Confession time: I’ve lusted after an Alphasmart Dana pretty much since they came out, but could never really justify dropping a couple hundred bucks on one, and the last time I checked the ‘Bay for them, even the used ones ran about $150 (about a year or so ago). So imagine my surprise and delight when I casually checked Ebay prices yesterday (oh yeah, I’m a hypocrite – I just posted about how good I was at not buying typewriters on Ebay anymore, but an Alphasmart isn’t exactly a typewriter, is it?) and found quite a few auctions for school-surplus Alphasmart Danas for as low as $34 with SHIPPING INCLUDED!
So yeah, I ordered one of the 16mb WiFi Danas yesterday from a company here in Phoenix, so supposedly it should be at my doorstep tomorrow. For that price you just get the base unit that’s been tested to power on – no power adapter, stylus or software CD/documentation, but I managed to find the software and documentation download page (well-hidden on the RenLearn site – there’s no links to the Dana page on the main site even though it’s still there, and they apparently still sell them) and my handy Rat Shack multi-power adapter should work for the Dana, and a stylus is a stylus is a stylus, so any $2 plastic palm stylus ought to work, so I’m thinkin’ I’ll be fine. I even found a page describing a hack to replace the aging rechargable battery with standard AA low-discharge NiCads, assuming I don’t just use AA alkalines.
For $35, I can justify finally trying out the Alphasmart. Fuller review this weekend if the dang thing shows up Friday. (: