E, F, AlphaSmart, and more socks

posted in: Creativity, Knitting, Serendipity | 7

Here are E (Elephant) and F (Frog), whom my daughter introduced into our lives this week:

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E arrived on Tuesday, F on Wednesday, and I hear there are also C and D, yet to arrive. Each has been ferried into our lives on a quarter-size piece of scrumptious gingerbread.

Accompanying E and F are the AlphaSmart Neo that I got with the NaNoWriMo discount (alas, ended 11/1). It is the secret to my current NaNoWriMo word-count success.

I’ve set it for a six-line display (rather than the standard four) so I can still see the beginning of my sentences (and thus their subjects) before I reach their ends (and so the verbs and objects have an increased tendency to agree with the subjects). This would not be so important for someone who writes shorter sentences in first-draft material than I do.

It’s a comfortable, fast keyboard and when I am using it I have no inclination to go back and edit.

For me, that’s HUGE.

Because the Neo does not connect to the internet, I have no ability to fact-check as I go (I just type in [CHECK] when I am not sure of a detail and keep going). According to scuttlebutt, it has a better display than the net-connectable Dana model (which I couldn’t even consider because of the price difference and because the discount applied only to the Neo).

It takes two seconds to turn on, it opens precisely where I left off, it turns off in half a second, and it was built with kids in mind, so it’s not fragile. It weighs 1 pound 14 ounces (850g) and fits in my knitting bag. While the knitting’s still in there.

I’m not giving up either my laptop or my desktop computer, but this is a wonderful tool. Text is captured in ASCII. It gets dumped into an open word-processor document through a custom USB cable, or you can connect a regular USB cable to a printer and just print direct from the mini-computer.

It probably has more RAM than my first computer (which had 64K). It definitely has more document storage capacity than one of the first-generation floppy disks. All it does it word-processing, though. That’s okay.

Apparently people name their Neos. Mine does not have a name yet. It’s been working too hard to have a moniker catch up with it.

Accompanying E, F, and the Neo are the carry-around socks I’m working on now. I got the yarn at the Acorn Street Shop in Seattle. I’ve turned one short-row heel (in the manner of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ Simple Socks) and am in the process of turning the second heel.

E and F seem to be amused by all of this.

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7 Responses

  1. Donna Druchunas

    I want one. I wonder if I’d use it though? Hmmm. Maybe it would be a good companion when I go to Europe, although I may have to take my laptop anyway to do other work. Something to think about…. I like the idea of not being so easy to go back and look at what you’ve written. I waste time sometimes when I could be moving forward by jumping around in my file.

  2. L'Tanya

    I’ve got to get me one of these! I’ve never heard of this before, but I’m in love. I’d wanted to get a laptop so I could write, but this is much more practical and serves my purpose better. Great find! Thanks.

  3. Kristi aka Fiber Fool

    Drew loved his Neo last year, but alas the new MacBook has replaced his love of it. But, he is disciplined enough to turn off Wi-Fi and not edit. But all the things you mentioned were exactly what he loved about it. I hope you continue to enjoy it!

  4. Drew Schwickerath

    The Neo is a handy-dandy thing. I’ve been using one on and off for the past couple years and the portability is hard to beat.

    Unfortunately now I am doing a broader range of tasks on the go–especially music composition–so my laptop goes with me pretty much everywhere these days.

    If anyone is interested in a gently used Neo with the rechargeable battery option (can still be swapped out for 3 AAs) and the Neoprene case, let me know. It seems a shame to have it seeing so little use when it is such a handy device.

  5. Dani

    This post looks a lot like the one at Queen of Socks! LOL.
    http://sockqueen.blogspot.com
    I’ve had Alphie for three years now and couldn’t do without him for all the reasons you mention, and being able to schlepp him all over the three acres to write with no fear of dirt damage. The things are indestructible!

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