I Get Questions re: Adonit Pixel, iPad 6th Generation, and Notetaking #amwriting

A reader recently asked:

I read your post about using the adonit pixel with an ipad 6th gen!

I’d like to buy this gen ipad for notetaking @ school. You mentioned this pair worked fine (despite not being listed on adonit’s site as a compatible apple device)

I was wondering if you could describe what it likes to actually write notes on a notetaking app? it would help a lot with making my decision on whether or not to just chuck my pixel for the apple pencil.

First, my disclaimer: I’ve never actually used my iPad for note-taking in class, nor do I use anything else. I’m the world’s worst classroom note-taker. I survived my university experiences by borrowing others’ notes, reading classroom handouts, or by reading the text. Just reading, not taking notes. Occasionally, I’d use Post-its to mark important passages. My ADHD makes it difficult to learn from listening; if I try to actually take notes at the same time the result is that I learn nothing. My primary learning modes are reading and hands-on. I will make notes during hands-on exercises, though.

So given that my experience is 95% based on creating background notes for my novels, any note-taking app will work with the Adonit Pixel; turn it on and it will act like a plain capacitative stylus, or your finger. The problem is that if you want to be able to use its pressure-sensitive and palm-rejecting capabilities, you’ll need to use a note-taking app that supports those. Adonit have a list of apps that support these features with the Pixel on this page.

What’s more important, in my opinion, is choosing a note-taking app that works well with your method of note-taking. If your system works well with, say, Apple Notes, then use Apple Notes. Same for Notability, Goodnotes, or my personal favourite, NoteShelf. There are many others to choose among. I chose NoteShelf for its flexibility and its superior integration with Evernote, but Evernote integration may not be important to you. If the note-taking app which works best for you doesn’t support the Pixel’s pressure sensitivity and this is important to you, by all means go get an Apple Pencil.

iPad 6th Generation v. Adonit Pixel Stylus—Review #amwriting

It’s frustrating being an Adonit stylus fangirl, sometimes. Adonit themselves seem content to ignore new iPad releases. I’ve had an Adonit Pixel stylus since April 2017, and I couldn’t find any information as to whether my stylus would work with an iPad 6th generation, which has been available for more than a year.

My new iPad 6th Gen. and my older Adonit Pixel Bluetooth Stylus get along just fine!

But my iPad Air 2 (it’s three years old) was rapidly dying, so last week I replaced it with an iPad 6 and took a chance that I wouldn’t need to buy an Apple Pencil.

I win!

My Pixel stylus works fine with my iPad 6. All my drawing apps that supported the Pixel before still support it (except for Astropad, who are abandoning all pressure-sensitive styluses except for Apple Pencil.)

To give a brief recap of the relative merits of Adonit Pixel v. Apple Pencil:

Pixel Pros

  • It has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
  • It works with iPhones.
  • It has programmable function buttons.
  • It’s less expensive than an Apple Pencil.
  • Its battery is durable. Mine is still going strong after 2 years.

Pixel Cons

  • It doesn’t work with iPad Pro models.
  • It connects with specific apps rather than with the iPad or iPhone as a whole.
  • It requires some setup to get the most from the stylus. In particular, a user needs to set his or her handwriting angle in each app that supports Pixel. The little hand position diagrams can be misleading—best practice is to try each angle setting in each app to see which works best.

Apple Pencil Pros

  • If Apple says it works with a device, then it does. No experimentation is needed.
  • It’s both pressure and angle sensitive.
  • Setup is like that of any other Bluetooth device.
  • It’s not limited to use only in apps that support it.

Apple Pencil Cons

  • The Pencil doesn’t work with any iPhone, and is limited to iPad Pro models, and very recent less-expensive iPad models.
  • It’s more expensive than the Adonit Pixel.
  • It has no function buttons.
  • There are problems with the Pencil battery if you don’t use the Pencil often.

Honestly, if I were buying now, it would be a hard decision. I’m accustomed to my apps that support the Pixel, so the Pencil’s usability in more apps isn’t persuasive. On the other hand, Apple will make sure that the Pencil will work with my iPad 6 through iOS upgrades regardless. There’s no such assurance for the Pixel.

If my Pixel should bite the dust, I’ll probably get an Apple Pencil. But as long as my Pixel holds out, I’ll enjoy pressure-sensitive drawing on my iPhone as well as on my iPad.

Late Night Tech Wrestling: Vivaldi, Rescuetime, Adonit Pixel #amwriting

I’m a sucker for a new stylus in town—the Adonit Pixel

Last night was an all-nighter squaring away new tech in my writing universe.

First the Adonit Pixel. I love it—Adonit have made many small changes from its last incarnation (the Jot Touch), all for the better. The tip is improved. The diameter is slightly smaller. It has better battery life. The function buttons haven’t changed location, but they are stiffer, making it harder to click them by accident—and if you do click them accidentally in the middle of writing or drawing, the drawing is given priority over the button command.

What doesn’t it have? Look at the photo very carefully—what’s wrong with this picture?

No pocket clip, that’s what. Not only that, but the stylus is perfectly round, so that I don’t dare lay it down on a table or desk—it will roll if the surface is even slightly off level.

I finally got disgusted at 2 am and got two pairs of pliers and a Fisher Space Pen removable pen clip. I bent the tines of the round barrel grip outwards until it freaking fit the oversized body of the Pixel. Problem solved.

My new Mac browser—Vivaldi

Then there was the browser thing. Firefox for Mac has broken so that it can’t be used to drag webpages to Scrivener. I had replaced it with a new-ish entry into the browser sweepstakes, Vivaldi. It’s wonderful—speedy, flexible, and takes Chrome extensions as if they were made for it.

But at 3 am I found out to my sorrow that Rescuetime had not been logging my websites—it just had a great lump sum entry for Vivaldi as a “utility.”

At 3 am I was not making great decisions. I tried installing the Rescuetime Chrome extension into Vivaldi—no dice. I switched back to Firefox, but it still had its problems. I even tried switching to Safari—a mark of true desperation. Finally I tried looking at the Rescuetime help pages.

By this time it was 4 am. I had to read everything twice because I kept missing obvious stuff. I finally got it through my sleep-deprived brain that

  1. Rescuetime does not now nor has it ever supported Vivaldi, and probably never will.
  2. There is a workaround involving the very Chrome extension that I had given up on.

The workaround:

First, lie to Rescuetime the Chrome extension in Vivaldi and tell it you don’t have the Rescuetime the App installed on your system. Then, go to Rescuetime.com, drill through reports until you see Vivaldi time only, and tell Rescuetime.com (and therefore Rescuetime the App) to ignore all Vivaldi time.

Voila! The Rescuetime app records no time for Vivaldi. Meanwhile, Rescuetime the Chrome extension, thinking that there is no Rescuetime app, reports all the detailed website time. Rescuetime the App continues to report the time spent in Scrivener and in Solitaire. Problem solved.

(If you need the workaround, please go to the Rescuetime help link above for details missing in my description.)

The moral of this story: I should write down things to do like “put a pen clip onto my Adonit Pixel” and “Figure out why Rescuetime is barfing up Vivaldi website time” at 2 am and go to sleep.

But I probably won’t.