Keep taking the tablets? . . that’s not my styl(us) . . prose and cons

I’m looking for some technical help here. Having first touched a keyboard in 1970, you may find it strange to believe that I am still an unbelievably incompetent typist. Sumerian scribes could probably have produced work quicker work carving cuneiform characters into clay tablets, and I would stand no chance against a medieval monk transcribing manuscripts, who would even have time for a coffee between pages . .

Although I clearly use my Mac on a daily basis, for actually writing I prefer pen and paper – hence the nature of this site – which allows me to write at home, on the train in a plane or most likely, in a bar. I have several projects which I want to get seriously underway but the thought of even more hours in front of my Mac – beautiful though it is – does not appeal. So not wanting to lug a Macbook around these are my preferred options.

  • To write with a decent(!) pen in my Moleskine, on ordinary paper or just on a paper napkin, if need be!– then to have available some form of OCR to scan the writing into the Mac OR possibly a voice recognition package to convert my spoken prose in to text
  • To use some sort of digital pen which stores the info for later transfer.
  • To use a tablet and stylus to speed up the process (though it limits me to working at the Mac.)
  • To spend money on an iPad and use a handwriting recognition app.

So a  few questions.

1. OCR software – I know there’s lots of stuff out there but has anybody any experience of it especially with a Mac.

2. Digital pens – again there seem to be several out there Livescribe ECHO Smartpen seems to get good reviews but requires special paper. Any advice?

3. I’ve used stylus/tablet in the past for graphics and instead of a mouse, and quite like it. Any preferences?

4. iPad this is not really an ideal solution because it’s the most expensive I suspect and it means carrying around yet another piece of kit plus charger when I go away. Any experiences with the handwriting recognition on the ipad?

So there’s the situation and I’m sure there will be somebody out there able to give me that Eureka moment!




6 Replies to “Keep taking the tablets? . . that’s not my styl(us) . . prose and cons”

  1. That’s a tough one. Though it’s a phantastic tool in a lot of respects (I use it as a Real Book and/or a playalong generator all the time) forget the iPad for handwriting recognition. Although there are many options it is not really meant for styluses. For me the handwriting recognition on the Newton actually worked but these are now on the graveyard of technology. Those digital pens might be the most promising route for you but I have no experience with them.

    1. Hi Didi,
      Good to hear from you! How are you doing? Still playing, I hope….
      Things are still going well here – still gigging and the consultant was pleased with my annual check on Wednesday, so……
      The Newton!?! Almost forgotten about that…. in fact, I had….. the pens sound a good route but they’re horrible ballpoint things- I’m just about to check out a trial piece of OCR software… how festive is that?!!
      Have a great Xmas and a prosperous New Year!

      Take care, my friend,

  2. Love my iPad – Penultimate and the PogoSketch are an option.

    BTW thanks for the comment on my blog about the Bihn Bag – I love mine – I have two and really need to post on my second one.

    Following you now and look forward to your posts. Are you on Twitter??

  3. I’m also thinking about this, although I’m not an artist. I’m leaning strongly towards the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet, and one reason is I’ve read that it has the best stylus/software combo, as well as being useful for business. My home computer is falling apart, so I’m thinking a 10″ tablet would be great.

Any thoughts?

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