Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Outside the bag the box came in.

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A semi hand-driven e-paper-like slate computer
  [vote for,

Based on the still-popular 1970s Magna Doodle toy, this product increases the resolution of the toy's screen and enhances the toy's simple permanent magnet erase bar with with low (by disk r/w head standards) resolution magnetic read-write capability. Drag the bar over (under, actually) the gadget's magnetophoretic display panel (e- paper of an early sort), and it both writes a black/white image on it, and reads the previous image, including whatever marks have been made using the magnet-tipped stylus. Add a modest amount of non-volatile memory, a clock to make it time-aware, and power everything from movement of the bar. A small enhancement to the stylus: give it a reverse-polarity "eraser" end, functionally like an ordinary pencil.

Forget video (other than of the flipbook sort) or other non- user driven events - not one wee capsule of the display changes other than by the user changing it with the stylus or sweeping the bar. Color? Overrated, unnecessary, and not an available e-MagnaDoodle option. No microphone or speaker - an enduring charm of the original toy is that it tends to promote quiet. Anything else goes. With its innate limited-by-the-speed low bandwidth, communication needs only thin pipe - wifi or USB cable.

Perhaps the simplest use is simply as a multi-paged Magna Doodle: tick a "back" checkbox common to every screen to access simple menu/directory pages to navigate in various useful ways to every image you've ever wanted to keep on one of these toys. A trivial variation on the theme and some pre-loaded data, and its as good an B&W ebook reader as any - better if infinite battery life is considered a big plus.

Simple data entry: handwrite text, checkmarks, and graphics in drawn fields, then enter the page full of them with a barsweep. Trivial variation, a word-processor, as well suited to writing the great novel as the paper and pen system on which many of them have been, and equally free of the irksome, insistent distractions of the typical active electronic devices.

Web browser: fine, for nice clean pages (like this one), less fine to unusable for flash/script bedeviled monstrosities (who wants to visit these, anyway?).

Price around $30, $50 with wifi. No service plan required, beyond "where to get wifi (or make the box I plug it into work)" Like the toy, very sturdy and long to infinite lifetime 'til obsolescence.

CraigD, Oct 05 2012

Magna Doodle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Doodle
[CraigD, Oct 05 2012]

e-paper http://en.wikipedia...ki/Electronic_paper
[CraigD, Oct 05 2012]




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