Stylus input


Livescribe

How can I combine a real notebook with digitization?

Great question. My current solution here is Livescribe, a ball-point pen that remembers what you write if you use special paper. It also has some features I don’t use, such as audio recording. You can find more about that on the internet. It transfers data to a mobile device (such as tablet or smartphone) then via a cloud service such as dropbox, google drive, ever note or OneNote to other devices. This is unsatisfactory. For one the smartphone app is pretty awful, clunky and unintuitive and has been forever. For another, there are, you will observe, no end-to-end encrypted sync services on that list, so everything you write using the pen can be assumed to be subpoena-vulnerable in some jurisdiction or other. As such, do not use it to write notes on anything if you do not want police and spooks reading it. People have been complaining about the app for 7 years now and it has remained largely unchanged apart from fixes for crashing bugs and compatibility updates, so do not buy the phone in the hope that the app will improve, as there is no indication this is a priority for the company.

My summary is: Great pen; awful data transfer. Worth it overall for non-confidential use.

Here are some links I’ve needed for the Livescribe recently:

Graphics tablets

Wacom are the recognisable ones here, but they are crazy expensive and their drivers are awful on macOS, working unreliably and aggressively enforcing obsolescence of tablets. Their competitors drivers can surely not be any no worse and their tablets cost less. Which competitor is least worst?

Richard Zach recommends StylusLabs Write as the input app, a minimalist sketchpad app that looks convenient for maths and other textual-type stuff. Windows/Mac/Linux.

Tablet computer as graphics tablet

I am fond of Android-tablet-as-screen, since it is a cheap device with touch interface and visual feedback. There are many apps that do this; None for linux though AFAICS.

Richard Zach is good here and talks through some of the wacom options and getting output from his mathsnerd reMarkable tablet via srvfb.

Mathematical OCR

a.k.a. “Reverse LaTeX”.