Alphasmart Dana deserves a Camp merit badge

June 5, 2012

It’s been a while since I pulled out my Alphasmart Dana portable word processor for doing some writing on the road – nearly a month, when I took it to Toronto for ‘The Avengers’ and got a decent start on my contest story “Tough Love” riding on the subway.

But I grabbed it before work today, and got over 1600 words written on the bus, working on my third short story of the month, “My Perfect World.”

I’m a big fan of taking netbook computers with me on the go, especially if I’ve got editing or critiquing or any similar tasks to do. For flexibility as portable computers, they’re hard to beat – until really good hybrid tablet-keyboard devices finally get here. 😀 But when I just want to concentrate on writing a first draft, the low-distraction environment of my Dana makes it a great tool.

EDITED TO ADD… I meant to say something about the technical difficulties I had when using the Dana to create a list of my music CDs, as part of organizing the living room. Thanks to Elizabeth for reminding me! What was going on was, I’d wake the unit up out of sleep, and it would freeze for a long time, maybe half a minute or a bit more, possibly go back to sleep, and then show a message window talking about charging state, that the unit was plugged into a DanaHub, the battery was charging, and the touchscreen and keyboard deactivated. But when I pressed a keyboard button, that message window would go away, and everything would be fine.

That didn’t happen yesterday, and I think part of the reason why might be that I’m being a bit more careful about how I recharge it – not taking the USB plug out while it’s asleep, for example, but waking it up first. Hopefully that’ll continue to do the trick.

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Falling for Nanowrimo, too literally.

November 3, 2011

Current word count: 8,006. Yay! At this rate, I’ll be finished too soon, on November 18th.

My main character just made the transition from Science Fiction through to a fantasy framework, after the aliens transferred his brainwaves into their crystal.

Unfortunately, I was a little too wrapped up in the story when I got off the B-line bus on my way to the write-in tonight. There was a loose projection in the sidewalk that I tripped over, and actually had a moment where I thought “I tripped. Can I get my balance back? No, I’m goin’ down. Dammit, I can’t help but land on my bag, I hope I don’t break anything expensive.”

I didn’t break anything at all, as far as I can tell, but I skinned my knee, and also the fabric of the dark blue pants I was wearing. Which suggests that sometime during November I should probably squeeze in a couple hours to go shopping for new clothes.

Have you suffered for Nano over the last few days?


Nanowrimo Day 1 – It begins…

November 1, 2011

Word count: 1432

Writing sessions: 3 (as of 5pm)

Doing fairly well. Got some words written before I left for work, and on the bus both way. Managed to forget my office key-card, and as I’m usually the first to flex-time in, ended up walking around the neighborhood listening to Storywonk podcasts, eating my apple and drinking my strawberry milk, until 9am. If only there had been a nice comfy place to write open that early.

I’m starting to wonder if I’ll run out of outlined plot before 50k. However, with Star Patrol that shouldn’t be much of a problem, as I’m also well familiar with the second adventure of these intrepid space adventurers – the Imperion Confrontation. So if I need to, I can just jump right into that storyline!

Write-in tonight at Williams coffee on the pier. Whoo-hoo!

So how’s your nano going?


The groundhog day storm.

February 3, 2011

I started hearing things earlier this week about ‘the big storm’ that was going to hit on Wednesday – we haven’t really had a big snowstorm yet this winter, though the snowfall that hit the day I went down to Saint Catharines for the workshop was substantial. But everybody was talking about this one being a biggie, so I made sure that it would be possible to work from home if that came down to it. This is something that often is done on really bad-weather days at my job if some people think it would be dangerous or a tremendous PITA to get to the office.

As the snow started to pick up Tuesday night, I remember noticing that the streetlight glow through my bedroom drapes was so bright that it was distracting, and ended up putting on one of those eye mask deals. That was from all of the snow in the air and the ground, of course, reflecting the light around.

Wednesday morning, slept in till nearly seven, got up and turned on the local TV news, and they’re going through a big spiel of local closures and ‘If you don’t need to get on the road, don’t,’ so I figured that I wasn’t going in to work. Logged on to the office network, started working on the top item in my to-do list, and soon enough emails started coming in from the other team members confirming that they wouldn’t be coming in, so I added my me-too.

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