Sniffing around online I’ve seen some of the most mixed reviews to a new Apple product that I believe I’ve ever seen. Some people are calling the iPad a stripped down netbook while others are joking that it’d have been better if it were smaller and could make phone calls. Others think it’s so cool they’ll buy two of them and a few others are writing about how it’s a decent product if it’s what you’re after.
I think the truth is somewhere in between all of this. I don’t see it as a stripped down netbook because it doesn’t even conjure up the word netbook in my mind. I have a netbook and it doesn’t do what the iPad does and the iPad reciprocates on this. I see it as a smart tablet, a paper notebook that doesn’t use paper and happens to have an internet connection. I’m most assuredly going to get one, but that’s because I fit that demographic of geek where the thing will actually be useful to me.
Well, as a guy who blogs a lot and about a lot of different subjects from information to science to entertainment to tits and ass, you will find that I have a hobby that is secondary to my blogging passion: I collect a vast amount of content for my blogs.
One of the reasons I bought my netbook was to be able to blog anywhere with a WiFi connection and it does a very decent job of that. However it’s got some drawbacks. It’s kinda slow, not really slow, but sometimes Firefox just sort of stops working while I’m typing and I have to wait for everything to sort of “catch up” to what I’m doing. Multitasking, while available, is a bit of a pain for the same reason. I’ll open Firefox (I write almost exclusively in Google Docs.) then I need to look at a picture on the hard drive, so I minimize Firefox, wait for it to “catch up,” open an image viewer, wait for that, look at the image, switch back to Firefox, wait for the operating system to realize that I’ve done that, wait for Firefox to…
You get the idea.
Then I got an iPod Touch. Now, I only write on the netbook, that’s all it’s for. I’m going to eventually put Chromium OS on it so I can do nothing else but connect to the net and Google Docs and that’s it. For content collection and pre-blogging management, I do almost all of it on my iPod Touch. When I have some downtime, or I’m on a break, I’ll pull out the Touch and do some fiddling around. I open up Safari and surf to a few websites. I’ll find stuff I want to write about or post on a blog. I’ll collect it, route it, and eventually I’ll write a blog post or something. I don’t need to multitask six or seven different things. I don’t need a keyboard. I don’t need a huge screen. All I really need is a couple of free apps and a workflow.
Everything happens because of my workflow.
First, before I start, let me say one thing. The ability to manipulate data and information with my fingertips is something so elegant and so natural for me. It’s a huge benefit for me per my own personal tastes. If you’re not into touch screens and what they can do, then this isn’t going to work for you. For me, the ability to guide and control my device without the aid of an external keyboard or mouse is so wonderfully useful, I feel hampered by a traditional desktop with its mouse, keyboard, separate monitor/tower setup. That said, here’s a typical way I find and save information for blogging.
I use two free apps readily available from the App Store on iTunes. The first is the Evernote app from the company of the same name. I use Evernote as a method to transfer links, notes, images, and whatever else from my iPod to any computer I care to write on. The second programme I use is the WordPress app. Naturally I have that app set up to publish content to my various and sundry blogs all of which, except one, are based. The odd blog out uses Tumblr, and I intend to install the Tumblr app, I just haven’t done that yet.
Okay, software set up is done, let’s go. I sit down, because it’s a bad idea to do this stuff as you walk around, and I pull out the iPod. I’ll bring up Safari and start browsing a few sites to see what’s up in the online world. For this narrative, let’s say I start at Reddit. I find a story that looks interesting and, after reading it, I know I want to blog about it. From here I can do two things. I can copy the link to the story, switch to the Evernote app, and paste the link into a note that I set up specifically for links like this. When I get home, I can pull up that note, hit the link(s), and start writing. Or I can tell Safari to e-mail the link to me. Obviously, I have my own information in my contact list and this is a quick and easy process. I’ve been saving more to Evernote recently just so I don’t fill up my mailbox with stuff from me.
Now, there are times when I have a simple post to make. This happens a lot when I find an image I like and want to throw it on a blog. So let’s go back to Reddit and, oh look! Here’s a cool image, and here’s another. I’ll put one on the adult blog, but I want to write something about the other one when I get home. Going with the one I’ll post right away, I simply save it and now it’s stored in the Saved Images folder on my iPod. Dropping out of Safari I’ll open up the WordPress app and select the proper blog. Using the app I can compose a post, attach the image, and publish it. The image I want to write about later will also get saved, but then I’ll hop into Evernote and upload it as a Camera Roll note. I suppose I could e-mail the saved image to Evernote, but I figure that’s using one programme to interface with another programme when I don’t really need to.
I’ve actually used the WordPress app to compose full on posts with images and text and the like. I don’t mind doing that at all really, it’s just that when I’m using the iPod for these things it’s because I’ve got a few minutes to do something and don’t really have the time to write a whole lot anyway.
To me, the issue of multitasking doesn’t even enter into it. What would I be doing on a desktop computer? I’d be flipping in between programmes. I’d have a browser open, my blogging client (I love Windows Live Writer.), perhaps an image viewer, and probably some kind of music playing in the background. Except for the music, which is a continuous thing, I’m still only going to be using one programme at a time on the computer. I’m not simultaneously doing something with the blogging client and the browser. I’m using one or the other and flipping between them. To me, I’m doing precisely the same thing on the iPod Touch. I’m flipping between programmes which I’m using one at a time. I will grant you that while I’m flipping between multiple running programmes on the desktop instead of closing and opening different apps on the iPod, it’s also not like the Touch apps take a long time to open. Flipping between them literally takes only a couple of seconds. (I know because I timed it.) While I may be busy, I’m not in that big of a hurry.
So for me, and my workflow, doing all of this on a similar device with a much larger screen is damned near irresistible. So while some people are grousing about the iPad, the truth is that I’m getting more done on an MP3 player than I normally do on my netbook. So while Apple’s new toy isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely for me.