Remarkable - new paper tablet


#1

Hello again everybody!

I have a question as always :wink: and I want to share an experience I had. I would like to know your thoughts about it.

I’m a paper person, still in this era. I have like 5 paper notebooks that I use for different proposes: drawing designs, notes from my work, other drawings, to do lists, family, etc, etc… I just love to draw and sketch by hand. I’m of course not the only one, and this is the reason a start-up in Norway developed the remarkable tablet:

Perhaps you heard about it.
Some people recommended to me, I thought this is just amazing! Especially the archiving of some notebooks, always difficult to throw away after a couple of years… I make photos of some pages and keep some … but not an easy process.

I bought it, despite the price (very expensive!) but I just had some hardware budget within my company. And here is the thing:
The first thing you have to do when you open the tablet is to connect to the cloud service they offer for free (outsourced by …guess who: yes, google) Yes. They sync all your doc, data, you even can share notes online with other users… Till 8G is free then you will have to pay…
I read the privacy rules and the agreement to the cloud service. And I didn’t have to ask you guys if was secure or not. It was very clear that they keep everything and that they will use it ‘for their marketing proposes and better service…’’ or something like this in nice and legal words. En fin…

Of course, I didn’t connect to their cloud. In their website, they explain that it is possible to avoid the use of their cloud and then you could keep the information in the storage capacity of the remarkable tablet (8G). I thought: this is not an option, I was enthusiastic about the advantages of always being able to pass the drawings/sketches or notes to my computer and work them further or archiving them properly in my hard disks or a trusted server.

So:
I sent an email to the client service asking if I was able to transfer files to my computer not having to pass through their cloud service. They took 3 weeks for replying!

Here below their answer:

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Hi Caro,

Sorry for the late reply, my colleague accidentally closed your first ticket without answering your question in the second email. This won’t happen again and we are very sorry!

You don’t have to use our cloud function, and I urge you not to if you have very sensitive data.
You can use the USB web interface to transfer files between your computer and your reMarkable in a safe way.
Stephanie
Support Agent
Your reMarkable Team

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For the ones that do not have time to click on the link they sent here what they say:

Transfer files with a USB cable to reMarkable
How to transfer files through a USB cable with reMarkable (without Wi-Fi).

NB: This functionality is currently experimental, as we haven’t fully implemented it yet. We will work to improve how this works and looks in future software updates.

How to enable USB transfer on your reMarkable tablet:

Open Settings, and then Storage settings.
Here you’ll see the choice Enable USB web interface. Enable this.
Then, connect the device with a USB cable to your computer.
Open a browser window on your computer and enter the address 10.11.99.1.

This will show you a web window of the content on your device, and you can drag and drop content into this window to transfer epub and PDF files onto the device.

Even though this happens in a browser window, the file transfer happens through the USB cable, and not over Wi-Fi. You don’t need to be connected to the cloud to use this functionality.

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I received this email yesterday.
I asked again if it is possible to transfer the files I make on the tablet to my computer (not clear enough for me) and if it is secure (or end to end encrypted) to use the address number they give.

As I’m not a ‘digital-tech’ person, can someone tell me if this option they offer will be secure?

I think that we really suck as Society if we can’t have privacy about our personal notes!! This is kind of too much…

Sorry for the long text! Thanks for your feedback.

Caro


#2

Yes, transferring that way is as safe as transferring from any unknown USB hardware device.
By unknown I mean we do not know the hardware, it is a black box, closed source.

Want extra safety, before you hook up that device to your USB disable all outside connections, WiFi, Bluetooth and hardline, air-gap your system then connect it and transfer. Once completed reboot your system, wiping away memory, and connect to the outside again.

PS
I’m with you, pen to paper rules.

Cheers,


#3

Thanks Jonathan!
It sounds good. Then I think I will keep the tablet and I will store the content in a secure way as you suggested.
The only part I’m trying to understand is the ‘wiping away memory’. Do you mean of my MacBook?
By the way, I thought to connect the paper tablet directly to my computer, but of course, I can try using a USB stick, what sounds even more secure. I will do the try-outs (when I came back home next week) and let you know how it goes. I already said to them that I will try it and if I satisfied I will keep it, otherwise, I will return it.
I don’t think it will be a problem as it took them 3 weeks to answer my question :wink:

At least, in the case other people want to buy the tablet, they will know how it can be used in a secure way.
But it is not the easiest way. Most of the people will fall in the welcome message signing up for the free cloud service.

Thanks again,
Caro


#4

I think @jcz means wiping away the memory that was created during the session when you were transferring your files across.

This sounds very sensible and cautious to me.

When I’m using products like this (connecting to my computer), I use Little Snitch to check if there’s anything trying to “phone home”.

Thanks for sharing your experience with Remarkable. And thanks @jcz for your advice!


#5

Yep, that is what I was after, thanks @Laura



@caro if you have a Raspberry Pi lying around you could turn it into a super cool USB Sanitizer, for all those untrustworthy USB sticks, you know every single one of them. I have one at home and in the office, indispensable.

Cheers,
Jonathan


#6

Thanks, @laura, and thanks @jcz! By the way, I tried to transfer the files, and it worked very well! both sides from the computer to the tablet and vice-versa.
And about the ‘‘wiping away the memory issue’’… excuse my ignorance, is it the history of my browser? I deleted the history of my browser afterward (I use Safari). Or is it another memory what you mean? (Pardon my ignorance again… I’m an architect but not a digital one :wink:

I will check out the Raspberry Pi options, it sounds great.

And thanks for the great work you are doing!
best wishes. Caro


#7

Smart, taking the added step of wiping away your browser history :grinning:

The memory I was referring to is your computer memory. When you transfer information your computer moves that information into memory, RAM and one way to clear that memory storage out is to reboot.

For all practical purposes that step, rebooting is probably overdoing it, but if you have very sensitive information, like banking information, then I would want to wipe all RAM away and with it any traces of what was transferred.

That step, wiping away RAM, probably not something you need to do.

Keep putting that pen to paper.

Cheers,
Jonathan


#8

Thank you!
@jcz,
I’m thinking now about something else:
The fact that the paper tablet has an internet connection (is connected to my wifi) is a possibility for them to have access to the data that I create on the tablet? I don’t think so because they offer the cloud service where you can store and sync the content you create and it is clear that there is any privacy contemplated in the cloud service for the users of the tablets. So they need the cloud service to be able to have access to the data that people make in the tablets. Is this correct?


#9

Without knowing what they have done to the hardware and software no one can say 100% what can be done.

  • I remember a time when no one covered their web cameras
  • Same for microphones
  • Same for WiFi
  • You want a physical kill switch not a software one for the above

If you cannot open it, it is not yours. If it is not yours then who can say who controls what.

Cheers,
Jonathan