Tag Archives: Livescribe

Release: Lined Notepads for Livescribe

I just got around to uploading my lined notepads for Livescribe’s Smartpens. They are 50 pages a piece and there are four of them. The plan is to release two more of them soon. They are deployed via the standard deployment process (which I have outlined numerous times).

Instructions and Downloads are available: https://rohankapoor.com/projects/livescribe/lined-notepads-1-4/

Post a comment if you have any questions or concerns!

Sync Livescribe Across Dropbox

Let me begin by saying that I have a fairly complicated computer setup. First I have a Desktop, with a nice, large, high definition 20″ monitor! For practical reasons it doesn’t make much sense to carry this around with me all of them time. I also have the Livescribe Pro Charging Cradle which sits on my desk and is connected to my Desktop, allowing me to dock my pen any time to complete a download without having the pull out the mobile cradle. Next I have a 15″ Compaq Presario Laptop that is slowly aging (but still going strong)! I travel with that laptop sometimes and use it around the house when I am not at my desk. For that reason, it also needs my Livescribe data as well. Then just to complicate things more, I also have a 10″ netbook which goes with me everywhere and because it’s with me most of the time, I need to be able to access my Livescribe data on it as well. There is always the way of manually copying the Livescribe folder from one computer to another via USB flash drive. However, that takes a significant amount of time because my Livescribe data is 1GB (approximately) and it’s only going to get larger as time goes by. Also, another flaw with this method is that it requires me to remember to copy over the data folder twice. Once when I arrive at the computer and once when I leave adding a 5 minute job twice every time I want to move computers.

For reference the Livescribe Folder is located at “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop” (on Windows XP). For Windows Vista or Windows 7, the folder is located at “C:\Users\Username\Appdata\Local\Livescribe\Desktop”. It’s not as long but since I use both Windows XP and Windows 7 between computers, it’s another path to remember. At first I thought I would create a network share (on my Desktop) and then use Offline Files to synchronize the Livescribe folder with the network share. The only problem being that I’m often switching between multiple computers very quickly and it takes time for Offline Files to synchronize because it doesn’t sync on the fly.

I started looking at various other services that allow synchronizing and was tempted to try out Windows Live Sync Beta. Thing is, I had used it several times before and one major gripe with it is that the data isn’t in the cloud so I have to have all of my computers on all the time to make sure they get the updates. This led me to dropbox.

For those of you who don’t know, Dropbox is a file synchronization software that has a huge back-end within the cloud. It uses Amazon’s popular S3 service for data and allows each free user 2GB of space. Also, if you haven’t signed up for Dropbox yet and would like to, if you sign up using my link, we will both get and additional 250 MB free. This is plenty of room for syncing the Livescribe data at least for now. So what Dropbox does is sync any files within your Dropbox folder with all of your computers and devices. I know what you’re thinking. The problem here is that Livescribe Desktop expects it’s folder to be at a specific location and that location isn’t your Dropbox folder. Of course, Dropbox can only sync files that are within your Dropbox Folder and the Livescribe Data folder certainly isn’t there…

So then here’s the solution! It’s called symlinks. Symlink is short for Symbolic Link. Now what does Symbolic Link mean?

In computing, a symbolic link (also symlink or soft link) is a special type of file that contains a reference to another file or directory in the form of an absolute or relative path and that affects pathname resolution. Symbolic links were already present by 1978 in mini-computer operating systems from DEC and Data General’s RDOS. Today they are supported by the POSIX operating-system standard, most Unix-like operating systems such as Mac OS X, and also Windows operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and to some degree in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
Symbolic links operate transparently for most operations: programs which read or write to files named by a symbolic link will behave as if operating directly on the target file. However, programs that need to handle symbolic links specially (e.g., backup utilities) may identify and manipulate them directly.
— From: Wikipedia contributors. “Symbolic link.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 Sep. 2010.

Basically that means that a Symbolic Link will allow us to store data somewhere and make it appear seamlessly to be somewhere else. This is the solution to using Dropbox with Livescribe Desktop. All we have to do is move the Livescribe Desktop folder to the Dropbox folder and then Symlink it to it’s normal location!

In addition to Dropbox and Livescribe Desktop you will need the free Junction Utility from Microsoft Sysinternals. Go ahead and download that now. I’ll wait!

Before we begin, I should add that all commands that must be entered in the command prompt are surrounded by “”. You don’t need to the enter those ones but any of them within the code itself is imperative to enter.

All right! Let’s go!

First you need to decide if you are on Windows XP or on Windows Vista/Windows 7. While the directions are very similar, there are several key differences between them. Windows XP directions will come first, followed by Windows Vista/Windows 7. Please remember that in all of the directions you have to replace Username with your own username.

Transfer your Livescribe Data to Dropbox if it is on a Windows XP Computer

  1. Remember that download I had you make? Well it was a zip file. Unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”.
  2. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe”. Move the folder “Desktop” from the Livescribe Folder to your Desktop.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop
  4. In another Windows Explorer window, open your Dropbox folder, usually: “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox”.
  5. Now make a new folder named “Livescribe” in the “My Dropbox” folder.
  6. Move the “Desktop” folder to the “Livescribe” folder in your “My Dropbox” folder. Dropbox will now start indexing and uploading your data. Depending on your connection speed and amount of data, this may take several hours.
  7. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  8. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  9. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  10. You can delete the backup of the Desktop folder on your Desktop at this point, if you so choose.
  11. At this point you just successfully transferred your Livescribe Desktop folder to your Dropbox account. Just remember to only have Livescribe Desktop running on one computer at a time and your data should remain intact. However, there is no way I can guarantee that and you should always keep backups. I am not liable if you lose your data.

Use Your Livescribe Data in Dropbox with Another Install of Livescribe Desktop on Windows XP

  1. If this computer doesn’t already have Junction on it, download it and then unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”.
  2. Set up Dropbox on the computer. Your data may take some time to download especially if you have a very full Dropbox.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop.
  4. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe”.
  5. Delete the folder “Desktop” that is within.
  6. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  7. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  8. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  9. At this point you have successfully setup Livescribe Desktop on another computer to access your Livescribe data stored in Dropbox. Just remember that Dropbox can’t sync that data while Livescribe Desktop is open so after exiting it, give it a few minutes to finish syncing.

Transfer your Livescribe Data to Dropbox if it is on a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer

  1. Remember that download I had you make? Well it was a zip file. Unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”. User Account Control may ask for permission. You have to give it that.
  2. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe”. Move the folder “Desktop” from the Livescribe Folder to your Desktop.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop
  4. In another Windows Explorer window, open your Dropbox folder, usually: “C:\Users\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox”.
  5. Now make a new folder named “Livescribe” in the “My Dropbox” folder.
  6. Move the “Desktop” folder to the “Livescribe” folder in your “My Dropbox” folder. Dropbox will now start indexing and uploading your data. Depending on your connection speed and amount of data, this may take several hours.
  7. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  8. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  9. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Users\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  10. You can delete the backup of the Desktop folder on your Desktop at this point, if you so choose.
  11. At this point you just successfully transferred your Livescribe Desktop folder to your Dropbox account. Just remember to only have Livescribe Desktop running on one computer at a time and your data should remain intact. However, there is no way I can guarantee that and you should always keep backups. Once again, let me remind you that I am not liable if you lose your data.

Use Your Livescribe Data in Dropbox with Another Install of Livescribe Desktop on Windows Vista or Windows 7

  1. If this computer doesn’t already have Junction on it, download it and then unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”. Once again, User Account Control may ask for permission. You have to give it that.
  2. Set up Dropbox on the computer. Your data may take some time to download especially if you have a very full Dropbox.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop.
  4. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe”.
  5. Delete the folder “Desktop” that is within.
  6. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  7. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  8. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Users\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  9. At this point you have successfully setup Livescribe Desktop on another computer to access your Livescribe data stored in Dropbox. Just remember that Dropbox can’t sync that data while Livescribe Desktop is open so after exiting it, give it a few minutes to finish syncing.

Congratulations! If you followed these directions correctly your Livescribe Desktop data should now be happily syncing through Dropbox and accessible on all of your computers. I must caution you one more time however, never to have Livescribe Desktop running on multiple computers simultaneously. Dropbox will not be sync the data and you will most likely end up losing a significant portion of it. Once again, I must remind you that I take no liability if you do lose your data. However, I do believe that the likelihood of that happening is very slim, especially if you read all of the directions listed above before you begin. If you have any problems with this, please post a comment and I will try to help you.

As far as I know, a similar technique will work with Dropbox and Livescribe Desktop on a Mac. According to Livescribe however, it is not possible to currently transfer data between the Mac and Windows versions of Livescribe Desktop. Supposedly, it is incompatible. However, I personally have no way of finding it out because I have zero Macs to try it with. If anyone wants to try it, please remember to back up before trying and do let me know so that I can update this post. And yes, even though there is a Dropbox for Linux, the lack of a Livescribe Desktop application for it, makes syncing your data there a moot point.

Release: Printable Graphpads for Livescribe!

Several months ago, I received Livescribe’s Pulse Smartpen as a birthday present. At the time, I was amazed by the features and the concept of such a device. It soon began to play an integral role in my technological life and now I really would be lost without it. You can see my full review (after months of using it) here. As I have mentioned on the official Livescribe Forums several times, the only thing that the Pulse Smartpen lacks is graph paper. Now I’m not the only one that has noticed this and Livescribe has been promising to release dot paper with grid lines on it at some point. Unfortunately, they’ve been saying that for a little over a year now. As I’m sure most of you know already, when Livescribe says something, it usually takes them some time to actually do it. Personally, I’m not a big fan of waiting for someone else to do something when it’s relatively easy (though inconvenient) to do it on my own. Of course, Livescribe has an SDK. However, the SDK is only downloadable to developers. No problem, to become an “official developer,” you just need to fill out a registration form and then download the SDK. Using the SDK, I eventually managed to create my first paper project for the smartpen. I of course dubbed it: Quarter Inch Printable Graphpad 1. However, the only problem with the current SDK is that it’s not currently possible to script page number generation. This is supposedly a feature that will be released in the long awaited Desktop SDK. Coincidently, Livescribe plans to release this by the end of quarter 2, 2010. To the end user this simply means that it will take a slightly longer time to input the pages to Livescribe Desktop. I should add that uploading custom pages currently only works with Livescribe Desktop for Windows. It is currently incompatible with Livescribe Desktop for Macintosh.

I’ve successfully created four of these graphpads (all with quarter inch graph paper as a template) and all of them have basic paper replay controls. Each of these graphpads is 25 pages long, leaving you with 100 unique pages total. However, I haven’t licensed the fourth graphpad as I haven’t had a need for it (yet) myself. I would be willing to license and release it if people request it because they need it. Chances are, at some point I will end up needing it myself and will release it at that time.

If you are interested in downloading and deploying these graphpads, I recommend that you head over to the download page, where you can find all of the necessary links and instructions.

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen: Changing the Way We Work

Several years ago the concept of digital pens reached a mainstream environment. These were pens that interacted with special paper to either digitize what was written, provide information or something else. The FLYPEN was one of the first to arrive on the market. At the time, I thought it a waste of time, something I would never end up buying because I could see no use for getting digitized copies of everything I wrote down. I also wasn’t willing to pay several hundred dollars for one.

Then a company named Anoto began creating this “dot paper”, paper with a printed dot pattern to make digitization and interaction better for smartpens. Anoto released their own pen and that looked interesting, yet at the time I was still unable to see the need for one.

Last year, I started looking into a new company, Livescribe that created the Pulse Smartpen. This was looking rather interesting. Anoto dot paper technology, java based software and “penlets”, 1gb of storage space, and the ability to record audio while taking notes. All of a sudden, this device began to look rather interesting.

In my day to day life, I end up taking a lot of notes. Though I do normally have a computer with me, it’s not always feasible to use it for note-taking. For example, when creating diagrams or any type of drawing, using a laptop touchpad is just plain horrible and results in sub-par quality assuming it’s even legible at all. For this reason, the Pulse Smartpen was looking appealing. I received it as a birthday present and immediately decided to put it through a test. I was given the new 2gb model of the Pulse Smartpen.

Included in the box is:

  • 1 Pulse Smartpen (2gb or 4gb)
  • 1 Starter Notebook
  • 1 Ink Cartridge Refill
  • Quick Start Guide
  • USB Portable Docking Station
  • 3d Audio Recording Headset

The Pulse uses an infrared camera to read the dots on special paper to figure out where it is (dot-positioning-system) and from there records all of the strokes you make on the page, instantly digitizing everything you write in your own handwriting! With audio recording, and the ability to design your own paper and penlets with java, for it’s cost this pen seems like a very nice deal.

Within two days of having, and using it, I found my notetaking habits were vastly changed. The pen truly revolutionizes the way people work. The pen came before the keyboard and many times it’s much better than the keyboard. With the pulse, you get the best of both worlds, digital and a PEN! The ability to record audio and link it to written text on the base is a major plus point of the pulse. In practice, this allows you to either write less and listen more, then add more notes later. It also provides a failsafe incase you forget to write something down. You can always listen to it.

The best part of the Pulse’s design in my opinion, is that the only button is the power button. All of the other “buttons” are relocated onto the bottom of the journal & notebook pages. Called “Paper Replay,” they allow you to control audio and the entire pens settings as well.

So all together, Livescribe’s software, and Pulse SmartPen have changed the way I work. I no longer need to pull out my laptop or netbook for everything. I can just use my SmartPen and it’s paper and then have all the information needed on my netbook when I get a chance! I highly recommend Livescribe and I’m sure that once you try it, you will too!