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Technology has leaped forward to make our lives easier, Smartphones, Smartcars and now Smartpens.
With the ability to type on virtual keyboards on your smart phones & tablets, I feel the writing instruments have taken a hit as you rarely see people write anymore in a business sense. I wanted to bring to your attention something that has bridged the gap between the traditional roller ball ink pen and a computer; the technology I am referring to is the Livescribe Pen.
From the manufacturer’s website:
Located in Oakland, Calif., Livescribe has developed a new low-cost mobile computing platform that enhances productivity, learning, communication and self-expression for anyone that uses pen and paper. The Echo and Pulse smartpens revolutionize the act of writing by recording and linking audio to handwriting, so users never miss a word.
The Livescribe pens all have the ability to record and playback. When you’re writing on the special Dot Paper your pen is remembering everything you write and hear. If you select the record button, the built in microphone is linking anything it records to whatever you write down. Just touch the first letter and it will play back whatever you allowed it to record. Imagine being in a class, as you take notes, you can record the lecturer, or in a meeting (let them know you’re recording before you do this, some states this is illegal to do without informing somebody you’re doing this).
Another helpful feature is the save and search. After you have a few days of writing stored in your Livescribe pen, you can connect it to your P.C. or Macintosh and it will download your pages into the Livescribe Desktop. From here, you can review, search and playback any notes you have written or recorded. You also can organize, manage and export your notes and audio.
If you have a blog or a website you’re going to love this feature. You can export your notes as a PDF document, an audio file or even as a interactive Flash™ movie called pencasts. Any pencast that you create, you can embed them on a blog, a website, publish them on Facebook® or even share them within the Livescribe Community.
Now like any Smartphone you can purchase software to enhance your experience and the Livescribe Smartpen is no different. The Livescribe Store is full of useful wants and needs. Like music, need some study help, learning a new language, care to play a game or even figure out how much a tip should be at dinner, there are apps like this and so much more at the Livescribe apps store. Currently available are the categories of: Education, Entertainment, Games, Music, Productivity, Reference, Religious, Sports, Travel and Utilities.
I wanted to bring to your attention under the Religious section of the Livescribe Store is a unique piece of software available for the Livescribe pens called Magic Yad. This amazing app is designed for learning Hebrew chanting. Per the description from this software now you no longer have to struggle with rewinding or forwarding Hebrew chant recordings to find the section you want to study. Simply touch your Magic Yad to any phrase, verse or page of your Magic Yad text (any Haftorah or Torah portion) to hear the selected section chanted correctly by a professional cantor.
As I mentioned earlier, you have to use the Dot Paper, this is a propriety paper that is created for the Livescribe systems. If you look closely at the paper you’ll see fine little blue dots, this is how the paper got the name and allows the Livescribe pens to operate the way that they do. Each pen has a sensor that captures what you write down on this type of paper only, and stores it to the internal memory, waiting to be downloaded to your Livescribe Desktop. If you choose to write on any other paper, the Livescribe pens won’t capture the data you’re jotting or drawing down.
There are three Livescribe pens to choose from, the:
2GB Pulse™ (Titanium),
They do offer a Pro Pack with the 8GB Echo™ and it comes with one 8GB Echo™ Smartpen, a portfolio, 3-D recording ear buds and a download code for the full version of the MyScript® transcription software (think of this software as the OCR for your writings. Like any writing instrument you’ll need a replacement ink cartridge at some point, and they do offer kits. If you don’t want or need all of this, I would recommend one of the Smartpens and you can always purchase these accessories at a later date.
I personally use the 8GB Echo and own the Pro Pack. There are other useful accessories you can get for it, however the Pro Pack really sets you up right the first time. I also use the Lined Journal’s, these look and feel like a Moleskin® notebook (as a reference). They make two types of journals, one with lines and one that’s blank, for free-form drawing, etc. Also a helpful accessory is the Pen Quiver (yes I own one). If you decide to purchase one, due to the size of the Livescribe pen, you’ll want to purchase the Double-Pen Quiver for Large Notebooks and they only come in two colors, Tan or Black.
As a fountain pen owner, this was my writing instrument of choice, however the ease and flow that the Livescribe roller-ball pens offer, it almost feels like a fountain pen, without the worry of any ink to spill.
So in recap, If you love to write, and still want all the convinces of the digital age, the Livescribe Smartpen is the way to go. Here at www.n3rd4u.com almost all of my articles published are first written using my Echo 8GB on a Dot Paper journal. I’m quite smitten by my Smartpen, and I think you will be as well.