Boogie Board Sync and how to merge multiple PDFs into one PDF

My wife surprised me with a cool gadget called Boogie Board Sync, which allows me to write down notes in a natural way and digitally save them to PDFs.

bbs

It pretty much works as advertised. You write down a single page worth of notes, then press ‘Save’ button to save it. You have a choice to transfer a copy of the notes as a PNG image or PDF document (my preference).  Since Boogie Board records your writing as vectors, the final output is crystal clear when you print or view them on your computer or mobile device.

How sharp?  Here’s a close up of my terrible handwriting as a vector-based PDF at 400% zoom:

closeup1

 

I only have two gripes about the Boogie Board Sync:

  1. Each saved page is transferred individually as one page PDF.  There’s no way to group together a few pages of notes into a single PDF.
  2. I prefer to write on the board in landscape orientation, rather than portrait. The resulting PDFs come out sideways when you open them in a PDF viewer program.

bbs-list

 

 

unrotated

There’s no choice but going the extra mile to get Boogie Board Sync to work the way I want it to by collecting multiple pages of notes into a single PDF and all pages are rotated 90 degrees clockwise so that I can view them without constantly turning my head to the left.

There are multiple websites that will merge/rotate your PDFs into a single PDF but I’m leery about these sites. Who knows what they will do with your PDFs once you upload them to get their “free” service?  NO THANKS!  I prefer to do it locally on my computer.

There are, indeed, a number of paid software one could buy to run some PDF magic. However, being a computer geek, I preferred to go the open-source (free) approach, if there was one.

Sejda is a console-based command-line utility that can take care of PDF magic for you.

While the installation says Sejda requires (*quelle horreur*) Java 1.5 or older, it works fine with Java 1.7.

Once you have a working installation of Sejda, it’s a snap to group together PDFs into a single PDF and then rotate them 90 degrees:

Rotate each PDF file 90 degrees clockwise:
mkdir ./rotated
sejda-console rotate –pageRotation all:90 -o ./rotated –files *.PDF

Merge multiple PDFs into a single PDF:
cd ./rotated
sejda-console merge -o ./merged.pdf –files *.pdf

Here’s the final merged PDF that’s correctly rotated for ease of viewing:

merged

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  • Nils Krah

    Thank you for the interesting experience. I was wondering if it is possible to come back to previously saved notes on the Boogie or if the saving process is essentially one way, i.e., edit -> save -> open new page ? Thanks in advance.

  • You cannot return to previous notes or edit them on the Boogie board.

  • Joseph

    If the Boogie Board Sync 2 offers the ability to use a pen button as an eraser and can let you pull up previous saves for additions, it will dominate. Option of a backlight would seal the deal.

    The company’s gotta know this already, so I’m really just stating the obvious. :D

  • If it’s primarily for note taking or study notes, it’s not as much of a show-stopper as you think it would be.