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Living in the Future, Part 2 [Mar. 15th, 2012|04:37 pm]
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[mood |content, pleased, worn but not weary]
[music |Anne Akiko Meyers - Air: The Bach Album]

Another dream has come true, though truth be told, my own stubbornness has cost me yet again, curiously enough, with yet another Apple product.!

When I first came into possession of iTom, I didn't get a keyboard for him, because I wanted the keyboard dock but didn't want to pay that kind of money for it, nor was I happy about the fact that the keyboard dock on allowed the iPad to be in portrait mode when using the keyboard. And at the time, I was unaware of tools like Evernote. I thought I would be predominately stuck with Notes as a the primary application for typing on an iOS device.

What a dunce I was still am.

The other day I had an epiphany: the only reason that I need a laptop these days is for writing code. It's true that m0bil30n3 is slow, but so long as I'm doing C++ for school, it's livable. And it's possible that if I put another 2GB of RAM in him I would mitigate the problem altogether.

That epiphany was born out of another epiphany: that while I'm upset that I can't get a MacBook Air/Pro (as the MacBook is no longer manufactured) that has comparable power to my iMac. That thought came about because I was grousing about how much memory I use if I'm running Xcode, Safari, Preview, iTunes, Terminal, Activity Monitor and whatever other tool I happen to have open after not having restarted the machine for months on end. And that got me to thinking that I really don't need all the resources that an iMac provides in a laptop because I use the two machines differently; namely, when using a laptop, I only open the programs that I need whereas I will open everything on a desktop and keep it open.

So rolling back out of my rabbit hole: I don't need as much resource on a laptop as I do a desktop because of how I use the two tools. I'm not entirely sure it would be accurate to claim that I hire the devices to do different jobs, though I would be curious if @asymco had thoughts on this. I also realized that I have a different workload and work flow when I write than when I write code and that quite frankly, half the reason I haven't been writing is that if I'm not in the mood to do so when I'm at my desk, it's simply just too cumbersome to do. mobil30n3 is frustratingly slow and it's too heavy/cumbersome to lug around. And of course, I can't take my desk with me wherever I go.

So while I was thinking about how I typically use my laptop, I then realized that the majority of the time I use my laptop, a much less powerful tool would do the job. I don't use my laptop to listen to music, that's what I have iCall and miniP0d for. I don't use the laptop to playback optical media (except maybe the one or two times that I go to my parent's house a year. Even then, I don't think I did that last time.) I'm not one of those obsessive compulsive programmers that has to be writing code every waking day. This means that the primary reason that I lug around my laptop is to provide a keyboard when needed.

And that's when it hit me: I don't really need a laptop. I'll put too much money into one simply to have a device that competes with the power I have on my desk when I don't need that kind of power on the go most of the time. An iPad would suffice if only I could attach a keyboard to it.

Of course, this revelation was spurred on by the fact that it has been announced that Scrivener IS coming to iOS. Other tidbits of information that have helped me realize this recently include using Dropbox to sync Scrivener documents whilst writing remotely as well as using Evernote as a pre-Scrivener writing-phase repository for notes. (Lest Evernote worry, unless iOS 6 radically changes the Notes application to include rich text formatting, bullet points, etc. I can't see moving away from Evernote.)

The reason that Scrivener is the critical app to my writing is that it allows me to put all of my thoughts in one place and yet focus on one thought at a time but compile to one plain text or Word file when I've completed the piece. Additionally, Scrivener has this amazing "focus" feature that allows you to work full-screen on one scrive totally blacking out the background. I will long for this functionality up until Scrivener is released for iOS and provides some kind of syncing solution either with iCloud or Dropbox.

But the benefit to working on iOS is that you can only run one app at a time and really, that's all that will be useful to me in this context. Even if I need to Google something or find a page on the web, I can leverage iOS's one-app-at-a-time paradigm to force myself to focus when writing instead of getting distracted by email, open browser tabs, etc.

And I'm not entirely out of luck when it comes to a writing app either. I've typed this entire post in the LJ app because I thought it was going to be 1/10 the size. The other day after I came to the realization that I don't need a laptop, just an iOS device with a keyboard, I came across PlainText which provides a clean interface for writing and forces the user to focus on one piece of writing at a time. I'll give it a go a little later and I think it will suffice for my present needs, but I will always want Scrivener. It's what I know, what I'm used to and what I'm happy with.

The Setup
So in case you're wondering or just can't tell from the picture, I have an Apple bluetooth keyboard and an incase "Origami Workstation for iPad 2 & iPad and Apple Wireless Keyboard". Basically, it's a fancy cover for the Apple bluetooth keyboard that gives enough support to the iPad to hold it when the "workstation" is on a flat surface. Because the iPad is just resting against the material, the iPad can be put in any orientation desired. Another benefit to this set up is that I can also use the keyboard + workstation with iCall. As I always have iCall with me, all I would need to do is keep the keyboard in the car, not necessarily in my bag; I don't live in a big metro like New York where you have to walk all over creation.

And when the iPad 1 or my phone will no longer allow me to do what I want to do, most likely due to some feature in future versions of iOS or the versions of the devices I have simply no longer being supported by iCloud or some other syncing service, my setup is modular and upgradeable.

The question is, now that I have MUCH less resistance to getting out of my apartment and getting some writing done, will I actually do it? Time will tell, and you, dear reader, will too if you keep a weather eye on my site.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.


[User Picture]From: darkest_writer
2012-03-15 10:10 pm (UTC)


I am jealous.
[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2012-03-15 11:54 pm (UTC)