Initial Review of the Rocketbook Core Reusable Notebook

I just received the Rocketbook Core (formerly known as the Rocketbook Everlast), a notebook with reusable pages, erasable with water and a microfiber cloth.

With the help of the Rocketbook app, the notebook’s pages can be quickly scanned (photographed) and uploaded to Google Drive, along with a typed version of the document. The pages can be uploaded to other destinations as well, but I’ve only tested two of these, Google Drive and OneDrive. With OneDrive, no transcription could be sent.

Below is the original document written in Rocketbook. The special pen moved easily across the flexible plastic page and writing required minimal hand pressure. I found it easier to write on the Rocketbook pages than with pen and paper. Although I’d read complaints that the special ink dries slowly, it seemed to dry as quickly as that of any gel pen.

There are dots across the Rocketbook pages, and symbols at the bottom of each page. The symbols are assigned to various destinations via the Rocketbook app. Draw an X through one of the symbols, and the app sends the scanned document to its chosen destination.

The dots on the page may help the application, but they are too faint to be used as writing guides. Both the dots and destination symbols are barely detectable to the human eye.

Original document written in a Rocketbook.

In the photo above, note the slug at the top of the page (## Rocketbook Trial 2021 08 27 ##). This assigned a file name to the document.

Below is the transcription created by the Rocketbook app.

I copied the transcribed text into Microsoft Word. Rocketbook read each line as a separate sentence, so I had to manually go in and delete the line breaks.

The app also didn’t like the way I write the letter “I”, so I may modify my handwriting to accommodate that preference.

It identified bulleted lists, but performed better during a previous trial. In that trial, the items following bullets were of shorter length. They were not long sentences as in this document. I found that it was also helpful to add a period after each bulleted item. Otherwise, Rocketbook did creative things with the empty space.

Below is the Word-corrected document. I’ve noted the changes in red. It took 3 minutes and 20 seconds to reformat and correct the transcription.

Although the transcription wasn’t perfect, Rocketbook is still a useful tool that I’ll be using in the future–likely daily.

It is also affordable for the average person. I ordered mine from the Rocketbook web site, and received the notebook, a microfiber cloth, and 3 back-up pens for under $35.00

(This review was unsolicited and unsponsored.)

ADDENDUM: I created a macro in Microsoft Word that will format transcriptions with the click of a button. The macro finds all of the double paragraph-marks that Rocketbook places at the end of each line. It replaces the double paragraph-marks with a single space. The macro also looks for the number 2 with a space on each side (since I often write 2 instead of “to” when I’m in a hurry). Additionally, it replaces pp (two p’s with space on either side) with double-paragraph symbols. This allows me to divide paragraphs while writing by hand. I simply place two p’s (with a space on either side) between the period of one paragraph and the first letter of the following paragraph (For example: And that concludes that story. pp Now on to something else…). Now my Rocketbook transcription takes only moments to format.

Using a Google Drive App to Convert Handwriting into Text

Today I experimented with using Google Docs (a Google Drive app) to convert handwritten documents into text. After running 6 trials, I found that the app:

  • Prefers smaller to larger print (My “small” handwriting is actually medium-sized. I tend to write large.)
  • Can handle lined paper as long as the lines are lighter than the ink.
  • Doesn’t recognize formatting, so it’s best to write everything as one long paragraph, and then insert line-breaks manually.
  • Is terrible at deciphering cursive writing.
  • Tries to interpret mistakes. If you cross out a word, Google Docs will insert what it believes the word to be.
  • Doesn’t like circled numbers, so try to format your numbers as you’d like them to appear in the document.

So how did Google Docs do overall? Once I learned its preferences, it transcribed my document fairly well. Here and there it misinterpreted punctuation, and it misspelled one word.

Some transcribed words were in different colors and fonts. This was easily remedied by selecting all text and then changing the color and font for the entire document.

It only took me 3 minutes and 18 seconds to change the converted document into something readable and presentable (see comparative photos below.)

To use the Google Docs app:

  1. Upload the scanned or photographed document (pdf or jpeg) to Google Drive.
  2. Right-click on the file.
  3. Choose Open with…
  4. Choose Google Docs.

The handwritten text opens as a text file. Note that, with jpegs, the picture opens first. The text is printed beneath it.

Handwritten document
The upper portion of the document was transcribed by Google Docs.
The notes were added later.
It took roughly 3 minutes to format the document transcribed by Google Docs.

Changing a Photo to a Painting

The base image was created with BeFunky, an online photo-editing app, using the “Artsy” setting and the “Pastel” option.
The image was then further enhanced with PaintShop Pro.
Un-enhanced BeFunky image using the Artsy-Pastel option.
Unedited original photo.

I enjoy experimenting with photo-editing software. Today I tested an online app called BeFunky. It was relatively easy to convert an image to a painting using the “Artsy” setting and the “Pastel” option (Digital Art, Oil Painting, and Watercolor options were also available). However, I still wasn’t satisfied with the lighting and vibrancy of the image.

Although adjustments for these were available on the BeFunky web site, I found it easier to transfer the photo to PaintShop Pro and complete my adjustments with the software I’ve become familiar with.

All programs have their strengths and weaknesses, and I see no need to limit myself to one (although the expense of running separate programs can be a significant factor at times).

A Tree Frog Adventure

I had a small adventure at the Jacksonville Zoo. I was in the Florida reptile house, and a large frog was splayed on one of the glass doors. It was a Cuban Treefrog and was about the length of my hand.

A volunteer was in the building and said she didn’t want to let it out until she was sure it wasn’t part of the collection. She knocked on the door to the keeper area, but no one answered. So she ran down the path to have someone radio a reptile keeper.

I told her I would keep an eye on where the animal went, and keep people from entering the exhibit through that door (both to prevent escape and to keep the animal from getting crushed). Help arrived in the form of a more experienced volunteer who loved reptiles. She tried to catch the frog, but it jumped out of her hands and then squeezed itself into a corner. It looked up at us as though to say, “Are you going to hurt me?”

It had a right to fear. The first volunteer said they should freeze it, since it was an introduced species. The more experienced volunteer said they turn them loose; they come in all the time. Hurray! We opened the door, and it jumped out in a single leap.

Until today, I never thought of frogs as having deep feelings. But this frog’s expression changed my thinking. It had no desire to hurt us, and wanted only to live its life.

The Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) is an invasive species
found throughout Florida. It was introduced in the 1920s.

Photo by Kathy of Flickr

Easy Vegan Omelet Using Just Egg

Vegan omelet prepared with Just Egg and served with Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips

I recently heard of a product called Just Egg, and wanted to try making omelets with it. It took several attempts to figure out how to create an omelet with this bean-based liquid, which can be found in the egg-display case at Whole Foods. Below is the recipe.

Step 1. First grease a non-stick, 10-inch pan with olive oil.

Spread 2-3 teaspoons of oil across the pan.

Step 2. Set out the remaining ingredients:

  • 1 slice of Violife Mature Cheddar [vegan] Cheese
  • A handful of broccoli crowns
  • A slice of red pepper
  • 1/2 cup of Just Egg
Ingredients for a vegan omelet. The cheese is sliced into strips and the vegetables are then chopped.
A half-cup of Just Egg makes a single omelet.

Step 3. Slice the cheese into thin strips, and then cut the broccoli crowns and pepper slice into small pieces.

Step 4. Pour a half-cup of Just Egg onto the pre-greased pan.

Half-cup of Just Egg on a pre-greased, 10-inch pan.

Step 5. Next, set the burner to a medium-low temperature. (The highest heat setting on my stove is 10, and I set the burner to 3.)

Step 6. As the burner heats, add the chopped vegetables.

As the burner heats, add chopped vegetables to Just Egg.

Step 7. When air bubbles can be seen in the Just Egg, reduce the heat (on my stove, I lower it to 2.4).

Small bubbles and surface tension form in the egg substitute.

Step 8. Add strips of vegan cheese.

Vegan cheese is added to a Just Egg omelet before rolling.

Step 9. Fluff the edges of the Just Egg with a flexible spatula. This makes it easier to roll the omelet.

Fluffing the edges of the Just Egg base makes it easier to roll the omelet.

Step 10. When one side is firm enough to gently lift, begin rolling the omelet from one side to the other.

Although this picture shows a bit of browning, normally there is none. My rolling was a bit slow today,
since I stopped to take photos along the way.

Step 11. Finally, slide the omelet onto a plate…

Omelet made with Just Egg

Step 12. Add a bit of salsa for taste and color.

Like hash browns with your eggs, but don’t have time to prepare them? Have Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips instead.

Finished omelet made with Just Egg and served with Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips

So how does the Just Egg omelet compare to a chicken-egg omelet? In all honesty, I like the taste and texture of the Just Egg omelet better, and this is now a staple dish in my weekly diet.

For those who want to know more about Just Egg, I’m posting a picture of the ingredients label below:

Limiting ourselves with self-imposed labels

Minimalist cactus

Name-calling is hurtful. We all know that.

So why do we hurt ourselves by assigning labels to our behaviors; our very thoughts? Why do we place ourselves in categories, and rank ourselves among movements? It’s a form of self-destruction; or self-protection as we huddle behind a gossamer wall.

So what led me down this path?

I saw a YouTube video by a young woman who appeared to be in her mid-20’s. She had embraced minimalism, which is easy to do when you are young. Thinking back, I was a minimalist for at least a decade, when I had nothing; didn’t want a great deal; was busy experiencing life and learning society’s unwritten rules. Even then, I had plenty of stuff I didn’t use—objects and memorabilia from childhood and cast-offs from family members. But it all fit in a single closet, since I had so little.

Anyway, this young woman had become disenchanted with minimalism. She wanted more than two plates in her home, because she wanted to entertain friends. She wanted colorful clothes instead of the plain ones that fit her minimalist ideal. She wanted a pair of scissors other than her nail clippers. In seeking to live up to a label, she had surpassed it and ventured into asceticism. But self-deprivation is nothing new. It is, in fact, ancient. The label had imposed a magnified image, in which a multi-dimensional world was viewed through a single lens.

And wherever there is a label, there are those who take it to extremes, becoming competitors on a track with no finish line. Who is the ultimate minimalist, vegan, Christian, Buddhist, liberal, conservative, runner, body-builder, through-hiker, biker, collector, prepper, drinker, bad-ass? There are those who will argue for their own superiority beneath a label’s banner, since other people are not true [insert label here].

Perhaps being human seems too futile and fragile, and feeling superior in some way—any way—makes us feel safe in an unpredictable world. But without care, the label becomes isolating, separating us from the community; from naturally generous people with valuable gifts who can help our branches grow. Does any tree strive to remain a stick?

So what banners do I fly under? Too many to count. But they wave in the wind; are never ironed with starch. Sometimes they switch directions, or collapse in stillness.

The labels fluctuate as I grow. I’m a seed in the mud; a thorny stem; briefly a rose.
Always growing and accepting of water; nutrients; sunlight; the care of varied insects. I droop in rainstorms, stretch beneath blue skies, and dance in the wind.

Together my neighbors and I create a garden. None of us carry the ultimate bloom, since a single blossom is unsustainable. Once frozen, growth ceases. We wither beneath the weight of [glistening, sparkling, unblemished snow].

Community of cacti

Photo of cactus in white pot by Pexels with Pixabay.
Photo of colorful cacti by cetceeq with Pixabay.

An inspiring video for lovers of fungi and macrophotography

When I was in 7th grade, my science teacher gave the class several project options, one of which was to collect specimens of fungi. I liked being outside, and was keen to do this particular assignment. Mom helped by suggesting a trip to Philippe Park in Safety Harbor (FL).

Philippe Park is now manicured, but back then it was wilder. The paths were sand and gravel, and lined with wild plants. There was ample shade beneath towering oak trees, and fungi were everywhere.

I returned home with at least a dozen different species of mushrooms and lichens, and arranged them in a plastic terrarium. I was fascinated at how the fungal bodies “breathed.” The walls of the terrarium would intermittently fog for a few hours, and then clear once again.

Since then, I’ve had a fascination for mushrooms and lichens, which is why I watched the video I’m sharing now. However, this video far exceeded expectations. Although the photography allows one to see the magnificent beauty of innumerable species, it’s the story behind the photographs that leaves me inspired. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And thank you Stephen Axford. You are now one of my heroes.

Limelons: A Refreshing Melon With a Tang of Lime

Limelon, the perfect summer fruit.

One of the best parts about a plant-based diet is trying new fruits and vegetables.

This week, I passed a display of Limelons. The name suggests that the fruit tastes like lime, one of my favorite flavors. However, lime can be overpowering unless subdued by other ingredients. A part of me feared its tang might be overwhelming.

I took my find home and cut it in half. I was surprised that the fruit was white, since the flesh of melons is usually colorful. I carved off a slice and took a big bite.

It was wet and refreshing like watermelon. But the texture was smooth like cantaloupe. The overall flavor was mild, but with the lingering taste and tang of lime. A perfect summer fruit!

Today, it accompanied my lunch, spaghetti with vegetable sauce. By the end of the meal, I’d consumed two large slices of Limelon.

I’m believe this fruit could accompany nearly any dish. The flavor is clean and versatile. The fruit itself could be pureed or juiced, added to salad, or used as a margarita base.

I will warn, however, that the tang creeps up on a person. By the end of the second slice, my lips tingled with the zing of lime. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for my next meal and another slice of Limelon.

The Limelon is a hybrid fruit that was developed in Taiwan by Known-You Seed. It is the result of natural crossbreeding rather than genetic modification.

In 2012, a small number of melons were introduced to British markets, where they were an immediate success. These initial melons were yellow, with latitudinal green stripes. They were sold for only three weeks, because the fruit has a short growing season.

A Dutch company (HillFresh) bought the rights to the European market in 2019, and has continued to expand the Limelon market. In 2020, the fruit was being grown in Murcia, Spain and sold in Great Britain. Hillfresh is now investigating other countries as potential growing sites, in the hopes that Limelons can be grown year-round.

This is the first time I’ve seen the fruit in my area. I feel lucky, since it may only be available for a short time. But now that I’ve tasted it, I’ll look for it again next June.


Limelon Melons, Specialty Produce.

Bentley, Paul, Full of bite, the melon that tastes like a lime: New hybrid fruit to be launched in UK supermarkets, Daily Mail, July 4, 2012.