October 1, 2000
When this happens, I search eBay to see whether eMates are still available.
I became smitten with eMates ever since I saw a student use one in a library I was working at in 1997. She plunked it down on the reference desk to transcribe some of the information I was giving her. I took one look at it and I was blown away.
First off, the eMate was protected with that translucent plastic that has become ubiquitous since the iMac. I had never seen such pretty plastic before. This was the first gorgeous computer I had ever seen.
The second thing that impressed me was that the computer was operable the moment it was opened. Not that I'm such a time freak that I rue those Microsoft moments between when you turn on the computer and when you can actually use it. I just think almost instant operability is not an unreasonable requirement for a computer.
I was also impressed with the eMate's size: smaller than a laptop but large enough to accommodate a small keyboard and screen. None of the pretence that technology should be small enough to fit into a men's shirt pocket. No, it came with a handle. Divine.
Like a good librarian, I researched the product immediately and learned that not only was the eMate at a size that is both portable and useable, it was supposedly very rugged and was field tested on children. You see, the eMate was designed to be distributed to students for school use. So they were designed to be simple to use and appealing to look at. I learned that the eMate came with a keyboard and stylus and a software packlage that included a word processor, spreadsheet, datebook, drawing program, contact info manager, and scheduler. All the things that actually make a computer vaguely useful.
I also learned that they were no longer in production.
(Damn. Damn. Damn.)
Now, the thing is, I know I don't *need* another computer. And I know that I'm not affluent to buy one only on whimsy - not at their current eBay price of $300 USD. Too bad, because from what I understand of the eMate is that it's got all the qualities of what I consider good computer technology.