I agree completely and that’s why I haven’t totally made the switch myself, I use both. When I take notes on a phone call or in a meeting I usually end up taking a photo of my notes and uploading the photo to Evernote for later use. Then if I misplace my paper notes I know I have a backup that is searchable. There are also some notes just don’t translate to digital well — like if you’re drawing a seating chart or map.
But fear not, now you don’t have to give up your handwritten notes! Some techie geniuses at Livescribe have solved this problem with a pen that transcribes everything you write onto your mobile devices. Sounds like the coolest thing ever, right? Yeah — I thought so too. The company sent me a pen so I could check it out for myself and tell you all about it.
How Does It Work?
The Livescribe3 smartpen has a camera in it which captures everything you write or draw in a Livescribe notebook. Every line, curve and dot that you write down is quickly converted to a digital version on the Livescribe+ app. It uses Bluetooth technology to sync images to your mobile devices. If you don’t have your mobile devices with you it’s not a problem — the pen and app will sync when they are together later. It’s also interactive so if you write down an address, you can open a map view of that location on the app.
- Grocery Lists: I like to write mine by hand. So this is a great way to capture everything you need to get throughout the week. Just jot it down on Lifescribe paper and take it with you where ever you go. No need to lug your notebook or list paper with you. It also eliminates taking photos of your lists. (I do that too!)
- Daily To-Dos: You can write down notes as you get ready in the morning and then go on with your day without worrying that you’ve forgotten your list.
- Important Info: Think about the dates, addresses and phone numbers you jot down every day. They could easily be converted to text and available whenever you need them.
- Meeting Notes: It’s a very easy way to share your notes with colleagues Just shoot them an email after the meeting and catch them up on all the information they may have missed. Plus it’s a good record for you to have to refer to as needed later on.
- Sketches, Maps and Doodles: Draw charts, illustrations or just about anything you like and keep them forever.
My Pros & Cons List
- Very easy to set up
- Written notes quickly convert to digital photo of your notes
- Will turn your handwritten text into digital text
- Really cool
- Useful for meetings and for keeping notes in one place
- Can write lists out of order and then pair similar lists together digitally
- Easy to share your notes via email
- Syncs with Evernote (you know how I love that!)
- Records audio
- It’s simple to search for your notes once they are stored digitally. Now you have no excuse for misplacing your lists!
- Must use special Livescribe paper to write with. Prices for notebooks, journals and sticky notes vary from $8.95-$24.95. (You can print your own Livescribe paper for free with a laser-jet printer.)
- Only available for iPhone 4S and newer as well as 3rd-gen iPad or 5th-gen iPod touch.
- Costly — Starts at $149.99 for a pen and 50-page Livescribe notebook.
- The app didn’t like my handwriting so it didn’t convert it to text very well. There are a lot of symbols instead of letters and incorrect words. It turned “management” into “Manglmowf” and “procrastinate” into “pro estimate.”
- Pen is large. I’m used to writing in pencil (it’s my thing) so it was a bit hard to get used to writing with such a heavy pen and not being able to put it behind my ear. Hopefully they will come out with a sleeker version eventually
Overall this pen solves two major problems that list makers have:
- The need to physically write things down and still “go digital” so we can find our notes later and use them more effectively and share them.
- Eliminates chronic loss, misplacement or tendency to forget your lists.
But it does have a hefty price tag so I would think about how useful this tool would be to you and whether or not you want to invest in it. If you decide to buy the pen please use this link and you’ll get 15% off and I’ll get $15 to use towards Livescribe notebooks. 🙂 Here’s a video so you can see all the list-making magic for yourself!