Monday, October 13, 2008

Livescribe Pulse Pen

Every once in a while, I happen on something that makes a major impact on how I do my work. While wandering through Target recently, I saw a display for the Livescribe Pulse SmartPen, and it was love at first sight.

The Pulse SmartPen is a pretty amazing bit of technology. The pen, when used with the special micro-dot paper, is capable of recording every key stroke made. Pretty nice, but wait ... there's more. The pen also contains a sensitive audio recorder. When connected to the computer, both the digital image of the notes and the audio connected to those notes are uploaded to the computer and synced.

As if that weren't enough, if you touch text that you wrote while recording audio, the pen will replay exactly that audio. Seriously, just touch the pen to the paper, or if you've uploaded it, click on that spot on the uploaded page. That's all it takes.

I took my Pulse SmartPen with me to the California Bar Association Meeting in Monterey, California, last month, and it performed like a champ. I recorded every minute of the 20 hours of seminars I attended (the 2G pen will hold about 200 hours of notes and audio), and found that, relieved of the necessity to concentrate on my notes, I was able to concentrate on what the speakers were saying. Oh, how I wish I had had the Pulse SmartPen in law school.

I have also started using the pen extensively in my law practice. Of course, I do ask for my clients' permission before recording, but I have yet to have a client who was adverse to having either the meeting or the teleconference recorded. Again, because I don't have to worry about getting every word of the conversation down on paper, or missing a digit in a phone number or address, I can spend more time really listening to what my client is saying.

The pen also contains a built-in calculator, which has come in handy more times than I can count, and additional programs (such as language translators) are in the works. But, even without additional functionality, I simply love my Pulse SmartPen!!

Now, before you complain about the need to use "special paper" in order to use the Pulse SmartPen, let me note that replacement notebooks (each standard notebook is 200 pages) are only about $5.00 each, which is what you would expect to pay for a plain paper notebook at most stores. There are also lined and unlined hardback journals available.

The cost of this marvel?? The 2G version is just about $200, the 1G version is about $150. It is available through Target,, or directly from In my personal opinion, it is well worth the additional $50 to get double the memory.

Do I have any complaints about my new toy?? Well, yes, one: if there is a way to turn off the introductory "music" that plays when first starting up the Livescribe Desktop software, I have yet to find it. But otherwise, this is the best piece of tech to come along since someone decided to slice the bread before they sold it. My Adesso Cyberpad is now history.

1 comment:

Ryan Johnson said...

I’ve read your blog post of the Pulse smartpen and wanted to share some new commercial and demo videos that we just uploaded to the Livescribe YouTube channel:

From now until 12/31/08, you can get 5% off a Pulse smartpen at by using SCRIBE5A50 at checkout. Thanks, and enjoy the videos!