Tag: ipad

A Big Bite of Apple

Courtesy MS Paint Adventures
Courtesy MS Paint Adventures

I’ve been fighting this. I haven’t had an Apple product of my own in any place I’ve lived with the exception of a 2nd generation iPod Shuffle I still use for walks. I’ve opted to install Linux on all but my latest laptop. I’ve had moments where I’ve considered purchasing an iPad in passing, but I’ve consciously struggled not to fall into the iCulture that seems to promote an attitude of smug superiority in some circles. No more or less so than Tux’s biggest fans, but that’s beside the point.

Those days might be over. I may soon own an iPhone, and perhaps an iPad before the end of the year.

Why the change of heart? Sure, it’ll pay homage to the memory of Steve Jobs, but expenditures and committments like this require more concrete, practical reasoning. So here it is.

As A Rich Media Professional

First and foremost, the position I now occupy requires a great deal of tasks and testing related to the iOS. The advertisement assets upon which I work can and often do appear on Apple’s mobile devices, and as HTML5 grows, the more prevalent those sorts of adverts will become. It’ll behoove me to have a platform on which I can test my work on these items, no matter where I might happen to be.

Other projects by other professionals will be created for the platform as well. I know a few very talented people invested in pursuing transmedia projects, and having a universally-available and name-brand platform is sure to be key in a few of them. Giving feedback on those projects, and reporting on them either for the blog or a professional publication, will require the use of such a device. There’s only so much of an ARG I can experience using my current dumbphone, after all.

As A Gamer

I know there’s a contingent of gamers who would like to say that platforms like the iPhone and iPad are not viable for gaming. I don’t think they can be more wrong. From graphically impressive RPGs like Infinity Blade, to simple and fun puzzle games like Angry Birds, to straightforward multiplayer standbys like Words with Friends, I can tell you that an iPhone or iPad can cater to just as many gamer tastes as a PC or console can. Sure, some of the graphics and depth of gameplay or story will be a few years behind, but it’s forgivable for being able to have that sort of thing in your pocket on the same device you use for communication, or even productivity.

It’s not just limited to what’s on the App Store under the Video Games category, either. Tabletopping could benefit from it. A quick, covert die roll or looking up a forgotten rule might be easier with one of these devices, even if it doesn’t have the same tactile feedback as a page or a polyhedral. And I hear there are emulators available, so I may be able to play Mega Man 2 on the train as I have long dreamed. Just remember, if you see a scruffy man approaching middle-age glaring at his iPhone and muttering curses at somebody named “Quick Man,” it’s probably me.

As A Writer

I’ve long been a proponent of the notion that a writer can write anywhere. Originally this was based on a writer only needing some basic tools: something to write on, and something to write with. And there’s nothing wrong with carrying a pen and paper with you at all times, if you’ve got a creative mind. But a technological tool can be helpful as well.

Imagine my delight upon discovering that PlainText is available for the iPhone as well as the iPad. Now, I can’t picture myself doing long passages of writing on the iPhone, but if an idea strikes me and I need to jot it down (or perhaps dictate it!), this device would provide me the means to do it, and always know where I left my notes. I know other writers who adore their Apple devices for various reasons, and I’m sure they’d be happy to tell me more about their experiences.

That’s why I have a comments section, after all.

Okay, Okay. iSurrender. iGive.

My iPad Setup
The setup in the home office of Beardy McWriterbeard

This is something that’s been in the back of my mind for some time now. You can blame three people for it spilling over into my blog. Or you can just blame me for having nothing interesting to say at the moment that I feel you’ve either already heard or don’t give a crap about. And it’s possible you don’t give a crap about the iPad either, in which case you’d be best tuning in tomorrow instead since there’ll be a new & exciting ICFN for you to enjoy.

In the meantime… yeah. I kinda want an iPad.

Now, I’m not going to impoverish myself to own one. I don’t feel there’s a void in my life that only leased hardware from Steve Jobs can fill. And I feel odd talking about a device that costs hundreds of dollars that does little on its own and that I wouldn’t be able to troubleshoot myself. Last night’s Internet outage reminded me that skills for a job I held many years ago still apply despite advances in technology, i.e. my knack for understanding and working with computer hardware that isn’t printers. I hate dealing with problematic printers. After all, they were sent from Hell to make us miserable.

More and more, however, I’m starting to see the merits of it. First and foremost, of course, is the convenience it’d offer my writing efforts. A few steps could be eliminated in the process of crafting words. The last few chapters of Citizen in the Wilds were written by hand and then transcribed into the electronic manuscript via PC keyboard. And for the first round of edits I printed out the entire thing and went over it in pen. Now, I’d be the first to say that nothing will ever replace the feel of printed pages in your hand, be it a book or a manuscript full of darlings to be put to the sword, but there’s a nagging feeling I have that I’m not helping the environment as much as I could by using 300+ sheets of paper to print out a document I already have several means of manipulating, editing and presenting. The iPad would be another, highly portable option.

Speaking of books, I mentioned Barnes & Noble’s PubIt earlier this week and noted that its content would be available for the Nook, which just happens to have an app. As much as I love pulling out a book on the train or sitting down with one at home, my bookshelves are already glutted with tomes I may never read again. I’ve been somewhat fascinated with the concept of eReaders in general, and while it might be reducing the amount of information we leave future generations when our computer systems crash, it’s another argument for convenience. They generate less waste, weigh less and one can carry the contents of an entire library. Couple that with the ability to write or take notes as well as read, and to me that spells win/win.

Beyond that, I’ve started running D&D for friends & co-workers, and having the latest issue of Dungeon, a compendium of rules and a dice-roller all at my fingertips and out of sight of the players appeals very much to my Dungeon Master sensibilities. This is in addition to the aforementioned convenience of carrying one device into a session instead of a stack of hardcover gaming books. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hardcover gaming books, even my copies of Alternity, but it goes back to my observation that I already have a lot of books to haul around when I move from place to place. I’d like to make our next move less weight-intensive, not moreso. Means I might have to do a used book sale at some point.

It is very expensive, though. Most of a month’s rent expensive. “I could pay our utilities with that money” expensive. So I’m not going to get one any time soon. And then there are horror stories I’ve heard about what happens when you drop it, get it wet, feed it after midnight or look at it the wrong way. Back to the iStore to pick up a completely new one for you, buddy! Oh, and don’t mind the staff while they try to stuff a dozen new iToys down your throat while you’re there.

But hey, it’s available on Amazon. And they have gift cards. December’s coming soon, now that I think of it… …Actually, that was my sister’s suggestion. She’s pretty smart.

Give me more pros. Give me some cons. Tell me funny or cool iPad stories. I want to know more. I want to justify this subtle and somewhat unsettling craving.

EDIT: And then there’s this.

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