Remarkable - the e-ink notebook

Dear Remarkable,


We need to talk about the gadget we share. But before we do, let me introduce you to those who still don’t know you…

Quick Review

Remarkable is an e-ink table, with a very limited set of functionality. Unlike some of the alternatives, it doesn’t try to be a e-ink table.

Remarkable is, by design, a digital notebook and nothing else. It allows you to create, manage and use virtual notebooks, it allows you to read an annotate a small set of “e-book” formats and little more.

It uses a passive pen, with replaceable tips - that get used very quickly if you use your decide a lot - using only the remarkable to take notes in meeting all day long, as well as, to doodle, make initial sketches of diagrams, databases, etc for work and some of my hobbies, a single tip last for about a week.

Writing in the remarkable is very similar to using pen and paper. If you have a quick eye you may be able to see the lines coming up after the pen, but for the majority of us it is as writing in paper, as if the pen is leaving the line behind.

I used to have dozens of notebooks around, one for each project/topic. Since I started using the remarkable they are all gone and become a virtual notebook in the screen of my remarkable.

Best gadget I bought in a long time.

Our shared device

No, back to you, Remarkable, and this conversation we need to have…

You see, I would like to make it more mine because at the moment I have the feeling it is a lot more yours than mine.

Let me explain what I mean…


While the remarkable comes with a comprehensive selection of page templates, I would like to be able to add my own. Yes, yes, the internet is full of tutorials and tools to do that exactly, but there is only one problem with all of them, and it is up to you, Remarkable, to provide us with a real solution.

You see, all the tutorials is that all of them tell us where to put our templates, and which pre-existing file to change to get the remarkable to recognize the new templates and start showing them.

While hackish, that is not really the problem with this solution. The problem is that every single time you publish an upgrade to the software, all of this customizations are deleted and everything reverts to your settings - which to me is expected.

And all the notebooks that used this templates not complain that they can’t find the templates, and they do it for every single page you try to see - and, obviously, they then get updated to whatever is the default template.

Splash screens

Another area where you can find plenty of tutorials on how to customize your remarkable is the splash screens - there are an handful of them, and this, too, is another part of their remarkable a lot of users would love to personalize.

I made my all Firefly - yes, I’m a bit of a browncoat, but there are plenty of other themes people would love to use.

Guess what… All of this tutorials have the same problem as those above - the customizations go away after each upgrade.

A suggestion

I think a solution for both of this problems, that is simple to implement, easy to maintain and would make all of us, remarkable owners, happy is having a directory in the home directory for this personalization items.

This directory would be loaded on start up, just like the main one is, after the system directory, and any files there would replace or be added to the files in the system directory.

So, in the case of the templates, the templates in the home would be added to the templates in the system directory, while for the splash images, they would replace the images with the same name.

That would leave out the initial boot image, but hey, if we can customize everything else, we can let that one slide - or you can have some tool that on shutdown (or after start up) checks if there is a new start image in the home directory and generate a properly formatted copy into the boot directory.

On to the defaults

Now, the bigger personalization out of the way, there are a few smaller details that would be nice to have, they are related with when we create a new notebook

default pen

When we create a new notebook, it is always started with the same pen, a fine liner, with thick black line. While this seem fine defaults, they are one someone’s preference, there is no objective reason to say that this are the best possible defaults for everyone.

Personally, I like to use the super thin black ballpoint - yes, I use my remarkable almost exclusively to write, not to draw, but hey, I bet there other weirdos like me out there.

default template

Again, as with the default pen, the default template is someone’s choice, but I would love it to be my choice. More often than not I would love the default template of my just created notebook to be my “title dotted” template - which is a fully dotted page, just one of yours, with two line segments in the top, for a title and a date.

Advanced wishlist

The stuff until now are about support things that your community is already doing with their remarkable - sometimes with some risks (don’t ask me what happened to my remarkable 1 - the one in the picture).

In this section I would like to give you a few suggestions for more advanced stuff.

Notebook templates

While having page templates is really nice - and being able to customize them would be great, When we start talking about notebook templates, then a new kind of magic becomes possible.

First it the basic template with a cover and a first page, and more pages added that are just the same as the second one.

But other things become possible, like those diaries that have a different quote every day; or the weekly planner, with a week cover and daily pages for more details; or the cartoon of the day diary/planner; or… you get the idea, don’t you?

folder synchronization

While having the notebooks backup to your cloud is… nice, it would be nice to be able to do the same with some other provider, specially with those that also allow you to mount their cloud directory in your computer - I’m thinking google drive, dropbox, etc - but it would also be nice to do the same with a basic webdav/nfs/samba folder.

This would enable us a bit more privacy - yes, I know it is an outdated concept, but I still like to make a bit of an effort, but it would also enable a simple way to transfer files into the device - we drop them into the shared folder in the computer and it shows up in the remarkable - how amazing would that be?

Open source format

And now, let’s get really, really crazy… What if the notebooks were in an open format that could be used both in the remarkable and tablets and computers?