I received my new digital pen: Livescribe on Friday.
Some of you have heard me whinging on about the notebook I lost in Edinburgh. It was full to the brim with 2 months of notes and ideas and it disappeared somewhere between the lecture theatre where I spoke in the evening, and the hotel room where I slept that night. Mighty frustrating, and, of course, so much of the content has gone for ever.
Wayne Hodgins mentioned Livescribe and I was off! It is a pen that writes on digital paper and an audio recorder that links the words spoken to the text on the page. When you dock the pen, everything is uploaded to a website with gigabytes of free storage.
In theory I have 200 hours of recording in the pen (2 G) before it needs to upload anything at all. Enough for most people!
So all notes are stored electronically as either handwritten text or ascii. And if I was listening to a conference presentation I could link my written notes to the recorded presentation. A richer experience than trying to read my writing, and then try to remember what on earth I was getting at.
The digital paper comes in a beautiful black leather notebook identical in size and shape to the Moleskeine one I carry with me everywhere. The only difference is that the blank sheets of paper are really blank in the Moelskeine, but covered in tiny dots in the Livescribe version. The infrared camera in the pen reads and transcribes what I write back onto my desktop. Very clever, and I am sure that there are many other uses that I have not yet worked out. On first test, I am deeply impressed, and won’t ever lose the contents of a notebook again if I train myself to use this beast regulalry.
What shocked me though was a big fat box of spare ink cartridges that came with it. I openned it and thought that it was empty! On further examination there was a small sheet of card inside with a small evelope attached containing my cartfridges. So for a box 2′ thick and about 5″ square, all that it contained was 99% air and 1% envelope. This measured 1″ by 3″ and is as thin as – well- an evelope. What is the justification for that? I can’t imagine. It is, quite literally, a waste of space. See for yourself.
Want to see a demo: