Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Technology, journaling and photography - Part 2

image from Morguefile
So, the other night I was sitting and enjoying the thunderstorm as it blew through town when I started thinking about technology, journaling and photography. Photography actually popped in my mind first because of all those awesome lightening photos online. I had a couple thoughts pass through with the storm. I shared the first earlier this week in part one of this post. My second thought relates to my experience with searching for a journaling app. When I first started working in the tech department last year, I was fortunate enough to receive an iPad to use on the job. I was struggling with typing on the iPad, so I picked up a wireless keyboard to use with the iPad. The only problem was it hindered the mobility of the device. If I wanted to type a note on the iPad, I either carried the keyboard with me or I learned how to type on the iPad. Of course the best way to learn any technology is through personal application, so I decided to start journaling on the iPad. I enjoy journaling because it helps me clear my mind of the thoughts, ideas and situations from the day. With a practical and personal application in my mind, I set out on my next task - finding a journal app.

I searched online for the best journaling apps, but at the time I didn't want to pay for an app because I didn't know if I would like journaling in the iPad. I tried about half a dozen free apps before I moved to a couple of paid apps - some of them I got for free when they hit Apps Gone Free. These journaling apps varied in format and functionality. Some were basic daily dairies with limited text, but extensive enhancement features like daily mood graphics and inserting photos. Some gave you the full advantages of word processing, but provided no means for backing up your content. I lost several weeks of writing on one of these apps. I did finally find one that allows you to have multiple notebooks so I could have one for personal and one for work. It gave me the basic word processing features, but allowed me to add images and turn my journals into eBooks that opened in iBooks. However, a new system update came out in the iPad and after I ran the update my journals were messed up. The dates all switched to the same day and some content was lost.  While that was discouraging, my typing skills on the iPad did improve. I loved that the device started anticipating what word I was trying to type and gave me the recommended word if I started to mistype the word. But it is a different experience typing on an iPad. Your fingers can never fully set on the keyboard like a real computer keyboard, and I end up typing with about three fingers from each hand. My thumb and pinky rarely see any action.

image from Morguefile
Sometimes with technology, we have to find that one purpose to get ourselves in the mood to explore and "play around" with the hardware and software.  It's not always easy and sometimes we just have to force ourselves to try things out.  When I was first learning to type on the iPad, I was ready to give up after the first day.  It felt awkward typing on this device and it slowed me down.  My brain was working faster than I could move my fingers.  After a few months of diligently working, my typing skills did get better.  But you know what else I discovered through this process?  I still like grabbing my little spiral journal and pen.  The technology is nice, but it isn't the right tool for me when I want to just sit and journal.  There are too many distractions for me with the iPad and I never get all of my thoughts and ideas written down.  This was a good lesson for me to experience because it helped emphasis the fact that laptops, computers, iPads and all those other devices are just a tool.  Like all tools, you have to
have the right one for the job at hand.  Does that mean I don't use these tools?  No, it just means that I have to decide which tools will help me complete the task at hand the best, even if it's paper and pencil.

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