Friday, July 8, 2011

Editing with an iPad

As I mentioned in my last post, I tried to work a new revision process, one that let me edit away from my computer.  I wanted this because I find I edit better when reading in a more relaxed venue.  For example, I've lots of errors in text when reading from my Kindle.  I wanted to replicate that for myself during the writing/revision process.

I could have converted my draft to the Kindle, of course, but I'd have no way to edit the text directly.  The Kindle only lets you leave notes so that's like adding comments to a Word or PDF file.  That was not what I was looking for.

I decided I needed a tablet with an app that let me edit my text and the iPad seemed like the logical choice since I work on a Macintosh computer regularly.  The trouble I had was find an app to do the job.  Ultimately, after discarding the notion I would save my story in RTF format, I settled on QuickOffice.

I chose that app because I had used it before on my old PDA and had experience with it.  I also chose it because it could save text in Word format and after discard RTF as my preferred format to work in, Word is the next logical format to use.

Using QuickOffice is easy and editing the text is straightforward but clunky.  This is not because of the app.  This is because of the iPad.  I am so used to having fine control for cursor placement with my mouse, that on the iPad, I really don't.  This is why I think all touch interfaces should use a pen or stylus like my old PDA.

The other odd thing is the auto complete feature is very strange.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it is a place in the ass, introducing errors.  I introduce enough errors of my own when I type, I don't need the machine adding to it when I get it right the first time.

Typing at the keyboard is different too.  A hard press on the keys isn't needed creating more typos than normal.  I also find I can't always type with two hands because certain keystrokes are being missed.  That has everything to do with how I hold my hands and pressure I use.

So it is a different model and the shift it like the one we went through when mice and GUIs were introduced to the computing world in the 1980s.  Still, I think tables may replace laptops because content creation apps are available and more will be coming.  And since tablets are smaller and easier to carry, why use a laptop?  All the tablets need is a port so I can plug in a real keyboard.  Of course if they do that, I can probably go back to using a mouse since most keyboards provide a port for a mouse.

Regardless, I think tablets are another tool in the writer's arsenal and should be used to their fullest advantage.

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