The Livescribe Echo pen

I received a Livescribe Echo pen for Christmas from my wonderful girlfriend Naomi. And I have been discovering how to use it, the desktop software and the iphone application.

Being a recent convert to the iPhone 4s, my first task was seeing if I could access the data created by the livescribe pen on the iPhone.

To access the pencasts you create on your iPhone, there’s an available on the appstore: Pencast Player (it’s free). Once it’s on the iPhone, you have to open it and setup your livescribe account and password in it. That allows you to start downloading the public pencasts available on the livescribe website. Now to allow your own created pencasts to be downloaded by the iphone, you have to setup the Mobile connector in the Livescribe Desktop application.

Mobile configuration in Livescribe Desktop

You should again enter your Livescribe email and password, then you simply need to click on the Test connection button, and you should be rewarded by the green light.

Then you simply need to take pages (one or more) from your Library and drag them to the Mobile connector in your Livescribe Desktop application. You will be allowed to send them as pencasts with audio, or audio or pages only. Confirming that should start the synchronization.

Then if you check with your mobile phone you should be able to download the pages as a pencast. I have noticed for the moment, that on the iPhone, the pencast player seems only to support the first audio file contained in the pencast. This could be a problem in the app, or it might just be that I didn’t configure something correctly.

But hey, Pencasts with all your notes on the go, I say that’s hard to beat. And it remains very readable on my iPhone’s screen.

Migrating my Mum (OS X)

Or a return to Mac after 10 years of MS Windows

After a long reflection, my mum has decided to get a iMac. The decision was brought about by the aging PC she used, by recommendations from her friends and by the fact that the all in one iMac would seriously diminish the cable salad that sits behind her desk. Now that’s said and done, here’s the facts: I’ll have to be able to do her tech support and find equivalent software for her tasks, including migrating all existing documents, addresses and mails to the new computer. Last time she had a mac, it was still something like system 7.

My mum is a dance teacher, here are the points to resolve I’ve identified:

  • Burning CDs from her enormous collection of circle dancing music, which add up to a couple of thousand of CDs in a year. This has a tendency to wear out CD writers. How easy is it to swap out the CD drive in a iMac or should we get an external writer straightaway?
  • Her CDs were currently setup in Nero Burning Rom, either as nrg disc images (which should be easy to handle, since it’s a complete image) and in nra files which directly link to individual songs on the hard drive. The problem with the nra file is if a song is moved, it cannot be found anymore. I fear I’ll have to recreated the 30 or so different CD lists manually.
  • Hundreds of word documents, either for workshop programs or for dance descriptions. My guess is bite the bullet and get Office for Mac. Although, I am curious about Pages from Apple and how easily my mum could transition to it.
  • The labels she prints onto the CDs are made in Corel Draw X3 (cdr files), and seeing the price of a new licence of Corel for Mac, it would make sense to try find a cheaper or free alternative that could import these. For the moment the converter (UniConverter from sk1 project) doesn’t correctly covert the files to SVG, so I’m not able to use InkScape for that. Again, if I have to redo them manually, it’s another 30+ CD centers to redo.
  • Migrate her mail and address books from Windows Live Mail to a mail client on Mac OS X.
  • Locate replacements for Audiograbber (CD ripping) and Audacity (Sound editor)
  • Choose a website editor, I was previously using an antique Dreamweaver (like v4)

The iMac has now arrived, and I will be unpacking it and setting it up on the first week-end in January (8-9), I expect to have an update on my experience with setting up an OS X iMac then.