I’ll let you in on a little trade secret, as long as you promise to keep it under your hats. At the start of every month, I receive an email with a bunch of products in it and a request for various types of articles and features. Now, after a couple years of writing about this stuff, I usually know enough to get started immediately, but every so often, something throws me.
For example, once I had to write about hammocks. If you have any idea, off the top of your head, how to approach that one, then you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. Still, I don’t really mind, after all, it makes my job all the more interesting.
This was generally how I felt when I saw this device on my product list for the month. At first, I couldn’t really see the practical application, but then I did a little research on just how many trees are turned into notepaper each year and the results were shocking.
As it turns out, the process is not an easy one to calculate, as some of the paper simply comes from leftover chips and sawdust, whilst some is taken directly from the felled trees themselves. Some of these trees are old and large, whilst others are young and small, so different trees make different amounts of paper. In addition to that, different types of paper require more or less raw material to fabricate, so you’ll be hard pushed to determine exactly how many trees are used. However, one tonne of re-cycled copier paper saves about 12 trees, which sounds good until you find out that between 3 and 6 Billion trees are destroyed each and every year. Like I said, shocking.
When you consider that trees have a direct affect on the air we breathe (and that land-dwelling creatures may not have evolved at all if it wasn’t for the ancestors of trees pumping oxygen into the atmosphere in the first place), this becomes quite alarming. Of course, by plugging the LCD Boogie Board into the mains and charging the battery, you’re using energy and doing your own damage that way, but said damage is far smaller in global terms.
Basically, the Boogie Board is an electronic notepad that records impressions made against it by any external contact (including your fingertip, which is great for when someone rings you with important information and you can’t find a pen). You can get a special stylus for this device, but you can just as easily use a fork or a stick.
Being a professional writer (and amateur comic book artist) you’d think that I’d have loads and loads of pens in my apartment – and you’d be right, I do. The problem is that these pens and pencils frequently mutiny on me and hide in impromptu places, leaving only the sick, the mad and the dying at my disposal. Once, when I was in the bathroom, I was so stuck for a pen and paper that I burned down a match and wrote on the toilet roll with charcoal. True story.
With the Boogie Board Writing Tablet at your disposal, you always have a pen and paper to hand (providing you keep it charged, of course). You can end up with a fun way to leave silly pictures for your housemates/family/partner, take messages when you’re phoned and generally make use of a practical, yet innovative, device.
The Boogie Board works reasonably well (although vagaries of certain angles and implements do have an effect) and is a genuine alternative to paper, at least for small things. The main missing feature, however, is the ability to save data, because once you clear the page, its gone, all of it, forever. So despite the sales description promise that you can “say goodbye to paper for good!” with this product, you’ll still need notepaper in order to record more complex notes and ideas. However, once you get into the habit of using this device for smaller notes, you’ll almost certainly find that your use of paper decreases exponentially.
All in all, this is a fun little gadget that does exactly what you want it to. It may not be quite as able to single-handedly save the rainforests as its proponents seem to hope, but it is certainly going to help a little bit.