I’ve had a Livescribe pen for years and I love it. Not for the feel of the pen itself – it’s pretty heavy to and somewhat clumsy to hold – but for the functions it provide. I bring it with me when I’m attending seminars, doing interviews or for important meetings – meetings where I really want to remember every single word. I record the audio as I write my notes and later, back at my studio or a hotel room if I’m on the road, I can listen to the audio and add to my notes and complete them. Using my Livescribe has challenged me in the way I take notes – because as you record the audio and you don’t have to write things down in full sentences (and you can never write as fast as people speak) – you have to be more visual; drawing visuals and writing only key words – so that I easily can go back to the notes and find specific passages afterwards if I want to hear exactly what was being said as I took the note.
I alternate between unlined notebooks for more visual notes and lined notebooks for more traditional. Livescribe just released an iPhone/iPad app allowing me to keep my “pencasts” with me on my phone. Not sure how useful that would be – I usually have my laptop with me where I have the Livescribe Desktop installed – but who doesn’t like another app. The pen is still a bit bulky (and I have the previous version, the Pulse and not the new one, the Echo – maybe it’s lighter?) and I prefer to take notes in pencil – but the functionality of the Livescribe for certain types of meetings is great – and after all – I’m a gadget girl. I only wish there were more choices for unlined notebooks – because lined paper really doesn’t make much sense when you’re recording both your actual notetaking and the audio – then you would rather be “free” from the limitations of lines. In sum, it’s a great little gadget in the gadget collection I keep in my laptop bag.
Clive Thomson (twitter.com/pomeranian99) wrote an interesting article in New York Times on the use of the Livescribe pen in educational settings yesterday: The pen that never forgets.