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Z88

This was my laptop computer for 10 years. I only mention it because, despite all the advancements in computer technology, I haven't seen another computer that combines this kind of practicality and low weight with such a great keyboard. It was designed by Sir Clive Sinclair and made by the Cambridge Computer Corp. in Scotland.

There are some new, Windows-based computers that are almost as small (2-3 pounds, but with full Windows compatibility--and even Z88, Amiga and Mac compatibility. The company that sells the Z88 in the US also sells these small machines. If you want to learn more, click here.

The Z88 (sadly no longer produced) was brilliant and way ahead of it's time. It was so small, light, and the keyboard is absolutely silent (it's made of rubber).

If you love typing (yes, it's possible to love typing, I can type faster than I can handwrite, and sometimes faster than I can think :) then this is the ultimate keyboard, because it's full size, and the soft keys have a unique feel with almost no travel, and yet somehow still clear response. The combination lets you type extremely fast, accurately, and in total silence, a far cry from the "click klack click" of every other keyboard.

It's also soft on your fingers, and requires less movement, so it's more comfortable. With all the talk about ergonomics, I'm surprised no one has released another keyboard like this--except that it is so different that people might be too surprised (until they tried it).

While there are plenty of new, small computers that are very useful, there are none quite like this. I hope that today's computer manufacturers will take a look at this useful little 10-year-old machine and see how they can improve today's notebook computers.

  • It's the size of a piece of paper.
  • It weighs the same as a 200 page book (under 2 pounds).
  • It has a full-size, absolutely silent keyboard, perfect for taking notes at lightning speed without bothering anyone.
  • It has a built-in word processor, spreadsheets and calendar/organizer.
  • It connects to both PC and Mac and transfers files in industry-standard formats.
  • It has an 8-line LCD screen.
  • Two drawbacks--you can't surf the web on it (though you can send and receive e-mail), and it only comes standard with 32K of RAM, enough for 16 pages of text. (Programs are built-in and don't use this memory.) You can plug in up to 1MB of additional memory.

If you'd like more information about buying a used model, or having your own Z88 repaired (as I did when my screen was broken by a wayward laser printer), e-mail Mike Fink at Domino Cubes, call him at 212-695-1811 or 888-BEST-Z88 (888-237-8988). 249 W. 34th Street, fifth floor, NY 10001

Or visit his web site.

Copyright 1998 Daniel Will-Harris, www.will-harris.com