Livescribe Sky – an easy to use pen for taking digital notes

wifi-smartpen_recordSeveral times a week I sit in meetings with clients, board members, and team leaders. In each of them things are said, ideas proposed, and conclusions made that need to be retained, shared, and referred to later. I have been writing notes on a paper tablet then scanning and sending to those who need to see them. And among those reading this, there are doubtless those who take notes directly on an iPad or other tablet, perhaps even a laptop.

But I like paper and pen or pencil. I can’t readily make diagrams or drawings on a laptop or iPad. Writing on paper is somehow reassuring. I’ve even had clients tell me they are reassured that I take notes on paper because when the person sitting across from them is tapping away on a keyboard they are never sure if that person is paying attention or posting to Facebook.

But there has not been an easy and straightforward way of getting what I write on paper into the digital and virtual world.

Until now.

Livescribe has actually been around for a few years but I just discovered them last month. After researching their products I decided on the Livescribe Sky Wifi pen. It records what I write, and if I want to it will record what is being said as well. It will automatically sync with my Evernote account (another useful tool I’ll review next week). And I can send my scribblings on paper directly to the people who need to see them.

The most recent client I used the Livescribe with relaxed when he learned that I would send what we spoke about to him by email. He had been so absorbed in what we discussed that he had not taken notes himself.

So if you attend meetings, lectures, classes, sit with clients, participate in group and team meetings, or just want to pitch an idea that you sketch out on paper, Livescribe is for you.

What’s required? A Livescribe pen, an Evernote account (it’s free and when you sign up with Livescribe you get even more storage for free), and a wifi connection. Well, even if you don’t have wifi it comes with a cable so you can connect to a USB port. You will need to connect your Livescribe to a computer from time to time to download updates to the software.

You will also need paper, but not just any paper. Livescribe uses standard paper with microdots printed in special patterns. The pen comes with a starter notebook and you can get more in two sizes on Amazon. If you have a color laser printer that is Adobe®PostScript® compatible and can print at 600dpi or higher, you can print your own. But the notebooks are really quite reasonably priced through Amazon, about the same as ordinary plain paper notebooks.

Are there issues? The first one I got was defective. The small video display did not work. But the replacement works fine and Livescribe warranties the video display for two years (which is about the battery life anyway).

So, I like it and I recommend it. It is a Practical Leader Recommended Product.

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