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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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nyah, tongueout, glasses, nerd
I'm considering the merits of purchasing a Smartpen- specifically, a LiveScribe Pulse. As this is a dead minimum of $150 of gadget (I'm not sure I need the extra GB of recording buffer), it's a matter of "considering", not "jumping enthusiastically upon"; it's a nifty sort of gadget I've wanted for years, but I've done without so far.

It's fair to observe that I haven't done completely without. I've always had a scanner or pen input of some form: I need to digitize my diagrams, notes I can't just type into a non-tablet computer. So far, I've used a scanner, or a tablet computer. Is not doing so worth $200 to me, after I'm done buying notebooks and journals with the appropriate locator dots?

Maybe. Scanners aren't digital ink; they provide raster images that compress poorly and cannot be effectively handwriting-analyzed. The Tablet PC is excellent for this, but it's also quite bulky; I can't just pull it out somewhere and scribble on it. I can with the iLiad, except it's got a horribly long boot time.

A smartpen would solve all this pseudo-neatly, with the disadvantage of proprietary paper. (LiveScribe is promising to let you print your own, which would be great if I owned a color laser printer.) That said, their notebook prices aren't unreasonable, especially compared to other dot paper I've seen. (Logitech io much?) Their headline feature is synchronized audio recording: record whatever it is you're taking notes about, and it gets synchronized to the notes (or idle doodles) as you write them. That would be a killer app if I was still in college, but it might still be passably useful at work. It includes, interestingly, a pair of earbuds that are also microphones, allowing for near-exact recreation of the room sound as you heard it while your notes were being taken- quite positional, but I question its value to me.

Not that it matters- this is actually the cheapest smartpen I can currently find, synchronized audio recording or no. It's interesting to me.

Has anybody here used one, or a similar device? Comments, pitfalls, etc.?

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Never used anything like it. I can see it could be nifty for college; it would be very useful for tech writing work or any job where you are interviewing a dev/test for info (like writing functional specs).

If you want a little help, here's a 5% off coupon code for the LivePulse site: SCRIBE5A18. (I have a RetailMeNot plug-in for Firefox that lets me know when these are available for a site I visit...).

I myself use a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet--but it's not the same thing as well, as you have to have a laptop to go with it (you just aren't locked into the Tablet PC for laptop hardware). It makes you able to do "ink" with OneNote (don't know what OneNote's "recording/audio" feature is like in practice, I just know there's some stuff there...).

As I'll be going to grad school soon, I'm actually VERY interested in things like this to help. If you do get one, I'll be interested in your reports, and maybe trying it out... (hmmm, are there local retailers where you can try it out? I tried out a Palm at Office Depot when I first heard about them...)

(Whoops, botched the comment screening settings, fixed it.)

5% on a $200 purchase is nontrivial; thanks!

The LiveScribe web site is advertising Target as their primary physical retailer. Maybe there's a try-it-out kiosk there?

I've got a tablet as well. I guess I got spoiled by my Tablet PC; it's not useful to me for notetaking, and mediocre for diagrams. Having the line right there helps a lot.

If I get one- which is, frankly, quite probable- I'll be glad to let you try it out! As long as you don't use too much of the dot paper, that is. (kidding!)

It's a device that would've been great for me at college, although my Tablet PC was probably better. That said, this is about $1,918 cheaper than my Tablet PC was at the time. The sound recording is of questionable use; OneNote had the same feature (possibly a more flexible variation, even) but I never used it, even though my laptop had excellent sound pickup. This is partially because 3/4 of my professors didn't want me to, and the other ones were discussion classes where I wasn't taking notes anyway.

(Although I did have to make recordings in one of them once. Dr. John Doris was out of town for a week, but didn't want to deprive us of a class- nor did he want to miss our discussion. So I brought in my laptop; the student who was supposed to bring in an omnidirectional microphone didn't, but my laptop mic turned out to be a lot better than I expected. I recorded the entire discussion for both days, and burned each one to a CD; it worked out well, actually.)

You're welcome... I'm the online bargain queen. is AWESOME. Most online places have coupon codes, and RMN has most of them. It's the most consistent--there are other sites... But the little firefox extension that pops up is really sweet because I get ones I didn't know about (like the one I just gave you).

I'll have to see if Circuit City/Best Buy/Target have demo models and try out, too... just because. Then I can also watch watch for sales with them, and combine with coupon if I really want one for the future.

I'm actually thinking of drawing lines on the tablet--it would help with a couple things, though I have a fairly decent hand-eye coordination, and practice does help. (And for fun, I do stuff with both left & right hand...hehehe).

oh, BTW, I meant to ask, is your deadline passed? I'm thinking your deadline + at least one week before I ping DW about job stuff... give him time to decompress from deadline. The Goog didn't pan out, but at least this time, they're keeping me active in their database. Last time, they didn't.

The deadline passed last Friday. The software didn't, which is why I've been a bit stressed and busy this week.

That said, we gave signoff today, so it should be a little less hectic. Maybe next Monday?

Maybe. I want to give a sufficient time after the signoff that he has a breather and has been able to maybe, you know, have the time to mentally decompress a little. Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, I'm thinking. Usually, Monday is a weird day for people, they're just getting back from the weekend...maybe have tons of email, planning for the week, etc. Maybe I'll send it Monday later afternoon.

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