Mike's NBC-TV stories

Pen and paper apps for smart screens

The more things change, the more they stay the same. So it is with our tablets and smartphones. As cool as the technology is, sometimes, there is nothing like the feel of pen and paper. I have some apps that will let you work the old fashioned way.

Meet Notability, my new favorite note taking app for the iPhone and the iPad. You can type, of course, but I prefer using either my finger or a stylus to jot down my notes. It’s extremely fast and easy to use and when you use something like Dropbox or other cloud services to back it up, you can access those notes from any device.

oenpaperI know, I have terrible handwriting but believe not or not I can read it – and I use this app for interviews, for to-do lists, web clippings, maps, all sorts of stuff.

For Android devices, the coolest note-taking app I’ve found is called Papyrus – Natural Note Taking, an all free app that also looks and feels just like paper. You use a stylus-type pen or your finger to write on the screen. Just open the app, and start writing. You can select differ colors and looks and it’s easy to erase mistakes. You can also use it a sketchbook.

If you’re an iPad user and drawing and sketching is your thing, you need Paper. This is made for the artist in you. There are lots of drawing and sketching tools and whether an illustration or a work of art, this app is stunning. It’s free, but you’ll want some of the optional tools, which costs a couple of bucks.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.