Using the iPod Touch for Speech Notes

Earlier this evening I used my iPod Touch to help deliver a talk about religion in Harry Potter. (I’ll release a video and article about this soon.) I scrolled through my prepared notes on the Touch screen, and that worked very well.

I couldn’t find a good application for the purpose. So I just emailed myself the notes for the talk (a friend helped me sync my mail for the Touch), then cut-and-pasted the notes into the built-in Notes program. The only mistake I made was to leave some hotlinks in the text; Notes annoyingly opens up the web browser if you accidentally touch a link (which I did once, causing a brief pause in my presentation).

I liked the Touch much more than paper. You don’t have to shuffle papers or change pages, and the Touch is very small and easy to hold without interfering with gestures. It’s easy to change hands, too.

But there are a few things I don’t like about using the Notes program for this purpose. As noted, the possibility of hitting a hotlink creates a problem. In addition, if you touch the screen just wrong, the software thinks you want to select a block of text, which is disruptive when trying to deliver a talk. If you tip the Touch, it converts the text to the horizontal format, which I did not want. Finally, while Notes displays a clock at top, far better would be a timer. It’s hard to remember the start time and figure the total elapsed time when you’re concentrating on the material of the talk.

Obviously this opens up the possibility of some clever programmer developing and selling me the type of application I’m describing. To summarize, such an app would offer the following features:

* A timer prominently displayed on part of the screen.

* The rest of the screen devoted to the notes for the talk.

* Easy thumb-tapping to change pages or scrolling (user’s choice).

* The ability to import pdf files or cut-and-paste straight text.

* No disruptions involving hotlinks, text selection, or screen reformatting with the gravity sensor.

Let me know when you’re ready to sell this to me, and I’ll gladly buy it (for a reasonable price). Until then, Notes works adequately for the purpose.


Robin E. commented August 22, 2011 at 4:36 PM
I want this app too. I would use it for teaching, for workshops, for agendas for meetings, and other stuff too (yeah, I’m kind of busy…). I was just googling if such an app already exists and hit this blog. For now I’m sticking with emailing myself my notes in pdf format, but what you describe would work much better.

The only think I would add would be a check box for every point or paragraph or whatever, so I could check each thing as I cover it and then can easily find my place again when I’ve rambled off on a tangent.

Ari commented August 22, 2011 at 4:44 PM
Keynote seems to do much of this; however, it is too beefy for my preferences, plus I’m not sure it does at good job at the basics I describe. But I haven’t tried it.