Taking notes without a pen
April 18, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Severe hand pain (arthritis) is hampering a friend's note-taking abilities. What are her alternatives?

She has problems holding a pen for long periods. She's an excellent typist and may be able to use a small keyboard on the job. I've come across Dana by AlphaSmart and JVC MiniNote - anyone have any experience with these, or other alternatives, suggestions?
posted by sixpack to Technology (6 answers total)
How about a palm pilot with a folding keyboard?
posted by bh at 10:45 AM on April 18, 2005

She could be suitable for hand supports, +/- drug therapy, voice recognition software, physical therapy as a mobility adjunctive but as you are leaning towards a portable device, perhaps she ought to visit a stockist and test out various devices for comfort/function. In the meantime, she probably needs to vary her routine so she's not having to grip the pen for long periods - ie. task changing.
posted by peacay at 10:47 AM on April 18, 2005

If she's a student, many universities and colleges offer scribe services through the Office of Disabilities (or whatever it may be called at her institution). She's be eligible if she can document her problem as a medical issue.
posted by yellowcandy at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2005

She may want to consider a digital voice recorder, especially one that could upload the resulting sound files to her computer (assuming she has one). Olympus is a particularly good brand IMO, with Sony as an alternative brand to check out.
posted by WCityMike at 1:26 PM on April 18, 2005

My wife had exactly the same problem and very successfully used an iPAQ (HP PDA) with the matching foldable keyboard. It worked extremely well for her. Cost was about $500 for both. You can probably find less expensive alternatives, but she was very satisfied.
posted by Doohickie at 2:36 PM on April 18, 2005

Dana reviews.

One of them is mine :)

In short: I think you should just use a traditional AlphaSmart. They're great for taking notes, and the Palm OS features aren't that appealing, nor does the sync to a PC work that great. At $3-400, the Dana is pricey, too. A regular AlphaSmart does everything I ever use my Dana for: type into it, take it home, plug it into USB, dump the text into a doc.
posted by scarabic at 3:49 PM on April 18, 2005

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