Drinking the Koolaid

I’ve been challenged to get another entry written this week. It’s been wild with activity—good activity.

Yesterday I traveled to a lunch meeting but it consumed the entire work day. I had more than a little concern about how this commitment was going to throw off some of my writing production. I’ve signed up for some steep deadlines recently and need to be producing each day to meet those deadlines. It’s one of those necessities in the writing life.

While my non-technical wife thinks I have a bunch of gadgets, I’m a relatively gadget-free person. I don’t have a blackberry or an ipod or some the other more common gadgets. Several years ago, other writers were telling me about their great accomplishments on their AlphaSmart. I went to ebay and purchased one. I tried it a few times but never invested enough energy to learn how to transfer the material to my computer or any of the simple features in it. That barrier changed this week.

For my day trip, I pulled down my AlphaSmart and tucked it into my travel bag. During each flight when they sounded that bell to allow electronic gadgets, I reached under my seat and pulled out my AlphaSmart and began to pound the keyboard. The keyboard feels better than my laptop and it’s a funky-looking thing with only four lines of type–but oh, can you crank on it!

This morning, I transferred the material to my desktop computer in a matter of seconds. It’s a matter of taking off my printer cable and plugging it into the hole on the AlphaSmart. Then I open a document in Microsoft Word and hit the send button. Each file pulls right into my desktop. I created several different ones and combined them into a single double-spaced document which was nine pages. My initial draft isn’t perfect yet this entire project is much further along than if I had not written anything–which is normally the case for me.

It looks like something out of the stone ages but who cares? I went over to ebay and typed in a search for “AlphaSmart” and you can purchase these machines for very little money. My AlphaSmart has done little for me tucked on a shelf in my closet. It’s like many other things that only pay if you use them. I’m a convert and have drunk the koolaid on this one.

In less than a week, I head to Los Angeles for Mega Book Marketing University. Instead of a bunch of books, I’m going to slip my AlphaSmart into my laptop bag and use it on the flights. I’ll have my laptop along on the LA trip. Now I can see why my writer friends have been raving about this gadget.

9 Responses to “Drinking the Koolaid”

  1. C.J. Darlington Says:

    I’ve heard lots of great things about the Alphasmart, too. I love the portability it offers, but my biggest concern was being able to back up files. I’m the type of person to back up on two external sources besides my hard drive.

  2. Vicki Caruana Says:

    They always give away at least 1 AlphaSmart at the ASJA Conference (American Society of Journalists and Authors http://www.asja.org). Maybe I’ll win it this year!

  3. Marcia Fry - Vance Fry Says:

    You really should check out the new AlphaSmart Neo. The improved keypad alone is worth the price, but it has lots of other features that make it worth it, too.

    (Looks nice in red, too: http://www.vancefry.com/projects/red-neo)

  4. Mark Goodyear Says:

    OK, maybe it’s time for me to get on board with these machines–especially since they don’t have the distractions that laptops have.

    But I’m worried it will sit on my shelf, like yours did.

    Terry, what caused you to suddenly realize its effectiveness?

  5. Nancy Henderson Says:

    I’d be lost without my Alphasmart!

  6. Bonnie Calhoun Says:

    I really tried to get used to mine, but I carry my laptop absolutely everywhere I go! It carries all my notes, reference documents, bible library etc.

    I caught myself absentmindedly trying to hook the AlphaSmart to my phone for an internet connection *snort*!

    I’m glad you can work with it, now I know it has a purpose for someone!

  7. David Stoddard Says:

    I bought my Alphasmart a couple of years ago when I just “knew” I would use it. The tough part with the one I have is it only gives you 4 lines to work with. It’s a great tool overall.

    Plus, if it gets ruined from being dropped in a neighborhood lake, it’s a lot less of a loss than if it was a laptop.

  8. Sylvia Hubbard Says:

    I’ve been doing pretty good things with my HP Jordana. I was going to buy the alpha smart but I wasn’t sure about the weight.

    I like that the jordana snaps close and I can carry it in my smallest purse.

  9. Gene Says:

    I love mine. Unfortunately, I don’t use it enough. But I would highly recommend them.

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