Whenever I read a book, I always find interesting quotes and concepts that I want to remember. But I hate scribbling notes.
Well, it turns out that scanner/OCR technology has improved enough that you can get a pretty good scan from a pen-sized device. There are at least four companies that make them: Wizcomtech, C-Pen, Planon and IRIS.
Unfortunately, all of them are a little outdated. None claims to work on a Mac, and none have Bluetooth. Some still use a serial port, which means you'll need a (probably dodgy) USB-to-serial adapter.
The C-Pen had one really neat feature: you could "write" with it as well as scan. That would be great for capturing notes along with your book quotes. Unfortunately, they've discontinued their battery-powered models; all that's left is the version that has to stay tethered to your computer while in use. Likewise, IRIS and Planon must be plugged in. Also, the Planon is made for scanning a full line at a time (the scanner's on the side edge of the pen), which is a neat idea but makes it useless for books, since they don't lay flat.
So that left a choice of one: Wizcom. Their web site is a few years out of date, but they actually came out with a new pen this year called the InfoScan3Lite. It doesn't have some of the features of their older pens, like image scanning, table scanning, or text-to-speech. But what it does have is a touch screen (with a tap keyboard and stylus), a genuine built-in USB port (no adapter needed), and a really nice UI.
It works pretty well. It sometimes gets a few characters wrong, but you can either correct them with the built-in tap keyboard, or you can just wait till you get over to the computer. It's kinda slow; you have to wait for each line to scan and recognize before you can scan the next. It can do about one line every five seconds. But there's a trick: instead of lifting the pen and looking at the screen, you can just wait for the red LED at the tip to turn back on. When it's on, you're ready for the next line.
I've only had it for a week, but so far, I like it. It's a neat toy, and if you're the kind of person that needs shiny toys to get you to do things, this pen's for you.