Two items called Pulse have caught my eye in recent weeks.
First of all, I’ve been playing around with Plaxo Pulse, which is the recent social networking addition to the popular Plaxo online address book. I joined Plaxo some years ago when it first came out as I liked the idea of having my contacts backed up online somewhere in case the trusty PC blew up. Once I got a Mac, though, I confess I lapsed – as a .Mac subscriber, my contacts were automatically synced and (I stand corrected on this) but I don’t think you could sync Plaxo with the Mac address book back then – and I started ignoring requests from people to update my info.
But recently I’ve been getting a lot more requests from Plaxo members excited about Plaxo 3.0 so I went to take a fresh look – and I liked what I saw. I like the ease with which it now syncs not only with my Mac [see image below] but also with my GMail contacts and my Google calendar. And as the latter now syncs automatically with my Blackberry, I no longer worry that somewhere there is an appointment I’m supposed to be at and, as long as people in my Plaxo network update their info, then my contacts will always be current. Also, having got addicted to Facebook in recent months and got back to blogging, I liked the way I am now able to link all these social sites together through various feeds and posts and access them via desktop or handheld device, yet maintain seprate netwroks for friends, family and business. Best of all, I can now say goodbye to any kind of manual syncing. Plaxo Pulse is free or you can upgrade to the Premium service for $49.95/year which will do things like weed out duplications in your contacts and calendar and sync with LinkedIn.
The other Pulse I’ve been checking is the Pulse Smartpen from Livescribe, which is due to ship in March. This amazing device may finally be the breakthrough that pen computing has always promised. As someone who interviews people for a living, I’m thrilled by the prospect of a pen that records your notes digitally as you write them on special paper as well as having a built-in microphone that lets you record and sync audio so you can just tap your notes to hear what was said. If you’ve got kids and are familiar with the clever Leapfrog products, you’ll have an idea of the concept – besides, it was invented by the same guy, Jim Marggraff. The pen comes with a USB docking station and Livescribe promises plenty of other apps and games are in the works. There will two versions – a 1G for $149 which can hold 100 hours of audio and 16,000 pages of notes, and a $199 2GB version with double the capacity. Sadly, there’s no Mac version initially but the company says it is being worked on.