The Magic Pencil

Wishing for a magic pencil then:

When I was a kid, I always wanted a magic pencil. Especially when confronted with math. The subject didn’t come easy, I had to think bout it. If the pencil in my hand had super powers it could figure out word problems and formulas on its own. All I had to do was hold on.

There was no magic pencil then.

Looking for a magic pencil now:

I went through a phase of trying to find a solution to a problem: locating a dependable handwriting detection device. My research led me to three possibilities:

Remarkable 2

The Remarkable 2 is a tablet and stylus dedicated to taking and organizing notes. It’s a nice piece of hardware and the screen and stylus have a unique feel and sound: like a pen being dragged across paper.

After serious consideration of buying the device, I changed my mind at the last minute. The tablet didn’t support Scrivener, my writing weapon of choice. A review from a reputable source said the handwriting detection conversion was “serviceable”. Not sure what this meant. Didn’t sound good. I needed perfect results in real time.

iPad with Apple Pencil

Scrivener for iOS coupled with the Apple Pencil. Had the solution to the handwriting question arrived. Not really. Scrivener did not directly support the Apple Pencil. Just as well. If I was going to kick out close to a thousand bucks for the gadget it better work for me and not the opposite.


This gizmo is cool. An actual pen with a video camera built into the nose. The camera records 74 frames per second over special paper that is peppered with tiny dots. Each dot represents an x or y coordinate. The camera follows the ink flow, records the location, then converts the map into searchable data.

The price was reasonable. I thought this could be what I’d been looking for. After conducting some research, I came across a number of unfavorable reviews.

No dice on that thing.

Stick slide:

I’ve learned a valuable lesson since retirement: there wasn’t a magic pencil as a kid and there isn’t one as an old man. The kid thing was a total imaginary thing and was kind of fun. The old man thing was a research and discovery thing leading to disappointment.

The writing technique I’m perfecting utilizes a desktop computer and a mobile phone. The desktop is used when I need to put the 27 inch screen through the paces of formatting, proof reading, graphics creation, or e book uploading to distribution channels. The phone is used for composing inline text on a single screen. With the swipe to type operation enabled on the virtual keyboard, I’m able to guide a fiber match stylus across the screen. The tip leaves trails as it moves from one letter to the next. Predicted text appears.

It may not be magic. It’s the closest thing I’ll be getting.

By zerppzee

On the next phase.

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