Inspect a Gadget*

Livescribe Echo PenI’ve always been a fan of technology and gadgets, but I’m not sure why since technology and gadgets don’t seem to be great fans of mine.

In fact, whenever I read the words ‘simple to install’ or ‘three easy clicks’, I think to myself: ‘Ah yes, but you haven’t come across Mr Parrot before.’

The fun and games with our new ‘super-hub’ last week was a case in point. According to the advertising blurb, the technicians would turn up and soon I’d be cruising the internet at the speed of light. But I wasn’t, in fact, I had no internet at all.

Not that I was a bit surprised because no technological advance that I’ve ever come across seems to work first time. It seems to require much cursing and blaspheming and hours on the phone to technical support before it can be coaxed into life.

Having resolved that particular problem (a new super-hub arrived on Saturday and I fitted it myself) you’d think I’d rest on my laurels rather than go seeking further technological sorrow, but you’d be wrong.

I’ve mentioned that our daughter is studying for a TEFL MA at Manchester University and as she is as much a sucker for gadgets as I am, I had the bright idea of buying her a Livescribe pen for Christmas.

If you haven’t come across them, it is a brilliant idea. As the name might suggest, it is a pen that you use to make your notes as usual, but you can then transfer them to you computer.

But better than that, it creates an audio recording as you make your notes and touching your pen on any part of your notes allows you to hear what was being said at that moment.

You can send your notes and ‘pencasts’ as an email or to other devices, like an iPad or your mobile. And it has all sorts of apps, like dictionaries, useful to someone wanting to teach English as a foreign language.

As I say, a brilliant idea and something I wish I’d had access to over the years when I’ve been left scratching my head trying to work out what on earth I meant by the hieroglyphics in my notebook.

But being the Parrot household, it hasn’t been as simple as that. Two months later and we are still struggling to transfer the recordings from the pen to my laptop, having given up with my daughter’s MacBook.

I have acquired a new e-pal in California called Becky, such has been the regularity of our email exchange, and I finally spoke to her in person today when I resorted to the telephone support helpline.

Things aren’t fixed yet, but hopefully we are moving in the right direction. The thing is, she seemed taken aback at the end of our conversation when I said: ‘Thanks for your help.’

‘No, thank you,’ she said as if she was surprised at my patience. I didn’t like to tell her that it was patience born of painful experience.

* In case anyone is wondering, the title is a reference to Inspector Gadget above.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

9 comments… Add yours
  • Techno Pudding 28th February 2012

    You didn’t need to explain the Inspector Gadget reference – I’m not that stupid. Sorry to hear you have been having some technological struggles. It’s stressful so buy some Johnson’s baby oil and ask Mrs Parrots to give you a full body massage. Just a thought.

  • Roger Green 28th February 2012

    I used to say I was a technophobe. In truth, I’m like you; technology doesn’t like me, especially the “easy” stuff.

  • Shooting Parrots 28th February 2012

    Apologies Mr Pudding. I was aware that you are a big fan of Inspector Gadget and have all the DVDs, but my note was for people from outside the UK, like Roger. I should have made that clear.

  • Techno Pudding 28th February 2012

    Apology grudgingly accepted. If you can’t get baby oil, beef dripping is a good substitute.

  • Elizabeth 28th February 2012

    Ian, if you consider yourself as have difficulty with technology then there’s not much hope for someone like me!

    I’ve never heard of a Livescribe pen before – it sounds amazing and extraordinary. When it works. I meanwhile, still have not mastered how to embed a you-tube video onto my blog page or to erase the word ‘style’ from the program to release all the wonderful paraphenalia of things that my theme is supposed to do (quite why they put it in the first place if I’m then intended to take it out is beyond my ken!). Triumph of triumphs ‘though; I can now put a link within my posts again – thanks for the advice. x

    Will we be introduced to Becky

  • Elizabeth 28th February 2012

    OOPs!! Sorry, Ian. Blushing now! I didn’t mean to put that last line!!!!!!!!!! I was thinking something through, had a re-think and didn’t realise I hadn’t deleted because it was hidden by the box. Comment boxes are one of my worst nightmares – which just goes to show what a technophobe I am! x

  • Mr Parrot 28th February 2012

    No problem Elizabeth. Inserting a YouTube video is fairly easy. Under the video, click Share and then Embed. You should get some code like this:

    (iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen)(/iframe)

    I’ve changed the arrow brackets to ordinary ones otherwise the video would appear in this comment.

    In your Wordpress post page, click the HTML tab at the top and paste the code where you want the video to appear.

    The style bit must refer to the css. You can style the video to make it centre for example. but that gets a little bit more technical!

  • Elizabeth 28th February 2012

    Ian, you are so very kind. Thank you for this. x

  • Mr Parrot 28th February 2012

    My pleasure.


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