TECH REVIEW: Alpha Smart Dana

NOTE: Gadget on loan, courtesy of Chet (lovely babe; met her on NaNoWriMo while I was figuring out how to go about writing while I was in Krabi – she kindly volunteered her little Dana for me to use…it’s still with me and I intend on giving it back to her, even though part of me doesn’t want to – you’ll find out why. Read on!)

Picture taken from Alpha Smart’s website

Note: The following general and technical information was obtained directly from Alpha Smart’s website.

If ever in need of a gadget that would allow writer-wannabes and actual writers to tinker around with their literary talents on the road OR even on the move, one should consider this nifty little gadget above everything else. Forget about your Palm OS with the ultra small foldable keyboard or that huge ass, heavy laptop with dinky WiFi. Dana offers the writer the basics in a nice little easy to carry ‘object’. Read on further for a test road by the author during her four-five day trip to Krabi as well as around her home and office.

*General & Technical Specs
Weight: 2.0 lbs. (.91 kg)
Height: 1.9 in. (4.8 cm)
Width: 12.4 in. (31.4 cm)
Depth: 9.3 in. (23.5 cm)


Advanced LCD with backlight — 560 x 160 pixels (3.5 times wider than the typical handheld device)


2 expansion slots for MultiMediaCard or Secure Digital cards

Power Options

Rechargeable battery pack
AC adapter
3 AA batteries (not included)

Desktop Import/Export

Import CSV, Tab delimited, TXT, vCard, and vCal
Synchronize appointments, to-do list, memos, and word processing documents

Flexible Storage Capacity Highly efficient operating system with 16MB of memory stores thousands of addresses, years of appointments, hundreds of to-do items, memos, and documents, and more than 100 applications (based on average application size of 50K)

*Personal Opinions
Frankly, if I had the cash and if I was published and busy with writing instead of grading assignments and teaching, I’d get this nifty little gadget. Since I have started travelling much more often than I had before, I found it extremely useful to keep my ideas coherent and easily (without breaking out into pen and paper and go through all the hassle of typing it again into the PC), and I found it excellent for killing time. Most of my trip to Krabi required me to be on the road in the bus, plane or van. Stupid me didn’t bring a book, so I whipped this gadget out from a slingbag (together with my important documents and wallet, plus MD player, comb, pens and tickets as well as a lipbalm and coins) I took with me and I just started typing.

At the airport, it went through X-ray just great and when I started typing in the plane, no one came around to bug me unlike if I were to flip open a laptop. I found it easy to get my ideas down than to scrummage around for a pen and paper, write it and maybe lose it in the packing. In the bus, it came in handy because of the backlight. I took the night bus, so all I did was put in on my lap, switch on the backlight from the screen and continued typing. It wasn’t too bright and it didn’t disturb the people around me. In the van on the way back from Krabi to Hatyai, same thing.

Having this gadget is wonderful for someone like me who gets her inspiration from everyday surroundings and situations. With this, I can just grab it off the study table, head over to a cafe or coffee place and type type type. No need for long troublesome sockets (for laptops) and no need to squaint and type funny with a PDA keyboard.

Favourite part? Marrying Dana with my pc. I just take a USB cable (comes with the gadget when you purchase it but because I loaned it, I had to improvise – took the USB cable that hooks up my PC to the Canon printer), tap on one button twice and automatically it types itself into MS Word or Notepad. Saves me the trouble of typing stuff out again as I would have if I had chosen to write using pen paper.

Only trouble I had with it is….lets see…nothing? ^_^

My thanks to Chet for loaning me this. Otherwise, I would have never been able to finish “The Home of The Fallen” on the 18th. Would have taken me much longer. Many thanks!!!

ps: If you love toys and writing and want something simple (no frills and no fuss), get this! Worth the investment!

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PICTURES: Hatyai & Krabi – Part I

Of Krabi

The early morning view of a sleepy little town called Krabi…from my ‘hotel’ that is.

And the other street…

(NG) Me and NG stumbled upon this little shop sometime during one of our exploration walks in the morning after the night we arrived. Y’know, some shops are meant to undergo a name make-over. @_@

(Pascal) A view of the jetty at Krabi – warning: there are three in this town and each are ports for different locations.

Onward ho to Railay Beach!!!

(NG) The view of Railay from the longtail boat. The trip took us slightly over 45 minutes…

(Pascal) A view of Railay close-up…

(Pascal) Another view of Railay during high tide

(Pascal) West Railay Beach – where all the ang mohs are…not to mention the activities like kayaking, snorkelling, boat trips, etc!

(NG) Bikini claded babe juxtapose against the hills of Railay…btw, she’s attached to the guy in the water!

(Pascal) The views from the kayaking…why he took this, I have no idea…maybe because it led to the following pictures below:

Inside the cave…

Another shot of the cave…

(NG) The beach…there are countless and I have no idea which one this is. -.-

(Pascal) Another view of the many little hidden spots around…

(Pascal) NG in the T-shirt he lost during our little capsizing accident on this little hill he climbed before jumping into the ocean. He’s nuts…and I LOVE HIM!

(Pascal) A picture of me kayaking and navigating the ‘hidden spots’. I kept going round and round the hill that NG was on…with them screaming instructions at me not to go too far away!

(Pascal) The beach we ended up on – Phra Nang – took a stop here because it was quiet…and it was good! Got a tan and some fun soaking with NG holding onto me. Saltwater kisses are fun! *winks*

(Pascal) Mon cheri hanging onto this rope affixed to the cliff. He later climbed that cliff and cannonballed down! @_@

(Pascal) The pathway to the top of the cliff…

(NG) A picture of one of the rolling hills…so many of them… @_@

(NG) And the bottom of that hill! Notice the colour of the water – it’s really clear and there are tonnes of small schools of fish…gorgeous!

(NG) And then it started getting darker…and it rained really heavily and we three idiots kayaked out to another group of ‘islands’ and something happened. GAH!

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Hatyai & Krabi: Part I

For those of you who have been following my blog, you’d know that I don’t travel much. Or at least that was what I’d tell people before. Since the beginning of my relationship, I found that my zeal for travelling (and everything else that came with it, including the monetary costs) had increased. NG is a frequent traveller – seasoned would be the right word and being brought up the way he was, he loved spending time out of the ‘Sim City’ that he resides and work in now. His now torn and tattered passport is filled with stamps from different immigration points around the world, ranging from the very popular JB stop (where he leaves the checkpoint to visit me every other weekend) to the exotic like Cambodia and even Morroco. Yes folks, he has been there. I’m envious.

Here I am with my nearly five year old passport – which will soon expire in less than six months (how I was reminded of this was rather cute, which I will explain on later) – and barely into the sixth page with visas from just Thailand, Australia and Singapore. How…bleh. Words fail me. Nevertheless, my start of a relationship with NG led me to plenty of travelling opportunities – namely in the form of countries that HE had never been to. Never mind that it wasn’t many as compared to me, and never mind that wherever I want to go, he has already been there (we got into a squabble about travelling destinations TWICE because of this matter but managed to come to a rather amicable agreement. Bah.)

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