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How smart is my Alpha Smart 3000?

A couple of days ago we received an eval unit for an AlphaSmart 3000, a handy, lightweight laptop-like text processor that could be what I use for on-the-road writing.

Why are we checking this thing out? For starters, it's tough. The AS3K was designed for schoolchildren. If it can survive kids, it can survive travel.
Second, it's simple. You type, it saves automatically, you swoop data to a computer and chuck onto your favorite Eurail Blog, and bang, you’re sorted.
The AS3K is also way, way cheaper than a laptop — about $200, as opposed to a minimum $1000. Even if something did happen to the AS3K on the road, it’s a lot easier to suck up the smaller loss. Some other reasons:

  • Runs on 3 AA batteries, for 700+ hours
  • No booting. You want to type? Press the on button, and away you go.
  • Cheap, as mentioned above.
  • Tough, as mentioned above.
  • Light — about 2 lbs. I’m hardly going to know this thing is in my pack.
    So far the Alpha has been introduced to Perugino, and has survived my high-paced pecking despite a couple glasses of wine (ingested by me, fortunately, not the Alpha). Later today and lads and I are heading to Portland, so I’ll be testing it out on the road, and on the train or bus when I come back down tomorrow (Sean and Chris are continuing to Seattle, to get a Mariners fix).
    You can fit loads of text onto this thing — about 100 pages worth at least, or about the length of a short novel (about 40,000 words or so). That’s a lot of blog posts. But how do I get the info from the AS3K and in front of you, dear reader?
    That’s what we test out next.