Monday, April 26, 2010

In Which Douglas & His iPad Get Along Swimmingly

The Story So Far: Intrepid writer, Douglas Cootey, was sweet talked into promising his shiny, new MacBook to his high school sophomore. Two years later, his MacBook no longer shiny and his bank account even less so, the hour came to keep his promise. What was he to do? Fortunately, the noble and righteous Apple company bestowed upon its minions a new "magical" device that could do almost everything a laptop could do, do it with multi-touch style, and even cure cancer. Douglas was saved! Then he actually had to use the thing…

My New Writing Pad

If you've been following my blog for the past few months, you know I was getting an iPad. I had planned on writing about the experience weekly, but adapting from a MacBook to an iPad has been full of fascinating obstacles which have taken up my time. Adapting my computer life to the iPad while also balancing full-time Dad duties with a blogging gig over at and disabilities has left me with little time for extracurricular writing, all of which has been given to my novel.

I'm happy to say that I am indeed writing my novel on an iPad, something I was concerned would be needlessly difficult, but I've figured out a system that has helped me get up a

The typing input ended up becoming the least of my difficulties. I use a bluetooth keyboard for most of my writing, and I bought a typing tutor to help me become familiar with the virtual keyboard (I have glass typing up to 50WPM now, except for the infernal placement of the apostrophe & quote on a submenu). Most of the trouble with the iPad has been in adapting my workflow.

ADDaboy!: I use Apple's Pages for writing my ADDaboy! articles, and copy & paste them into a WordPress app that crashes if you hit the tab bar, and whose GUI seems to be operating through a roulette wheel of chance for every function. Will "Edit" actually edit the document this time, or will it exit again and act as if the document doesn't exist unless you relaunch the app? Needless to say, such random haphazardness is not conducive to productivity and I'll be abandoning for my next article. For now, I do all marking up and photo editing for my articles on my Mac mini downstairs by copying & pasting via Pastebot (which also gives me a word count per clipping). Getting photos from my iPhone to the iPad without syncing to the base Mac is tricky. Fortunately, an app called ImageServer builds an airbridge between the two devices so I can edit, tweak, and modify photos using the excellent photo apps on the iPad. Most of the time I just end up doing image editing on my Mac mini. iPad grade: C

Splintered Books Project: Writing my novel is a better experience. I use an app called MyWritingNook, based on the website, which lets me organize my chapters, gives me word counts, and keeps the novel synced between my Mac mini and my iPad. It saves the novel onto the iPad as I type it, so interruptions in the app by alarms or battery outages never cost me any time in lost work. I offer high praise to the dev who put this writer's ecosystem together. There is no syncing between Scrivenir, however, something I don't fault MyWritingNook for, but something I need still the same. iPad grade: A-

Distractions: I am so sorry. Godfinger was free and I was weak. As my tiny planet develops and my worshippers have needs, Godfinger will helpfully interrupt everything that I am doing with pop-up warnings. Oh no! My subjects need more sun! Oh dear! They're exhausted and need rest. Never mind that all these god games seem to believe that the denizens of our Earths are incapable of thinking for themselves, who the heck can get anything done when a sim game can send you pop-up warnings?! It's murder on ADHD. I have repented and shut that feature off. My worshippers may stand in limbo awaiting my celestial command to tinkle, but I at least am productive again. Now please excuse me as I command the clouds to rain so my people can farm for gold. Apparently, it comes up out of the ground on my world and only needs sunshine, some water, and a hoe to gather.

OK, I'm back.

The big question is what does all this mean for my Splintered Books Project? More on that in an hour. I have a Big Bad Sudoku Book game to finish. Douglas grade: D