Category Archives: iPad

What’s In My Toolbox

clipart print of a re toolbox full of writing implements

My Writing Toolbox

Just like every other craftsman, a writer needs her own specialized tool kit. My tools consist of hardware and software, as well as reference books, websites, and whatever else helps me get the job done. Yes, I said “job.” If you don’t treat your writing with the same respect and dedication you would any other job, you’ll never get any better at it.

Let’s Start With The Hardware

(NOTE: Don’t worry about the specific hardware brands I use; when we start discussing software, I’ll cover iOS, Android, MacOS, iPadOS, and Windows applications.)

My iPhone

I have quite a collection of devices for writing. While there’s always good old pen and paper, my arthritis makes it all but impossible to hold a pen or pencil. Instead, I carry my electronic notebook: my iPhone. It’s small, fits into a special pocket in my purse, and crucially, I always have it with me. In fact, it could almost be called a toolbox itself, as I have 14 writing apps on it. Simply because of its size and the fact that it’s always with me, it has become my main writing tool.

iPhone X

My iPhone X

My iPad

Larger than my iPhone, the iPad still has its own pocket in one of my purses, so it’s also easy to carry around. Both devices sync with each other via the Cloud, so what work I do on one of them instantly appears on the other.

Photo of Apple iPad

My iPad

The AlphaSmart Neo

This device was developed for school students in order to give them a tool for doing their in-class writing and then sending the results to the teacher. It never really caught on, but a few writers discovered it and now it’s a hit with the writing community at large. It’s such a great tool that it deserves its own story, which I’ll be posting in the near future.

Photo of AlphaSmart Neo

My AlphaSmart Neo

My Laptop

Finally, we come to my Windows machine. This tool does all the heavy lifting. While so many mobile apps have great capabilities for composing and editing, there are still times when a more powerful device is required.

Here’s an example. I do a lot of writing on Medium. Medium has an app that runs on my mobile devices, but it’s quite limited when it comes to inserting pictures: it doesn’t allow you to resize them, add a caption, or insert photo credits. For those tasks, I have to switch over to my laptop.

Using Evernote, which I do to archive my stories, presents a similar problem: the Evernote Web Clipper doesn’t work on my mobile devices.

Given all that, I’m confident in saying that mobile devices have yet to reach the point where they will replace desktop or laptop computers.

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Not really. But definitely to this blog: a review of my favorite writing apps for your mobile devices. Until then, stay safe!

 

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Filed under Blogging Tools, iPad, iPhones, Software

A Few New Toys

Well, I finally did it. I took the plunge and upgraded my old iPad Mini! It’s summer, and the idea of remaining in my Lonely Writer’s Garett™ just doesn’t appeal to me. What makes it the best room in the house during the winter (the fact that it’s the warmest room in the house) is the very thing that makes it almost unbearable when the temperatures reach 90°F/32°C.

But that’s not really why I bought the new one. I simply needed a larger format (I got the 9.7” model) and a lot more RAM. The new one has 128 Gb, which I consider the absolute minimum for a Serious Budding Writer™ like me.

iPad 97

Anyway, the stars (and my bank balance) aligned and I decided to go for it. Besides the memory, it’s also cell-enabled, so I can make and receive calls on it if I so desire—which I don’t.

Next, I took the old iPad Mini to the Apple Store where they gave me a $95 Apple gift card in exchange for it! I had wanted a keyboard and case combination, but they didn’t stock them. Instead, I went with the new Apple Pen.

apple pen 2

Don’t bother searching for the pen online; as near as I can tell, it’s just the Apple Pencil renamed and relabeled. In fact, the metal band around the top of the device says “Apple Pencil.”

But never mind: it works, and that’s all that matters.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

I’m going to have to adopt an entirely new workflow for my blogs. Since I won’t be using my laptop as often, choosing instead to sit in a cool breeze on the porch, I’m going to have to invest in some new software.

I spent several days reading reviews of note-taking apps for the iPad/Pencil combination before finally deciding on GoodNotes. $7.99 made it the most expensive app I’ve ever bought; on the other hand, if a comparable program existed for my laptop (it doesn’t), it would probably cost at least $50, so I’m not complaining.

Apple Pen(cil) Specifications

It’s a USB device that requires pairing with your iPad before you can use it. Sorry, it doesn’t work with iPhones. Simply remove the cap and plug it into the charging port on your iPad and click on “Pair.” Once you’re connected, you will remain paired until the next time you power off your iPad.

Once paired, you can also use the plugged-in connection to charge the Pen, although my own Pen came fully charged. If you’d prefer, you can use the enclosed adapter to charge the Pen via a Lightning cable.

According to Apple, a 15 second charge will give enough juice for 30 minutes of constant use. A full charge takes 10 minutes, and provides 8-12 hours of use.

More About GoodNotes

For a (relatively) quick look at GoodNotes and it’s capabilities, here’s a video on YouTube. So far, I’m impressed with it. I’m going to spend the next few days learning how to use it and putting it through its paces.

I’ll get back to you about it.

apple pen

 

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Filed under Apple, Blogging Tools, Hardware, iPad, Writing Tools