The End of the Neos

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by Hook, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    I'm being a bit of a smart ass putting this in the notebook forum, and this will be meaningless to almost everyone here except a few with long memories, but I discovered today that my Neo2 is no longer being made and no more models will be forthcoming. If you don't know what I am talking about, read this post:

    http://forum.brighthand.com/palm-foleo/250246-i-finally-found-my-foleo.html#post1605841

    Or here:

    The Alphasmart NEO: The Ultimate Draft Writing Tool

    This device changed my life. It changed me from a person who "wanted" to writ novels to a person with 2 novels up on Amazon (self published) a third sequel being written and a fully drafted stand alone novel on the shelf awaiting editing. Roughly 400K words of writing and editing in 4 years on the side of a very full-time job. I now have to hope it really is built like a tank (seems to be) and it's very simple tech also probably insures longevity. I have an Alphasmart Dana (PalmOS) as a backup, but prefer keeping things simple with the calculator-like OS of the Neo2.

    So, allow me to mourn a moment even if you have no idea what I'm talking about. :rolleyes:

    However, it is just future replacements that are gone. Mine is still strong and healthy and they will probably be available on eBay for quite a while as Schools, for which they were actually intended, begin eliminating them. ;)
     
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  2. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Sorry that Neos are going away. I am always impressed with the way you integrated it with your avocational endeavors.
     
    Hook likes this.
  3. EdmundDantes

    EdmundDantes Mobile Deity

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    That's very impressive (your writing output); but what about the device really put you over the hump? It's perfectly fine; but I'm not sure what distinguishes it from other writing options, including a full-size keyboard for a Palm device.
     
  4. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    It's hard to explain, but it is the combination primarily of three things that interact in a very nice way. The first is the keyboard itself. No computer keyboard I (or the good number of writer that use it) that is as comfortable to use for typing. It is not just being full size. These were designed by former Apple engineers specifically to for writing (for school writing labs, not writers-- writers discovered the keyboards later and they made a side business out of the writers, but it was the school labs where they made their money). The size, the sculpting, the spacing the key travel.

    The second is that it has only a small liquid crystal (B&W) display which, at most, can only display up to 11 lines of text (I use 8). This forces you to leave your editors hat off and just produce draft copy. Editing I do in MS Word on a really large monitor. It tends to discourage perfectionism and encourage getting ideas on paper.

    Third, the ability of the keyboard to go anywhere. It is extremely rugged (designed for elementary school students), gets 700 hours off 3 AA batteries and its retro liquid crystal screen has great contrast in any light including direct sunlight. That means it can be easily carried and used anywhere, coffee shops or the middle of the woods. You press one button, instant on, and you are ready with your cursor placed where you last left off.

    Everything else I have used (and I've used a lot) has felt like a Kludge and awkward for the draft phase compared to this. Don't know if that makes sense, but it is irreplacable to me. Luckily, it will probably last 10-20 years. There's nothing to upgrade, nothing to lose "support."

    As for the "over the hump" question, for me, personally, it was kicking the editor out of the writing room. ;)
     
  5. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    I've been dabbling with writing using Scrivener which can be "paired" with "index cards" on iOS. Sorry to hear the Neo line is EOL. I'm sure there are solutions you can find if your hardware finally goes kaput, without having to go all the way back to PalmOS. Not that I don't miss PalmOS, I'm just saying that Google Play and the iOS App Store are full of writing/plain-text/note-taking apps these days.
     
  6. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    I wouldn't go back to Palm OS. Although the Dana uses it as it's OS, it is largely ignorable if you don't want to use it and you just do a one button launch into the word processor. There is nothing brilliant about the software on either... just a way to type text with a spellchecker-- it is rather the more hardware considerations I talked about above. There are certainly plenty of simple, plain text editors available on any platform.

    Scrivener is very nice. I have the Windows version and would love if it could share it's notes. Might have to look into what it can do with the iPad and whether that will sync with the Windows version. I know there is an actual iPad release of Scrivener in the works. Having my writing notes on a tablet while writing on a Neo would be very nice. The Neo works very nicely with Scrivener. Just hook up the USB cable and send the ext you typed into a blank document in a Scrivener project. Then put the editor's hat back on.
     
  7. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    I would expect the scrivener connection to iPad to work with both the OSX and Windows versions because it uses Dropbox and not iCloud to get data back and forth between the tablet and the desktop.
     
  8. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    Which might be a reason to look at an iPad in the future. The problem is, It would require a program on the tablet to use the Scrivener notes data (are they passing the whole project file). I know they are nearing a release of Scrivener for iPad but I don't know if they will ever do a Scrivener for Android. Unless the Windows version developer (some guy in Australia, I believe) is into Android.
     
  9. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    Well, a bit of good news. I called Renaissance Learning (although the Neo is still branded Alphasmart, Ren Learn bought Alphasmart) and they had a small amount of inventory of new machines even though they had closed sales on the web site. So I've ordered a backup Neo 2. The way these things are built, I should be good for a decade or two. ;) :newpalm:
     
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  10. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    Hope AA batteries still exist when you get around to breaking out your backup. :eek: :rolleyes:

    Seriously though, those are some impressive results. It's always nice to have a system that doesn't get in your way.
     
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