I want an extremely cheap machine to run emacs for writing dumb stories.
February 25, 2014 9:22 AM Subscribe
I would like a radically cheap computing device that I can run emacs on, and maybe LaTeX. I keep seeing off-brand 7-inch Android tablets at extremely low sale prices at the local discount store. Is this a good option for me, or would I just be beating my head constantly against inadequate/flaky hardware?
posted by Compared to what? to Computers & Internet (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I amuse myself sometimes by writing terrible, sub-fanfic stories that I would like to never ever ever be associated with my real identity.
The problem is, my only computer is my work laptop, which is not owned by me, and potentially open to scrutiny by IT. Although my employer is pretty chill and our IT department is unlikely to go prowling through my hard drive for .txt files with funny names, it still weirds me out that my stupid stories might be accessible to someone who is not me. I'd like to get a standalone machine to write on.
After many years of living in emacs, that's where I write best/fastest, and I hear it exists now as a native Android app. I might some day want to TeX up my stuff to make it look nice for other humans (which I hear you can also do on Android).
Because I'm only amusing myself with goofy stories, here, I am not willing to throw a lot of money at this. The cheapest option would probably be to take an old, slow desktop computer off someone's hands and put Linux on it, but this is slightly more effort (and space, in terms of having a desktop computer sitting around my house) than I'm willing to devote to the project.
I keep seeing small, off-brand, crazy-cheap Android tablets for sale. I don't think need a fast processor or a lot of memory (do I?), and a small screen is okay, so one of these, with a full-sized wireless keyboard, might be exactly the kind of minimalist setup I'm looking for. I am attracted to the tablet's ease of use, compactness, and portability.
My main fear is that a cheap tablet would not work well and be too frustrating to use, and of less concern for me than the wasted money is the idea that I'd buy piece of crap manufactured by slave labor in some horror-show sweatshop using up our earth's precious dwindling resources, end up hardly using it and then throwing it away so that it can take give cancer to recycling workers in a developing nation, and/or take up space in a landfill and pollute the groundwater.
Would an inexpensive 7-inch Android tablet meet my needs? If so, do you have brand recommendations? If not, is there another hardware option I should consider? Have you used emacs on an Android, and how did that work out for you? What about LaTeX?