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.?