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Re: [emacs-humanities] E-ink tablets

From: Paul W. Rankin
Subject: Re: [emacs-humanities] E-ink tablets
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 2021 19:29:43 +1000
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On 2021-02-03 18:23, M. ‘quintus’ Gülker wrote:
Am 03. Februar 2021 um 04:29 Uhr +0300 schrieb Göktuğ Kayaalp:
Here are some faux gardens of Eden on Earth tho:

The other devices are appearently meant to specifically target writers
who seek distraction-less writing. However, when I see these little
screens resembling laptops from the 90ies, I earnestly need to ask:
why not just use a real typewriter instead? The page is larger and
well functioning typewriters can still be easily and cheaply found.
For postprocessing, use OCR; character recognition has improved a lot
in the past years, even with open-source software like tesseract.

None of these devices is actually a tablet.

I actually have a Pomera DM30 and I love it! I got it precisely due to some of the drawbacks of my typewriter. Despite the Olivetti Lettera 32 being intended as a "portable" typewriter, it weighs 5.9kg so the extent of its portability is probably going from my desk to its place beside my desk. Also, a typewriter is loud. Loud enough to prohibit its use at night in an apartment building -- it's not the plucky "click-click-click" in the movies but a more violent "WHACK-WHACK-WHACK".

The E-ink screen is much nicer to work on, but it certainly does not feel like writing on paper with a typewriter, which feels potent and dexterous, like carving something out of wood. The Pomera is also not backlit like most e-readers are now, so at night I need a lamp quite close. It is incredibly portable, folding up to about the size (and weight) of a squat paperback book and accompanying me to cafes. The photos make the design seem like a boxy VCR from the 90s but it's actually quite svelte; it's the only device where I've had people comment that it looks cute.

When connected to computer it mounts as a FAT32 drive. Everything is just plain text files (although the file coding system is Shift JIS DOS, which has a limited Western European character set). It understands Markdown (or Fountain) headings. It has an excellent calendar/diary feature, where entries follow the basic folder hierarchy of YYYYMM/YYYYMMDD.txt. I just use git to sync projects back and forth with a shell script: https://github.com/rnkn/bin/blob/master/pomera.in

I do find myself missing Emacs key navigation when using it. I have a habit of typing C-a C-e whenever I pause for a thought. As others have mentioned, the ideal would be an E-ink device of this portability that runs Emacs. Or the even more ideal ideal: a way to configure a version of Emacs on one's computer, compile it into a sort of kiosk-version that one cannot fiddle with, then install that on the E-ink device.

The Onyx BOOX Note tablet can awkwardly connect a keyboard, and says it runs Android:

The Note Air model allows the user to write personal software using the capabilities of the Android 10 platform.

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