A device purely for writing

Today, I discovered Freewrite, a device that retails for about $600 and is the equivalent of a modern-day typewriter. It features a mechanical keyboard and a small E-ink screen, it lets you do one thing and one thing only. Write.

And I want it so badly.

Not so badly as to buy one on impulse right now, but I do desire something like it.

There’s also a smaller and more portable version called Traveler for roughly the same price. Except, there’s a significant discount on it right now. The crowdfunding campaign ended late 2018 and the Traveler was supposed to ship mid-2019, but due to issues and whatnot, it’s been delayed until mid-2020 or so.

Am I drooling over it? Yes, and did I mention it comes with Colemak support? But will I buy it any time soon? Probably not. For one thing, it’s not the only product on the market. There’s the Pomera DM30 which I’m also drooling over, and if I do get it, I’ll probably get the Japanese version. And also, some of Alphasmart’s discontinued digital typewriters are still available online, though they probably don’t support Colemak.

But the reason I’m not buying them is probably because I already have a device purely for writing, and it’s probably not what you think. Actually, it might just be what you’re thinking. A notebook and fountain pen combo. While there are plenty of things I love about it, there are a few crucial downsides that still makes it difficult for me to use full time and you’ve guessed it, it’s not digital.

So, I’m planning on hacking away my own device purely for writing and I have several candidates in mind. The first is to take an old laptop, format the whole thing and install Tiny Core Linux, or an equivalent lightweight and bare bone OS, along with a word processor. It should be a fun weekend project I reckon.

My second option is to take an old phone, install a word processor app, and pair it up with a Bluetooth keyboard. While this might sound easy, the hard part is in stripping down the OS so it’s a lot more distraction-free. Perhaps rooting it, install an open-source OS, and tweak the system somehow. But Androids can be a bit finicky, especially since the OS builds are phone-specific.

My third option is to just install a distraction-free word processor on my laptop and somehow limit distraction. To be honest, I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t really work. For some reason, my mind just won’t stay put and I’ve found that it’s much more effective to just go pen and paper. Which is why it’s my current device purely for writing, with the drawback that I’d have to type everything up if I want it in digital form.

In the end, am I going to change or try anything different? Probably not. This is my current setup, and it’s fine. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine. But someday, I might try hacking away my own device. Someday.

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