AlphaSmart Keyboard and Battery LIfe

I got a question about my AlphaSmart 2000 the other day from a writer who owned “the older AlphaSmart Pro…”  He didn’t like the action of the keys (he had to “really pound on them and half the time you have to hit them twice”) or that “every time you touch the shift key it automatically locks.”

The keys on the 2000 have a light touch (My wife says the 2000’s keyboard feels much like any other desktop keyboard) and there is a Caps Lock Key (which I manage to hit almost every time I mean to use the shift key) rather than some odd double-tap on the shift key.

My problems with the 2000 were transferring files and the lack of copy/cut/paste features. Even though the 2000 has two ports for  computer interfacing (Mac and PC), I had trouble getting anything that I’d written to download to a computer. Out of the seven (Mac and PC) computers we had, I found one–my wife’s computer–that worked with it. Now, she uses it for taking notes at meetings.  On the plus side, you can buy the 2000 for a tens of dollars on eBay.

I prefer the Dana. Which I wrote about here.

While the Dana and the Neo are more expensive and harder to find (at least on eBay), for my money, they are the better bet. AlphaSmart claims 700 hours for the Neo with three AA batteries and 24 hours for my Dana, (though it lasts days since I don’t use it 24 hours straight with the backlight on). If the Dana’s rechargeable battery gives out, three AAs will also power it. I also like AlphaWord; it’s is a decent word-processor and the interface is simple. Word files can be transferred to and fro at Rich Text Files (.rtf).

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Email on a Dana

I’ve commented on my AlphaSmart laptop PDA before. Here.

One of the recent comments I received on email for Alphasmart’s Dana Wireless said he used Snappermail. Here’s the link to Snappermail.com. I don’t know if my Palm 4.0 OS will support it. There’s a free trial, but I’m not anxious for yet another username, password, and other folderol that goes with new software.

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Dana’s here

The Dana wireless by Alphasmart showed up yesterday. It is way cool. It found my Powerbook G4 with no problem. I’ll be able to do my work on it and send the text to the Apple for editing. Now if it would only write a universally beloved novel for me, I’d be a happy guy.

Mary and I drove 600 miles from Vancouver, WA to home yesterday and the Dana was waiting for us. I had been tracking it for several days and hoped that it would arrive just about the same time we returned from Washington, which it did. What a warm day it was for travel—at one point the thermometer peaked at 116 (that’s fooking hot for my UK readers) near Shasta Lake. Hooray for air conditioning.

During our trip south, Mary read to me two stories assigned by YouWriteOn.com. One with fluid language but no discernible plot. The other (a putative thriller) with little discernible plot, overwrought language, maddening head hopping, and an unsympathetic protagonist.

Mary recorded our impressions on the (older) Alphasmart 2000 as we drove. I’ve already transferred the text to a Word file and will write up my full review sometime today.

This Dana is a sweet little gizmo. I’m going to use it mostly for writing but supposedly I could check email. I’m not sure I need to do much more than work up responses which I can do with the little word-processing program.

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