Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday's Panic Moment

Well, I went and did it. With taxes now behind us, and about 50% of my feared level, I'm feeling a little better about our economics. So with Bette's blessing I went and bought my birthday present (which, with the back log, will probably arrive after my b-day in several weeks).

I bought an iPad. Black, 64 gig, with blue poly cover. I also bought it from the Apple Store, because I wanted the free etching (didn't add any time to the backorder, still 2-3 weeks). What did I have etched? The first line is "Don't Panic", natch. The second line I tried to fit the various pithy quotes about writing, like Tobias' "1st Rule of Write Club, Everybody Must Write", but that was too long. Then I tried, "Write Faster, There's Damage to Be Done." Also too long. So I went with, "Write, Edit, Submit, Do It Again." For a time I thought about, "... until Hell won't have it," but then it would be "Don't panic until Hell won't have it" and that just doesn't make sense, does it?

I'll get the bluetooth keyboard separately, as well as the extended warranty. I can save plenty on tax and extra shipping (and also both use some credit bonus points and gift certificates).

So it's about $790 all said and done (without the keyboard and warranty). Add that to the extra amount for the gift I got Bette (about $500, don't tell her yet, it's a surprise) and I think we'll have a pretty hefty charge card bill later this month. Which is why I'm having the panic moment.

And the iPad is an experiment. I wanted to get a laptop replacement. As you may remember, the 17" Macbook Pro predates that term and is about to enter high school it's so old. While I could have gotten a new laptop, I was looking at portability, functionality, and elimination of some bad habits because the iPad doesn't have certain functions which enable the behaviors. Now, I will say I'm keeping the laptop. It's very handy and it still works. But I have a feeling it'll be used less. Or at least that's the plan. The plan is also to write more. That's what this device will mainly be used for.

And now begins the wait for the iPad to ship. And the inevitable days of tracking it across the Pacific, into Alaska (hey, stop by Jim's place on the way in, will ya), and then across the US to my little humble home. I wonder how many times an hour I'll hit the refresh button on the tracking site?


Matt Hughes said...

I've got a 16GB WiFi version and I use it all the time. Wonderful little device.

I have yet to buy a keyboard though but it's on my list. The on-screen keyboard works fine for short e-mails or blog posts, but it's not useful for lengthy writing.

David Klecha said...

You know, I think the iPad could work wonders in that focused-writing-device sort of way. It's a wonder I hadn't thought of it before.

Any idea on how file storage works on the iPad? Is it tied to MobileMe?

Steve Buchheit said...

Matt, well the plan is to have it as the main writing device, so an external keyboard is going to be essential. I'm really particular about my keyboards, so unless I can find someplace to try out the various iPad Case + Keyboards, the Apple keyboard will be it. I was initially skeptical I would like these new keyboards as they remind me on early TRS-80s chicklet keys, but I've come to love them. I'm several times faster on these, with little wrist strain. Plus I like the idea of moving the keyboard without moving the iPad/Screen.

I now do some of my email and blog writing on the Touch, and in landscape mode it's not bad. When I tried the iPad v1 back in the Fall, I really liked the on-screen keyboard function, much more than the thumb typing on the touch, but that version of the iPad didn't have everything I wanted (like a camera). I've watched people at cons use their iPads and I think I'll be pretty good with it.

Dave, if it's anything like the Touch, you can only access files from the applications that create them, everything else is either cut and paste or requires internet functions (email, google docs, dropbox, etc). I think it does tie into mobleme, of which I have an account (from back when it was free). And now that I have DSL at home, working on the internet isn't as much of a problem as it was before. I'll need to figure out how that function works.

I am going to miss the concept of hard drive storage, but then that's also part of the time wasting issues I'm dealing with. I'm an old-time file hoarder. Without that function I'm hoping it'll be like when I dumped all the games off the laptop. When they aren't there, I don't miss them and they can't lure me in.

There are some apps that are supposed to do a work around, but I wasn't able to get them to function too well on the Touch (like downloader, you can get files, and then you have to network connect to the Touch from a main computer to transfer the files, sort of like telenet back in the old days).

Matt Hughes said...

Dropbox on my iPad seems to recognize existing files on the Dropbox site or photos that already exist on my iPad. Unfortunately, it does not recognize my Pages or Keynote files that I created on the iPad or had already copied onto the iPad using iTunes.

I was able to e-mail a Word Doc to my iPad, open it in Pages, make edits, save to my iPad, etc, and then re-email it to myself.

Not the most elegant of solutions but it does work.

Google Docs also works but its not a fantastic word processor IMO.

Elizabeth Shack said...

I hope you like your iPad as much as I like mine. I wanted something better than my iPod for writing at lunch. This ketboardmfels Enormous. I'll leave you that typo, though, as a warning, though usually I don't make too many mistakes. (My biggest annoyance w the keyboard is lack of Dvorak.)

Re: transferring files--I have been using Docs to Go for years, since it came with my Palm. I just tell it what folders on my computer to sync, and it zaps them over to the iThing. I keep my Dropbox folder synced in DtG with no problems, though I don't think DtG can connect straight to Dropbox without the computer as an intermediary.

There are other office programs which presumably work similarly. Oh, and the Plaintext app will open files that live on the Dropbox server (guess what format they should be in). That syncs with Scrivener, thus putting me in writing heaven.

Steve Buchheit said...

Matt, yeah the emailing to get something done is a little annoying after a bit. I have to do that with the Touch (especially for the images that I've been posting). I'd like to just be able to transfer them to blogger, but it doesn't want to work that way. And I've used the dropbox files quite successfully with the Touch.

Elizabeth, when I tried the keyboard it felt very large, but it was better than the thumb typing. I am going to get the bluetooth keyboard for long typing tasks.

I have been looking for a Scrivener type app for iPad, and sadly it isn't out yet (although they're hawking simplenote). I do have evernote and may learn to use that more now.

Elizabeth said...

People on the Scrivener boards kept trying to convince him to make an iPhone app. The latest version syncs with some iPad index card app, but I haven't tried it or investigated. (I generally just export my outline with notes out of Scrivener and write in word, then copy things back to revise.)