laptop, geek, MacBook, bursting, breakout


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laptop, geek, MacBook, bursting, breakout

Geeky tech

Just stumbled across the Pen-It. Which is a pen and pad where you can write stuff on the pad with the pen. Not particularly revolutionary, especially as we're talking a paper pad and a pen that writes with ink.

Except for the fact that the paper has a clever pattern of dots on it, and the pen can tell where it is on the page. And has a memory. And a bluetooth connection. So when you've jotted your notes down on paper when you're on the road, you can come back to your computer, wipe the pen across a special "upload now" pattern of dots on a piece of card, and whatever you've written will get uploaded to your computer as vector graphics, on an electronic copy of your notepad.

Now that's just downright funky.

Unfortunately, it's also downright expensive. Damn.
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Fvck me! $299? For a notebook and pen? Would you not be better off getting a PDA?

Don't get me wrong, I can see the benefits - but if it's capturing it all as vector data, then whilst it makes it very scalable etc, it also precludes the potential of OCR, right?

Which would essentially make it a fancy portable document scanner? Or am I being way off in my morning-lack-of-caffeine-induced stupor here?

There must be some amount of memory in the pen, mind.

Well, presumably you could OCR it right from the vector image (I think I've got an OCR tool around here somewhere that you can just print to, which makes things easy.) Yes, essentially, it's a fancy portable document scanner, although the software makes it more "notebook-like"; it can tell which pages it's used before, for example, so when you upload it'll find the previous page you've added notes to and can just add the new vector data to the old soft copy... Plus the vectors will be better, because unlike a scanner, the pen can remember exactly where and in what order/direction, etc. the lines were drawn.

Bear in mind this is brand new. It'll be interesting to watch the prices if production ramps up. At fifty quid, I'd be quite tempted, bearing in mind I normally carry around a notebook and pen and it'd be nice to be able to do a fast, simple backup, at the very least. That's another thing; scanning in ten pages of notebook is a lot slower and a lot more manual than Bluetoothing in ten pages' worth of vector data...

Although apparently the PC version has been out for a while.

And on further research, it has 1MB of memory. Which will store 40 pages of A5. Could you laser print the dots on the paper, do you think?

I presume the PC version is the same device - Looky here...

Cool, so yeah, you don't need a lot of memory per page, like I thought. 40 pages of A5 is more than I get through in a month of notebook scribblings, so that'd be plenty. As for hacking the dots, interesting question. I imagine it might be more trouble that it's worth, though. Wonder how much they sell the notebooks for, separately from the pen? And if they've got some form of interesting copy protection or uniqueness built into the dots?

I'd really like to see one of these notebook pages in real life...

Oh, and yes, there's memory in the pen; the idea is that you don't take anything other than the pen with you, and just upload when you get back home.

Ah. Not sure I made that bit too clear - I was meaning that there would have to be a serious amount of memory in the pen, actually.

Hmm. Not that serious, surely? How much memory does a set of vector paths take up? Bearing in mind the micro SD card on my phone would fit easily in a pen, and that's 256Mb, that's a hell of a lot of little lines...

Hmm, think my boss has something similar:

I seem to remember the pattern of dots allows it to uniquely locate itself within an area of about 4 km2 or something ridiculous. This lets it do wizzy stuff like adding things to the correct page if you go back later and squiggle on something you have already uploaded etc, without you having to tell it which page you are on in the notebook.

I think the dot pattern is beyond most home printers, it looks like they are aiming to make the money out of the paper at least to start with.

Oh and there are some gesture things that do some clever stuff, but I can't remember exactly what, I only had a brief demo and didn't pay too much attention as I knew it was too expensive for me.

Clever, but far too expensive at the moment.

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