It's here! That was pretty much the reaction when I saw the big brown UPS truck pull up outside my house on Monday evening and drop off my new toy, this Neo2 (nee Alphasmart) which I'd traded in my old Pro model for. Rather kindly, the folks at Renaissance Learning threw in a sizable case free of charge, with various pockets and pen loops and things with which to tote the new gadget. To be perfectly honest, though, it's a bit of overkill, as this is an incredibly light, and relatively small device: much slimmer than the old Pro, and having the benefit of 25 years of technological development behind it in terms of a nicer LCD screen with proportional fonts, a very quiet and light touch, and the classic near-infinite battery life. It is as close to a portable typewriter replacement as you are likely to get these days.
I've already started redoing the novel that I dictated back in June, and although I'm not able to type as quickly as I can speak, I also can type far more reliably, and away from the main computer. I managed to knock a few paragraphs out last night in the bedroom, for example, far from the confusion of our kitchen after dinner. Already I'm pleased with the purchase.
My loyalties still lie with the Typewriter Brigade come November, of course, as I'm still hooked on marking up a physical written draft, and appreciate the permanence of a typed page compared to the nebulous nature of bytes, even those constructed on a device as reliable as this one. I did make one recent concession, though, and buckled down and bought a copy of Scrivener, after reading the countless accolades online from various amateur writers. Since I already do quite a bit of pre-organizing and am typing on paper, some of the tools meant to aid in drafting may not be as useful to me, but just going through the tutorial has shown me how I might use it to my advantage for rewrites. As nice as the Neo is for writing, it is still not a viable solution for large-scale edits -- nor was it meant to be -- and it's difficult to get a "big picture" view of my writing through a 5- or 6-line window of text.
Typed on a Neo2