This is my favorite tech gadget in at least a year.Â Just buy one, whether you’re taking notes in class or doing interview research.Â The basic idea is that the pen contains audio recording hardware and software, and a camera that looks where it is writing.Â The paper is covered with an almost invisible light-blue dot pattern, distinctive over every page of four different notebooks in each of three different sizes, and it has controls (record, stop, etc.) printed at the bottom that the pen responds to when you touch them.
The pen accumulates page images while you’re writing notes, and a very serviceable audio recording of what it heard while you were writing each word or diagram.Â You can dump the images and sound into your computer and point at different places on the pages with your mouse, or you can just touch the pen to notes on the paper page, and hear the audio from that point.Â What this means is that you can record an interview or lecture taking intermittent brief notes, and not have to listen through the whole thing later, or scrub lamely back and forth, to hear a part of interest (faster or slower, of course).Â For example, I was in meetings in Brazil this summer in Portuguese, and my Portuguese is still sketchy, especially for technical stuff.Â But I can play back any part instantly, as slowly as I want, keyed by my paper notes.
Obviously, this is an inkjet printer or safety razor, right; you buy the pen and a couple of notebooks cheap, and then you pay through the nose for paper for life.Â Nope; Livescribe will give you software to print your own paper, and their notebooks are reasonably priced so you don’t want to.
All in all, one of the most completely developed and integrated devices of my experience. Oh yeah, it doesn’t have a pocket clip or a practical cap.Â Otherwise, nice job.