gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

VectorPen Completes AipTek MyNote OSX Functionality

The AipTek MyNote is, without a doubt, an exceptional student accessory and doubles as a pretty cheap, basic A4 graphics tablet to boot at only £129.95. Unfortunately for all those OSX using students out there it does not include OSX drivers or software.

Some of the AipTek MyNote functionality is still present natively, however, plugging the tablet into a USB port on your Mac will give you full access to both its filesystem and that of any SD card inserted into it. Additionally it will automagically function as a 1:1 ratio graphics tablet in pen mode and, by going into OSX System Preferences and turning on Ink, you can even take advantage of your computers inherent handwriting recognition.

The killer feature of the AipTek MyNote, however, is its ability to digitize your notes as you write them down on A4 paper. It doesn’t do any native handwriting recognition, but instead stores your notes as vector data in easily accessible files on internal or SD storage.

This is where the lack of OSX drivers and software becomes a problem. AipTek have supplied OSX users with no way of converting the .TOP format files created by the AipTek MyNote into any meaningful format.

Fortunately a small group of student software developers have come to the rescue of many digital notepad owners with the software VectorPen which works on Mac OSX, Linux and even replaces the Windows versions of some less than stellar bundled digital notepad software packages.

I found VectorPen on good ol’ Google immediately after discovering the complete lack of OSX .TOP file (the format in which the AipTek MyNote saves digitized notes) conversion software and didn’t hesitate to try their demonstration software. Satisfied that it did what it says on the tin I requested the full version so that I could complete a full review and give it the recognition it so clearly deserves.

VectorPen is a simple, uncomplicated application that allows you not only to view the files from a range of digital notepads, but to adjust the line width and colour then export them into a variety of formats

The full version of VectorPen will export to PDF, SVG, JPEG, PNG and BMP. For students the choice will clearly be either PDF or JPEG. Both of these formats are a good fit for portable devices such as Windows Mobile phones or an iPhone (with the right software installed) and thus let you convert all of your digital notes so you can then copy them over to your mobile device of choice for viewing.

The SVG format should be interesting for artists. Some of who may rejoice in the fact that they can complete simple line drawings far away from a computer using a biro on an ordinary sheet of A4 paper whilst the notepad works its digitizing magic.

With the SVG converter to hand you can draw rough line art on the MyNote, grab it off the internal storage via USB, quickly convert it to SVG and then edit the individual lines in Illustrator or your choice of graphics application. Beautiful!

Dealing with VectorPen support was also a pleasure, they responded quickly and concisely to my emails and my experience with them could not have been better.

There’s not a lot else I can say about VectorPen, more about my experiences with it will find their way into the MyNote review. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re thinking of buying VectorPen then 15 euros is a more than reasonable price. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come bundled with the AipTek MyNote, but that’s AipTek’s fault for not seeing market potential and forking over droves of cash to better their products.

Let me just add that the website is one of the best I’ve ever encountered. It’s just… well… nice.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008, Personal Computing.