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

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

*Background
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
Size/Weight
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)

Display

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

Expandability

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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We are together.

As of 21st September 2004, thescarfer is officially someone’s girlfriend.

*insert a big “YAY!” here*

More importantly, the girlfriend of someone kind, gentle and loving – lets just hope he stays that way. ^_~ But yes, after an emotionally abusive relationship and ten long months of moving on (AND trying to get rid of the hurt…doing everything possible including trying to make the Ex’s life a misery), she is finally happy.

Never mind that he is not good looking, or has a little belly, or that he is a good one head and a shoulder taller than her. Does that all matter? She has a belly (she calls them spare tyres) too…and she is not pretty. Cute maybe but not pretty. At least they have one thing in common: gorgeous eyes – hers are dark velvety chocolate and his a kaledeiscope of brown and green.

How it happened? Well, he brought up the topic again last night – or did she (who knows?) – she gave it a little bit thought, threw caution to the wind and said a resounding yes. They will be celebrating this occassion (or at least she is planning to celebrate it – thescarfer always celebrates every occassion that is not of common occurance in the everyday life!) when he comes to visit in slightly over a week’s time.

She is excited but more importantly, she is pleasantly spooked – as if this was a first love all over again. And there is this little bubble of hope, eternal happiness and peace in her – somehow erasing her fears and pains behind. She is no longer unsure of herself unlike how she was in the past but confident and stronger – and more importantly, he likes her this way.

What makes her happier is that this time, she caught an affectionate man who is more about action than talking. He calls her, he talks to her whenever he can online or otherwise, he makes sure that she is happy (he warned one of his friends not to tease her because that friend upsets her a lot), he is touchy-feely (*winks*), he is not afraid to tell people about her, he comes up every week to see her – or whenever he can and he sure is more confident than most men she know. It is an important criteria for thescarfer as she tops most regular men in terms of intellect and maturity.

Her students remarked that she has been absolutely glowing and utterly radiant. It is as if a new lease on life (and ultimately love) has been given to her.

Hope floats, they say. Now she truly and wonderfully believes in it. Funny how life has a way of turning things around.

We will see if many good things will come out of this man…and thescarfer has a good feeling about that.

:D:

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Storms…

It has been a long day at work today. Tonnes of people coming in to see me, asking questions left and right about the stuff that they are suppose to do and here am I sitting and going “Didn’t you people learn anything during this past six months?” *sighs* And to think that this job actually makes me happy. While it does – really, it does! – it is during times like this that actually stresses me out. The paperwork, the stuff to grade, the reports to compile…damn am I looking forward to going off for my vacation in July!

And that is when I’m going to get yarn AND MORE YARN to do more knitting! I have a bunch of patterns to try out, not to mention another five more scarves to knit. Work hasn’t been kind to my knitting. I haven’t touched my knitting needles in days now and just after knitting one line, I got another person coming in to see me. *sighs*

The vacation just has to come SOON!

…on the side, there is a thunderstorm going on around here. I hate it when it rains that heavily here – the lightning, the thunder, ugh! While it is cooling and refreshing, it doesn’t work for me in terms of creating a nice ambience. I prefer showers, soft gentle showers of raindrops – and me just curling up on a sofa and doing some reading. Something which I often do while I was in Australia, studying – during winter, me in my warm fuzzy socks…

They say that people who like thunderstorms are people who have noisy minds and souls – meaning they can’t find peace or enjoy the wonders of a calm mind/soul. I wonder if that is true.

Hmm…I’ll stop here for now. Will be back to add more. I so want to go home. Bleh. Am stuck here in the office while it pours like crazy outside. >

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Little bits of wisdom…

Today will be one of the few days I have left to be by myself, do the things that I like and just enjoy life as it is. Problem with me is that when my mind is idle, it starts wandering away to many differing thoughts – why certain things happen to me, why life is the way it is and how do I go about adapting and changing to these incidents. It is no different now that it is then.

The closure of my previous journal was due to some problem which in part was a mistake of mine. I should have cut things off cleanly many months ago. However, for a promise I made and for the sake of honour, I never did so. I allowed the wound to fester into a pain, a sore which should have never been there in the first place. Someone once told me a long time ago that cutting things off is hard. “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. When you do cut off, you should cut off cleanly. No point staying together as other things when all it does is bring back memories of things that should have been, of the pain that had been.” I should have listened to him then. In fact, I should have listened to many people instead of striving to stay true to my word. Staying together was causing me hurt. Lingering there was bringing me nothing but pain. I should have left ages ago.

“If you keep together more than you should, it will cause you more pain. It will take you longer to let go. And when you do let go, there will be this strong enduring pain that will take you longer to heal.”

In more ways than one, today’s happenings served one purpose – to help me discover that some things are better left unsaid, better left unexplained, better left ignored and better left alone. I explained myself today, stating that I had nothing to do with the previous incidents that occured and somehow instead of clarifying the matter on the other end, this person ended up sounding all – as someone put it to me – “arrogant” and well…as if it was my fault to begin with in the first place. It was after reading the words written by this person did I realize that nothing I say will ever be accepted at face-value, so I should stop trying. I should stop trying to fix things when the things itself do not want to be fixed. I should stop trying when the other person doesn’t want to give a damn at all.

Psychology and human behaviour will always demand that I am the one at fault in this person’s perspective and vice versa – him being at fault in my eyes. Human behaviour and ego will demand it that when one is guilty of something, one tries their best to shift blame to someone else. Life will demand it that when one is happy, those who are unhappy will try their best to trample on the happy one. It is the nature of man and it will always be the nature of man. The only way around it? There isn’t. However there are ways to adapt to this.

(( DAMN! CSI is starting right now! >ASSUME NOTHING…

I somehow am able to look back at things that have gone on today and not care as much as I would have yesterday and a few months back. Perhaps it is because part of me just stopped expecting anything different other than what has been happening on and on. Perhaps it is because part of me just started caring less. Whatever it is, it is high time to move on. I know I have said it many times over and over again. I know I have broken it down to “I am trying…it isn’t easy”…and yet, in me, I can feel the difference only now. I suppose it is because I am finally beginning to let go of the things that I should have many months ago. It will come slowly, but at least it has come – for me.

Isn’t it good to have realize things now than never realize them at all?

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Wariness…

I got rid of the old ones. Don’t even feel like talking about my problems with them. Lets just say that a lot of my online journals are now gone – completely erased, my account with this online forum (which I have been going to for over a year now) is gone…and frankly, I’m still reluctant to post here. *sighs* I’m hoping there will be a private function thing here but there doesn’t seem to be any. So no comments anymore. I am not even going to tell people about this blog. As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to treat this as something exclusive.

I won’t bring in old issues into this new place of mine. I won’t even post pictures of myself. There will be no names, and the least amount of references to stuff that will be going on in my life. I am kinda getting tired of changing addresses and changing my blog simply because people misunderstand me, people jump to conclusions and people get all hissy. I will start this journal by stating what I am and what I am not:

I am not perfect.
I am a regular nerd – I’m into reading, knitting and writing.
I have issues with people and where I live.
I can’t stand hypocritics.
I dwell on my problems in order for me to solve them.
I am overly sensitive.
I don’t think I’m pretty, smart or sexy or ‘holier than thou’.
I am too honest for my own good.
Words do hurt me, especially lies and unfounded criticisms.
I like to be me.

I suppose that is enough for now. I will write later…but when I feel like it I reckon. *sighs*

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