Saturday, April 05, 2008

Distracted No More


(Photo via StarbuckGuy)

Here is a three-minute audio clip about the advantages of simple computing. In it, commentator Paul Ford describes the dilemma I face every time I turn on the computer -- endless distractions. He offers a few solutions for dealing with them, giving high praise to the AlphaSmart Neo.

Here is more praise for the Neo:
“I've used AlphaSmart products, including Neo, on assignments all over the world—from the Inca Trail in Peru to sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet,” says Jeff Greenwald, author of the award-winning travel books Shopping for Buddhas and The Size of the World, and Contributing Editor for Travel + Life. “It's the perfect notepad: lightweight, comfortable, and tough. The fact that it runs—seemingly forever—on AA batteries allows me to take it on treks and expeditions where there's no electricity, for weeks at a time. And it's so portable that I enjoy using it in caf├ęs, on park benches, even on trains and buses.”
And more here:
The three killer features of the Neo are its simplicity, its portability, and its near-absolute independence from a power source. It completely untethers the writer from the desk, and unlike a laptop, it doesn’t require you to take up station near an outlet. It’s so sturdy and lightweight that you can take it everywhere, and its instant-on system means that you have to waste no time waiting for your writing rig to boot or wake up from sleep. It remembers your last active file and the position of the cursor, so you just turn it on and start typing. It’s also completely silent, and emits no heat at all.
And even more:
With an Alphasmart I can write in almost any situation that suites my fancy. I just pull it out of its bag, turn it on, write away, and then put it back. Alphasmarts turn on and off instantly, and I do not even have to bother saving what I type, as the device does this automatically. Alphasmarts are far quicker to use than a laptop, and with three AAA batteries they are powered up for 700 hours. They also do not require electricity. In point, the Alphasmart allows me to write... in many situations that I could not with a laptop. Just having the ability to take out the Alphasmart and write whenever I please has increased my productivity greatly... in those little lee moments in travel when I have a few minutes of downtime- like just before going to bed, or while sitting around a hostel waiting to leave, or in the interim between doing things- the Alphasmart has been invaluable.
The Neo continues to sound like a fantastic device to me. I have yet to read a negative review of it and am very close to pulling the trigger and ordering one.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Since you got your fancy-pants trust-busting job, care to buy me a Neo, too?

:-)

Seriously, I've been lurking on the blog for a few months now and am wondering, after seeing four or five posts, why you haven't yet purchased one.

I'm gearing up for grad school at GMU next fall. I think you've already met my good friend, Nathan Snow. Anyway, I've been looking forward to grad school for a few years now, and I've recently had the luck to practice being too broke to buy batteries for the Neo.

Any good fellowships available as supplements to the GMU offer I received? Any help would be appreciated.