Thursday, 10 July 2008

Neat writing Gizmo

I've recently bought an AlphaSmart Neo (I know it sounds like something stuck in a Star Trek time warp!) it's simply a light weight, nifty little word processor - and that's all it does - no internet or email. It feels very retro to be singing the praises of a gadget lacking in technology but I bought it mainly to use when travelling as I find it a bit cumbersome to drag my laptop around all the time and I can just chuck this in a bag and not worry about it. I was wondering if anyone else used one? I've posted some pics of mine and a bit of info on my blog.

14 comments:

Captain Black said...

I used to write on a Psion 3c PDA. Tiny keyboard and a bit of a pain to transfer things to a main computer (old-fashioned serial port). Very light and easy to carry though. My friend has written most of his contribution to our "Insight" novel on his PDA, though his is more modern and has Windows/internet/phone/camera...

These days, I can't stand small screens and small keyboards. Gives me RSI and a headache! I think I'd rather write longhand with pen and paper, then type it up later. Friend has recently moved over to an EEE PC.

Caroline said...

I found an old AlphaSmart 2000 on eBay for £20 and use that sometimes. I like the fact that you don't have to wait for it to boot up, you just hit the button and go.

NoviceNovelist said...

I can't think and write long hand Cpt Black but I know what you mean about RSI!!!! It's a health hazard this writing lark!

That's exactly what I love Caroline. NO waiting!

NoviceNovelist said...

Meant to ask - what is an EEE PC?cheers!

Captain Black said...

The EEE PC is a sub-notebook sized computer. In other words, a very small lap-top.

DOT said...

I use something similar on my Mac - called WriteRoom it comes up as a simple old-fashioned word processor, i.e. green letters on a completely blacked out screen.

For fun I even added typewriter clacking effects - till they drove me crazy.

ChrisH said...

I have an alphie and it's one of the best investments I've ever made; easy, utterly portable and very robust. I carry mine round whenever I'm away from home and the USB lead squirts documents straight into Word (also Mac compatible). Like you I love the fact that it's so retro - think etch-a-sketch with a keyboard - and completely reliable. It's saved me hours by enabling me to get ideas down quickly rather than trying to translate my scribblings in a notepad.

ChrisH said...

PS - forgot to say, it also works the other way ie if a scene or a chunk of the WIP is proving particularly elusive I squirt it onto the the alphie and cart it around with me - seems to help it slot into place.

NoviceNovelist said...

Thanks Capt B for the explanation
-Dot - loving the idea of the clunking keys - can see why they would dement you after a while

Chrish we may have to start an 'alphie' club (love your expression there)
As a newbie who has obviously not read the manual in detail - how do you 'squirt' stuff from the computer to the 'alphie'????? I didn't think it would do that (OH MY God I'm reaching new levels of excitement at the idea of being able to do that!!!!)

ChrisH said...

Sadly not my expression but it fits, doesn't it? Erm, to squirt documents on to your alphie, hook it up to your computer, cut and paste the text into the alphasmart mananger and click the 'send' tab (see pag 99 of your handbook)- don't unhook them until they have finished talking to each other or it will make your alphie unhappy (or so it says - haven't put it to the test). I've found this a perfect way to work on documents on the move. Yes! I am a real fan!

NoviceNovelist said...

THAT IS AMAZING chrish - have just tried it - thank you so much! I don't know why I had it in my head that it would only go one way. All I can say is its been a long year and my brain is weary!!!! A writer friend of mine has just ordered one after my gushing - I better alert her to this as well as I told her it only worked one way!
Thanks Again!

ChrisH said...

Glad to be of help! I feel pretty gushy about my alphie too!

Caroline said...

That's why I'm considering upgrading - the 2000 can only go Alphie to PC, not the other way around, because to transfer you have to open a Word document, unplug the keyboard, plug the Alphie into the keyboard socket and hit 'Send'. All a bit of a palaver and probably the reason why I don't use it as much as I should.

NoviceNovelist said...

Upgrade to the Neo Caroline - its fab - even better when you read the manual and get tips (thanks chrish)on what it can really do!!!!!