I have no business connection of any kind* to the company that makes the LiveScribe Pulse pen. Therefore it is solely out of a public-spirited desire to improve the lives of my fellow beleaguered reporters, students, meeting-attenders, and so on that I have repeatedly touted the thing, starting six months ago here. (Photo below taken when I first used the pen in China.)


I mention it again because I just got this note from a friend who writes for a major newspaper:

"For Christmas I received the Pulse Livescribe Pen you described on theAtlantic.com blog last year. As you report this is change-your-life good. I cannot believe I had not discovered this technology, or it wasn't invented before."

More in the same vein from other writers and reviewers at the company's "press clips" site.

Here is why I consider myself especially public-minded and self-sacrificing in passing along this info to others who might benefit from using the pen. This is still a niche product. Therefore most people I am interviewing don't recognize the pen or realize what it is -- and therefore aren't really aware that, while I appear to be just scrawling down notes, I'm actually recording the whole conversation in high-quality audio. Of course I would never be so ignoble as not to say, "I would like to record this to be accurate, is that OK?" etc.  Perish the thought!! But I am just observing that people who don't see a recorder in their presence tend to forget it is there. 
* A year ago, a friend who is connected to the company gave me a sample of the pen and said, Try this. I did -- and, consistent with my policy of "pay for anything you're going to write about or actually use," I promptly sent the company a check for the price. A few months later, while I was still in Beijing, that original pen developed an odd defect. It would simply stop recording from time to time. The Beijing branch of the company swapped that for a replacement model, which has worked fine ever since. Now I have a reliable recorder-pen  -- whose on-screen info is in Chinese, providing a daily refresher course in character-reading.