adventures with an iPad: Evernote and author readings

The future of books

Several weeks ago, I blogged about frustrations with the cloud and email. I’d like to report that I have significantly reduced the number of messages in my inbox?now hovering just below 1200, so there’s still some work to do there. I have experimented with archiving older email messages and entire folders to Evernote, an app that everyone’s been raving about but which I only started working with a month ago.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into when I downloaded Evernote. I have the app running on my MacBook and my iPad, and I have the Web Clipper installed for Firefox (anyone know how to get this feature?or a close approximation?working on the iPad?). Although I first turned to Evernote to help me organize and store archival email messages, I’ve started using it for a good bit more.

Not so long ago, I was writing blog posts as email drafts. It was quick and dirty, if not elegant. But, if I started work on a blog post on my MacBook, I couldn’t continue writing on my iPad when I was working from the coffee shop on my iPad, because the Drafts folder doesn’t sync. (Or if it does, I haven’t yet figured out how to make it work.)

This post is coming to you via Evernote. With auto-syncing between my MacBook and iPad (as long as there’s a WiFi signal), I don’t have to worry about stopping and starting, or even remembering to sync my files?a process I do have to remember when working in Scrivener and Elements.

I’ve also been using Evernote to collect astronomy and science headlines for each week’s round-up. This, I can tell you, is a much easier and more manageable solution than saving all the links in an email draft and then trying to make sense of them later.

Evernote is also a great place to store the knitting patterns I’m working on, but that’s another story. So. Hooray for Evernote. I’m using the free version and thus far haven’t come close to exceeding my monthly bandwidth. I’m also still discovering new uses for this helpful app, so I may need to upgrade to a paid subscription at some point in the future.

(Of course, while I’ve been sitting here singing the praises of Evernote, the iPad app has crashed on me twice. This is new.)

I also discovered a new use for the iPad this week: author readings.

I’ve been participating in the monthly Authors in Pubs events at the Jack London Bar since this past June. It’s a nice space, and lots of folks turn out each time to hear local writers read their work, but the lighting on the small stage is crap. The lights are set up so the audience can see the author, but there’s not much to help the author see his/her material?which, as you might imagine, is a bit of a problem.

The first two times, I read directly from a bound copy of Valhalla in paperback. It was tough to find the “sweet spot”?a place that was near enough the mic so that people could hear me, but also in a spot of light that wouldn’t throw my text into impossible-to-read shadow. ?For my third appearance I read an essay from a print-out, which was only slightly better, but I didn’t like the idea of having to waste paper and ink printing material for every reading.

Then I got the idea to read from the iPad. Perfect! I don’t have to worry about my pages falling into shadow, because the display is backlit. I can stand right on top of the mic and still be able to read my material and even look up and out at the audience without losing my place. Plus, no wasted paper.

Creative Commons photo by?Johan Larsson.

Posted in writing & publishing.

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