On writing, (portable)
Does anybody have tips on how to find or make a writer's group? This is a broad question, but several readers are interested.
Some are also interested in what machines are good for writing when away from home.
For me, the key aspects are 1) light weight and 2) a good keyboard. Of course, the these qualities are not often combined.
If one can live with a tiny screen with low contrast, the Alphasmart Neo is an amazing writing tool. It can't do anything else, but it's a fab typewriter, and the keyboard is full sized and feels great. And it weighs well under a kilo. (Video. (Update: sadly the connection shown in the video does not work with the newest iOS.)) It stores what you write in one of nine files, and when you come home you can "slurp" the text onto a Mac or PC for saving and editing.
The new 11-inch MacBook Air is also right up there at the top. It weighs only a kilo (about 2.2 pounds US), has an outstandingly crisp screen, and a full sized keyboard, although it has a rather short key travel (how far you push down a key). That's normal with compact notebooks of course. And unlike the Neo, this is a full-blown computer, you can do anything you can do with a desktop computer.
An iPhone or iPod Touch or an Android device with a bluetooth keyboard (wireless) is perfectly useable. Of course a ten-inch device like the iPad or the Xoom gives more space for the text and editing, but for pure writing, it's not strictly necessary.
For portability, this is unbeatable. An iPhone 4 and a foldable keyboard like the iGo/ThinkOutside both fit in a pocket! Something like the iConnex Freedom (pictured) is slightly larger, but still pocket-sized, and closer to full size, although all of these mentioned I can touch-type on, even with my large hands.
A downside to foldable keyboards is that the peripheral keys usually have a different layout than a normal keyboard, so they demand a bit of re-training for touch-typists.