4 sucky things about this $19 piece of junk that make it AMAZING for writing
Technology has made a lot of things about writing easier. You can save little scraps of information in Evernote, write and edit with ease, and you don’t have to go to the library to do research.
But, technology hasn’t made it any easier to concentrate, and actually write. This doesn’t need explanation. Twitter. Facebook. ’nuff said. That’s why I invested $19 in this piece of junk. It’s a little portable word processor, called the AlphaSmart 3000, that was made for use in classrooms way back in the year 2000. It’s been discontinued, but you can still buy them used on Amazon. The things that are crappy about this piece of “technology” are the things that make it great for writing. Productivity is all about mind management, not time management, and this pile of plastic helps me keep my mind in the right brain state for writing – and writing only.
Things that are just awesome about this piece of junk
It has INSANE battery life. Never search for an outlet in a cafe again. This thing gets a full year of heavy use on 3 AA batteries.
It powers up FAST. Press the “on/off” button, and you’re writing within 5 seconds.
Your work is ALWAYS saved. You may find yourself habitually hitting “Cmd+S” on the AlphaSmart, but it doesn’t matter. Your writing is saved instantly. You can power it on just to write a few notes, then immediately power it off and get back to what you were doing.
I keep my AlphaSmart 3000 handy in my living room. My most creative time is first thing in the morning, while I’m still groggy. I can grab it, sit on my couch, and be drafting my thoughts in a matter of seconds. Best of all, there’s nothing to distract me. No browser windows open from the day before, no iMessages or Software Update notifications, no extraneous interface elements, and no temptation to check email. The distraction factor is so low, I hardly ever need to 10-minute hack these sessions. Things that are just neutral, and good-to-know about this piece of junk are that you can save your work on 8 files, each of which are accessed by pressing one of the “file” keys at the top of the keyboard. Each of these files will hold about 12.5 pages worth of data, for a total of around 100 pages of work you can save.
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