Remember the old, clunky electric word processors of yesteryear?
They were a huge technological advance compared to their predecessor–the electric typewriter–since they possessed the ability to store data (typically 50 or so pages). For the first time, we could write and edit text without printing it first. Sure, we were limited to about 6 lines of text on the itty bitty backlit screen. But white-out was a thing of the past!
The popularity of these writing machines surged, but was quickly replaced by PCs and notebook computers. In truth, the electric word processor was obsolete in just a few years.
Today’s writers and bloggers, however, are discovering a renewed interest in the word processor. Many of us are inundated with technological distractions that affect our concentration and decrease our productivity. Who hasn’t been distracted from work by email, instant messaging or web surfing? Well, there’s a solution for writers who want to actually spending their time writing.
The Neo by AlphaSmart is the newest generation of electronic word processors. Originally designed as a tool to teach keyboarding and writing to students, the Neo has become a favorite gadget among writers, novelists and bloggers. As a freelance writer, I spend a great deal of my time composing text on my Neo. It’s benefits include:
• It’s just a word processor. No email, no Internet and no instant messaging. The Neo performs one task only: It serves as a keyboard operated word processor.
• It boots up quickly. Press the “On” button and you’ll be typing in less than 5 seconds.
• It lasts forever. The Neo runs on 3 standard AA batteries, which provide 700 hours of battery life. Try getting that from a notebook computer.
• It’s light and durable. Weighing in at a mere 2 pounds, the Neo is light enough to be completely portable. The tough plastic is durable, too. I’ve dropped mine from the kitchen table quite a few times, and it’s still ticking.
• It’s simple to use. Turn on. Type. Turn off. That’s it! The Neo automatically saves your work. And uploading to my PC is just a matter of a USB cord and the press of a button.
• You still get the basics. Keystroke shortcuts will still get you all the basics, like spell checking, a thesaurus, and a word count. You can save up to 8 different files, and it’s got 512 KB of storage–enough for a small novel.
• It’s cheap. At a price of $219, it’s far less than you’d spend for a basic notebook computer. It may be missing some bells and whistles, but can you really put a price on productivity?
Serious computer users may dislike the small screen (which holds a maximum of 6 lines of text), and the green/gray backlit screen with the blocky text harkens back to the days of early Texas Instruments computers.
But if you’re looking for a way to write without distractions, you may want to consider the Neo by Alphasmart. Take it to the coffee shop. Take it to the library. Take it to your living room. Without the distractions of email and Google, you may find a significant increase in your writing productivity.