May 13, 2009 Even in the digital age, there are still some cases where the pen is mightier than the keyboard. Scribbling a quick diagram or making a few quick handwritten notes can convey some information much more effectively than a slab of text. That’s the reasoning behind Livescribe’s Pulse smartpen, a computer in the shape of a pen that not only digitally captures handwriting, but simultaneously records audio and synchronizes it to the writing to create what it calls “pencasts”. Now Livescribe is taking pencasts to the next level with a social media tool that enables them to be embedded within any website or blog.

Pencasts take the form of interactive Flash videos that allow you to share notes, ideas, drawings and conversations from pen and paper with anyone who has a Flash player installed in their browser. Embedding a pencast is much like embedding a YouTube video - you simply find a pencast on your myLivescribe page or the Livescribe Community, click “Embed this file” and then copy and paste the HTML code into a website or blog.

Livescribe provides each Pulse smartpen user with 250MB of free online storage to share pencasts either publicly or privately. In addition to embedding pencasts on websites or posting them on the Livescribe Community, individuals can share pencasts directly on Facebook, save notes as a PDF file or export recordings into an audio file.

Livescribe says that since its launch last year, the Livescribe Community has received more than 1.5 million pencast views. But with the ability to embed pencasts within websites and blogs, Livescribe expects that figure to grow substantially. If my handwriting is anything to go by, the internet could be set to become a whole lot more illegible.

The Pulse smartpen is available in 1GB and 2GB varieties, priced at USD$149.95 and $199.95 respectively.

Darren Quick