Shannon Stacey

I HEART my Alphie

Over in Alison’s comments, the family of Alphasmart, NEO, and dana has been brought up. I won’t recap because you’ve probably already read it, but Walt said something interesting:

It’s pretty bad when a glorified keyboard costs nearly as much as an off brand laptop.

Yes, yes it is. But when it comes time to upgrade away from my Alphie, I’ll pass on the off-brand laptop and go with another Alphie (or the NEO, which is, I gather, the next generation). And here’s why:

Alphie serves one purpose. Writing. That’s it. All you can do with it is write (or play with the calculator applet, but even the most die-hard procrastinator loses interest in that after a while.) There’s no powering up, or rebooting, or waiting, waiting and more waiting.

I hit the ON button and type. Hit OFF and make lunch. ON and type. OFF and change the kid’s movie. ON and type. OFF, and…etcetera etcetera etcetera.

I take it outside in the afternoon while the boys play. Usually it’s stacked on top of a pile of notebooks, books, phones, etc, and it has no issues with being juggled along with everything else. When I have to chase the ball into the road and step between an overenthusiastic lightsaber match, I stand up and toss Alphie into the seat. It’s lightweight enough to move it quickly out of the way of balls, flying trucks and frisbees. I take it camping without a second thought. I can sit with it in front of the TV and still feel my legs two hours later.

Given a choice between another Alphie and a laptop, I’d take the Alphie. I don’t want wireless access. The point is to get away from the computer. I don’t want my emails and address books and 3492 loops going on vacation with me. I just want to write. And nobody does pure, distraction-free writing like Alphie.

I have, however, been considering another option lately. There are only two things I don’t like about Alphie—the stiffness of the keys and the lack of backlighting (especially bad when we’re camping.) So I’ve thought about getting one of those foldable keyboards for my iPAQ. Not only is it backlit, but you can edit as well. (Okay, technically you can with Alphie, too, but it’s a bitch.)

Anyway, the whole point is that I actually would pay almost as much for a glorified keyboard as I would for an off-brand laptop. I just won’t take it apart to lube the keys. :rofl:

10 comments to “I HEART my Alphie”

  1. Alison
      · May 12th, 2005 at 9:48 am · Link

    Mine’s still in pieces on the dining room table. I think it’s toast. One of the lines of text was also going, big line down the middle of the letters. I’ve had this one for probably 3 or 4 years? And I’ve been SO hard on it, carted it all over creation. Lotta miles on this puppy! I’m leaning toward a Neo because of the adustable font, but no Dana for me, thanks. Like you, the Alphie is all about NOT being connected but about writing!

  2. Monica
      · May 12th, 2005 at 9:50 am · Link

    As much as I bitched about the Dana, you may want to try it. It has backlighting and the keys are scissors type–different form the basic Alphasmart, I think.

    You have to take off the Quick office and leave it stripped down though are there is too much procrastination temptation (it’s a Palm OS)

  3. Jaci
      · May 12th, 2005 at 1:15 pm · Link

    I’m with Shan and Alison. I need Alphie for pure writing. Get me off that damned internet that sucks my energy like the time-wasting bitch it is. I’m way too easily distracted and it has NO gadgets.

    I :love: my Alphie.

  4. Shannon
      · May 12th, 2005 at 4:37 pm · Link

    Condolences on the demise of your Alphie, Alison. Hopefully you can guilt Walt into buying you another one ASAP! :thumb:

    Oooooooooh—backlit, hmmm? Of course it’s Palm OS, because I have an iPAQ, which is not Palm OS, but backlighting would make it like the perfect writing machine.

    It doesn’t have Solitaire, does it? :roll:

  5. Anna Lucia
      · May 12th, 2005 at 5:07 pm · Link

    Amen, sister! I luuuuurve my Alphie.

    Only problem is, I’ve started using it for work….:cursin:

  6. Jaq
      · May 12th, 2005 at 7:08 pm · Link

    Dissenter here. :woot: I have a Quickpad (sorta similar to the Alphasmart) but I’ve been shopping around for an off brand, refurbished laptop. I don’t want internet on the laptop–definitely want to avoid that distraction–but I write better when I can see a goodly chunk of my work, and, yep, edit as I work. For me, editing is not avoidance, it’s another (essential) form of thinking/working stuff out.

  7. Shannon
      · May 12th, 2005 at 7:54 pm · Link

    A dissenter? :shock: Who’s got the flamethrower?

    (Just kidding. :kiss:)

    Editing’s not avoidance for me, either, but it’s all in the way you work, I guess. When I hit the ON button on my Alphie, it’s time to write. All fresh pages, all the time. (Bad, Anna! No work on Alphie! Make them buy you a laptop. :nod:)

    I edit on paper. Well, the fine tuning stuff, like searching for pet words and things like that I’ll do at the computer, but I like to curl up with a paper copy for most of it. So being able to edit on whatever is less important to me.

    Oh, and that keyboard for iPAQ option? My iPAQ’s dead. :rant: I don’t know what happned. I closed out the Solitaire game (Oops, I mean Word. *snicker*) and set it down. When I picked it up—gone. Nothing. Black screen. I plugged the charger in and I don’t even get the flashing light. It’s like a little empty box. :cry:

  8. Alison
      · May 13th, 2005 at 10:11 am · Link

    I edit on my Alphie CONSTANTLY. It’s never been a problem!! And I never print hard copy until it’s time to mail. I love hearing how we all work!

  9. Patrice Michelle
      · May 17th, 2005 at 11:14 pm · Link

    Hi Shannon,

    Well, I LOVE my Dana. It does have a backlight and the keys are very similar in ‘touch’ to a laptop keyboard. I’ve test-driven and Alphie so I know how the keys work on that one as well. The nice thing about the Dana too is you can read ebook on it if you wish. :type:

  10. Shannon
      · May 18th, 2005 at 12:28 am · Link

    That backlight sounds more wonderful by the second! I think if I’d been considering ebook readers and upgrading Alphie at the same time, I’d have gone with the Dana. But I’ve got the iPaq (which lives again) for my ebooks, and I’m not sure I’d get much writing done with an ebook living in my writing machine.

    Then Angie the :whip: Master would be after me again. :hide:

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