Journal Life Sketching

Mac . . .



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!