Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cool Stuff

Always writing about politics or greed or both seems like it could get mighty boring. Today Newt Gingrich sent around a political piece that sums up the current crisis following a Thomas Friedman editorial of November 25th as the progeny of a breakdown in well morals. He cites a sentence at the end of Friedman's editorial: “The financial meltdown involved a broad breakdown in personal responsibility, government regulation and financial ethics.” My own view is that this means a bunch of people should go to jail, not be bailed out by throwing our hard earned money in after them. But it is all too depressing and way too predictable. It's just going to be more of the same so let's get on to Cool Stuff.

The Pulse Smartpen

I just picked up a Pulse Smartpen from Livescribe and I have to say I'm impressed. A few years ago I remember an earlier technology and I thought about getting that at the time but it seemed too expensive and too klutzy. The Pulse offers 200 hours of sound recording (2 Gigs of memory) and includes stereo earphone/microphones as well as a notebook (it requires special paper).

Well it came in the mail and outdid my expectations by quite a lot. Not only does it save your notes in high-fidelity, but it doubles as a calculator and a sound recorder and the lecture you record is time-synced to the notes you are taking. So you can tap on a note and the pen will play back what it was recording when you took that note. It also does text and number recognition and has a built in calculator. You create a calculate point and you can tap on it and them write (yes write) the four function math problem and the pen does the calculation.

You can also get third party software that converts script to text. I downloaded the trial version and if you are fairly careful it does a pretty accurate job. My handwriting is pretty good so maybe that's not a fair test.

One of the clever little touches is the piano. You can draw a keyboard and play the piano and your pen makes appropriate sounds as you do it. You can even select the type of instrument you want to sound like and pick an accompanying rhythm. The 2 Gig version was $199 and a one gig version goes for $50 less. At that price this is one of the coolest gadgets I've seen in years.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

It surpassed my expectations too!! I was so skeptical when I got it!