Dana Plaintext Suite: Streamlining the AlphaSmart Dana’s plain-text workflow on Windows
In this article I outline my improvements to plaintext workflow with the AlphaSmart Dana. Previously, importing .TXT files to the Dana and exporting Dana’s .PDB files as .TXTs was a slow process requiring several manual operations. I have produced a software suite that a) reduces it to a single drag-and-drop operation, and b) allows batch processing of many files at once.
Download the Dana Plaintext Suite (Windows only)
I am an avid user of two AlphaSmart word processor devices, the Neo and the Dana. The advantages of using such an old-timey platform over a laptop include huge battery life from standard AA batteries, a lack of distractions while writing, and the devices being lighter and less fragile than a normal laptop.
In particular, the Dana allows you to load Palm OS software onto it, meaning that it can fill other roles besides merely text input. For example, I use an applet called Interrupt Me! to maintain a Pomodoro Technique timer on the Dana itself.
Working on the Dana has one huge disadvantage, however, and that’s the fact that it only saves documents in the ancient .PDB format. Converting it to something usable in current software like .RTF is an extra step, and goodness help you if you like working in plain text like me. Conversion of a .PDB document to a .TXT text file is a process that is involves several manual operations. Importing a .TXT file is just as circuitous, involving manual operations on both the PC and Dana.
In producing a solution, I focused on four requirements for data conversion:
Dana Plaintext Suite (Windows only)
SD:\PALM\Programs\AlphaWordand drag-and-drop the .PDB document onto the
_Export PDB to TXT.batbatch file. You’ll see the .TXT file appear in the same directory as the original file.
_Import TXT to Dana.batbatch file. A .PDB will appear in the