February 19, 2009: Techophilia

Lately I’ve been struggling with a mild, persistent longing for a netbook, a light little laptop about the size of my Alphasmart. I keep thinking how convenient it would be to have a small PC (basically) I could carry to and from work. Price is one of the things stopping me — they run around $300 and I can’t bring myself to spend the money, especially not after buying the Alphasmart only a couple of years ago. That felt like a huge investment at the time, and it feels wrong to discard it so soon after making the investment.

Last night, when I dragged the Alphie out and started typing, I was reminded of one thing I do love about the Alphasmart: its touch. There’s something pleasurable about typing on the keyboard, something that feels different than a computer or laptop keyboard. I also love the clacky-tappy noise it makes as I type.

I guess I’d forgotten how much I just plain love my Alphie. Its simplicity lets me/forces me to focus only on the words; I’m not distracted by anything. Its batteries last forever, and when they burn out, it’s just a matter of replacing them with AAs.

The other thing that’s keeping me from getting a netbook I don’t actually need is reality. As much as a little voice whispers that I could get so much done on the bus or on my lunch break if I had a netbook with Writer’s Cafe loaded on it, the truth is I wouldn’t be able to do anything — in the morning it’s unlikely I’ll have a seat to myself; at night I’m too brain-fried to do anything remotely intelligent and/or creative if I do end up sitting alone. As for lunch, it’s next to impossible to find a quiet corner conducive to concentration, which is what I need.

But, still, the voice whispers…

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mrpister
    Feb 20, 2009 @ 17:36:56

    I’ve never heard of an Alphasmart until I read this post. I’m not sure how big the keyboard is on an Alphasmart, but you should find a netbook on display at a store and try typing on it, see if it’s comfortable for your fingers. I could never fit my fingers on to those itty bitty keys of a netbook. Even on one with a 10″ screen, the keys were still too small for me to type comfortably. On the other end of the spectrum, I wound up making a mistake last year of opting for a 17″ inch laptop instead of a 15″. Now I’m stuck with something that’s too heavy and too big to bring with me on the train when I’m going to & from work everyday. So, for now, when I have writing ideas, I use the notepad on my cell phone.

    Reply

    • katycooper
      Feb 20, 2009 @ 19:52:57

      I have dozens of writing friends who have Alphasmarts, which is how I heard of them. I just held mine over my laptop’s keyboard to compare it. I have a 15″ laptp and the keyboard is the same size. I’ve done what you suggest with netbooks, and you’re right about the tininess of the keys.

      I’ve never thought of taking notes on my cell phone…

      Reply

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