Friday, December 26, 2008

I Have a Pulse

For those who may have thought that I had dropped off the face of the planet or had in fact expired -- good news. I'm still around. And I have a Pulse . I'm not just talking about the kind that can be felt at the throat and wrist either. I'm talking about the latest techie gadget, the one I received from my spouse as a Christmas gift. So what, you ask, am I wittering on about? I'll tell you.

The Pulse looks like a pen but it's actually a rather nifty paper-based computer from Livescribe. It writes just like a pen, but it has a very specialized digital camera at the pointy end which, if you write on the Livescribe "dot" paper, can be uploaded to your computer. It also has the really neat ability to record sounds and "attach" the recording to your notes or to a drawing. Amazing. And what's more it really works! Add on an additional software package called MyScript for LiveScribe that transforms your scribbles into text and you have a very powerful writing tool. One that can be used just about anywhere.

I often find that pounding the keyboard sort of locks my Muse up in a cage. Oh I can see what I want to write all right. It just won't flow to the fingertips. Writing longhand helps, but then I have the chore of transcribing my words into Liquid Story Binder so it takes at least twice as long to get my words into the chapter I'm working on... and my time is limited. But with the Pulse I'm able to write a scene, upload it, change the scribble to text (okay you DO have to write fairly neatly), edit the text to put right the words that come out as garbage because of the bad handwriting, and save it as a text file. Then, when I have a few spare moments I can import the file into Liquid Story Binder. Simple. Effective. And totally cool for techies like me. And I can use it on planes without having to haul out the laptop. Marvelous!

The downside is that you do have to use the special "dot" paper but if you have the right kind of color laser printer you can print your own. My package came with 5 college-ruled notebooks so it isn't a problem for me. There are ruled and plain journals available too, if that's your prefered writing medium.

So now I really don't have any excuses at all not to write, do I?


Ing said...

That does sound cool. Might be a bit much technology for someone like me to manage all at once, but I bet I could get used to it. Anybody wants to give me one, I'll gladly set about proving I can use it. :)

I should take your technology recommendations seriously; I tried out Liquid Story Binder, and it was awesome. I still haven't used half the features in it, but the ones I have used have done some good things for me.

Merry Christmas!

(And happy Boxing Day; I left a reply to your comment about that over on Theadra's blog.)

Ben said...

I'm glad you're alive and well! That sounds like a pretty nifty little gadget. My gadget this year is a pair of wireless headphones. They didn't ship in time for Christmas, so I'm giddily waiting for them to show up in the mail.

Nancy Beck said...

Ooh, that sounds so cool. I loooove little techie things.

I'd probably get a Kindle right now, if I had the money for it.

I'll admit that when I write longhand, it's always a pain to get it into the writing software I use (it's not Liquid Story Binder but it's not @*@#$&! Word either). This sounds like something up my alley, although not for me right now.

One question - what other software does it work with? Can it upload to, say, Open Office or some other word processing program?

Liz said...

Hi Everyone,
It is cool. It really is. For Nancy, with the additional software package that transforms the output to text you can pretty much copy it to any other program. I've decided that actually uploading the file to LSB is too much trouble, when all I need to do is copy-and-paste it from the Myscribe screen directly into my chapter in LSB.

I like the idea of Kindle and the Sony Reader ( I did a post about Sony Reader a looong time ago. It's under Techie Stuff is anyone's interested,) but I still think there's a way to go before the technology is good enough. Plus, you just can't beat curling up with a good book, and for now, Kindle and Sony Reader don't have the tactile piece right, at least not for me.