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I’ve Always Dreamed Of Your Measurements in Neon Lights: Livescribe Echo

11/22/2010

My bestie scored a Livescribe Echo 4GB Smart Pen, which he was kind enough to allow me to fondle and test drive. I am not particularly fascinated by gadgets because of their gadget-ness; like most things it is the aesthetics that initially attract me to an item (for better or worse). And the Lightscribe Echo sure is pretty! Chunky as all get out and looks a lot like my beloved Post-It Flag Pen Classic!

photo credit - Bloomberg Business Week

The trouble began when I attempted to use the Livescribe Echo to jot down some notes on an index card. Oops. Turns out this product requires special paper in order to work. Doesn’t that seem to go against the idea of using the pen to be paper free? Don’t get me wrong; I welcome any excuse to buy MORE paper, though I realize there are less pricier models of pens – albeit not nearly as fabulous – which do not require any kind of fantagical paper in order to do that voodoo they do. Of course, those models have their own drawbacks as well.

a diary that talks with a pen that records. Let's get these two together asap!

So armed with the magical paper, which just looked like paper, but uglier and with a strip at the bottom with all this “stuff” (see photo above) I attempted to get this pen a writing. Trying to get everything situated reminded me of those interactive children’s books where you use a stylus to touch an area of the page to make a Disney character laugh, honk a clown horn or utter their patented catch phrase. Fortunately, the pen did not chide me when I couldn’t, “Find Mickey’s bushel of apples,” or break into a chorus of the wretched song “We Are One” (parents, you feel me. amirite!!!) and I greatly appreciated this!

Digression: Once someone (no names!) got the soundtrack to Lion King II: Simba’s Pride stuck in my car tape deck, which was bad enough, but it gets worse. For nearly two weeks, any time I drove anywhere I was assaulted by fakey “African Rhythms” Paul Simon Graceland sounding “We Are One”, which played on an endless, tortuous loop, until I arrived at my destination and fled the car. I haven’t met a child who didn’t like this song or over-enunciate the line of the chorus, “ONE!” resulting in a sound on par with a fork pinging to the floor. In fact, whenever I see the word “one” printed, that’s what I hear. That said, I do love Lion King II: Electric Boogaloo, relishing its cheesy, low production value charms.

Once I got the Livescribe Echo a writing, I was more in love with the feeling – smooth and faintly James Bondian (in my case Timothy Dalton) – of writing on the page than excitement of being able to upload my scribblings to the computer. I even stopped a couple of times to test drive the recording feature. Mostly to squeal, “OMG, I’m writing with and talking into a pen from a Discolicious Neon Lit Tron Future!!!” which, probably was not the quality of recorded information the product was designed for.

I did not upload my digital blathering, but I did observe bestie doing so. He is beta testing the pen for his employer, which he believes could help medical practitioners do their jobs more effectively. That’s assuming the technology itself doesn’t contribute more headaches. I think this is a pretty smart and intriguing application of the product. That said, there are no apps to make his wretched doctor handwriting less hideous.

At the wallet busting price of $149.99 for 4GB, I can’t say I will be rushing out to purchase the Livescribe Echo. However, I loved using it. It’s fun, useful for those who take its futuristic technology seriously, and totally gorgeous! Of all the tech gear of which attention must be paid, I gotta say this is the one that has finally knocked the ludd right off my ite!

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