Finally entering the mobile age

It’s 2014, and I have something to admit: until about ten days ago, I was stuck in middle of the previous decade with respect to mobile computing. As in, I had no mobile computing device of any sort. As a matter of fact, I still have a flip phone, which has done very little computing for me over the years (unsurprisingly).

However, I decided to take the plunge a couple of weeks ago. I ended up buying an iPad Mini (the old school, non-retina display model) for a fairly good price. It seems to be working out fine, and I’m enjoying it.

The main reason I picked it up is this: if I want to read anything online, I have to sit at my computer. I built a desktop PC in September 2012 – and that’s working great – but sitting in front of it is not the most physically comfortable way to read for any significant period of time. But for a long time, it has been my only practical option*.

And here’s the thing: I spend tons of time reading blogs and news online. My back doesn’t enjoy it.

*After my iMac died, I tried using the Playstation Vita for mobile browsing since we already own one, but the browser speed is simply atrocious, and the app selection is pathetic. I’ve used it for Twitter occasionally, but that’s about it.

I looked at several options for tablets. For more than a year, I’ve been stifling my desire for something portable, but I could never justify spending the money on something I didn’t absolutely need. I’m glad that I didn’t make the jump to tablet ownership before this. But this month seemed to be the right time to do it. And this iPad fell within my limited price range, and will (I think) be up to my simple demands.

I like my Mini. It’s comfortable to hold, and it’s nice to be able to read or browse in an easy chair instead of while sitting at my PC. However, I have been the opposite of productive with it to this point…

I did download a few apps that I suspect will get heavy use over the next couple of years. WordPress and Twitter were the first two, along with a couple of other convenient apps. I also downloaded a boatload of classic books (Project Gutenberg and epubbooks are my friends). However, I made something of a mistake by slapping $1.99 of my credit down on the new-ish puzzle game, Threes.

Threes is a very easy game to learn, but is highly addictive. It’s easy to blow hours at a time combining ones and twos to make threes, and sixes into twelves, and so on. I’ve spent way too much time playing it instead of, you know, blogging and stuff.

However, on Wednesday afternoon I decided to break out of the spell Threes was holding on me. I sat on the couch, fired up the WordPress app and started this post, and although I am finishing it on the computer, I wanted to see how well the app worked. For my purposes – which mainly include the ability to type out and save blog ideas while physically comfortable, it should be fine. It has its limitations, including a less-than-robust tagging interface, but for simple rough-drafting, it seems fine. I could have finished this post on it and published it from my couch, but I got up for a moment mid-post to stretch my legs, and decided that I wanted to do something else for the time being. As such, I’m finishing it now at the computer.

I’m excited about my new Mini. It’s nice to have something that enables me to break away from this chair more often without completely unplugging from the news, viewpoints, and writing that I love. Hopefully, I’ll be using it more for what I would consider to be productive activity and less on puzzle games… but that’s entirely on me, obviously!

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Thanks for reading this post by Russ at Dischordant Forms. Follow me on Twitter at @DischordantRuss. Comments are welcome!

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4 Comments on “Finally entering the mobile age”

  1. walt walker says:

    Tablet devices completely replaced my desktop and my laptop for pretty much everything until I started writing again. Writing I can only do on a PC, no matter how good the app is, or the laptop. I can’t write on anything else, not even paper. Anyone who has ever written a book long hand or on a typewriter is a hero to me.

    • Russ says:

      I’m having a hard time writing on paper also. Writing posts on a tablet isn’t something I plan on making a habit of – things get too thumb-y and awkward – but I thought I would give it a try to test out the app. Writing in a real word processor with a keyboard is pretty great. I never took typing lessons, yet I can pound out a decent-length post in short order at my desktop. I was considering getting a laptop, but that was a financial step I’m not ready to make yet… but that would have been ideal for writing. Maybe later this year…

      I could probably write blog posts in longhand, but never on a typewriter (because I edit my text like a madman). And the handwritten posts would be very difficult to read, of course. All of that to say that I agree with you re: typewriter and long hand authors!

      • dhippensteel says:

        I find the mobile app for WordPress to be good for making notes and outlining posts, but I always do the final edits on my laptop because typing on my phone gets a bit hinkey after a while. Welcome to the mobile age.

        • Russ says:

          Thanks! I could write complete, publishable posts in the WordPress app if I really wanted to, but I have a feeling that I never will. I like the comfort of the “big screen” and keyboard for putting the final touches on a post. I also don’t like making certain format edits in the app – “hinkey” is a great way to put it!


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