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Computers, tablets, digital whiteboards, multimedia projectors and laser pointers have changed the way lecturers and business people make presentations. But sometimes a good old-fashioned piece of paper is the most effective way to explain things to people. Canson’s Papershow Digital Pen Starter Kit combines the power of the computer with the straightforward simplicity of paper.
Presentations have come a long way since I was a kid. Back then we had chalkboards, overhead projectors, filmstrips and vinyl records. Toward the end of my schooling, a teacher might wheel in a cart with a TV and Betamax player, but that was as sophisticated as things got.
Of course we always had paper that we could write on, with different kinds of writing instruments… pens, pencils, markers, pastels, crayons and so on. There’s just something about using your hand to apply markings to a sheet of paper that can then be passed around, examined and handled, that no tablet or whiteboard will ever match. The Papershow Digital Pen Starter Kit from Canson is as close as you can get to this sort of analog communication in a digital environment .
Papershow lets you write on real paper, while your scribbling is transferred automatically to a computer. But the pen and paper that come with the kit are no ordinary pen and paper. The pen is a digital one, and the paper is digital paper. The paper is imprinted with a grid system of dots that the pen can "see" as it’s drawn across the page. The pen therefore knows where it has written, and it transmits that information to a computer using Bluetooth, which works at distances of up to 25 feet away.
The kit comes with a USB Bluetooth adapter; just plug it in and your computer has Bluetooth. You should use the adapter even if your computer already has Bluetooth, because the adapter also contains an embedded version of the Papershow software. This way you can use the pen with any computer without worry—no software installion necessary. The embedded software is compatible with Mac and Windows computers.
The kit includes an A4 notepad and 30 sheets of printer paper. If you like, you can simply write or draw on the notepad, and whatever you write on the paper appears on your computer screen. You can click on virtual buttons at the edge of the paper to draw perfect shapes, change line color or thickness or delete parts of a drawing; the changes will appear only onscreen and not on the paper. When you’re finished, your work is saved to the USB adapter, so all of your Papershow documents travel with you wherever you go.
The Papershow software can also import PowerPoint and PDF documents, which can then be printed on the Papershow printer paper. Then, when you mark up the printed document, your markings also appear onscreen. Your annotated documents are also stored on the USB adapter.
The Papershow kit comes with everything you need to get started, and B&H also sells replacements for anything that might be consumed, lost or broken. Now you can get on with the show—the Papershow, that is.