Playing with ideas

I was going around today playing with Exploratree... It's a project that has been around for some time now (since sometime at the end of last year). It's quite neat in its goal of creating frameworks in which you can organize your thoughts and plans. It's focused on educational use, so that you can actually ask people to add information and then you see this on the web.

The UI is quite slick. Quite interesting to see what people can do with Flash on a browser. However, it's kind of annoying in many ways too. For example, I tend to be a little too verbose on what I write on each entry and it doesn't really try to resize and text-wrap things for me. So I end up spending most of my time actually trying to make the text fit in the places. Also it doesn't seem to be a model behind the UI. So if there are two elements that are supposed to have the same text, you have to enter the text twice.

Oh, well... It's an interesting idea anyway. I wished I could see somebody using it for real, and not only the fishy demos on the site.

And talking about education-oriented products, I was also looking at Livescribe's Pulse. It's a product that I've seen an ad for a long time ago, but apparently now it's for real. Nice concept, but I'm a little worried when they show that the only use that they have thought about right now is taking notes of classes and then referring back to the audio that was going on during the notes by clicking on the notes. Not a bad idea at all!

However, there should be some other things that this pen should be able to do... It can't be used to digitize things that are written on a whiteboard or something like that, because it needs the special paper with special location dots. So that restricts the interaction to something quite "private". Maybe if it could be used to write music or something... Or when you are trying to review something that somebody wrote and you are one of those people that need it printed, you can print with the dots, review and then digitize the review of the paper to send it back to the writer.

Anyway, it's a cool technology. If I could find a half use case for the things I do right now I would have already ordered one. So I'll keep looking!