Technology Survey!

I know I still have a few readers out there, and some of you are probably technophiles, so here’s a question: I’ve been considering switching from live-texing of things to a digital pen of some sort.  Anyone have any experience with these things? Know which ones work well and which don’t? Which ones may work with linux (though I do have a windows partition if really necessary)?

I’ve looked at a couple of them, and I’m really not sure what their specific pros and cons may be, and I have no real way to try them out directly at the moment.  There’s the LiveScribe pens, which require their magic dot paper stuff, which is a drawback that I’m not sure how annoying it would be, plus I don’t know how useful sound recording would be, though I can see myself maybe using it at some point.  The other brand I’ve looked at is SolidTek’s DigiMemo, which is a bit bulkier being a clipboard, and amazon reviews suggest it’s finicky.  Is there another brand I should look at? I’m mostly looking for a way to nicely digitally archive all of my scratchwork (my collection of notebooks is expanding too fast!) and also maybe taking notes at seminars, conferences and the occasional advanced course.

So, anyone? I figure that any math person who has a digital pen or has at least considered them will have a lot of the same uses in mind as me, and so I’m very interested in opinions.


About Charles Siegel

Charles Siegel is currently a postdoc at Kavli IPMU in Japan. He works on the geometry of the moduli space of curves.
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9 Responses to Technology Survey!

  1. Pencil says:

    Hi, I have a classmate who used livescribe, he said it is very good. Myself only use an audiorecorder. I think if you can live tex, maybe it’s a better option. I have been reading your blog for many months.

    • Well, the big problem is that texing my scrapwork would be incredibly time consuming, because I tend to work with pen and paper a lot of the time. Even if I do get a digital pen, I’d likely continue to tex at seminars and conferences (in the cases where I take notes at all)

      • Pencil says:

        I think you should avoid working on seminars with scrapwork at hand. You should tex what the speaker said.

      • Pencil,

        I’m not really sure what you’re getting at. I don’t think you actually read what I wrote at all…I never mentioned anything about “working on seminars with scrapwork at hand”, but rather was talking about a way to save the effort of having to sit down and put my scratchwork into tex for longterm storage.

      • Pencil says:

        oh, you can live tex. Don’t waste time to write down on scrap work and tex it again.

  2. Estraven says:

    I think you should post this question on MathOverflow, possibly checking that it hasn’t been answered before. I’m sure you can do this faster than me, I’m still learning how to use MO.

    • It has been asked on MO, but there are two issues. First, if it were asked now, I’d likely vote to close as off topic (standards have changed over the last year a bit), and second, it didn’t get any really useful answers for comparing digital pens, only a little bit vaguely related to digital pens themselves (one answer focused on a graphics tablet, the other on an ereader)

  3. Chris says:

    It is possible to print one’s own paper for LiveScribe, possibly using departamental colour laser printer (ordinary B&W won’t do it),

    There is a pen that works with an ordinary paper by using a special device you clip on top of a sheet,

    I personally use a Dell 2100 netbook which comes with a touchscreen of medicore but adequate quality for a occasional diagram (got off ebay for ~$180).

  4. stevef says:

    I have a Livescribe and I love it. Very handy for sending quick mathematical notes. An added bonus is that a notebook full of good stuff got destroyed in our condo disaster, but it was all backed up online.

    I don’t use the audio much, but it’s occasionally nice to have. I put everything in one notebook, so having to use their paper hasn’t been a problem. The pen refills run out fairly quickly, so you should keep some extras around.

    You can sort stuff from the one notebook into folders on your computer, if you want. Finally, I can find all my old notes!

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