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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?

JeffAbbott's picture

Thoughts on the Alphasmart Neo?

I think the Neo is great for a) brainstorming thoughts and b) getting first drafts done. I know a couple of other pro novelists who swear by theirs. I've gotten one and just started using it more heavily. Love the quiet, love the batteries (never have to worry about running out when writing outside the office), and love the lack of distractions. I used to use pen and paper but the Neo keeps me from having to "retype" to get into electronic manuscript form. I wouldn't use the Neo to do a rewrite, though--at that point, second draft, I need the editing power of a word processor. Right now I dump the output from the Neo into Ulysses as I'm writing the first draft of a new book. I'll do final formatting in Word.

The value of the Neo is in helping you get that all-important first draft done.

Jeff Abbott




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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