The Digital Writing Podcast

Recently I wrote (WSJ.com; subscription only I’m afraid) and spoke (BBC World Service; podcast here) about digital writing — the still peripheral business of using a pen to write on paper, and then have that work digitally transferred to a computer, PDA or cellphone. (And then, optionally, have any writing converted to text your computer can use.)

It’s a much maligned, undercovered field. Every year or so a company comes out with a new product and there’s a smattering of articles. Then everyone forgets about it — usually including the people who bought and briefly used the product. I don’t know why this is; I suspect it’s because partly it’s still a bit tricky, in some cases, to use these products, and partly because everyone thinks digital writing is all about TabletPCs — i.e., bringing your laptop with you. It’s not; in fact, nearly all these solutions use paper and pen, which makes them truly portable. My only gripe: the pens, particularly those from Logitech (the io2) and Nokia (the SU-1B), use very basic biro-style ink which isn’t all that nice to write with. I’ve read some people have gotten around this by finding better cartridges and fitting them with tape, but I’ve not tried it.