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Mobile writin'! A Tale of Epic Pains in the Butt!

As some folk already know, I recently got tricked into buying a little Android tablet by my own mother (gasp!). Given the bills and other money-drains I'm dealing with already, not to mention how much I owe my mum herself, that was a kind of bitchy thing to do, really...

Anyway, I decided to make the most of it. See, recently I've been very busy, and more or less never at home. I think, over the last few months, I've spent about 20% of nights just straight up not coming home; and the majority of my time overall away from home.

I had thought about buying a tablet recently. Mostly because I felt I needed more experience with Android and iOS devices, since I'm going to be running into a lot more of them now. I'm using my first Android phone, in fact (and it's awesome); never had one before.

But until then, I mostly resolved that I didn't need one. This is one of the things that bugs me about people going nuts over tablets to begin with: they're effectively redundant, and their place in the consumer market is a result of corny marketing. Your phone nowadays is basically a tablet - and since I'm not a colossal douche, I didn't buy some small-screened piece of crap. So what's the point of a tablet when it's just another device to carry? It may be smaller, but the portability and multiple uses of a phone makes it ideal for playing music, browsing, watching videos, chatting and virtually anything a tablet will generally be used for. Why buy and carry two devices? Especially since they're not cheap, and, critically, only one can easily fit in most pockets.

Unless you do something unusual, like flashing BackTrack Linux onto your device, that is.

To be fair, this only applies if you have a mid-to-top range phone from the last few generations, such as the iPhone, HTC One, Samsung G3, etc. But if you have a cheaper phone, then dumped cash into a tablet, you made a mistake. You're better off buying a decent phone, instead of two half-assed devices, that's how I see it.
By the way: I hear that phones are unreasonably expensive in the USA. So that may be a factor for you, but as expensive as phones are here, and they ARE, they seem to be more reasonable.

But, like I said, I have this tablet now, and my mum might use it, so I can't just donate it to someone - not to mention the simple fact that, well, this is gonna sound weird, but I give a lot to people already. I do. A lot of time, effort, emotional and physical energy, etc, and yes, money or things that cost money. So, no, I'm gonna keep this damn thing to myself and play with my new toy. Bite me.

I realized that the tablet does have an advantage: its bigger size means it's easier to write with. So this might help me continue to work on stories and such while out and about. But there were a few hurdles to overcome - not the least of which being that the stylus that works awesomely on my phone just won't work well on the tablet's screen.

I finally found a good way to set up and use an Android tablet to write for long periods of time. Here's a list of three requirements I had and what I did to satisfy them.

1. Cloud Access
This shouldn't be a problem for anyone. My backup/storage model changed recently, and I decided to use cloud storage services to access my stuff from any device. I DO have misgivings about cloud storage, mostly due to overenthusiastic douches trying to say it will eliminate local storage, but it's the best way to ensure access and synchronization across multiple devices.

Anyone with an Android tablet and a Google account has access to Google Drive, and there are great apps for Ubuntu One, Dropbox, you name it.

2. Security
Storing things "in the cloud" (... ugh) has an inherent risk. Almost nobody encrypts anything for you (DropBox and SpiderOak do) - this being KEY to the discussion of the NSA's recent fuckheadedness and PRISM and all that. Without a warrant and other checks and balances coming into play, they can't pry into data that is encrypted and they don't have the password for. So encrypt your stuff, people. Encryption needs to be the standard for digital privacy to be a meaningful concept! Do it, no freakin' excuses.

Anyway. Even aside from paranoia  and government fear, etc, you should do this for just about anything you aren't going to physically control. It's happened before: DropBox screwed up and everything was available to everyone. And your account password isn't going to be impregnable anyway; how many of us always use good passwords?

In my case, it's as simple as using Word's (well, LO's) built in encryption. That gives the documents a separate password from the account, too. But that's all well and cool with PCs: Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice and other PC office suites can handle that, but what can handle editing encrypted documents on Android, or iOS? Not many can, and even less could do that while also meeting the other requirement.

MobileSystems' OfficeSuite 7 Pro can. It's excellent, but it isn't free, sadly. Try it out.

Android users can also use "EDS" which is basically TrueCrypt for Android. Think it requires root access though.

3. Being able to write without wanting to shoot yourself in frustration
So, we need keyboard apps and the office suite program needs to work with them; this is a major problem with tablets in general. You never know if a combination of the two will actually work, and it's already awkward enough, trying to write on these little, flat things. Oh, and the default keyboards won't do. Don't even try.

It isn't as simple as assuming that if a keyboard app works well in chat programs and the like that it will work okay in word processing apps. Sometimes, prediction and "sliding" and other things just stop working. This is because there is communication between the app being "written to" and the keyboard app you're using to write. If one fails to play nice with the other, you'll lose everything aside from basic input.

Swype + OfficeSuite 7 has 100% functionality. SwiftKey, another awesome keyboard app, doesn't play as nicely with it. Overall, I can't pick between the two. For chatting, SwiftKey is clearly faster and has better prediction - it can predict entire sentences for you. While its prediction works here, other functions lag behind, and Swype doesn't lose a single thing. It works just like you'd expect it to: auto capitalization at the beginning of sentences, auto spacing, "swyping" works, prediction and correction. Everything.

Between Swype, OSPro7 and Ubuntu One, I can now use my tablet for long periods of writing without feeling like too much of a jackass. If anyone else wants to give it a try, or if they have any other suggestions, go right on ahead!

PS: no, none of these things pay me for this advertising. Jerks. :c
Viewed: 38 times
Added: 5 years, 8 months ago
5 years, 8 months ago
So, no, I'm
gonna keep this damn thing to myself and play
with my new toy. Bite me.

haha I love these journals =3

I've tried using other means of writing (i.e. pencil/paper or mobile typing) but none of them make me feel like I'm getting all I want out of what I'm writing. It feels weird being constricted to something like a keyboard/mouse, but I feel the need to jump around my writing sporadically and change things constantly >.<
5 years, 8 months ago
So I take it youre not an apple fanboy/drone?

5 years, 8 months ago
Definitely not. I try my best not to be the opposite though, this journal aside. I don't really have a problem with Apple; it's their idiot fanboys that get my goat.
5 years, 8 months ago
I hear that.
5 years, 8 months ago
About typing, while it means you have to find somewhere to set it down, why not a small portable keyboard as well?
5 years, 8 months ago
That means having to CARRY said keyboard, though. The tablet is bad enough!  
Unless you have one of those small, awesome keyboards, or the flexible ones....
5 years, 8 months ago
I have a keyboard called Microsoft Wedge, where the lid of the keyboard doubles as a stand for the tablet on a table or similar surface. It fits my tablet, which is a Google/Asus Nexus 7. Of course, it does cost money. Personally I am more happy without apps trying to guess what I'm writing, even when texting on a regular phone, so for me the keyboard is a good thing.
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