I bought an AlphaSmart NEO2, and I love it
Yesterday, after hearing so many other writers talk about it, I bought an AlphaSmart NEO2, and I love it. Already it has kicked me out of my writing slump and I’ve typed more words in a single sitting than I have in at least a month.
No-wonder this thing is so highly regarded by writers. Here are just a few great features which I’m enjoying right now:
- No internet (no distractions!)
- Auto-saves everything you type (phew)
- Big clear screen/text (even when outside in the sunshine)
- Typing outside! Yes, in the sun! omg.
- Retro hipster cool
- Instant on (no waiting)
- Password protection
- Exports your work into ‘any’ writing software (acts just like ctrl+c ctrl+v on a keyboard)
- Runs on batteries and lasts for a year! I kid you not.
- Appears to be bombproof (designed for young school kids)
- etc etc
The downside to this technology: production has ceased. However, you can still buy these things brand new from the Alphasmart supplier (at least you can in the UK). Finally:
It only costs £39.99 (freepost)
So, with all that out of the way: why? You might be asking.
See the bullets above!
I have a PC laptop, a Mac laptop, and an iPad. All of these are full of distractions and over engineered. As soon as I plan to write, I get distracted and write nothing. Not good. The NEO2 only does one thing (excluding the Calculator): type words. It’s like you’ve got a mentor continually watching you prodding you to write, write, write. Perfect.
It’s hard to believe in this super-teched up world full of short-cut goodness that a basic piece of electronics (originally aimed at school children) could become so valuable and highly regarded.
A craft such as fiction writing existed happily on a typewriter after all. Is it any surprise that writers managed to stumble upon and seize this kit for themselves?
Which brings me on to the end-of -production statement. That’s right, AlphaSmart is no more. That means, whatever stock is left, is going to be worth a lot in future. An example of exactly this, is the Lomography trend for the old Russian Lomo LCA (of which I have a brand new one, btw). These days they go for £250 and if any come up for sale the lomo company buys them up to refurbish and sell on again. Effectively controlling the entire second hand market! Now, I’m not claiming the same will happen with the AlphaSmart, but stock is limited, and demand is high, so I recommend buying one asap. Even if you don’t use it. Stick it away in the attic and I will bet you never lose a penny on its value, and may even make a few quid. I will guess that they will easily sell for in excess of £100 each once supply is gone. That’s a pretty big claim, but I am so sure it’s going to happen I might just buy another for storage. I mean £40! I’d pay that for a piece of (Scrivener) software, so I’m sure many many writers will be queuing up to get one of these.
Where did I hear about it? Where is the popularity coming from?
I heard about the AlphaSmart years ago (5?) and have heard about it ever since in various locations (blogs/forums/podcasts/newspaper articles). It’s still being talked about today as being one of the greatest secrets for writers in the digital age who want to get their wordcount. I swear this is up there with the Write Or Die app.
Mark Mapstone is a skateboarder, a writer, and author of the Ethan Wares Skateboard Series books.
Follow Mark on Instagram: @7plywood
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