I’m not usually into product endorsement, but over the past week or so I’ve been exploring using my new LiveScribe pen, and have fallen in love! Since spending a day working with my Australian colleague Julia Atkin and observing her using one of these devices I knew I had to try one, so when Julia offered to bring me back one from Australia a few week’s later I couldn’t refuse!
The Livescribe Pulse Digital Smartpen records your notes two ways: it creates digital copies of everything you write by hand while recording audio at the same time. not only that, but you can easily listen to what was being said at the exact moment you were writing a particular word or phrase by clicking the smart pen on the word on the page and listening to the playback – a fantastic tool for meetings or for recording research notes. No more listening through hours of taped interviews to find the point that matches something in my notes again!
Once synched with my computer I can download the pages and the audio files and store them away for future. Being someone with rather scruffy handwriting I was sceptical when I read that the software had a search function – supposedly enabling you to search your handwritten notes to find keywords or phrases – but I was proved wrong. despite the untidy script, the search came up with all the instances of several names and words I typed in!
I guess the reason I like this device so much is that it “fits” with my existing behaviours. I have for years carried around spiral notebooks and recorded notes at meetings etc. I happen to like the tactile use of a pen on paper, and the freedom to doodle and create diagrams and mind maps with the same creative ‘feel’ that a pen or pencil provides. This enables me to carry on doing what I’ve always done, with the added advantage of being able to record and download what I’m doing – and once it is on my laptop, I can then email material to my colleagues as happened this afternoon after a meeting involving a colleague who joined us on a skype call.
Since I purchased my pen I’ve noticed they are now available in Whitcoulls stores here in New Zealand (but at over $NZ150 more than what mine cost in Australia!) along with all the accessories such as packs of the spiral notebooks with the special micro-dotted paper that enables the spatial recognition to digitally replicate the notes.