This may be of some interest to writers.


Clever, if highly questionable sales ploy: tie half the functionality of the pen into the paper, so that you need both to make it work.

People will only ever buy one pen… I suspect they hope to at least double there income, or more, by the continual need to buy speciality paper from them as well.

That alone would prevent me from purchasing it, although it seems a little gimmicky to me anyway (the deliberately painful nerdy video demonstration makes i worse). I don’t really see how it is much more effective than a normal pen, normal paper, and a simple cheap recording device. Unless there is something I have missed.


I thought about LiveScribe when it was first being launched, thinking…well, maybe when they get the Mac platform in place. But even though you will eventually be able to print your own paper for the pen, I realized, "Heck, I already have the perfect recording device, my Moleskin and my pen, that have worked faithfully over the years. No crashes, no upgrades, cheaper ink cartridges than my Brother MFC. Still, being a tech head and I can’t help but getting whiplash when I spot a bit of flash. It’s my curse, but not yet my sin. :smiley:

Thanks for the reference LL.

I don’t have a significant problem with the need to buy special paper. It is, after all, a business model familiar from other markets, such as razors. (Though this pen alone does seem dearer than some rival offerings.)

The problem remains with software to convert handwriting to digital text, which as far as I can see remains too imperfect for normal use. When that achieves the same success rate as, say, Dragon Naturally Speaking voice-to-text, some of these digital pens and pen and clipboard combinations could start to prove very useful. But until then, yes, it’s the Moleskin (or cheaper equivalent).

I would also like the manufacturers to find some way of producing slimmer pens that are more comfortable to use over longer periods, but that’s a lesser beef.


Yes, I agree.

My son is a Specialist in a busy metroplitan hospital and he uses one for quick patient notes. He can get a patient response and his own spoken notes at the same time as he jots down a written patient tag, so I guess it is that kind of use that will help the developers keep on making it better.

Maybe one day it will be of more use to writers. But, you’ve got to admit it does have a certain nerdy appeal. Sexy, even.


Thanks for the link, LL.

The SmartPen appears to be an ingenious little gadget. A few thoughts and observations:

  • It doesn’t appear that the notebooks and journals they sell with the special paper are overly pricy. Two Moleskine-type journals are $24, about what one would pay for Moleskines.
  • They mention in one of the videos that paper would be available for downloading and printing on one’s own computer, although a quick search of their web site failed to disclose how to do so.
  • What makes this a clever gadget is the way it links handwritten notes with audio.
  • The SmartPen is obviously geared for students, but it would seem that this would be a great device for journalists or anyone who needs to take notes during an interview.
  • For someone looking merely to capture their handwritten notes, it would seem like there may be less expensive alternatives.
  • The Mac OS version will not be available until December – at which time they promise to be releasing a beta version.

But then, I consider the Moleskines to be ridiculously expensive for what they are, and opt for much cheaper (but still properly bound and hard-cover) notebooks instead.