Not sure if I’m the first person in Bermuda to take delivery of the amazing new Pulse Smartpen from Livescribe but I’m sure there aren’t many.
Ever since this pen was first talked about late last year, I’ve been dying to get my hands on one and once they released a Mac verson of the desktop software last month, I plonked my $149 down. Well it finally arrived on my doorstep yesterday and I have to say it’s an impressive piece of kit. Basically the Smartpen works a bit like the Leap Frog kids books you may have seen (not surprising as the guy behind those invented the Pulse too) – it writes like a pen but, unlike other digital pens, records synchronised audio too so that, to quote the company ads, “you never miss a word”. You write on special “Dot Paper” notepaper and books that are printed with Leap Frog-style commands and navigation and you can upload your notes and drawings to your computer via a USB cradle. Tap on any part of your notes and the Smartpen will play back the audio from that point. It’s an amazing tool for anyone who takes notes in meetings, lectures or – like me – you’re a working journalist.
I haven’t tried it out “in the field” yet but having just scribbled down a page or so of trial notes from a TV newscast, I’m very impressed. It’s easy to use and will become indispensable once apps to convert notes and audio to text are available. The former is already available for Windows users (Mac users can use MyScript Notes via Boot Camp or Parallels) and audio-to-text is in the works.