Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Old Alphie

With all the new gizmos for writers, I was thrilled that someone reached into their bag and hauled out one of my continuing favorites, an AlphaSmart 3000.

This little guy only has four lines of digital print and is not backlit, but it runs on 4 AA batteries for 750 hours. They were created to teach Second Graders keyboarding, and so they are practically indestructible. I've dropped mine on a concrete floor, and held my breath as I lifted it up. Worked fine.

They are made for rough draft, with a direct link to a computer for editing. A copy/paste program is available, called Get It.

At about 1 pound, they hold about 20 pages per file. Small in comparison to netbooks, etc. The AlphaSmart 3000 is not Internet available, which actually is an advantage for those who are easily distracted by e-mail, etc.

One of the advantages is that there is no warm-up, just a pop on/off at the same place where you left it.

In a pinch, they can be attached as an extra keyboard.

Years ago, prior to laptops and netbooks, you could see writers sitting around with their AlphaSmarts. Many writers still are using them. (Oh, poor Apple IIE. I love thee yet. :))

I just checked Ebay and used (which they aren't making new ones) run around $20-30. But if you go that route, make certain that you get the connecting cable. If you get the battery model, you actually do not need a charger.

For young mothers on the go, or those writer during breaks at their day job, this oldie is terrific, because of the pop on/off feature and packability, i.e. in a handbag. If only this had been around when I was working my day job and writing for 2 publishers.

There are newer models, i.e. Neo, etc., with a little bigger screen. But "Alphie" is really good for articles, short stories, blogs and business letters.

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