An Ace pad – plain paper with a digitiser

A colleague recently mentioned having seen a demonstration of a plain paper pad sitting on a digitiser that used a standard inking pen to work. Intrigued I started investigating the product which turned out to be an ACECAD Digimemo. The uses for the product – especially because of its low tech interface i.e you use a “normal” ink pen to write on normal paper rather than proprietary stationery – are legion. Well actually the pen is specific to the Digimemo but it does write as a normal pen.

In this particular case it found immediate use with a friend who makes notes on scraps of paper and then needs to refer back to them. The process is as follows. Switch on the unit – note the page number that appears on the lcd paper on the unit and if starting a new page – press the downward arrow key to advance the counter. Write the page number on the page for your own reference and write away – draw away – doodle away.  It does take a little bit of discipline but very quickly you get use to the process.

Now getting your notes to your PC – simply install the management application that comes with the unit and connect via usb. You will see the unit as a removable disk and browsing to it shows a folder (DMEMO-M) containing the “pages” you have written  and a file called page.num which tracks the pages used. Its a good idea to transfer off the pages that you work on regularly and clear them down but I suspect it will take a while to fill the unit and you still have an expansion through an SD card.

The Digimemo comes with a cutdown application for creating forms to fill in but I have to say I was less than impressed by its performance and usability !! I may look at the fully featured version if the client requires a more functional mechanism for collecting data.

Uses for the product – well where do you stop

  • Note taking
  • site surveys / sketchs
  • questionaires
  • service records
  • Brainstorming
  • Minute taking

Postscript – I was contacted by the developers of the form design tool for some feedback regarding the software. They outlined some differences between the current lite version and the full product. I will be taking a look at the full product and will feedback how it compares with the packaged version.