Review Of Livescribe Smart Pen: Good For Leaders And Professionals On The Go

My latest piece is posted at Public Square Today, my blog at Washington Times Communities:

Review Of Livescribe Smartpen

Livescribe Smartpen
Livescribe Smartpen

For Christmas this year, some family members fulfilled a long-standing desire I’d had and got me a Livescribe Smart Pen. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I think this product is a potential game-changer. As a tool for capturing, manipulating, and sharing notes on the go, it just can’t be beat.

The Livescribe is basically a special pen that works on special paper. The paper has a pattern printed on the background, which to the naked eye looks like a slight shading. The pen has a sensor that uses the pattern to determine where you are writing.

The pen records your pen strokes and can also record audio, connecting what it hears with what you are writing. This then syncs to desktop software. You can export the resulting pages into PDF and other formats, and share them in other ways.

I think this can be of great use to folks who are public leaders or are in the public eye. Such leaders need to always be recording, documenting, and sharing what they do but do not have the luxury of hanging around the office in front of the computer all the time. This can make all that much, much more seamless and simple.

You can see more about the Livescribe here and learn more about the company here.

(Affiliate link. I only include such links to products I endorse or trust.)

Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

4 thoughts on “Review Of Livescribe Smart Pen: Good For Leaders And Professionals On The Go”

  1. Brad, I got a LiveScribe from my father for my birthday last year. I’ve always been an avid note taker – it’s how I process what I’m hearing – and dad knew I’d find it useful. I got a bit of a slow start with it because I’m a Mac user and the desktop software was still pretty weak on the Mac back in early 2009. Since then they’ve made significant improvements in their Mac integration and that’s made me much happier.

    Overall I love what the pen can do and I love having access to all my old notes without having to carry around multiple notebooks. Two quibbles that I have:

    1) I have horrible penmanship when using ink. I’ve used fine point mechanical pencils for years and switching to ink feels big and sloppy to me. I have a hard time writing with the precision I’m used to. I know there would be issues making a pencil insert for the LiveScribe but if they could figure it out it would sure my make writing better.

    2) people (especially co-workers) tend to be a bit freaked out about being recorded, as such I don’t use the audio capabilities at work unless I’m attending a formal presentation. That kinda bums me out, but such is our digital life. I think the recording features would be amazing for students, but they aren’t as embraced in the office environment (especially if you’re a manager).

    One thing you left out in your short pencast is that the desktop software has some rudimentary text recognition abilities. You can (with pretty good reliability) search for keywords in your notebooks, which makes it much easier to find things you’ve written in the past. I love that feature!

    Thanks for your review and do share more pencasts.

  2. Hey, Brian, thanks for the comment. You’re right, I did not mention the handwriting recognition and I should have. But it only works sporadically for me . . . I am thinking my penmanship is worse than yours!

    That is why I would really like a tagging feature in the desktop software, so I could organize my notes better. But having them electronically in the first place is the key feature.

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