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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Thoughts on the Alphasmart Neo?

As mentioned in a number of the Alphasmart Neo is a portable word processor that was originally designed for students. It's attracting some attention because it's so single-mindedly focused on typing words into a file---and that is it. No iTunes, no AIM, no Mine Sweeper. It's also portable, allowing you to sync up via USB when you get home.

So two things.

1. Who all out there owns one or has used one? Would you recommend it to others? Who is it best suited for?
2. In terms of finding patterns: if we think of the Neo as one (radical) tool for reducing distractions while writing, what would a similar tool look like for other kinds of creative work? What about designers, artists, and songwriters? Or is this kind of interruption problem peculiar to writers? (I for one think it is not). Will we all eventually end up back on pen and paper if we want to get anything done?

Whatcha think?

lukas's picture

Clamshell PDA

I just picked up a used NEC Mobilepro 780 for cheap money via Ebay, to arrive shortly. I had priced out the Alphasmarts and found that they cost more than I can probably justify. The word on the virtual street is that the 92% fullsized keyboard is very good for fast typing.

Of course, there is the option for me to throw my spare wireless card in there when I'm on the road, or do other things on it, but mainly I want it for focusing on writing, especially on the long commuter train rides where I can't get good WiFi anyway. I plan on stripping it down for managing a whole mess of text files. I'll probably sync my calendar to it, but if I need extensive PDA use (normally I'm on cards) I have my office isssued Ipaq.

In any event, I wonder if anyone else has done a similar thing, and I look forward to seeing if it works out.




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