Taking Your Show On the Road, Part II

One of the posts on my old blog that I always got questions about in email, was Taking Your Show on the Road. I consistently get questions about managing your writing when you are on the move, and that post summed up pretty well how I did it, at the time.

Only thing is, you may notice that post is dated 2005.  Tech that was only slightly less than new at the time is pretty well outdated now.

I’m pretty sure the clamshell handheld method would still work, assuming I could get Active Sync working with Windows 7.  Still, the method has some problems for me now that forced me to find something new.

  1. A few years ago I switched to Dvorak keyboard layout, as one of several changes I undertook to help me deal with carpal tunnel syndrome.  Some of those things I don’t have to do anymore, as the situation has gotten better, but Dvorak is one change I have stuck with.  And Windows CE, at least the old versions on those clamshell devices, did not support Dvorak.
  2. You may remember those devices had no hard drive–only RAM.  So if the battery ran down, you lost everything.  This wasn’t necessarily a huge problem–until the battery, which was already old when I got it, reached a point where it didn’t want to hold a charge for any predictable length of time.  Batteries can be replaced, but it seemed it might be time to seek a better solution.
  3. Again related to the RAM–the whole device is setup to be a mobile, temporary copy of something that is permanently stored elsewhere (like on the desktop you sync to).  It seemed to me that with today’s tech, it should be possible to have the primary device also be the device you carry with you.

For a while I carried an Asus Eee pc, which was cute, but also had a few drawbacks–the keyboard was too small to touchtype comfortably, slow bootup times, and the SSD drive was too small to use the machine as a real laptop.  It also had some idiosyncrasies with the wireless connectivity, and the keyboard had an unfortunate tendency to double or triple input letters that you typed.  I haatedd seeeingg thhis…

So what I’m using right now is the Lenovo IdeaPad you see at the beginning of this post.  (You can see it’s convertible to a tablet…I think I’m just a sucker for gadgets–I have no earthly use for the tablet part…if I was buying again tomorrow I would probably find something a bit less expensive that didn’t have the touchscreen.  It is very cool, though.)  It’s small enough to fit in my (admittedly large) purse, it has a full-size keyboard I can touch-type on, is robust enough I can use it for other things if I need to, I can carry my manuscript, notes, maps and databases with me, and it spends all it’s time in sleep mode so it comes up quickly when I’m ready to write.  The touchpad is my biggest gripe–this one is really hard to use effectively.  But I find that even when I am home, I just pull this machine out and write on it.  So all of my work is in one place, and I can take it with me anytime, everywhere I go.  Which is what I wanted all along 🙂

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