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My Android Failed Me January 10, 2013

Posted by Tom Wells in Introductions.
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It was an experiment that lasted just over a year, but my Android as a writing assistant has now been retired. At least 40% of my writing happens on the go. I am always looking for new ways to take it with me. The difficulties with this is both having a reliable writing platform and updating my original files at home. For the past year I tried using my smart-phone to do the work using a laptop dock that turned my phone into an Android based computer. The theory worked, but it was hard to maintain and sync with my home files. Also, word processing apps for the Android OS are a long way from being seriously useful.

I had a love-hate relationship with my Android. I loved the touch screen interface on my phone, however for some shortsighted presumably cost saving reason, Motorola did not give their laptop dock a touch screen. Failure number One. I loved the portability. My phone was always there in my pocket, ready to go and to start writing, I just pulled out my phone and docked it into the specialty laptop and away I went. The weakness in the design was that I had to peel off the phone protector so it could fit in the dock. That gets old quick. Failure number Two. Then there was my hate-hate relationship with all of the word editing applications for Android. None of them can be called a word processor. None of them play nice with Microsoft Word in a natural way and none of them are Scrivener, which is a serious writing platform available for both Windows and Mac, but not for Android. Failure number Three.

The smart phone is a revolution in communication devices. Text messages, e-mail, instant chat and good old-fashioned phone conversations are all a breeze on these things. I can keep in touch with the office in real-time via e-mail. However for security reasons, instant email from the office means setting up my phone with data encryption to keep my office safer from hackers. That special encryption really wreaks havoc with file transfers from my phone to my desktop.

Now with Windows 8 I have gone back to the PC format for travel. And with the new Skydrive by Microsoft (their next generation for cloud based file management) I can have a copy of my stories on my Desktop and my laptop and both files are kept synced with the master file stored on the Skydrive. I type here and save and the Skydrive updates. I write there and the Skydrive updates. I don’t have to copy or paste or update briefcases or anything else. I just open my files and edit. Plus for safety sake, I have 3 copies of my work. Plus if I have a flash of inspiration away from my personal computers, I can log onto the Skydrive from any internet based machine and edit a file and those edits are automatically synced with my personal computers.

My Android is still my communications device. The Star Wars nerd in me considers it to be my protocol droid. And my laptop is back, fulfilling the role of my astromech Swiss army knife of computing. And my writing is re-infused. I can expand on a thought much easier now. At my work-desk, if a thought comes to me, I open the internet and go to the Skydrive. On the go, I can open my laptop/tablet combo and do the same. And at home it all stays current without my having to manually sync or copy files.

While the Android experiment in writing mobility ultimately failed, it did help open my eyes to the touch revolution that is changing personal computing. A personal touch has been restored to our devices and I like that kind of evolution.

Comments»

1. Martin L. Shoemaker - January 10, 2013

Thanks! I shared this to Facebook, since I think it’s a good perspective people should hear. What works for one person doesn’t work for another, so it’s good we live in a world with choices.

Tom Wells - January 12, 2013

The amount of gadgets we have available is starting to exceed my childhood imaginations. If we could just conquer gravity and get those flying cars.

Martin L. Shoemaker - January 12, 2013

Yep! The height of fanciful when we grew up was Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio — later upgraded with video! Today, strap a cell phone on your wrist, and you’ve got one.

Tom Wells - January 12, 2013

Flip phones were like Star Trek communicators before the smartphones took over. But you can still wear an earpiece that works pretty much like a Next Gen badge as long as its paired to the computer in your pocket.


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