tablet time

Someone commented on an email list I’m on recently, saying he couldn’t see how anybody could use tablets for anything. As far as I could tell, he had never tried to use a tablet.

That made me realize exactly how many things I do use a tablet for.

My response was:

These days, at least 80% of my personal (non-work) computing time is on a tablet. I read and write emails, collect RSS feeds, move files via FTP, write fiction, read newspapers and magazines, read books, mark up my drafts, post to my blog, comment on other people’s blogs, listen to and edit MP3 files, listen to my drafts read out loud (a great way to catch certain types of errors), organize my life, and get updates about weather and transit.

The one weakness (so far, and I’m willing to admit that this may be a failure on my part) is moving files horizontally. Vertical file transfer, to and from remote servers, is fine. But moving a file from one tablet to another, or between a tablet and an external drive, is way more difficult than it should be.

But, hey, nothing is perfect.

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I reported here that I bought a Nook HD when they were discounted to $149. Am I sorry, now that more recent news is that Barnes and Noble is getting out of the hardware business? Nope. It’s still a good device for a good price, and since it’s hooked up to the Google Play store it shouldn’t be an orphan any time soon.

By the way, I think the key to typing on a tablet is to stop trying to type as if it was a computer. Embrace the predictive keyboard. So far every word of my new story was written using SwiftKey (an absolutely wonderful program). For serious editing sessions, I switch to the Go Keyboard (which allows for easier access to arrow keys and keyboard text selection).

Other essential apps:

Really only one essential one: ColorNote. I’m sure there are other programs that do the same thing, but powzers! is this a good program. I use it for making lists, reminding myself of things, writing first drafts, making notes, organizing my life (which needs an unusual amount of organizing right now), and drafting emails and letters. I currently have over 50 notes, all sorted and color-coded, and synced between my phone and tablet. Very handy.

Other useful apps:

MP3dit, for editing meta data in audio files

The WordPress app, which I’m using to post this. It doesn’t allow you to create links with target=”_blank” (so links will open in a new window), but otherwise it’s really good.

Jota Text Editor, the best text editor I’ve found for large files.

So, what about you? Do you use a tablet at all? What do you use it for?

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3 Responses to tablet time

  1. Maggie says:

    I have never used a tablet (probably just because I can’t make myself get used to the predictive keyboard), but my dad uses one all the time and he’s always reading on it or sending email.

    However, I do use ColorNote on my cell phone and it is incredibly useful!

    • My BlueTooth keyboard showed up today, and so far it’s pretty good (I’m using it to write this). The comma is in the wrong place, but otherwise it seems usable. When I’m using it, the onscreen keyboard goes away, but the bar with the predictions is still there and I can tap it to finish longer words.

      So far, so good.

  2. Damn, and I’ve heard that younger people were more comfortable with new technology. 🙂

    Seriously, I still do see the advantages of a real keyboard for some things, and I sent away for a Bluetooth keyboard that says it works with Android tablets. I wouldn’t carry it around with me, but it could be useful for heavy input at home. I’ll post something when it arrives.

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