There’s one other feature I like to point out. It’s possible, I tell people, to get optical character recognition software to go with the pen. If you write like a normal person, the OCR will automatically convert your handwritten notes into a text file that you can then copy and paste into your word processor. For many reporters, this is the best feature, obviating the painful task of transcribing long interviews. But it doesn’t work for me, I explain, because even though I’m recording this interview with the latest model Sky wifi smartpen, I’m taking notes using a 19th Century technology called Gregg shorthand.
In many respects, Gregg is even more ingenious than the smartpen. And, although no electronics or gizmos were involved, it was a tremendously powerful and influential technology for nearly 100 years. Now, it’s become the key to my workflow in the Internet age.