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XP Pen Note Plus is a Magical Paper Notepad That Scans Everything You Write

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Our verdict of the XP Pen Note Plus:
A clever concept that bridges the digital divide and saves your paper scribbles, works with any A5 notepad, and for an entirely reasonable price. But it’s seriously let down by a buggy app, and if you want to make changes to previously written notes, the concept starts to fall down flat.
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Putting pen to paper is so much more satisfying than writing on a screen. But if you need to share your creation, or back it up, your options are to take a bad photo or get a scanner. The XP Pen Note Plus is really quite magical. It’s a paper notepad, but anything you write on it is synced with the accompanying app via Bluetooth. And it costs less than $100.

XP Pen has carved a name for themselves offering digital artist tablets at affordable prices, but for those of us who prefer a pen and paper, can this device bridge the divide?

Yes, It Works With Any Notepad!

You’re probably thinking that this sort of tech needs a special type of paper, or a particular replaceable notepad. The good news is that any slimline A5 notepad will fit, and works just fine.

The back page tucks into the Note Plus folder, and the whole thing weighs less than a pound.

You do however need to use the supplied ballpoint pen. XP Pen sells replacement ballpoint cartridges, but they appear to be standard Ministar refills, so you should be able to find them anywhere.

How Does It Work?

To use the Note Plus, open the stylish folder, turn to your latest artistic creation, and carry on writing. It’s hardly complicated, assuming you have battery power. The device will automatically power on when opened and begin recording your pen strokes.

To start a new page, press the single button on the bottom edge of the folder. A small white LED will flash to indicate you’ve started a new page. If you forget to do this, or it doesn’t register, then your pages become a muddled mess and chaos will reign.

three pages in one on the xp pen note plus
Did I forget to press the button?

Besides this single button, you’ll find a proprietary magnetic charging port. Use the supplied cable with any standard USB charger. A single charge should last around 10 hours of continuous use, with a standby time of a month.

The XP Pen Note Plus has enough internal memory for around 50 pages before they need to be synced or deleted.

xp pen note plus sketching a design

But Where to Put That Pen?

The only design flaw in the Note Plus is that there’s nowhere to store the pen. Which, considering it can only be used with that pen and therefore it isn’t really something you’d want to lose, seems like a significant oversight. I’m sure they could have made the folder a bit bulkier and included somewhere to tuck it in.

How to Sync Your Notes?

Open up the accompanying app, and after the initial pairing is complete, it should reconnect over Bluetooth. Pull down from the top and hit sync.

Or at least this is how it should work in theory. In my testing on an iPhone X, I needed to pair every single time I opened the app. This was quite frustrating, but I’m confident it’s a software bug they can fix. I’ve yet to receive a response on my support request, but that’s forgivable given the situation in China at the moment.

Once your notes are synced, you can use the text recognition button to turn them into digital text. Since I’ve had a keyboard close to hand since the age of about three, my writing is barely legible to humans, let alone machine AI. Frankly, the concept of turning your written note into a digitally recognized text seems a little pointless, since you probably would have been a lot faster to just type it out in the first place.

Another seemingly pointless feature is the ability to “playback” your creation. This shows an animated representation of your pen strokes. While I’m sure it’s fascinating to see a true artist at work, this feature doesn’t quite convey the same beauty of the pen stroke. What this feature does allow you to do, however, is fix merged pages by painstakingly watching for the moment you started a new page but forgot to press the new page button, and then hit the split to create two separate pages.

Be very careful though, because if you miss the right spot, you’ll have to start again from the start. For an example of horrible design choices, observe the final UI screenshot above. The skip back button doesn’t, in fact, go back, it just slows down the playback. The forward button doesn’t go forward, it speeds up playback. And the progress slider? You can’t actually drag it. It’s just a visual indicator. After discovering this fact, I hit the main back button to go back and try again at splitting my accidentally merged pages; and then the app crashed.

Can You Edit Previous Notes?

Normally, adding some scribbles to a previous page in a paper notepad would be a relatively simple affair. Turn to the page, and keep writing! But with the Note Plus, it’s not quite as simple, since the only button on the device itself is to start a new page. If you’ve already started a new page, there’s no way to tell it you want to go back again.

However, it is actually possible to make changes to previously synced notes. Just open the app, select the note you want to edit, then select the edit button in the top right. Then tap to confirm. Keep the app open while you write on the page, and the additions will sync live with the app. You can even change the color, though I hope I don’t need to point out that this is only going to be on the digital copy, not your physical original. Yes, it’s weird.

xp pen note plus live editing

Do You Really Need to Save Your Scribbles?

The XP Pen Note Plus is a unique and fascinating concept that really does manage to bridge the divide between a physical pen and paper, and digital storage. It creates a perfect copy of your creation, recording individual strokes. Assuming you want to use a ballpoint pen that is, not a pencil.

It’s truly magical to see it in action. You couldn’t design a product that’s easier to use, really. Unless you want to edit something you wrote a few pages back, then you’ll need to keep the app open and Bluetooth connected.

For less than $100, you can’t go too wrong. But only if they can fix the Bluetooth pairing bug, which makes every sync a bit of a chore at the moment.

My closest comparison will have to be an iPad or Android tablet. And for most people, the truth is that a tablet will simply be more convenient and a better value device in the long run. If you don’t particularly care where you jot down notes, an iPad will serve you better and do so much more. But just as telling a book lover to buy a kindle isn’t particularly helpful, if you’re the type of person who just can’t abide writing on a digital screen, the Note Plus might be precisely the product you’ve been looking for.

Got that creative bug but not sure if the XP Pen Note Plus is right for you? Check out XP Pen’s full range of great value digital drawing tablets!

Thanks to XP Pen, we have another Note Plus to give away to one lucky reader. Just enter your details below, and be sure to watch the review video to find the bonus code. Good luck!

Enter the Competition!

XP Pen Note Plus Giveaway

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The Essential Tmux Commands Cheat Sheet

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Running commands in the terminal allows you to do many tasks more quickly than you could using a graphical application. But command prompts aren’t all that great for multitasking, at least not without some help. And that’s where tmux comes in.

Tmux or terminal multiplexer is a command line program that enables you to run and view multiple commands in a single terminal window simultaneously. Each command exists in its own window pane as though you were using a full-blown tiling window manager.

To help you get started with tmux, we have compiled key tmux terms and commands in the cheat sheet below.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Essential Tmux Commands Cheat Sheet.

The Essential Tmux Commands Cheat Sheet

Shortcut Action
General
¹Ctrl + b Default prefix key
t Show time (ESC returns to the terminal)
: Enter a command (Example: “:new-session”)
list-commands List all commands that tmux supports
Tmux Terms
Pane An open command prompt (or pseudo-terminal). Panes may appear side by side or vertically stacked inside a window.
Window Your view of open panes
Session A set of open windows
Client The background process that displays your session
Server A single server manages all open sessions (Servers and clients are separate processes that each communicate through a socket in /tmp.)
Creating and Managing Panes
% Split screen or pane in half vertically, creating a new pane on the right
Split screen or pane in half horizontally, creating a new pane at the bottom
Switch to the adjacent pane
o Switch to the next pane
q Show pane numbers (when numbers appear, press number to switch to that pane)
{ Move current pane to the left
} Move current pane to the right
x Close the current pane
Ctrl + Resize pane in steps of one cell
Alt + Resize pane in steps of five cells
Alt + 1 Arrange panes in the even-horizontal preset layout
Alt + 2 Arrange panes in the even-vertical preset layout
Alt + 3 Arrange panes in the main-horizontal preset layout
Alt + 4 Arrange panes in the main-vertical preset layout
Alt + 5 Arrange panes in the tiled preset layout
Creating and Managing Windows
c Create a new window
! Detach pane into a new window
n Switch to the previous window (in order of creation)
p Switch to the next window (in order of creation)
l Switch to the window used most recently
w List all windows and their corresponding numbers
Switch to the corresponding window
, Rename current window
i Display info about the current window
f Search for text in open windows (ESC exits the search)
Creating and Managing Sessions
new-session Create a new session
$ Rename current session
list-sessions List open sessions
attach-session Create a new client and attach it to the specified session (-t target-session)
detach-client -s target-session Detach clients attached to the current session
kill-session Destroy the current or specified session
¹To activate a shortcut, you must first press and release the prefix key, then press the shortcut key.

More Help With the Linux Command Line

The commands above help you work in tmux using multiple panes, windows, and sessions. If you really want to make tmux your own, you can go further by editing the configuration file stored at the following location:

/etc/tmux.conf

You can also try your hand at scripting.

When you’re working exclusively from the terminal, installing tmux is akin to installing a window manager. This gives you more flexibility when working on servers or other devices without an attached screen. Have fun exploring tmux! And if you’re looking for more command line resources, take a look at our Linux commands reference cheat sheet next.

Read the full article: The Essential Tmux Commands Cheat Sheet



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In another security blow, thousands of private Zoom videos can be found online

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  • Zoom’s video conferencing software has soared in popularity over the past few weeks as millions of people remain stuck at home on coronavirus quarantine.
  • Zoom’s privacy record leaves much to be desired as the company has faced one controversy after another.
  • Most recently, it was discovered that thousands of private Zoom video chats can be viewed online.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

With millions of people stuck at home because of the coronavirus, Zoom’s video conferencing software has absolutely skyrocketed in popularity over the past few weeks. Just this week, the company said that the number of people using its software on a daily basis jumped from 10 million in December to 200 million in March. That’s an astounding increase and, not surprisingly, shares of Zoom have more than doubled in that same period.

Zoom’s ascension, however, hasn’t been an entirely smooth ride. The company in recent weeks has had to contend with one controversy after another. At first, word surfaced that the Zoom app on iOS was sending analytics data to Facebook, regardless of whether a user had a Facebook account of not. Following that, we learned that email addresses and photos of some Zoom users were leaking out. And of course, there was that pesky issue of strangers “zoombombing” third-party calls.

Zoom, to its credit, has been relatively quick to respond to the above issues. But just as one issue is addressed, another one seems to emerge. To this end, The Washington Post is reporting that thousands of Zoom recordings in the cloud can be accessed and viewed by complete strangers due to the way the files are named.

When you engage in a video call, it’s only natural to assume that your conversation will not ever be viewed by a third-party. As it turns out, that’s a dangerous assumption to make if you’re using Zoom to discuss sensitive and potentially embarrassing personal information.

Videos viewed by The Washington Post included one-on-one therapy sessions; a training orientation for workers doing telehealth calls that included people’s names and phone numbers; small-business meetings that included private company financial statements; and elementary school classes, in which children’s faces, voices and personal details were exposed.

Many of the videos include personally identifiable information and deeply intimate conversations, recorded in people’s homes. Other videos include nudity, such as one in which an aesthetician teaches students how to give a Brazilian wax.

It’s worth noting that Zoom calls are not automatically recorded. Still, the host of a call has the power to unilaterally save video chats to their computer or to Zoom’s own servers.

With the security issues involving Zoom seemingly growing by the day, company founder and CEO Eric S. Yuan explained that many of the issues stem from the fact that the company didn’t anticipate Zoom being used to this extent outside of the enterprise.

“Our platform was built primarily for enterprise customers – large institutions with full IT support,” Yuan said. “However, we did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.”

As to the most recent security issue, the company issued the following statement on the matter:

Zoom notifies participants when a host chooses to record a meeting, and provides a safe and secure way for hosts to store recordings. Zoom meetings are only recorded at the host’s choice either locally on the host’s machine or in the Zoom cloud. Should hosts later choose to upload their meeting recordings anywhere else, we urge them to use extreme caution and be transparent with meeting participants, giving careful consideration to whether the meeting contains sensitive information and to participants’ reasonable expectations.

All this being said, Yuan a few days ago said that Zoom will be implementing a 90-day freeze on new features to allow its engineers some time to address the aforementioned security concerns.



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Potential coronavirus vaccine shows hope in mouse study

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A researcher at the University of Pittsburgh works on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate (Reuters)

Initial tests in mice of a potential COVID-19 vaccine delivered via a fingertip-sized patch have shown it can induce an immune response against the new coronavirus at levels that might prevent infection, U.S. scientists said on Thursday.

Researchers around the world are working to develop potential treatments or vaccines against the respiratory disease that has killed nearly 47,000 people and infected almost a million in just a few months.

A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the United States said they were able to move quickly in developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine after working on other coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

‘These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2 (the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic), teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,’ said Andrea Gambotto, an associate professor at Pittsburgh.

‘We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.’

When tested in mice, the prototype vaccine – which the researchers have called PittCoVacc – generated what they described as ‘a surge of antibodies’ against the new coronavirus within two weeks.

The Pittsburgh researchers cautioned that because the animals have not been tracked for very long as yet, it is too early to say whether and for how long the immune response against COVID-19 lasts.

But they said that in comparable tests in mice with their MERS experimental vaccine, a sufficient level of antibodies was produced to neutralize the virus for at least a year.

Researchers have tested a prototype of the vaccine on mice (Getty Images)

Researchers have tested a prototype of the vaccine on mice (Getty Images)

So far, the antibody levels of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated animals seem to be following the same trend, they said in peer-reviewed study in the journal EBioMedicine.

The team said they hope to start testing the vaccine candidate on people in clinical trials in the next few months.

The potential vaccine uses a needle patch design, called a microneedle array, to increase its potential potency.

This array is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles made out of sugar and the spike protein, Gambotto explained. It is designed to deliver the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest.



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