I wrote this review of a Freewrite on a Freewrite

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Have you tried the Martinelli or a Clark Nova?


It doesn’t sound very useful. Why spend $500 for something you can do on better your laptop?


The Bug Clark Nova’s creep me out.


The clack clack clack of the keyboard is really soothing to me as I type but I bet it is driving the people around me nuts.

Oh, but surely this is the best reason to use this in public? How else will people be aware that one is creating? Big selling point, right there. (The rugged design will withstand a good pounding, right?)


artisanal, hand crafted words that help convey a message of authenticity.


I think the idea is that a laptop has many (many) opportunities for procrastination and derailing one’s productivity. This kind of machine forces you to do just one thing.

For the target audience, the function isn’t “writing” it’s “writing to the exclusion of everything else”.


For $25 you can pick up a great bluetooth keyboard and Evernote for your phone, and get similarly distraction-free writing. The hipster factor isn’t so great, though. For that, spend the same amount of money and get a used Alphasmart from Ebay or Amazon. Either of these options is 20 times cheaper than the Freewrite.


And you can have that simply by installing any one of a dozen apps on your laptop. Or, buy an Alphasmart for $30 on Ebay. Even BoingBoing likes it over the Freewrite.


May I ask about the battery life?

Pretty sure I bought an Alphasmart for cheap from eBay based on some mention here, gosh over 2 years ago, and I ended up tossing it because I never used it and it was too large and beige-cubicle boring to keep around as random old tech kitsch :frowning:

At least this thing looks cool.


Isn’t that quaint.

I’ve been asked more than a couple times why I choose to illustrate using traditional materials and not a professional tablet and stylus. This is the terminal reason. Even if input lag is reduced to nanoseconds and watercolor simulation software can recreate the somewhat chaotic nature of the medium, I would still be using a device where I’m always one tap away from a time-sink of distractions.


I also think @beschizza was on to something with this idea:

It would look an awful lot like this Logitech keyboard. Imagine a nice high-dpi e-ink display instead of the solar panel. It would also come in green.

I’d support that kickstarter. Something minimal, elegant looking, micro-USB charging, with just a basic maybe 4 line eInk display that supports rudimentary editing – and produces a plain text file.


To this day I write drafts on a Radio Shack model 102. In these serial-port-free days it’d be something of a pain to transfer the data to a desktop, but I worked out a system long ago so for me it’s no big deal. Why I like it: (1) Made in 1986 but it still runs perfectly. (2) Clunky display but this is rough writing–who cares? (3) Runs for 20+ hours on rechargeable (or not) AA cells (4) Performs basic editing: cut/paste, replace, etc. Finally, (5) It’s not connectible to ANYTHING. Not wi-fi, not cloud, not nada. What goes into my 102 stays in my 102 until I tell it differently. Oh, and the keyboard is great too.


They claim 3-4 weeks of 30 minutes writing a day. I have no idea. I had a lot of power issues with it early, and have been plugging it in.


I’m considering getting a distraction-free device; my current thought is just wiping my laptop back to factory state and getting a new battery for it (which would be the cheapest option), but I’ve also been thinking of getting a typewriter or something like this.

It is fine. $320 or so to add wifi and some looks is a lot, but to some it’ll be well worth it.

I’m done arguing with folks bic vs mont blanc.


I think that neither of us are that target audience. But, there are times that I pay more dollars than necessary in order to manipulate myself into achieving a goal.

If I buy a nice single malt scotch for $20, I stick to one drink. I could buy a cheap drink for a lot less money, but when I do that I drink more than one. My rule (for myself) for drinking outside of the house is one drink. So, I buy the most expensive one I can justify to in my own mind. (My self-control with money is stronger than my self-control with booze, once I am drinking.)

I’d never tell someone else that they ought to be buying stupid pricey scotch, but this is what works for me. The person who wants to buy this pricey thing, maybe they are doing a similar self-manipulation in a way that works for them. Seems strange to me, but my drinking strategy seems strange to many people (and would have flabbergasted my 21 year old self, for sure).


Assuming the internet is your biggest distraction, one alternative is to get an old laptop with a PCMCIA Wi-Fi card that you can pop out whenever you need to focus. I did just this with my 2002 PowerBook for years.