The Livescribe Pulse Pen — is it really worth it?

January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm 1 comment

First off — two posts in seven days! Huzzah!

Secondly, to answer the question above – YES, YES & YES! And let me tell you why…

You can find a lot of information about the pen on their wesbite. A ton of great examples are given there. I was turned onto the pen by pharmacy technology guru Bill Felkey (even though he has a degree from IU, I still like him) through an article he wrote for one of the pharmacy journals. He has a couple of links about the Livescribe here and here.

The reasons why I LOVE this product:

– The pen transcribes what you write into your computer where you can save your notes as an image file. This really is not that impressive, since there are a bunch of pens on the market that do this. And, you have to buy the “special paper” since the pen uses IR (I think?) technolgy to capture your writing. However, Livescribe now gives you the option of being able to print out your own paper, if you want. Also, the paper is not that expensive. Obviously, this is NOT why I love this product over the other ones on the market.

– While you are taking notes, you have the option of recording what you are hearing while jotting down the notes. OK, so now we are getting into the awesomeness of this product. When you sync the pen to the computer, it matches up the recording session to the notes. Cool, huh? Wait, there’s more!

– Once you have synced the notes and the recording, you can now click on your notes on your computer and the software automatically syncs up the time of when you were writing something down to what you heard when you wrote that note down. Now that’s awesome! So, if you are going over your notes and don’t understand why you wrote what you did, you simply click on that area of the text and the recording starts playing at the time of when you wrote that note. If that was it, that would be awesome, right?

– So, let’s say you are not at your computer and you are reviewing your notes on paper. Say you got 5 pages of notes. About half way through, you forget why you wrote down that particular note. You remember that this was talked about somewhere in hours 5 to 7 of your meeting/seminar/class/whatever. That’s bad, right? Now you are going to have to listen to the whole recording on the pen to find that part of the talk. WRONG! You activate a program called “paper replay” ON THE PEN, tap on your PAPER notes, and the recording begins at the point of where you wrote the note down. COOL! You even have controls on the paper that let you fast forward, rewind and bookmark the recording.

– Lastly, there has been software developed to transcribe your written notes into a type-written document. As expected, the transcription is not perfect, but it gets about 75-80% of my terrible handwriting correct. What’s neat about the program is that it brings up two “panes” – one on the left showing your handwritten notes and one on the right showing the software’s transcribed notes. This allows you to edit your document on the fly, without even having the hard copy in front of you. The software is an additional charge (around $30), but I was in Target yesterday (yes, you can get this item and accessories at Target) and the boxes had labels offering the transcription software for free!

Cruise on over to the livescribe web site for more info. Outside of my computer(s) and iPhone, this is easily the most useful piece of technology I have picked up in quite a while. I picked up the 2 GB version ($299) and I think it is worth every penny. Target had a small price reduction on the pens yesterday (for 2 GB, down to $279 and for the 1 GB, down from $199 to $179). I don’t know how long that sale will last.

Till next time!


Entry filed under: Technology. Tags: , , , .

Wow… has it really been 5 months?!?! Tiger Woods – epic fail? Hmmmm….

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Maddy  |  May 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I heard about that on NPR during their pledge drive……very tempting but it was ‘buying’ the paper that put me off. Now I’m not so sure.


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