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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

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Your Beauty Mark. All You Need to Get the Hair, Makeup, Glow, and Glam.
Dita von Teese
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Technology, reading and Writing - Part 2

Ideas. It's all about the ideas. Those little flighty, flirty, flitty things that run around your head.

 

At the moment, we have a range of devices. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

 

Mobile phones are always on and always with you, but they suffer from small keyboard issues. Also, of the main operating systems iOS and Android, there aren't any decent word processor suites. The best you can get is a text editor and then getting the text off the device and on to your main word processing station can be a technical faff.

 

If you actually overcome said technical nightmare then you have a process that you protect as if it was your first born. It becomes so precious to you, that you start not upgrading your hardware or software because you know it could stuff up your work flow. Urk. Not a good place to be! And you know it will only last a couple of years at best.

 

There are cloud systems which are being pushed, but they do require the always on connection that isn't always convenient! (or cheap in some cases)

 

Cloud services could do with a range of prices. For example if an office suite costs 10p/min to connect via a laptop or desktop, then how about 3p/min for connecting via a mobile phone which isn't going to be able to make the full use of the functionality. But at the moment, that isn't the case and cloud office suites are going to run for about a year or two before people eventually look at the cost and conclude that they're not getting a good deal.

 

Tablets are a deal better for input, but still running the same operating systems, they still lack the software options. Also, they've got even worse connectivity than the mobile phones. And if you're using a tablet in a comfortable enough location then you might as well use a laptop.

 

There are options. Bluetooth keyboards are around, but they are yet another thing to keep charged and the ones I've had my hands on which are portable enough, aren't really good enough to type on.

 

Libre Office is coming to Android. It has been a long time coming, a few years to my recollection, but it is on its way. Also, Microsoft Office is available for iOS... or it may not be... depending on which way the wind is blowing these days. It was there some time ago, then MS stopped it, and then there were news articles of it being available again... who knows.

 

Laptops and the new lighter versions, ultrabooks, are around. The problem with them, is that they still take quite some time to unpack, turn on and load.

 

After messing around with various bits of equipment, I do carry in my backpack... a 13" MacBook Air (running Linux Mint), a 7" Asus tablet (Android) and my trusty (or not, depending on what it feels like) Garmin 7" sat nav. I've also got a notebook and some pens.

 

The Garmin gets more use than the 7" tablet, so the tablet will eventually get the heave ho. It's good for occasional music blasts, but that's about it.

 

When it comes to notes and idea capture, I go for the physical notebook every time. It is so easy to pick up and use, doesn't need power and "start up" is just the click of the nib button.

 

I actually very rarely use the Air, and when I do it is useful for hotel room work, or train travel; neither of which I do much of. I don't even use it at work, really. In I.T. you don't really get much off time. Even lunch hours get split in to pockets throughout the day, catching micro-breaks here and there. And even if I pick up a manuscript to work on during one of these micro-breaks, I then end up feeling guilty because it's outside the "official," lunch hour... which I don't actually get anyway. So... er... yeah.

 

I do carry around a dictation unit. The cheapies from China took seconds to start and were fiddly as hell, so I ended up with an Olympus. It is useful when I'm driving; I can get an idea out of my head and remain concentrating on the road, rather than trying to force myself to remember something for the remainder of the journey. However, this has its limits as well; partly because when I'm driving in the winter, in the dark, the ideas don't come to me. It gets most use in the lighter, summer months.

 

For idea capture, much of the technology doesn't work at present. The software running on the portable devices which we always have with us, and always have turned on, is just not up to the challenge yet. They are still consumer devices, not creation devices. Good old pen and paper still triumphs IMHO.