Faithful readers–you may recall a previous post when I expressed utter amazement at a field-hardy digital pen that really works. I still use the thing regularly, but have some minor issues with the ink cartridge…more on that later…maybe. Anyway, maybe that idea scared you. Hold on, though. I recently came across a truly non-field-hardy digital pen that works so well that I have begun to write tons of stuff down that I may not have chosen to previously. It can be coupled with an OCR program that works surprisingly well (better than the MS OneNote version, at least). It is called the Pulse Smartpen and I recommend that you try it out. This thing works well enough for me to tell perfect strangers about it. It actually has the capability of simultaneously recording audio which is then time-stamped with respect to your note-taking. I have not exploited that application beyond experimentation while goofing around with my kids, but the potential for recording key lectures, brainstorming sessions, and (please no!) faculty meetings is pretty obvious. Below is a snippet of some of my amazingly insightful note-taking and the ocr program’s surprisingly good attempt at deciphering it:
Why would you want one of these? Why not is really the question. For one thing it is a pen…you probably use those. For another, it is a digital pen! It creates backup just by being used. Also, you can be truly untethered from your laptop at a meeting (I abhore using a laptop during a meeting and am sure that many people that do are surfing the internet).
Here’s what I don’t like about it…the cradle. Small, but not great. I would rather be able to use a direct connection with the usb cord. The thing can fall out of the cradle very easily, but it downloads quickly. The price is better than you may expect and it has a good hand-feel. It also allows for the use of a variety of inexpensive generally conventional notebooks.