Posted in Writing

The iPad

I bought an iPad this week. I’ve never had an iPad. Or a tablet. Or an Apple at all, come to think. I’ve always been a devoted Windows user. I’ve gone through several Windows laptops over the years, and I didn’t see any lack in my life. I’m a writer. It’s just typing and saving. What does it matter?

Of course, I have always wanted a Mac. But I’ve also always wanted a pet Siberian tiger who lounges around my exquisite garden courtyard and bathes in my artificial waterfall while I take my breakfast in a satin dressing gown. Some things are meant to be…and others, well…not so much.

But my faithful HP laptop is a trooper–a true road warrior, a decorated soldier with the nicks and scars to prove it. My whole life is on that thing….my unpublished novel, and hundreds of published and unpublished articles and stories….thousands of emails that lay out in tedious detail, my career, both what it is and what I hope it to be….folders full of jpg files detailing who I am, where I’ve been, and the photographic evidence of a life…lived. My personal computer is as personal as it gets.

Yet with each passing month, this work horse of my life becomes more valuable…and more indispensable. And I cannot ignore the subtle signs of its age. Large programs load slower now, and the paint has worn off several of the keys…the space bar has never fully recovered from last summer’s coffee spill, the screen’s hinges are looser than they should be, and I’m currently on my third charger.

So, in an effort to preserve the laptop’s longevity and ultimately protect the contents, I began researching tablets. Not as expensive as an entirely new computer, a tablet could share some of the load, thereby releasing the pressure on my laptop. I decided on a Nook. A Nook would do nearly everything I wanted it to, and seemed to be reasonably priced. But I waited too long and over researched. Researching tablets became like a hobby. Nooks..Kindles..Android Tablets…For months, I researched until I couldn’t even remember any of the models anymore. There were just too many choices…I didn’t know what to get!!!

I was about to give up, when I ran across an iPad sale. At the same price point I was gravitating around, I could get an iPad Mini. It had never occurred to me to check out the iPads. I just assumed they were out of my price range. So, the next day, I had had it with the tablet escapade. I woke up, went straight to the store, and bought an iPad Mini 2. And, what I have found, is that once you go Apple, you can’t go back.

My iPad is so sleek and easy to use. I bought one of those folio covers that makes it look like a day planner. It just makes it so handy and portable. One thing I love is the Notes app. I always think of random things I need to write down –from phone numbers, to blog post ideas all the way to that witty one-liner that I should insert into a piece of fiction. I usually carry around a journal for this task. But, with the Notes App being so quick to load and handy at my side, jotting things down on the iPad is just as easy as scribbling in a notebook.

I had used Notes before and found it inefficient for intense word processing.  When I bought MS Word for my laptop, it came with an additional license key specifically for an iOS device. I figured I would have to find out about that. No need. My iPad came with free downloadable Pages, another word processor. I haven’t used Pages all that much yet, so I haven’t fallen in love with it.

But, did I mention free? This is music to a Windows user, because a new Windows machine only comes with a trial version of MS Word. After about three months, you have to fork over another couple hundred for MS Office or you are on your own. So that word processing came free, was a big bonus.

I thought heavy typing would be difficult on a touch screen. But I’m finding it rather easy once you get past the initial learning curve. Although I’m still having trouble with mouse activities like selecting and rearranging text. In some cases, I just resort to retyping things. Not efficient.

I also don’t like the apostrophe on another menu screen. On a keyboard, it takes a split- second to insert an apostrophe, so quick, you don’t even notice. Now, you have to switch to another screen, find the punctuation, and then switch back. The iPad will auto- correct when it notices, but it won’t do it for possesion or other uses. I’m  a pretty  fast typer, and can usually type out sentences as fast as I think them. Having to switch menus for commonly used symbols or numbers, or constantly correct auto-text, slows down my typing and disrupts my thought flow.

I’m also noticing documents are saved within the program, so you don’t have all these files and folders to navigate. It’s sleeker and cleaner that way, but I’m also wondering how I would handle a project requiring using files from multiple programs.

But after playing with my iPad for several days straight, I tried do some things on my laptop. It hurt my eyes. Suddenly, Windows 8 seemed so bulky and ugly. All these folders, and all this clicking..and you have to use web browsers and Google searches to do small tasks that an App would do with a couple taps…ugh.

I think I’m in love with my iPad. All I need now is my Siberian tiger and my life will be complete.

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