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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Livescribe’s Pulse Pen: The Sequel! by Snively '11

I've written about it before, and now I'm writing about it again!

Back during IAP of last year I wrote an entry about a brand new “toy” I bought at the MIT bookstore. This “toy” was Livescribe’s Pulse Pen, and looking back at it I realize that that entry sounded a lot like a commercial, like Livescribe had slipped me a $20 under the table to write an entry. The truth? They hadn’t, I just bought the pen, was SUPER impressed, thought it was important for prefrosh to know about it, and did a video review and blog entry about it.

I used that pen all last semester and loved it. I’ll keep it into grad school and even after that. But why am I talking about it now? That’s old news, nobody wants to read the same stuff twice, but Livescribe reared it’s head again in my life, so up comes another blog entry.

I saw an ad on Facebook for the “Livescribe Campus Rep Program,” a way for Livescribe to have people distribute pens, run demos, and introduce the Pulse pen to people on their campus. It’s a smart move, really, because the pen sells itself the instant somebody tries it, but there’s really no way for people to try it unless somebody shares it with them. I figured this out 10 minutes after buying my pen, when I showed it to a couple of people in the room. Chris M (of blogger fame) has one now, so does my Toy Design professor, and my friend Ben, just after seeing what my pen did.

“Well shoot, I’ve already sold like three of these pens, I might as well work for Livescribe and get paid to do it, right? Plus, it’s an awesome product that I’m totally behind and absolutely believe will help people with school, why not tell people about it?”

I applied for the job and after a couple of phone interviews and some headshots (for you FPS people, we’re talking cameras, not RPGs) I officially got the job! As a college student, employment is awesome, it lets us eat, and it’s something to brag about. Livescribe was interested in another person from MIT helping out as well, so I recommended Chris, since Chris and I are friends, see each other often, and both own the pen. More headshots, more interviews, and then Chris had a job!

After the job offer we were immediately put in touch with a travel agent to book a flight to Oakland CA for training. A free flight. With a travel agent. This was a totally new, foreign experience for me. Somebody else booked the flight, somebody else paid, and all I had to do was show up at the airport and get on the plane. Now I know why rich people use travel agents! My flight was scheduled for July 24th at 10 in the morning. You’re all applying to MIT, you can do math, and you probably realize that that was on Friday. It’s now Tuesday. Is this a blog entry about my trip there? Of course!

On Friday I showed up to the airport and was greeted by a super long line that I thought would take forever to get through. Not that I was concerned, there was plenty of time, but till, who wants to wait in line?

I made it through relatively unscathed (they took my hair gel and my toothpaste!!!) and then surfed the internet until my flight (thank god for airports with free wi-fi). The flight was short, since I’m in Oregon for the summer, just an hour and a half, and then *poof!* I was in California!

I met Stacy from Purdue on the shuttle from the airport to the hotel and we chatted with our driver about what we were doing there and where we were from, typical college discussions. Our rooms weren’t ready when we got there, it was going to be two hours, so instead of just sitting and doing nothing we decided to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Francisco and fart around there. A nice homeless guy taught us how to buy tickets, we compensated him for his trouble, and then we hopped onto BART.

Attention MIT students, BART is SO much nicer than the T. Why?

1) It’s carpeted.
2) It has plush seats.
3) It doesn’t smell like train.

San Francisco was fun, we walked up a giant hill and then back down. We saw some awesome creepy skeleton guys

grabbed a burger from In and Out Burger, I got some calamari, walked the boardwalk, saw Alcatraz off in the distance, and then took a cable car back to BART for the trip back. Back at the hotel I listened to some music and unpacked, waiting for Chris to show up (we were roommates). Items of note in the hotel room include a tv (rarely used), an iPod compatible alarm clock (used extensively) and a mirror (used to take a picture of me).

Chris showed up at 6 and then at 7 we headed downstairs for dinner.

We walked into dinner, I wearing my Burton-Conner shirt and he wearing his typical business-casual attire, and were met with a spread of food, a projector with Wii Bowling displayed, an entire wall of cardboard boxes, and mingling college students. We were spotted by somebody who obviously worked for Livescribe and they came up and greeted us.

“Hi! How are you?”
“Good. My name’s Michael.” “And I’m Chris.”
“Nice to meet you, where are you from?”
“Ah! Our MIT guys, excellent! Well, come on over here, we’ll get you all set up!”

We were led over to the cardboard boxes. I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I was unaware that I’d be getting any free stuff on this trip. I thought owning your own Pulse pen was a requirement and that we were only going to be given two pens for loan and demo purposes. I, as I was quickly shown, was very wrong.

I was handed a brand new, 2 gig pen, 4 spiral notebooks, two lined journals, and a giant cardboard box.

“Ok, here’s all of your stuff. In here you have your two loaner pens and notebooks, plus your new pen and a bunch of paper for you.”
“Really? We get a pen and paper?”
“Oh sure, yeah, that’s for you.”
“Wow! Thanks!”
“Absolutely. Now come over here, we’ll get you your hoodie.”

Chris and I were each given a hoodie (which, sadly, I lost on the airplane on the return flight) and wandered back up to our room to ditch our stuff so we could enjoy an unladen dinner. I snapped a picture of all the free swag laying on the bed.

Back downstairs for dinner, Chris and I did our best to shed the anti-social MIT stereotype and mingle with everybody. We were surprisingly successful, chatting with a bunch of people, telling stories, and getting to know about all sorts of other colleges around the country. Throughout all of it we kept getting grabbed by people who worked for Livescribe and talked to, mostly about how the CEO, Jim Marggraff, was an MIT alum and that he really wanted to meet us.

“Jim asked us to compile a list of all the campus reps and list them next to their headshots so that he could learn all your names before you got here. He looked through the list, found you two, and said ‘Ah, these are my MIT guys.'”

Little did we know, that was when we earned our title, “The MIT Guys.” For the rest of the weekend that’s what we were called, which was totally fine by me. We sat down at a table for dinner and chatted, ate our fajitas. I went up to get some more fajitas and was intercepted by Jim.

“Hi Michael, how are you?”
“Very well, nice to meet you!”

We chatted for a little bit, mostly about his alma mater and my current asylum (I’m sorry, calling MIT an asylum isn’t nice). He asked if I lived in Burton house and I explained that now Burton house is Burton-Conner because they added a new building to it. Then I asked to see his brass rat, which was pretty awesome, class of 82. They looked a lot different back then, they’ve definitely come a long way. That’s when Chris wandered up and joined the conversation. He explained that he lived in Simmons (which, again, didn’t exist in 82). After chatting some more I wandered off and rigged up some Rock Band (sans drums) while Chris went back to the table.

I attempted Rock Band for a while but eventually blamed lag and sticky strumming for my suckiness and retreated back to the table with Chris, where he had been joined by Andy Van Schaak, Ph.D., Livescribe’s Senior Science Advisor. He was running Chris through a gamut of questions, talking about REALLY interesting things you could do with the pen, and picking our brains. He gave us a little mental workout concerning something I’m pretty sure my NDA prevents me from mentioning, but it was SUPER awesome and gave me a whole new respect for Andy’s brilliance.

“What I really want,” he said, “is for somebody to just go to town and hack the crap out of this pen. Rip it apart, see what’s inside, and do something awesome with it.”
“Definitely!” Chris and I agreed, “it’d be awesome to do that, but it’s expensive! It’s a $150 pen, we don’t want to just rip it open, we’re in college.”
“Oh don’t worry about that, I’ll get you as many pens as you need, I want to see something awesome!”

wait. what? as many pens . . . as we want? to rip apart? and play with? yes please!

We stayed there for a long time, over an hour, until everybody had left and gone back to their rooms except for some lingering Rock Band players. Chris and Andy “Bump”d their iPhones together, exchanging contact info, and then we went back to our rooms to investigate our swag, debrief, and generally geek out about how much awesome stuff we had and how many brilliant and important people we had just met. Seriously, we were having geek-gasms.

In the morning we woke up, dressed in business-casual (I have about, oh, one business casual outfit, which you’ll have seen if you’ve read any of these entries).

We all hopped on the bus and drove to UC Berkeley while being entertained by the cheery bus driver. On the way there, 4 seats up, we heard Andy asking some of the other kids about the same things he’d talked to us about the night before, the stuff I can’t tell you about because of the NDA. He was walking them through it, trying to get them to figure it out, just like he did to us, he wanted to see how their brains worked. After a while he said “You know, I asked this same question to the MIT guys and they got it in 4 minutes.” There were some impressed reactions from the kids and they kept at it, trying to get the answer. I guess MIT students just think on a different, more techy tangent than other people.

We got to Berkeley and went inside, where we were treated with bagels and coffee. This was nice, because the coffee at the hotel was the bottom of the pot and burnt, not a pleasant way to start a long day of pen training.

You can see Chris there in the back right, with the name tag standing out on the dark sweater

We sat in a lecture hall, smart pens and notebooks in hand, and it began. It began with people introducing themselves, sharing which college they went to, and describing some kind of random fact or talent. I’ll let Chris tell you what his talent was (it’s impressive) but I did my standard “Well, I can make a cricket noise.” “DO IT!” they yelled. Ok. *cricket noise, cricket noise* “OMG!”

Wait, have I never mentioned that I can do that before? Haha, sorry. Here, I’ll teach you, but before I do, know that if you’re a trumpet player this will be much easier for you. Step 1: Know how to whistle while sucking in, instead of blowing out. Step 2: Know how to flutter tongue. Step 3: Flutter tongue while whistling and breathing in. Ta-da! Cricket noise! Anyway, everybody was impressed and excited, and we continued around the room, witnessing back flips, creepy contortions, and other cool talents. Then we got down to business.

It’s weird to see everybody using a $200 pen

So many pens!

Throughout the morning we were taught about the pen, taught about how to show people about it, which features to emphasize, how to answer questions, etc. Soon it was lunch time. We were promised $10, but first we had to demo the pen to one of the “Demo Gods” and pass scrutiny. Luckily, due to our excellent people skills blended with technical knowledge, Chris and I passed with flying colors.

So, guess who goes to Berkeley? Come on, if you’re a true blog stalker you’ll know this without even having to think about it. Got it? Ok, I’ll tell you, Sam goes to Berkeley! Chris and I got in touch with him and he promised to show us a cool place with ginormous sandwiches and salads. During lunch we caught him up on all the goings-on of MIT, including how messed up dining is, how we lost a bunch of sports, how Hockfield met Obama, etc. He wasn’t lying about the salads, btw, they were massive. I ended up with a BLTA instead, but that’s probably better because there’s no way I could have finished a salad of that size. Seriously.

After lunch we went back to the lecture hall and had some more training before going out and accosting Berkeley. The plan was to have little groups of “Scribes,” as we were called, scattered around, giving out demos and raffle tickets to random passersby. This sounded awful to me, I hate when people stop me on the street and try to sell me stuff. Luckily, we aren’t allowed to sell stuff, we just tell people about it and, in all honesty, I don’t mind doing that because I don’t feel as evil. I already tell people about the pen, that’s cool. The raffle tickets could be redeemed at the Livescribe table we had set up in a central part of campus.

I ended up stationed at that table, and eventually ended up in charge of the prize wheel we had. That’s right, every raffle ticket was worth a spin on the prize wheel, with an opportunity to win a $150 smart pen (I keep changing the cost of the pen between $150 and $200. The difference is the difference between a 1 Gig and a 2 Gig pen). Here’s the thing about this wheel. There were twelve spaces, but two of them were “Spin Again” spaces. That means each person to spin had a 1 in 10 shot of getting a pen. I don’t know about you, but those are some GOOD odds. The people knew it too, which is why we had a massive line and a lot of interest in the pen. We were showing people, handing out fliers, and spinning the wheel. The guy running the table, one of the head guys with us, started to worry when, after the first two spins, we’d given away two pens. That’s right, the first two people both won. We had only brought 5 pens, this was going to be rough. I’ll spare you the details, but in the end, after just 2 hours, we had given out 15 free pens, promising to ship the 10 we didn’t have.

We all retreated back to the lecture hall and debriefed. The general consensus was that approaching random people on the street was very difficult, very awkward, and socially uncomfortable. Chris, however, was having a splendid time,

“I go to MIT, I’m in socially awkward situations all the time. I THRIVE in socially awkward situations, this was great!”

Sometime, during all of this, there was a disagreement as to the odds of getting a free pen on the wheel. Some claimed that it was 1 in 10, since the two “Spin Again” spaces could be neglected, but others insisted that it altered the odds a bit. This argument lodged itself in Chris’s head and he spent a good 30 minutes doing math all over his notebook. I’ll let him share the result of all the math, since it was his endeavor, but let’s just say that we looked pretty freaking cool standing outside Berkeley, me with laptop open and Mathematica running, while he fed me equations.

And I’m not kidding. Seriously. Scribes kept coming up and asking us what we were doing, wanting us to explain the math to them, and show us how it worked. This was weird. At MIT, ok, maybe somebody would ask, but we were surrounded by former models, marketing and sales majors, and very much not MIT people. Chris and I were confused, but accepted it as cool. If doing math on laptops outside of Berkeley on a sunny California day made us cool and interesting, so be it.

We decided later what it was. Let’s say I went to John Q. Public University and was a CompSci major. That would make me a nerd. Just a typical, ordinary, nerd. BUT — if you go to MIT and you’re CompSci or an engineer, you may be a nerd, but you’re a legit nerd. You’re instantly granted nerd cred, you’re allowed to use and share your nerdness for the betterment of others without retribution. This is why MIT is cool.

We went back to the hotel for dinner. Dinner had more conversations and more laughter. Chris and I told the back story of the CalTech Cannon heist, the Victoria’s Secret DDoS attack, procuring free pizza, chemical properties of creamer, and various other MIT neatness.

After dinner we retired to our room, again we were some of the last to leave. The evening was filled with stumbleupon, facebook, youtube, showing off 2.006 PSETs, reassuring ourselves after looking up the hotel on and not seeing anything, and eventually going to bed.

In the morning we met in the hotel conference room and were spoken to by Jim Marggraff, CEO. It’s wonderful listening to the CEO of a company, and MIT alum, speaking about what he does. He could answer any little technical detail about the pen, listened to us complain about PRS clickers, and let us see his car.

What’s special about his car? Oh, nothing, except that it’s a TESLA! Don’t know what a Tesla is? Fully electric, 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, full torque for its entire range of speeds, one gear, and REALLY pretty.

We finished up the weekend with a group picture in front of the car, even showing it off to some of the other guests in the hotel, who thought it was just as awesome as we did.

Afterward we all said our goodbyes, hopped onto the shuttle, and went to the airport. I didn’t have any problems with anything, hopped on my flight, and went home, laden with pens, paper, and a bunch of good stories.

It was a great trip and I had a great time! Chris and I have all sorts of exciting stuff planned for the school year, so be sure to stop by and check us out. We both have pens to loan out and we think you’ll like it!

So that’s that, two MIT students meeting an MIT CEO, geeking out about the coolest pen ever, given free tech swag, and now we get to let you try it.


53 responses to “Livescribe’s Pulse Pen: The Sequel!”

  1. Connie '12 says:

    The T is way better than BART. I’ve taken BART for most of my life and the trains have always smelled like urine. BART is also ridiculously expensive. They charge by distance and the fare could easily grow to over $5. BART also doesn’t service as many areas. It’s basically, “We go to all these stops in San Francisco, a few stops in Oakland and Berkeley, then one or two spots in suburban areas (like, Lamorinda [Lafayette, Morage, Orinda] get one stop in Orinda).

  2. Snively says:

    Livescribe hires through a different company, EventPro, and they require head shots and body shots. Since technically it’s a marketing job, they don’t want us looking ugly.

    It sounds spendy, with the paper and everything, but you really only buy paper once or twice a year, just like you normally buy notebooks for classes.

    As for tablets, I agree, tablets are totally sweet. I nearly bought one instead of my computer, but there’s a fatal flaw with tablets . . . graphics. Every single one has a dinky little 128Mb integrated graphics card that can’t really do anything. That, and tablets are expensive. In my opinion, I’d rather buy a more powerful, cheaper computer, and then spend $150 on a pen.

    I know people with tablets who are considering or have already bought the pen, just because what it does is different enough from having just a tablet.

    Also, the Macbook Pro is mine.

  3. Albert '13 says:

    The apple tablet has another (potential) problem: reportedly, it will not run full OSX, but rather a version of the iphone OS. So it wouldn’t be nearly sufficient for real writing (i.e. note-taking in class), much less real computing. There is an Archos tablet to be released soon, however, which is much more capable (see Even with that, however, a pen is much easier to write with because touch screens are really just not designed specifically for writing (but rather for “touch”ing raspberry).
    On the other hand, there are “pen tablets” which are simply handwriting/drawing inputs for your laptop. These have their advantages, but one major disadvantage is that they are not nearly as portable as the LiveScribe pen. And like Snively said, the pen would probably not cost nearly as much as the extra price you would pay for a tablet or a Wacom (the other input thingy).

  4. Liz ('14?) says:

    I love how the problem “lodged itself” in Chris’s brain. I can so see that happening to me and any number of my friends.

  5. Josh says:

    Sweet! Sounds like a great way to get free stuff… Umm, I mean a great job wink

    You should totally take that guy up on his offer to take apart the pens, I’d love to see what’s inside them.

    Is there some kind of a discount we can get since we’re students?

  6. Albert '13 says:

    Man that sounds like so much fun! I’m definitely trying one of these out (and then buying).
    And omg I’ve never actually seen a Tesla! Those are def the coolest cars. There SUV/crossover thingy sounds like it will be awesome too.
    Now I have to go figure out those odds…

  7. Steph says:

    I’m going to buy one in September. :D

  8. Albert '13 says:

    Hmmm can I say what I got for the probability? I used summations (once I remembered how to do them).

  9. Snively says:


    Actually, yeah!

    Just type in LS05DSC611 as your coupon code on, it’ll get you 5% off.

    Sure, share. You may be on the right path.

  10. Chris M. says:

    btw that was me up there as “anonymous” posting about a walkthrough for the probability solution.

    @Albert ’13

    How does running the iPhone OS rather than the full OSX make it insufficient for writing? Just curious, I have my own thoughts about tablets.

    btw if you plan on taking notes in class and are thinking about a tablet, there is one small detail that to me made a huge difference. Writing on paper with a pen feels normal, writing on a screen with a stylus feels weird. It’s probably something you get used to, but it’s a bigger difference than you think.

    Pen based inputs for your computer (Wacom pretty much owns the market) are nice for doing certain things, especially graphic design, but again, writing with them feels unnatural and it’s been my experience with notetaking that anything that feels unnatural won’t last. Take that with a grain of salt, I might just be weird.

  11. Albert '13 says:

    I got .1. I figured there’s a 1/12 chance you’ll get it in one spin, then a 1/6 chance you’ll get another spin, leaving a 1/12*1/6 on the second one (if you get one). Then the third spin you multiply by the 1/6th again, etc. So now you have Sigma(from n=0 to infinity) of 1/12*[(1/6)^n]. Adding that up, I got .1! Am I right?!?

  12. NathanArce says:

    Uhm, even if you choose not to just ignore the spin-agains, because the function is just 1/12*the sum from 0 to infinity of 1/(6^r), it still works out to be 1/10 >.>

  13. Albert '13 says:

    Haha I my post beat yours Nathan!

  14. Steph says:

    Cool. Thanks, Snively.

  15. NathanArce says:

    Ah, Albert posted it first, barely. Whatever, lol.

  16. NathanArce says:

    AND he even posted the note that his post was first, first =.=” Damn it.

  17. Albert '13 says:

    But then my second post failed. “I my”: whoops. I guess we now know who is better at math!
    Sorry, done hijacking! smile

  18. Josh says:

    Also, just think about it logically and don’t do any math at all… your turn only ends when you don’t land on “spin again”, so you can ignore them and just figure out the probability that you’ll get the prize on your *last spin*, the only one that really matters. Clearly that’s 1/10.

    Not that I have anything against math. Just sayin’

  19. Anonymous says:

    @Nathan and Albert

    You are correct, the probability is actually:


    so if you distribute the 2/12 [or 1/6] out you get


    which you can see is the series:

    from there it’s just the sum from n=0 to infinity, which you are correct, converges to exactly .1 or a 10% chance of winning. You guys will fit in great here =)

  20. JB '13 says:

    I am totally up for borrowing one of those pens Snively! A very interesting job indeed!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why did you need head shots to get the job?

  22. NathanArce says:

    Josh, I clearly said “even if you choose not to just ignore the spin-agains” because ignoring them *is* the “logical” approach and that’s exactly what Snively said was under scrutiny 9.9

    Also, Snively, did I read your post right on the class of 2013 group…? Uhm, that really cheap price if we can just find you during that time…? (I dunno if you intended people to see that here or not, but… yeah, I wasn’t sure if you would bother to check a question posted on the group wall)

  23. NathanArce says:

    (even though it seems more like you just got your grammar a bit off and meant $5 off, I can hope =P)

  24. Oasis '11 says:

    +1 BART is better than the T.

    I think a more correct comparison should be BART v. Commuter Rail and MUNI Metro v. the T. The prices are about the same if you look at it this way.

    I just like how the BART system seems a lot more “legit” than the T (better stations that are not as run down), also the rule that you’re not allowed to eat or drink on the train (some T cars are really dirty). As for accessibility, the T frustratingly doesn’t go to a lot of places in Boston metro either.

    But yeah, the cars smell like urine a lot.

  25. Labib (?14) says:

    Must have been awesome to get all that free stuff. I wonder what the hoodie looks like.

    BTW, it looks like there’s a Macbook Pro in the hotel mirror picture. Whose is that?

  26. NathanArce says:

    Also, wow, I just noticed that the CEO was the same year as my dad, so I totally know that brass rat without looking it up =D

  27. Labib (?14) says:

    As cool as this pen sounds, with the need for special notebooks, special cartridges, I’d rather pick up a good tablet, maybe even the one Apple is supposedly releasing soon.

  28. Snively says:

    I’ve never owned a plastic macbook. I bought my dell before coming to college, sophomore year I bought the new aluminum 13″ mac, and over this summer I gave that to my mom and paid her $300 to have her new new 13″ macbook pro.

  29. Anonymous says:

    if this post were on fb, i’d ‘like’ it smile

  30. Kiwi says:

    sure, sure, the pen is cool, but I’m more excited he mentioned flutter tounging. Snively I had no idea you were a bandie.

  31. Snively says:

    Oh yeah, 8 years of clarinet and sax. My high school Wind Ensemble went to state every year and has won three Grammy’s. I went to Sprague High School, in Salem Oregon. As you can see, there are two schools from my district that won that year, three from my state. In fact I think a school from my district has won a Grammy every year for the last 3 or 4 years.

    At any given time in high school I was in 4 music groups, I think I topped out at 8 once. Band took up a lot of my time, but not nearly as much time as MIT does!

  32. Ann says:

    Hey Snively, looks like you had a lot of fun! And that sounds like an awesome job, any chance they’re still hiring campus reps (even though they would’ve missed the training weekend)?

  33. Snively says:

    Unfortunately, they are no longer hiring campus reps for this year. Next year, who knows?

  34. Labib (?14) says:

    @ Snively: You weren’t serious weren’t you when you said that you have bad spending habits. That’s like 3 laptops in 3 years. The Dell, then the white plastic macbook, and now I presume the 13 inch Macbook Pro. My parents would throw me out. I guess going to college has its freedom.

  35. Anonymous says:

    No need for summations or series, really.

    Define x = 1/12+2/12(1/12+2/12(1/12+2/12(……))))
    Thus, x = 1/12+2/12(x)
    10/12(x) = 1/12, and
    x = 1/10

  36. Labib (?14) says:

    Oops. Typo. I meant : ‘ You were serious weren’t you…..”

  37. Labib (?14) says:

    @ Chris M. : I totally agree with the weird part. I am one of those people who has to completely comfortable while taking notes, and writing on a touchscreen would probably feel strange. I guess the Livescribe remains the only option. You guys must be good sales reps. I’m convinced. Wow.

  38. Snively says:

    We’ve just hired some new guys into the admissions office whose sole job it is to make the back end of this site better. Trust me, captchas are priority numero uno.

  39. Labib (?14) says:

    Recaptcha is real cool and everything to stop spambots, but it does make commenting a pain, having to type a bunch of random letters just to post a comment.

    I think an alternate system of using your myMIT account to post without recaptcha would be welcome.

  40. Elizabeth says:

    The Livescribe 2GB is available at cost in a bundle cheaper than what is at the livescribe website. It is on sale through July 31st $179 and comes with 5 notebooks and 13 refill cartridges.

    Snively can you tell us how many notebooks you normally go through for one class?

  41. Snively says:

    Wow, where’d you find that magic deal?

    As a general rule, 1 notebook per class is very safe. A four-pack per semester is a pretty good bet, plus there’s the sample notebook.

  42. Snively says:

    Captchas are much more fun when the bloggers create them. Expect math, equations, inside jokes, MIT trivia, and memes for captchas.

  43. Labib (?14) says:

    Wow, that is one relentless spam bot. It’s funny how these comments are starting to read like the comment streams on something like Engadget or Gizmodo.

    @ Elizabeth: Could you please tell us where we could that sweet deal.

    @ Snively: My bad. Got confused, you see. BTW, to use the MBP for college work, did you have to use bootcamp, or is all the software you use OS X compatible? And if you did install Win XP, did you have to buy yourself, or did MIT pay for it?

  44. Anonymous says:

    You guys really need to consider using recaptcha. Take a leaf out of the Victoria’s Secret book.

  45. Anonymous says:

    As in do what they did when you guys set up those scripts.

  46. Chris M. says:


    I own a MBP as well and I can say that most of the software you’ll be using is Mac-compatible, or has Mac-equivalent. The only exception that springs to mind is SoilidWorks. With SolidWorks you’ll use Boot Camp or VMWare or something like that (use Boot Camp). Windows XP and Vista .iso and .zip files are available from IS&T for no charge.

    In short, having a Mac is not a problem at MIT.

  47. Reena says:

    Glad I paid attention to my rss feed today – awesome entry, maybe one of my favorites in a while! Chris’s too, but I’m too lazy to go back and comment.

  48. Reena says:

    And no, I’m with Connie on the T, not because I actually have legitimate experience with BART, but because the red line, with its ear-pleasing screeches of joy, fascinating social (or not so social) customs, and ruggedly dirty floor painstakingly etched by the shoes, canes, and luggage of decades of riders just dominates everything by default.

  49. Elizabeth says:

    Sorry took me so long, I thought I had posted a link with the original post, that price was at it has now gone up to $199.

    Nothing scripted, I just wanted to share the deal I found and at a place where you can return it very easily if you don’t like it (even after very long periods of time).

  50. Halo says:


  51. David says:

    Re: Probability.
    No need for summations, or even algebra. There are ten possible final outcomes. All are equally likely. Only one is the free pen, so the probability of winning is 1/10.

  52. Justin E '13 says:

    David, I love you. You make math fun for the rest of us. lol

  53. Vaibhav says:

    @ Chris
    The Tesla’s been on Top Gear before – it’s quite good but takes awfully long to ‘recharge’….
    (yeah – I LOVE Top Gear too and the Pulse Pen – but the latter’s too pricey….)