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No, not that kind of alpha.

I was looking for a very light laptop so that you could do some writing anywhere. I have a Mac laptop but it’s too heavy, and I don’t want a Windows one.

A couple of weeks ago I emailed David Pogue, an ex-MacWorldMacUser columnist who now writes a computer column for the NY Times. He suggested I look at Alphasmart.

I did —…. Their Neo is a small light laptop-style computer designed for kids K-12 and their teachers that lets you write and do other simple things, but isn’t a full-fledged computer. It looks like a full-size keyboard with a small LCD screen at the top. There was once briefly a Newton for schools — I think it was called the eBook, that was kind of similar. Alphasmart has now come out with a ‘professional’ version called Dana (God knows why that name) — picture above — that has WiFi, a Palm OS, writing tools and some probably primitive sort of Palm-style browser.It’s a great idea. You can also print from it, and, with built in USB, move documents back and forth from your Mac. It cost a fraction of the price of a laptop. The screen is only 6 lines deep, so I don’t expect it to be great, but for carrying and writing on the fly I’m hoping it will be good. It has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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