Using my Ibook without taking it out of the bag

I am planning on getting a new Ibook soon and a major use for it is going to be so I can use those odd corners of my day to do some creative writing. One thing that I have been thinking about is my subway commute. Sometimes it’s just too crowded to wrestle with my backpack and to take a laptop out, open it up, etc. So what I’m wondering is whether there is any way to rig it up so that I could use some other device, such as my Ipod, to record text, either directly into my Ibook while it is still packed up in my bag, or download it from small device to laptop when I get home.

Any thoughts?

Possible, but I think that it’s likely to overheat in an enclosed space. I would recommend against it.

Beowulff hits the right answer. Apple takes care to make sure you can’t keep the ibooks and powerbooks powered on and awake when the lid is closed because of heat issues. I understand that it’s technically possible, but a pain in the ass to accomplish and a danger to your shiny new Apple and may void the warranty.

There are a variety of voice recorders for the iPod that record directly to it. I don’t know if any of them are good, but it’s a possibility.

I can think of a couple possibilities, none of which use the iBook directly.

There exist fold-out keyboards for palm-pilot and PocketPC devices, these are very small (large pocket sized), and can record to a small device. I don’t know of any for an iPod (the iPhone could do it, but the thought of typing large amounts of text on that keyboard makes me shudder). The fold-out keyboard/palmpilot combination has been around for most of a decade, so you might be able to find deals on eBay.

The other would be something like this: an AlphaSmart Neo. They’re slightly pricier ($219) , but you may be able to find the older models on eBay again. I’ve got one from a few years back: it’s larger than a palmtop but smaller than an opened laptop, extremely lightweight, and lasts basically forever on three AA batteries. They’re designed mostly for kids, but they’re used a lot by journalists and the like because they’re practically indestructable. It’s just a keyboard connected to a cheap 4-line or 8-line display and solid-state memory; basically just a “delayed keyboard.” When you get it someplace where you can get to a computer, you connect it with a standard USB cable, open the word processor of your choice, and hit a key: they keyboard will then “type” everything it has stored in that particular document (it can hold several “documents” at a time). It will also act as a USB keyboard for any computer that can handle one (Macs and modern PCs), which has saved me a couple times.

There’s also the option of plain old paper: if your handwriting is neat enough, a scanner + OCR can turn this into digital form later. My handwriting does not meet the “neat enough” criteria, so I don’t know how well this works (I’d guess, not well). But you may find that even transcribing by hand isn’t too onerous; how much text are you going to generate in a single train ride, anyway?

Thanks for the suggestions, guys!