Updates and Status Report

It’s been quite a ride the last few days.

And yet, I feel that there is very little to report.

However, to keep myself accountable for the project I am working on, I am obligating myself to share a status report with anyone who actually reads the stuff I write here.

First of all, I have learned something valuable about my little writing computer, and I am also kicking myself due to something new that I have learned about something else that I was researching a long time ago.

As for my Asus Eee PC, it is not friends with Google Gears. I absolutely love Google Gears, I think products like Gears and Adobe’s similar product, AIR (among others), will change the way computer programs are operated, sold and handled. However, my Asus Eee PC has crashed a total of two times now, and both times Google Gears was running and also suffered a fatal error necessitating its uninstalling and re-installation. The first time I was able to get help online and solve the problem, so I reinstalled Google Gears (because I love it). This time, knowing that Google Gears is probably part of the problem, I am not going to reinstall it until I can research the issue and see if there is any patch on the way to prevent such problems. If you know of anything that could help, please leave a comment. If you don’t know of anything that will help, also leave a comment!

Anyhow, as you may be aware from my previous post, the crash prevented me from getting any real writing done when I got up early to write this morning. I got a lot of reading done in this book called Time to Write by Kelly L. Stone since my computer decided to be uncooperative. In the book I am reading about things that some authors do to make the most of their time writing (tricks for getting ideas, overcoming writers’ block, etc.). The book mentioned that one author said she sometimes switches things up a bit by writing on her PC one day, laptop another day and on her AlphaSmart sometimes.

“AlphaSmart?!?” I asked myself. “What is that?” Months ago, when I decided I wanted to start writing more, I began researching to see if there were any devices in production that would give me a portable word processing unit, not a typewriter, capable of saving the text on the go then transferring it to a computer for further editing and publishing. I looked for months and found that the best way to go would be to save up for one of the new UMPCs (ultra mobile personal computers) like my Asus. Through a graceful donation, I didn’t have to wait long, and I’ve been doing a lot of writing ever since the box arrived with my Eee PC in it.

After months of researching, I can’t believe I had never heard of the AlphaSmart. You want to know what it is? It’s exactly what I was looking for. So yes, now I am kicking myself violently (on the inside).

Fine, maybe I’m not actually that upset, I am very happy with the Asus, but this thing is perfect for on the go writing. It has a much better battery life than the Asus Eee PC (AlphaSmart = 700hrs vs Eee = 3hrs), it’s almost as portable but has a full sized keyboard, and it’s half the price ($219). Here are the technical specifications for anyone interested. Interestingly, I have read that some of their models (perhaps all of them) can double as an external keyboard when plugged into a computer via USB cable. This was one of the features I suggested to Amazon if they were to create a product similar to the Kindle but for authors. Amazon seemed interested in my idea, but I haven’t heard back from them for a few months. At the time I didn’t know that a product like the AlphaSmart existed, but my ideas still take the concept above and beyond the AlphaSmart, so I don’t feel that my proposal is obsolete.

In other brief news, I did in fact start another, very small, project on the side. It’s just going to be a blog-like collection of quotes; either my own ideas or things I hear from people around me that get me thinking, make me laugh or just make sense. I’ve got the service set up so I can punch the quote into my phone and post it directly via text message. This is extremely convenient, and that is the only reason I was willing to begin maintaining a second blog thing. If you didn’t check it out last time I wrote about it, or even if you did, go check out the first few postings now and watch for more quickies and one-liners on a random basis in the future.

In family news, my five-year-old lost his first tooth on Sunday, I’m still getting up at five forty-five every morning, and my wife and I are tired. Oh, and my hour long Tuesday evening writing time is officially over, so it’s time to stop writing. ‘Till next time.

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