Our intrepid correspondent raises his hand from the back of the campfire, hesitant to interrupt the famous author during his pubic speaking tour, oops, we mean public.
“Excuse me, Delbert D. Delbert, here. The Daily Inquirer wishes to inquire about your request: aren’t you betraying the Cheapskate Code? By the very definition, doesn’t a cheapskate laptop equate to a pencil, a sharp knife and a double-duty roll of toilet paper?”
Intrepid correspondent sits back down.
Seriously Jeff. You can get a hundred different recommendations and a thousand different results. There’s a cute little multi line display gadget that WD regularly advertises for around 300.00. It runs on “AA” batteries and the battery life is something like three weeks? ( Sorry, don’t remember name – I do remember there was an entire thread dedicated to it a while back. )
You can walk into any Best Buy/Fries/CC etc and get a laptop for under 500.00. If you’re willing to take an open-box demo, maybe under 300.00
Problem is, what all do you want? Do you need wireless Internet connections? Simple word processor? email? MapQuest? If all you’re doing is taking notes for later rewrite, go with the tablet and pencil.
If you’re going with a laptop, some issues: battery life, heat ( concerned about future children, Jeff? The bottoms of those laptops get pretty warm – if you know what I mean. ), durability ( ever drop one or worse, sit on one? ) etc.
If you’re going to be a true road warrior, you’ll also need some things like ATT wireless connect cards (or Intelos or whoever), spare battery, a couple of flash disks for back up etc.
My humble opinion is that this is one area where you don’t skimp.
When I travel, I use an HP with an AMD processor that cost me $999.00 at Best Buy. I knew in advance that it has a hot spot, so I also bought a Targus laptop dual fan. It’s a flat panel that fits between the laptop and your lap, blowing cool air onto the bottom of the laptop. Then I bought a laptop desk to provide myself with a firm surface for typing. I also bought a spare battery and an inverter that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter and supplies 115vac.
Other options you may consider: Buy a digital recording device. Fits in your pocket and records for hours. At night, go to a library and transcribe your notes online to a google protected document. That will probably cost you all of a hundred dollars.
All that said, my absolutely best suggestion is:
Go to a liberal arts university and sit in the cafeteria with a hand-painted sign, (cost: 50 cents for the magic marker). The sign should read something like this.
Renowned Author seeks intern to assist in research.
Must have laptop.
Then relax and interview the swarm of desperate wanna-bes until you find the best candidate. Enjoy.