March 20th, 2012

Paper Notes/Digital Notes

Every once in a while I come across a product that I love so much I have to share it. Today, I want to tell you about my Livescribe pen and notepads. Or, as I like to call it, my magic pen. Nothing starts a conversation in a meeting like my magic pen. I get asked about it in almost all meetings with new people, and with good reason: it is really cool.

Livescribe is a smart pen that records your handwritten notes (when used with their special notepads) and then syncs these notes to a desktop app on your computer. When you want to have an audio recording of a meeting, the pen can also do that – you simply point to the command on the special notepad and it starts recording. The really cool thing about this is that it syncs the audio with the handwritten notes so when you are reviewing the playback you can actually see what was written at the same time as hearing what was said. Or you can just tap a specific word in your notepad and the audio starts playing what was being said right when that word was being written.

The desktop app is smart too: I can search for words in my notes and the app mostly recognizes my handwriting and pulls all the pages with that word or words highlighted in the search results. This is tremendously handy.

And it seems like Livescribe is constantly adding to its capabilities. Through the desktop app or through the pen itself, you can send selected pages to Evernote, save as a PDF on your computer, or send to your mobile device to be accessed via its app, Pencast Player (available in Apple’s App Store). All of these are helpful for sharing your notes with the audio embedded.

There are also apps you buy to add on to your Livescribe pen and desktop app, things like handwriting to text conversion tools, games, and education. I haven’t had the need to try these things out, but if you find one that you love, please let me know.

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