Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Alphasmart NEO Review

A short review on a little gadget I think is totally awesome.  It’s called the Alphasmart NEOAlphasmart Neo - Handheld -

It’s the ultimate tool for writers who get easily distracted by:

1)  email

2)  facebook

3)  twitter

4)  online games

5)  any excuse you can come up with for being online to avoid writing, etc.

The Review:

NEO gives you no access to the internet, but it does have:

1)  Word count

2)  Thesaurus

3)  Spell check

4)  Character count

5)  Timer

6)  Calculator

7)  Copy, paste, cut

8)  8 separate files to either use for chapters or having 8 separate projects going.

More cool stuff:

1)  3 AA batteries last 700 hours.  That alone beats a laptop.

2)  Unlike a laptop, you don’t have to worry about this baby overheating.  It doesn’t.

3)  Adjust font size, which also reduces the number of lines shown on the monitor, but it’s worth it to see what you’re doing.

4)  Screen contrast option.

5)  Limited number of lines on the little monitor equals less editing when you should be writing.

How’s it work?

Type, save work, transfer to computer via USB cable or directly to a printer.  Keep the stuff in the file on the NEO for awhile, or hit “clear file” to wipe it clean.

Technically, you get about 20 pages per file.

Tips on transfer:

You need to have some sort of word processing program open before you can transfer your doc from the NEO to your computer.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s OpenOffice, Word, notepad, wordpad, any of the above.

Plug in USB cord to NEO and computer, hit “send” and watch it transfer your data.  It’s not a fast transfer.  It kinda types it out as it transfers.  If you’re document is long, one user said go make coffee. 


Smaller than the keyboard on my 15” Toshiba laptop.

My own experience with it:

I can’t be on my laptop without wasting time on the net.  As hard as I’ve tried – I have no self-control.  That’s how I ended up buying a NEO.  I needed a way to write and be productive without the distractions of the net.  I can honestly say, I’ve accomplished more in the past week then I have the past couple months.  No kidding.

I love it that I don’t have to be worried about the battery needing recharged, or concerned about whether it’s going to overheat or not.  I just want to sit down and work on a project without being bothered by anything other than my cats.

The net alone isn’t the only thing that distracts me.  Have you noticed how the bells and whistles of word processing software can distract you?  That was another motivator.  : )

How to get one of these priceless gems of your own!

I bought mine through I.T. CompuParts.  They’re stationed in California and get it out to you fast.  I had mine 3 days after I ordered it.  Supposedly it’s used, but it looks brand spanking new.

Something to be aware of if you decide not to order it from the Amazon link below.  Read the fine print!  I’ve seen some sellers offer them dirt cheap, but the USB line isn’t included, or some other important piece has been left out. 

So, click here to make your life as a writer easier.  Your friends will miss you on facebook, twitter and google+, but your productivity will be better than it’s ever been.

Best of luck!



Friday, May 18, 2012

Product Comparison: Wonderwash vs Wonder Washer

This is one product comparison that I'm going to really enjoy writing.  For one, I like both of these products, think they're great and worth every penny.  Both clean your clothes really well.  Both save you money by not having to go to the Laundromat or not have to go as often.

So, let’s take a look at the two:



1)  Hand crank.  No big deal if the electric goes out.
2)  Perfect to take camping, especially if you plan on camping in the primitive area where you don't have electric.
3)  Water drains out of the bottom using a pvc pipe.
4)  You get a bit of exercise in by cranking the washer for about 2 minutes, depending on size of your load.
5)  It holds a lot of clothes.  I can wash my Bengals acrylic blanket.  That's saying something!  I can also do two sets of full size sheets at one time.
6)  Easy to store.

1)  Some people don't like cranking the handle.
2)  The base feels a bit unstable when cranking, but it's not a big deal.  It holds up quite well.
3)  Because of it's shape, I've found it hard to clean cat hair out of it. 

Wonder Washer


1)  You can wash clothes for a lot longer time than you can with the Wonderwash.
2)  The bucket is much easier to washout than the Wonderwash.  So, if you have a pet and whatever your cleaning has pet hair on it, this is the one you want to use to clean it with. 
3)  Time settings: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 minutes.  Two cycles: standard and gentle.


1)  It's taller and a bit more awkward to store, but on the bright side, because the Wonder Washer is two separate pieces: bucket and motor, it can be stored in two separate spots. 
2)  I've found the agitator to be a bit harder on clothes.
3)  It doesn't come close to holding as many clothes as the Wonderwash.  A huge downside if you don't want to be stuck doing extra loads of laundry. 
4)  The motor sounds like it's going to die when you put in a full load.  It groans a lot.
5)  The bucket cover has holes in it that you drain the water out of.  Yip, that means you've got to lift the bucket off the floor and dump it.

With both washers you have to hand wring them afterward.  Personally, I don't.  I wring them just enough to put them in the basket and carry them outside and hang them on the line.  Wringing them out produces wrinkles, this method cuts down on them.


1)  Use a little bit of fabric softener in the rinse. 
2)  Be careful with the soap.  Clothes tend to get stiff on the line because not all the soap has rinsed out, so watch carefully how much you put in.

All in all, you can't go wrong with either washer.  In case you might be wondering which is my favourite - it's the Wonderwash.  It's a heck of a lot of fun, takes less time, and I get a bit of exercise to boot.

Click here to buy the Wonderwash.

Click here to buy the Wonder Washer.