Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's go back to the fountain pen

I love my Emacs (and org-mode), but there is something else about my fountain-pen. My fountain-pen is excellent for doodling and doing creative thinking. I guess the personality and non-uniformity of the handwriting adds a lot to the thinking process. Or maybe it is that handwriting requires more hand-eye coordination, or is more relaxing than typing. We are wired as analog and may process/control analog things better. I don't know what that special thing is. But for a task that requires deep thinking, I first hack at it with my pen and then move to Emacs to edit the text and digitally save/archive the text.

They should produce a tablet with a natural (high resolution, comfortable) pen input. That would save me a lot of time from having to type my writing to make it digitally available. I tried some tablets, and I was not happy with their pen support. I would be a loyal customer for an iPad like tablet with natural pen input. It could be a specialized device, it doesn't have to be a tablet-computer. I will just be happy to write on it naturally, and read papers, browse web.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I agree that there is something satisfying about writing something up first using pen and paper, and then distilling a revised version to digital format.

As far as simplifying the process of converting pen-and-paper notes to digital form, you might consider a "smart pen" (Livescribe is one company that makes them). The idea is that it is a special pen -- it still writes ink, but it also produces a digitized version on the fly (provided you use special paper). I haven't used one myself, but some other grad students I know use them for taking notes and seem pretty happy with them.