Mobileread
Anyone ever used a Freewrite 'smart' typewriter?
#1  Dr. Drib 09-27-2020, 03:40 PM
Anyone familiar with the Freewrite smart typewriter? I stumbled upon this on the internet, and I had never heard of it. It looks sort of retro-cool. It's put out by some company named astrohaus.

https://getfreewrite.com/products/freewrite-smart-typewriter

https://getfreewrite.com/pages/freewrite-photo-gallery
Reply 

#2  Deskisamess 09-27-2020, 03:45 PM
They remind me of the old stand-alone word processors of the 80's.

I think I've seen this device, or one like it, talked about here on MR at some point over the last couple of years.
Reply 

#3  Dr. Drib 09-27-2020, 04:18 PM
A few years back there was something called a Alphasmart Neo 2, also from Astrohaus. That model appears to be discontinued.
Reply 

#4  rcentros 09-27-2020, 04:56 PM
Quote Dr. Drib
Anyone familiar with the Freewrite smart typewriter? I stumbled upon this on the internet, and I had never heard of it. It looks sort of retro-cool. It's put out by some company named astrohaus.

https://getfreewrite.com/products/freewrite-smart-typewriter

https://getfreewrite.com/pages/freewrite-photo-gallery
Originally they called this word processor a "Hemingwrite" but got warned off from using that name. I was interested in these at first, but my two main problems were/are 1) Cost and 2) The inability to edit what you're writing. They tout this as a feature.

Quote
...As it comes, the Freewrite's editing functionality is limited to using the [backspace] key only. You can review what was written before using the [pg up] and [pg dn] keys but there is no way to move the cursor into the document or copy/paste. ...

...No, the Freewrite is not trying to punish you. Quite the opposite! It removes subconscious barriers and lets you write with maximum productivity. ...
It's possible they have changed this in the Freewrite 2, I don't know. I doubt it, though.
Reply 

#5  rcentros 09-27-2020, 05:15 PM
Quote Dr. Drib
A few years back there was something called a Alphasmart Neo 2, also from Astrohaus. That model appears to be discontinued.
No, the Alphasmart Neo and Neo 2 were produced by Alphasmart (along with earlier keyboards, the Alphasmart, Alphasmart Pro, Alphasmart 2000, Alphasmart 3000 and the Dana (the Dana was an "oddball" based on the Palm OS). Alphasmart was started by two Apple engineers — originally the company's name was Intelligent Peripherals, Inc, but was quickly changed to Alphasmart. They produced the first Alphasmart in 1993, in 2005 they sold out to Renaissance Learning (who designed their learning software around the Alphasmart devices). Renaissance Learning continued selling Alphasmarts to the education market, but they also created a division called Neo Direct for selling Alphasmarts to the general public. Renaissance Learning gave up on these in 2013, but they still provide some support.

I have a couple of these. Very nice keyboards that run about about a year on three AA batteries. They're widely available on eBay... but they're starting to get rarer and more expensive. A lot of schools had these things to teach typing, but it looks like the surplus is finally starting to run out.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=alphasmart+neo&_sacat=0&_sop =15
Reply 

#6  skb 09-27-2020, 05:23 PM
I was looking forward to getting one of these (when I think they were called...Hemingwrite?) when they were being developed. However, the cost just counted me out. Currently, they're $550 for me.

So I bought an Alphasmart Neo2 and frankly, it's fantastic - the ONLY downside is that you need an old USB cable to download the text. Very good for just thrashing out ideas and brain vomits. The one I use cost me $40. Bargain and super useful.
Reply 

#7  Dr. Drib 09-27-2020, 09:43 PM
Quote rcentros
No, the Alphasmart Neo and Neo 2 were produced by Alphasmart (along with earlier keyboards, the Alphasmart, Alphasmart Pro, Alphasmart 2000, Alphasmart 3000 and the Dana (the Dana was an "oddball" based on the Palm OS). Alphasmart was started by two Apple engineers — originally the company's name was Intelligent Peripherals, Inc, but was quickly changed to Alphasmart. They produced the first Alphasmart in 1993, in 2005 they sold out to Renaissance Learning (who designed their learning software around the Alphasmart devices). Renaissance Learning continued selling Alphasmarts to the education market, but they also created a division called Neo Direct for selling Alphasmarts to the general public. Renaissance Learning gave up on these in 2013, but they still provide some support.

I have a couple of these. Very nice keyboards that run about about a year on three AA batteries. They're widely available on eBay... but they're starting to get rarer and more expensive. A lot of schools had these things to teach typing, but it looks like the surplus is finally starting to run out.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=alphasmart+neo&_sacat=0&_sop =15

Thanks for correcting my error on that, and also for the additional information.
Reply 

#8  rcentros 09-28-2020, 01:06 AM
Quote Dr. Drib
Thanks for correcting my error on that, and also for the additional information.
Astrohaus and Alphasmart are fairly easy to confuse, especially since they both produce(d) similar products in niche markets (though Alphasmart, at one time, was in a pretty big "educational" niche market). I really like the Alphasmarts and (I think) most writers who try them also like them — so I was kind of taking advantage of this to go into a little spiel about them.

I wouldn't mind trying a Freewrite some time, but the price and lack of editing ability push me away.
Reply 

#9  binaryhermit 09-28-2020, 01:13 AM
In all seriousness, how the heck do you get the text you pounded out on this thing off the device, presumably to be edited elsewhere?
Reply 

#10  Quoth 09-28-2020, 11:05 AM
It's been around in various forms for ages:
1) It's x2 too expensive.
2) Rubbish software.
3) Screen is too small.

Unless you have to write outdoors it's better to pull the curtains, dim the Matt LCD screen and have a decent room light that doesn't reflect off it.

Have somewhere where you won't be interrupted.
Turn off all phone, laptop, tablet notifications.
If you can't resist checking your favourite site rather than just looking up stuff, then disable the laptop internet access.

It's a niche product for particular people. It's poorly executed and too expensive, oh, I wrote that already!
Reply 

  Next »  Last »  (1/3)
Today's Posts | Search this Thread | Login | Register