You are here

Pen a Note!

Pen a Note!
by Gary Woods

As I recall my school days I seem to remember that taking notes was a real drag. It was time consuming and with my lousy handwriting I couldn't always read what I wrote. Now, there are a couple of new ways to take notes using digital pens.

The first way is typified by Iogear's Mobile Digital Scribe ( For $130 you get a device that uses a thumb-size infrared receiver clipped to the top of your page to capture the stylus's movements. Once you've finished scribbling away the device will upload an image of the notes you took to your PC using the USB port.

Once you've got the JPEG file (picture file) of what you wrote the Mobile Scribe supplies software which will recognize your handwriting. Unfortunately the Scribe's Optical Character Recognition software isn't the greatest but it definitely gets an "E" for effort.

The other option is LiveScribe's ( Pulse SmartPen. The Pulse uses an infrared sensor built into its tip and special paper imprinted with an invisible grid to orient the pen on the page. The cool part about the Pulse is that besides capturing your notes it uses directional microphones to record audio and synch the sounds to what you're writing. You just tap any place on your notes and the device plays back that portion of the recording with amazing fidelity.

The Pulse doesn't have any Optical Character Recognition software but it does do one other very cool trick. You can write a word in English and it will recite the word back to you in Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish or Swedish, I always a pen that would talk to me in Arabic.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc