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Sometimes, retro is more than just a style choice...
I tend to just send most of my Kickstarter links directly to Facebook these days -- part of a general philosophy that FB is good at light-contact links without much depth, and LJ gets saved for stuff that I consider real content. But some still deserve a post here.

Today's example is the Hemingwrite, which is kind of horrifyingly brilliant because of what it is *not*. It is *not* a tablet, *not* a browsing device, *not* a general-purpose PC. It's simply trying to be the freaking *typewriter* for the 21st century, focused on churning out words and nothing else.

I suspect I would find some of their decisions frustrating, but I get where they are coming from. It contains basically no word-processing features, not even cut-and-paste -- the theory is that the Hemingwrite is for creating text, and you then sync it to a real computer (one-button sync to your favorite cloud word processor) for editing. The theory is clearly that writing is modal: that when you are writing, you should *write*, and not be thinking about the editing. (Much less social networking.) So this is a device that is highly optimized for that one task.

That said, the hardware decisions look smart. The screen is e-ink, and it has an old-fashioned, serious keyboard; the result is that the thing looks preposterously retro, very much like the earliest toy laptops. But of course it holds a million pages, lets you work on multiple documents at once, and claims an expected month of battery life.

I don't write seriously enough to need one of these -- most of my writing is LARPs, and the process is about 90% design, 10% writing. But my gadget lust is piqued by such a clever device; if I really was writing a lot, I'd actually think about this...

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That's kinda nifty. I would have loved to have one when I was in grad school.

I'd kinda love it -with- the ability to cut and paste. (but I understand how many writers/editors attribute to cut and paste the massive growth of the modern novel, and a ton of other ills).

And ideally a "keyboard mode" that would have it send its entire buffer to a connected device as if it's a keyboard, so you could whip it out, compose whatever you're thinking about, and then send it to a wiki or web page or redit or whatever once it's done.

I used to (back in the palm and sidekick days) write things using email drafts -- I'd open a draft, write until I was done, saving in the meanwhile -- and then email it to myself [these days, I tend to use Google Drive or a dropbox synced folder, which allows more seamless switching between editing on a keyboard slider phone, a tablet, and a computer].

And ideally a "keyboard mode"

Well, note that they are already talking about creating an API for the thing. So it might be possible...

My first thought was that I don't need it, as I still sometimes use manual typewriters, but then I looked at the page. Oh, my. My house is full, so I'm not going to buy one, but what a temptation.

My version is a USB keyboard synched to my phone. The software involved doesn't really matter, once I turn my phone over so I can't see the screen.

Fortunately, I learned to type long enough ago that I don't need to see what I'm typing to keep it from gettin unintelligible. Just knowing what the "home keys" keeps me from getting to lost to recover the meaning. [to be honest]

I *want* one. I can't begin to afford one, but *oh*, that would be *so* cool.

The screen looks kind of small to me. I remember writing on a similar thing that my dad owned (256K of RAM) and being write frustrated that I couldn't read further back than a couple of lines. Bit yeah, for those who can't turn off the internet, I could see how this'd be a terrific thing.

Everything old is new again. This strikes me so much as nothing more than the AlphaSmart that has been around since 1993. Originally marketed as a portable digital writing tool for schools that couldn't afford laptops, but then highly prized for its distraction free writing.


Oh, and you can pick up an AlphaSmart for a lot less than what is being asked for here...

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