doesn't work out, because there is no such software.
    The PlayBook would be perfect for that, but unfortunately Adobe is just not up to it

    Have you tried qPdf..it is fairly good...Try the free version that has anotater and all ...some people say ported repligo is good too but I have not tried it.
    As for OPs problem, playbook cant be a replacement for pc/laptop...however if you already have a pc...then you can sure use playbook as a companion in school for notes taking. Its good for websites like cramster.com (Chegg) since it runs flash.
    So, no replacement for pc but a good companion for a pc for sure...
    08-30-12 10:35 PM
  16. Max741's Avatar
    I initially got my Playbook for the Bridge functionalities which i thought would be perfect to compliment my 9900. However I discovered several apps and what not for epuds where I could get my textbooks onto the device and using an ereader (Moon+ my favorite ereader) to read, which makes the PB perfect for studying. I've gotten use to blogging alot on the PB using my bridged 9900 as a keyboard since the keyboard was already COMFORTABLE i had no issues whatsoever to punch out pages and pages of words, I ended up carrying this to University because it fits so neatly into my bag like its not even there \

    I would recommend it as a day to day driver for note taking (Groovy Notes) and presentations (HDMI output= AWESOME).

    I did find myself running back to the desktop for minor things but I would suggest that you get a budget laptop in the $300-$400 range just as a bigger screen and ease of use in "crunch time".

    Get a Convertable Case for the PB first things first and a Screen protector
    08-31-12 12:39 AM
  17. TooSlim55's Avatar
    The daughter of a friend takes her PB with keyboard to classes to take notes. Her laptop stays in her room.

    She used the PB alone last year and found it a perfect class companion and feels it will be even better this year.
    Do you know what app she uses for note taking? If not, anyone know of one?
    08-31-12 04:25 AM
  18. berry124's Avatar
    I use the pb in classes taking notes on the hardware keyboard of the keyboardcase, works very well.
    With the hdmi-conector it's very handy to give presentations. For the price, it's still a fantastic tool!
    08-31-12 04:31 AM
  19. ILUMINATIUNDEAD's Avatar
    I still have my macbook at home which is supposed to be for university. But I turned it into a home computer after spilling ice tea on it unless I wanna spend 600 to replace the logic board just so it recognizes the battery.

    Soo with what the majority of what people said on here, I might be better off getting another cheap laptop. Still not sure yet, but thanks!
    08-31-12 02:16 PM
  20. CrackedBarry's Avatar
    Playbook has its uses if you know you for whatever reason will come in contact with a lot of Flash. I know it's quite common on some universities and online courses.

    But if you know it's not a requirement of yours, an iPad is really the way to go for students.

    For some professions there is a plethora of apps (medical or engineering, for example) that just ain't available on other platforms. And there is the awesome iTunes University that anyone, but especially a student will enjoy and find useful.

    Hope you get a tablet you'll like...
    jpash549 likes this.
    08-31-12 03:21 PM
  21. CrackedBarry's Avatar
    Oh, and for those who don't know what iTunes University is, it's basically an archive of lectures by some of the best lecturers in their field of academia. Some are video, some are audio, but basically there is everything in there from lecture series on Ancient Greece to String Theory and quantum physics.

    There are also textbooks there for purchase and/or downloading, and in some cases it's the only way to get a digital version of your textbook.

    This is a good reason why you see so many iPads on campus these days IMHO. And why an iPad in some cases is the recommended tablet for a particular course or class.
    08-31-12 03:35 PM
  22. rcheung135's Avatar
    As a university student, I've found that a laptop is absolutely necessary and cannot be replaced by a PlayBook (I'm in Math, Accounting, Finance and Economics).

    On the other hand, I have seen students carry iPads with them to class, if the notes are on PDFs or powerpoint. Sometimes a notebook (a real paper notebook) and pen is all you need.
    08-31-12 04:09 PM
  23. xKrNMBoYx's Avatar
    In no way is a Playbook + Keyboard a laptop replacement. It just can't do everything a PC can do.

    If you really want something light and capable one of the Win 8 tablets with keyboard dock will be a good choice, or a ultra book.

    Depending on what classes you take/major you will need to go use a PC or a Mac. I'm sure your school has computer labs in several places so you could technically go with a playbook + keyboard, but i don't know what you would do during classes. I still have a netbook I carry around along with my S3 and Playbook, but lugging one laptop would be much easier for me.

    Ultrabooks are not bad either.

    In my opinion a playbook screen is a bit too small to use it as a textbook reader.
    08-31-12 09:48 PM
  24. kill_9's Avatar
    I LOVE my PlayBook, but it isn't an ideal primary device for schoolwork. You will NEED a laptop/desktop computer.
    Your claim is not supported by a reasoned argument. I dare say the majority of undergraduate university students in the arts, humanities, social science faculties could effectively use the BlackBerry PlayBook during their four years in an academic environment. A notebook computer or desktop computer is not a requirement for these students despite your assertion to the contrary. The combination of BlackBerry PlayBook, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and a carefully selected suite of applications and/or web browser accessible services would meet the needs of these students.
    10-31-12 02:31 PM
  25. kill_9's Avatar
    You'll thank yourself when it's crunchtime for essays and you're grinding out a paper on a proper word processor. I speak from experience.
    Even if it's just for notes, a laptop is still more practical for sharing or collaboration.
    If the OP is writing essays and printing them or submitting them electronically and those documents are not being marked-up by the professor, lecturer, or teaching assistant the student could and should be using LaTeX and producing a PDF document for submission. As for document sharing and collaboration there are cloud services (storage and multi-person editing) when the situation warrants. Is the current application ecosystem perfect yet? Nope, but it is slowly improving and cloud services are filling some of these gaps in the interim. The 8+ hour battery life of the BlackBerry PlayBook beats the 4 hour battery of any notebook computer.
    10-31-12 02:54 PM
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