I am not a Luddite. I love using machines, gadgets, toys of technology, old and new, always have, and so I found myself resenting the position I was in when gifted with the coveted ipad (it is an old one, sans camera). I don’t subscribe to many magazines, and those I do–mainly Harper’s–-are too stuffy and unsexy in a literary way to have an ipad version. At the time, I remained uninterested in reading e-versions of books. Typing on it was awkward at best, insufferable at worst, like playing Pachelbel’s Canon on a child’s Fischer Price piano, and did not make answering emails or general writing an appetizing venture. If I wanted to watch a movie, I would rather do it on our large flatscreen television so my Netflix app was not much of a draw. Any tasks that seemed to suit it, also suited my smaller and already-attached-to-my-hip iphone. These are the twelve steps I took to recover my wonder of that peculiarly seductive and simultaneously unnecessary tablet of dreams.
1. I bought a stylus and began using Adobe Ideas app to draw quick costume sketches. Pen in hand, I was also now able to use it to take notes in apps like Penultimate, where I keep separate project and/or class notebooks, and Note Taker HD, which I use for individual documents filed away in project folders.
2. I got the Martha Stewart Cookies app. Skip this step if you are not a recovering Martha Stewart Living addict.
3. Next, I took on the New York Magazine app. Though I enjoy the paper copy, it lives in the magazine bin in the bathroom. The app is a great resource for finishing longer articles, like this great profile of Dr. Cornell West, without disturbing the rest of the household’s reading habits.
4. Then I fell in love with NY Magazine’s fashion app, The Cut, which features an impressive library of runway shows and where you are able to search by season, style, label, material, and so on. It is amazing until I realized it was not possible to download a photo for future reference on a mood board or in costume design meeting.
5. Which brought me back to using regular old Safari to browse the regular old version of The Cut and trying to “Pin It” to my Pinterest boards. This also proved to be a dead end because there was some long-winded java script something that needed to happen in order to make the “Pin It” button save to the bookmarks tab. Luckily, I finally found a cheap and quick fix in the Pin On app. Voile. Now I have to no excuse not to update my lackluster boards.
6. This was followed by a move to a new apartment where my boyfriend and I promptly filled all the available wall space with bookshelves. Since there is very little free space, I instituted a new rule for myself: I will only buy “important” fiction and non-fiction books and must-have art books. When the flavor-of-the-month nonfiction book comes around, such as Imagine: How Creativity Works, I will buy the Kindle version. I downloaded the free Kindle app as well as the Amazon app. This new rule has opened up a whole new world for me as far as using the ipad as a reading device. (But I will still support the printing industry, I swear!) The problem of reading this pulp nonfiction in the bath remains…..
7. A FB update from Dd contributor Heather Toner alerted me to the existence of an app called Flipboard. It makes a beautiful magazine out of all of your feeds: FB, Twitter, Tumblr, various other RSS (even Dd). I am still a little wary of how it chooses to highlight the most popular and bury the less popular but potentially more interesting to me posts, but it looks amazing.
8. Another FB update from a good friend led me to an article by the tech journalist Jenna Wortham. She exhaustingly details all that she reads and follows in a typical day. From her I gained Longform, where I can find a curated feed of longer articles, old and new, from the New Yorker and other favorite journals such as The Believer, and Instapaper, an app I can save the articles from Longform or just from an internet page to, for later perusal offline.
9. I still have not found much use in the WordPress app, much to my blogging chagrin. The interface is extremely limited and only allows drafts to be saved locally on the ipad. I barely saved an unfinished critique of last Friday’s Sheherazade from a disastrous and an accidental publication, brought on by an attempt to save a draft to the server, for later work editing on my laptop. Ever since I have vowed to only use WordPress in Safari.
10. I am still hunting for a favorite twitter app. Flipboard does not allow for multiple users. Twitterific? Echofon? Twittelator? My head is not been fully in this end of the game yet.
11. Dropbox is perfect for moving this to that gadget, when you want to take one device instead of all three. It definitely screams excessive to be flanked by Apple nesting dolls. I am especially conscious of this since the NYT has taken Apple to task for various labor and tax shelter issues.
12. The scientific calculator. You may not remember this since last laying eyes on the one your parents probably bought you in highschool, but those indicators of a coming college math course are expensive. The powerOne Scientific Calculator is just $4.99.
My first world problem solved, I think I will sleep well now. Goodnight.