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  1. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    Which notebook?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Philliggi, Aug 18, 2018.

    After finishing my first draft of my first book using pen and paper, and typing it up on my phone, I asked the forum for advice before moving on to the editing process.

    The overwhelming feedback was get myself a laptop.

    Now I drive for a living and write on my tacho break. Due to the size of a laptop, a notebook is much more feasible.

    Do any of you use a notebook to write, and what should I be looking for in the spec? I need to keep it as cheap as possible as money is a little tight at the moment. You can get them for around £100 but I don't want to buy the cheapest of the cheap if it's not fit for purpose.

    Any advice much appreciated
     
  2. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    Chromebooks are about as cheap as they come for new laptop-like devices, but they aren't as flexible as more general purpose machines. If you follow the beaten path, your writing will be done in Google Docs and saved in Google's cloud. Walmart has several available for $150 or so.

    Sticking with Wally-world, I see they have an RCA Android tablet with a keyboard for $69.98. Another candidate for writing in Google Docs on a gentle budget.

    My current philosophical peregrinations include a preference for writing in plain text. It goes anywhere. I'm considering a tablet, probably a low-end iPad. My word process of choice (Nisus) isn't available for tablets, so I've started using plain text. You can work on plain text files anywhere - tablet of any type, PC of any type, the antique mainframe you keep in the basement, an Alphasmart Neo, anything. Adorn your plain text with simple Markdown notation (like _italics_ for italics) and it covers much of what a creative writer needs. Best, your work isn't trapped on any particular platform.

    Whatever you do, keep your own backups on your own media. Google Docs is very reliable, but all cloud computing boils down to the same thing - your work on somebody else's computer, accessible by anyone who can find a way in. Even if you can safely assume your cloud storage is 100.0000% reliable, you should still have your own backups on your own media.

    Don't worry about things going wrong. Calmly assume they will, even though nothing bad is likely to happen. Buckling your seat belt isn't a sign of paranoia, it's just a reasonable thing to do. Then, when you get a lucky lottery ticket and jump for new gear, you won't have a second thought about your work coming right along with you. It was there on the backup in your pocket all along.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It's been a while since I used Google Docs - is there any sort of off-line option, now?

    (I live in a rural area without a lot of wifi hotspots. It'd be great if I could take a cheap computer down to the beach with me, but I'd need something that could function without a constant internet connection)
     
  4. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    I'm way out of touch I'm afraid. I'm going to admit that I understood very little of what you just said.

    The problem is I'm old school. I've not used a computer regularly since the explosion in smart phones. I drive for a living so don't use them in my work and literally anything I do online is done with my phone.

    The last time I used a word processor it was Microsoft word in school - I'm 34 now. I have no idea how to use a cloud, all I'm interested in is a notebook I can take with me, work on my story on the one machine and be able to email it and upload it on completion.

    I don't understand what a decent memory looks like, or what other features I will need as a minimum on whatever I buy. It will literally just be used as a word processor. I'll still do everything else on.my phone
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yes, you can use it offline. It works well. I use my MacBook most these days, but a Chromebook is a good option and you can save locally as well as in the cloud, and you can work on your files offline.
     
  6. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    Old school is the best. It's what never leaves you in a lurch. Don't give up on it.

    Transforming your methods from paper and pen could lead to more productivity, but don't fixate on method. How you write isn't the point, it's what you write.

    Chromebooks (Google laptops) will work without a connection to the Internet. I think there is a setup option to enable that, but I last messed with a Chromebook several years ago. I'm certain you can work offline.

    The term "cloud" is an amorphous word that means nothing specific. Basically, when you sign up for cloud services, often free for basic stuff, you generally sprout a place on your computer (a folder, or subdirectory) that will magically appear on any other computers you own. Anything you put there will appear on all your devices, along with anything you change or edits you make.

    You could get an entry-level Windows laptop for a little bit more than a Chromebook. Windows 10 will be strange, and Microsoft Word very different from what you saw. Moving from pen and paper to electronic composition will involve some bit of learning, but that doesn't have to be a show-stopper.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Damn! And I thought this was going to be a thread about real notebooks :(
     
  8. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Also if you're poor like me and do end up getting one of these new fangled electronic notebooks, LibreOffice is a good free offline word program, it was born from OpenOffice but is still being developed unlike its parent.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Since writing requires very little computing power, you could explore older model warrantied refurbed laptops. I’m about to buy a new battery for a MacBook Air that I think is about ten years old (I’m not in the same building with it right now so I can’t check), to have a lighter machine for writing while traveling.
     
  10. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Active Member

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    For me the keyboard is more important than the device, A full size keyboard is a 'must' for me. Most devices will run writing software no problem, what might make a big difference is an external bluetooth or wireless keyboard and mouse. I also write 'on the move' and I've bodged up a piece of MDF which holds a Chromebook and a separate keyboard and mouse, it sits on my lap and props up on the dash while I'm sitting in the passenger seat. very comfortable and easy to use if you fiddle with where you put the keyboard etc. A separate keyboard is nice because you can adjust the distance from your eyes to the screen much easier than if you're typing straight onto the laptop/notebook keyboard.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Additional note: Chromebooks. You can also run Linux on them as a second OS. Switches back and forth with a simple keystroke combination and then you can run LibreOffice or other software that isn’t cloud-based.
     
  12. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    So am I right in thinking the cheapest device would be adequate as long as it suits me size wise etc? The memory side of things won't matter if I'm only using it as a word processor?
     
  13. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    Ended up going for the bottom of the range asus vivo book e203 2gb and 32g storage.

    Its minimal. 11.6 screen
     
  14. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Active Member

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    Just a note, I've using LibreOffice on a linux machine for a while now just to see how compatible it is with MS Word, it's really pretty good, the basic stuff is all there including 'navigation' (which is important to me), should I have to stop using my Word 2010 Libre Office will do the job.
    Linux is also a lot more freindly than it used to be and is a perfectly good option to Windows for basic writer type stuff.
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yes. If you use something like Linux Mint or Ubuntu you can pick it up right “out of the box,” with no real trouble. Very user friendly.
     
  16. lonelystar

    lonelystar Active Member

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    My advice is a kindle as it is small, carryable and has Microsoft word. The word is just more basic and therefore a lot easier as a result than the Microsoft word on a pc or laptop but it is the same doc version as on a normal pc or laptop, so comparability is not an issue. Everything you save on it is private to that device until you choose to save it on a pc or laptop. And if you need to get on the internet you can.
     

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