TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Kool Tools:

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 05
Column Tag: Kool Tools

Kool Tools: Pulse Smartpen and Livescribe Desktop

by Dennis Sellers


LiveScribe (http://www.livescribe.com) debuted its self-titled, Mac-compatible software for the Pulse smartpen at January's Macworld Conference & Expo, where it won a Best of Show award from MacTech and Macsimum News. It's a specialized product with a bit of a learning curve, but, for a certain group of users, it could be invaluable.

Livescribe's Pulse smartpen captures handwriting and simultaneously records audio and synchronizes it to the writing so you don't have to miss a word you hear, write or speak. Students, medical professionals and others may find this dual purposing a timesaving and efficient way to improve their workflow.

Not only can you record, but, after recording, you can tap on your notes to replay what was recorded from the exact moment you started writing.

With the Livescribe Desktop software, notes and audio recordings can then be transferred to a Mac, where they can be digitally stored, searched, or shared. A short demo of the Livescribe Desktop software is available at http://www.livescribe.com/smartpen/desktop.html. The Livescribe Desktop software for Mac will be available as a free download at http://www.livescribe.com/install on February 17.

The Livescribe/Pulse combination comes with a training notebook, which you'll have to work through to use the technology efficiently. The notebook is filled with icons that you tap with the Pulse smartpen to activate features and walk you through those features.

First, you must set the time and date on the smartpen. That's important because files you create with your smartpen are named using the time and date they're created.

You should note that the Pulse smartpen requires Livescribe dot paper. This paper is standard paper but with printed microdots on its surface. These dots are nearly invisible to the human eye. However, the smartpen can see these dots and uses them to know which page you are writing on and the exact location on that page. The smartpen can even see these dots through the ink you write on your pages.

Livescribe dot paper products sometimes re-use dot pattern. As a general rule, you shouldn't use Livescribe dot paper products with the same dot pattern at the same time. This prevents a problem that can happen when viewing your notebooks in Livescribe Desktop: when you write in two notebooks with the same pattern, your notes from the second notebook will be superimposed on your notes from the first notebook when you view them in Livescribe Desktop.

When you power on the Pulse smartpen and begin writing on Livescribe paper, the smartpen captures and stores the notes you write. The Pulse makes use of the Nav Plus, a paper-based, five-way navigator that enables you to navigate through the smartpen Main Menu and application menus.

To capture your writing, the smartpen uses its built-in infrared camera to take digital snapshots of the dot pattern as the tip moves over the paper as you write.

When recording audio using the Paper Replay application, the smartpen links the recorded audio to your notes based on the dot pattern on the page. With this information, the smartpen can play back the audio that was recorded at the exact time you were writing your notes.

While your smartpen is paused, it will continue to capture a copy of your digital notes. Any notes that you write after you tap pause are linked to the audio that occurred the moment before you tapped Pause. When you tap on notes that were written while paused, your smartpen will play back the recording from the moment just before you tapped Pause.

There are several ways to control the playback of an audio file on your smartpen and quickly locate any section of the audio file. You can also adjust the playback speed. However, audio that's played back either sped up or slowed down is no longer in stereo. Audio plays in mono until it's returned to normal speed. The Pulse smartpen also support Bookmarks, which allow you to flag a section of audio and later jump to it.

You can add bookmarks while you're recording or later when you are listening to your audio session. After you've added bookmarks to an audio session, you can scan through the bookmarks using the Previous and Next bookmark buttons.

If you want to record audio but can't or don't want to write on Livescribe dot paper, you can create a "paperless" Paper Replay session. To create a paperless session, begin recording audio and don't take any notes. The new paperless session will appear in the Paper Replay session list.

The Pulse also supports background recording, which lets you launch and run another Pulse smartpen application while you're using the Paper Replay application. Paper Replay will continue recording in the background, but no ink is linked to any audio, because the new application you launched is receiving the input from your pen strokes.

You can use the Audio quality setting to change the compression rate of the recorded AAC audio -- the higher the audio quality, the lower the compression rate. As a result, files recorded with the highest audio quality setting will be larger files that require more storage space. These settings can't be changed during recording. Always select the appropriate audio quality setting prior to recording.

Additionally, you can change the smartpen microphone sensitivity for different recording situations. Again, these settings can't be changed while recording, so always select the appropriate microphone setting before beginning a recording. The microphone will stay set at the last setting you chose, so make sure you set it back to Automatic after each use.

The Pulse set sports a calculator that's located on the inside covers of your notebook performs basic math functions, as well as many scientific, financial, and statistical functions. Quick Commands let you write a one-line command with your Pulse smartpen and get an immediate response on your smartpen display.

With the Translator Demo, you can translate a small set of words and the numbers zero to nine from English into Spanish, Swedish, Arabic, or Mandarin. By writing a word in English in your notebook, you can see and hear correct translation from your Pulse smartpen. It's a clever feature, but the number of words is very limited.

The Livescribe Desktop has existed as a Windows solution for a while before a Mac version was released. But now that it's here, it has some features available only for Mac users. Mac users can export and share their notes as PDF files locally from Livescribe Desktop. They can export audio files (in AAC format) separately from notes so they can play them back in iTunes. And they can change the on-screen ink color of their digital notes.

You connect the Pulse to your Mac via an USB cradle. The cradle also charges the pen.

The Pulse smartpen is available in two models. Priced at US $149, the 1GB model provides storage for over 100 hours of recorded audio. At $199, the 2GB model doubles the storage capacity.


Dennis Sellers is a long time journalist. He started in the newspaper business, but has been in the online journalism business for the past 15 years. He's the editor/publisher of Macsimum News (http://www.macsimumnews.com)

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OpenOffice 4.1.7 - Free and open-source...
OpenOffice.org is both an Open Source product and a project. The product is a multi-platform office productivity suite. It includes the key desktop applications, such as a word processor, spreadsheet... Read more
Backup and Sync 3.46 - File backup and s...
Backup and Sync (was Google Drive) is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a... Read more
iClock 5.5 - Customizable menu bar clock...
iClock replaces the old Apple's default menu bar clock with more features, customization and increases your productivity. Features: Have your Apple or Google calendar instantly available from the... Read more
Garmin Express 6.18.0.0 - Manage your Ga...
Garmin Express is your essential tool for managing your Garmin devices. Update maps, golf courses and device software. You can even register your device. Update maps Update software Register your... Read more
MarsEdit 4.3.5 - Quick and convenient bl...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
Xcode 11.0 - Integrated development envi...
Xcode includes everything developers need to create great applications for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing... Read more
DaisyDisk 4.8 - $9.99
DaisyDisk allows you to visualize your disk usage and free up disk space by quickly finding and deleting big unused files. The program scans your disk and displays its content as a sector diagram... Read more
VMware Fusion 11.5.0 - Run Windows apps...
VMware Fusion and Fusion Pro - virtualization software for running Windows, Linux, and other systems on a Mac without rebooting. The latest version includes full support for Windows 10, macOS Mojave... Read more
Apple Configurator 2.10 - Configure and...
Apple Configurator makes it easy to deploy iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV devices in your school or business. Use Apple Configurator to quickly configure large numbers of devices connected to... Read more
Spotify 1.1.15.448. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Marvel Strike Force is adding Agent Coul...
Marvel Strike Force, the popular squad-based RPG, is set to receive a bunch of new content over the next few weeks. [Read more] | Read more »
Lots of premium games are going free (so...
You may have seen over the past couple weeks a that a bunch of premium games have suddenly become free. This isn’t a mistake, nor is it some last hurrah before Apple Arcade hits, and it’s important to know that these games aren’t actually becoming... | Read more »
Yoozoo Games launches Saint Seiya Awaken...
If you’re into your anime, you’ve probably seen or heard of Saint Seiya. Based on a shonen manga by Masami Kurumada, the series was massively popular in the 1980s – especially in its native Japan. Since then, it’s grown into a franchise of all... | Read more »
Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special...
Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery is a terrifying new nightmare from developer Illumix. Last week, FNAF fans were sent into a frenzy by a short teaser for what we now know to be Special Delivery. Those in the comments were quick to... | Read more »
Rush Rally 3's new live events are...
Last week, Rush Rally 3 got updated with live events, and it’s one of the best things to happen to racing games on mobile. Prior to this update, the game already had multiplayer, but live events are more convenient in the sense that it’s somewhat... | Read more »
Why your free-to-play racer sucks
It’s been this way for a while now, but playing Hot Wheels Infinite Loop really highlights a big issue with free-to-play mobile racing games: They suck. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying going for realism, cart racing, or arcade nonsense, they’re... | Read more »
Steam Link Spotlight - The Banner Saga 3
Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry talked about Terry Cavanaugh’s incredible Dicey Dungeons. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience... | Read more »
Combo Quest (Games)
Combo Quest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Combo Quest is an epic, time tap role-playing adventure. In this unique masterpiece, you are a knight on a heroic quest to retrieve... | Read more »
Hero Emblems (Games)
Hero Emblems 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** 25% OFF for a limited time to celebrate the release ** ** Note for iPhone 6 user: If it doesn't run fullscreen on your device... | Read more »
Puzzle Blitz (Games)
Puzzle Blitz 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Puzzle Blitz is a frantic puzzle solving race against the clock! Solve as many puzzles as you can, before time runs out! You have... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

11″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale today for up to $2...
Amazon has new 2018 Apple 11″ WiFi iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $200 off Apple’s MSRP. These are the same iPad Pros sold by Apple in its retail and online stores. Be sure to select... Read more
Select 12″ iPad Pros on sale for $200 off App...
Amazon has select 2018 Apple 12″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP. These are the same iPad Pros sold by Apple in its retail and online stores. Be sure to select Amazon... Read more
Get one of Apple’s new 2019 iPhone 11 models...
Boost Mobile is offering the new 2019 Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max for $100 off MSRP. Their discount reduces the cost of an iPhone 11 to $599 for the 64GB models, $899 for the 64GB... Read more
13″ 1.4GHz Silver MacBook Pros on sale for $1...
B&H Photo has new 2019 13″ 1.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar Silver MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US. These are the same MacBook Pros... Read more
4-core and 6-core 2018 Mac minis available at...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2018 Mac minis available on their online store for $120-$170 off the cost of new models. Each mini comes with a new outer case plus a standard Apple one-year warranty... Read more
$250 prepaid Visa card with any Apple iPhone,...
Xfinity Mobile will include a free $250 prepaid Visa card with the purchase of any new iPhone, new line activation, and transfer of phone number to Xfinity Mobile. Offer is valid through October 27,... Read more
Sprint is offering the 64GB Apple iPhone 11 P...
Sprint has the new 64GB iPhone 11 Pro available for $12.50 per month for new customers with an eligible trade-in in of iPhone 7 or newer. That’s down from their standard monthly lease of $41.67. The... Read more
Final week: Apple’s 2019 Back to School Promo...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $400 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution with a .edu email address qualify for the discount... Read more
Save $30 on Apple’s AirPods at these reseller...
Amazon is offering discounts on new 2019 Apple AirPods ranging up to $30 off MSRP as part of their Labor Day sale. Shipping is free: – AirPods with Charging Case: $144.95 $15 off MSRP – AirPods with... Read more
Preorder your Apple Watch Series 5 today at A...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 5 GPS models available for preorder and on sale today for $15 off Apple’s MSRP. Shipping is free and starts on September 20th: – 40mm Apple Watch Series 5 GPS: $384.99 $... Read more

Jobs Board

Systems Analyst ( *Apple* & Android) (Jo...
Systems Analyst ( Apple & Android) (Job ID: 572513) + 11751 Meadowville Ln, Chester, VA 23836, USA + Full-time Company Description Computer Consultants International, Read more
*Apple* Mobile App Developer - eiWorkflow So...
…eiWorkflow Solutions, LLC is currently looking for a consultant for the following role. Apple Mobile App Developer Tasks the role will be performing: ? Mobile App Read more
Essbase Developer - *Apple* - Theorem, LLC...
Job Summary Apple is seeking an experienced, detail-minded Essbase developer to join our worldwide business development and strategy team. If you are someone who Read more
Student Employment (Blue *Apple* Cafe) Spri...
Student Employment (Blue Apple Cafe) Spring 2019 Penn State University Campus/Location: Penn State Brandywine Campus City: Media, PA Date Announced: 12/20/2018 Date Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**732093BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 001441-Beaumont-Store **Job Description:** The Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.