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A New Kind of Pen

Thursday, August 25, 2011 by cyberacoustics

With Labor Day fast approaching, college campuses are starting to rumble with the stampede of students heading back. With each new freshman class one might think the challenge of making new friends might be the most difficult part of campus life, but a close second is figuring out which gadgets they’ll need to stay competitive.

What laptop to buy? Should they get a tablet, too? What software can they not live without? Tough questions, right? But the most important thing that they’ll need is a pen. That’s right; that darn 19th-century invention that just won’t go away.

Students obviously will spend a lot of time in lectures, and there’s a huge spectrum of tools out there that can help them track and record the information—from apps for your phone to voice recorders. But with more tools comes more complexity. From organizing your recordings to keeping them all together, to backing them up in case you lose them—it definitely can be a lot of work.

But I found an elegant solution. The Echo Smartpen from Livescribe helps you record, organize, and access all of your notes—with just one device and one type of software. The smartpen records everything you hear and write (using a special type of paper). You can easily capture words, diagrams, scribbles, symbols, and audio. It even holds up to 800 hours of audio! The best part is, it’s small enough to fit in your bag, so you can take it with you wherever you go. It also plays well with applications such as language translation, scientific calculating, Wikipedia lookup and hundreds more to choose from. With a starting price of $99, I think this 19th-century invention repurposed for the 21st-century is a smart investment.

-Steve Murphy, CA CFO

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