Friday, March 30, 2012


53's app, called "Paper", is a stack of Moleskins, a handful of drawing tools and a small array of colors. It isn't for creating finished work or storing a gallery's worth of masterpieces locally on your iPad. The app is for a different kind of work, the sort one does before they really get to work.

If you've ever used a pen you lifted from the hotel you're staying at to jot down an idea on a napkin, this is app is for you. If you've ever grabbed the crayons from the table at the pizza place to entertain yourself by drawing on the back of a kid's menu, this app is right up your alley. The promotional video shows someone using their iPad to jot down items while wandering the city.

If you're the sort of creative person who has their best ideas no matter where they happen to be, check this app out. It's free, and you can try out the features before you buy any of them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

iPad (3rd Gen) Review

I've been trying to conjure the right words for the new Apple iPad since I got mine last Friday. There are already a bunch of reviews out there raving about how awesome the screen is, so I'll try to make this review a little different.

I think it's a worrying trend that Apple's iPad 1, only two years old, can't run all the iLife apps. If you own an iPad 1, and you feel like you're the victim of planned obsolescence, you aren't alone. Feeling like you have to upgrade only two years later to get full functionality, and access to apps and features, is pretty discouraging.

Worried about being a future victim of planned obsolescence or artificial scarcity? The new iPad (3rd Generation) will probably have better longevity because it will runs all the iLife apps at release, and has the new retina display. It very well could be a device with a 3-5+ year lifespan like an iPod or a MacBook.

As a tool and content consumption device, the new iPad has some features that the iPad 1 doesn't.


I use this application all the time to read full color PDFs that have hundreds of pages. The original iPad was sluggy and displayed each page at a lower resolution that the document was probably scanned in at. Reading such documents on the new iPad is a joy and the performance far exceeds that of the iPad.

If I did print or design professionally and wanted to have something to show samples to clients, the new iPad would be a must have tool. The full color pages of my PDF format books look as good as the real thing, sometimes better depending on the light conditions. Page turns aren't instant, but quick enough that it doesn't test my not-so-considerable patience.

Pages, Numbers, & Keynote

I didn't think I would find the retina display that useful when using business or text generation apps. I was wrong. Using these apps with the new iPad is like going from an old CRT monitor to an Apple Cinema Display. When you have to stare at a screen for hours editing or generating text, there is something to be said about the display and how it affects your stamina.

The latency of the soft keyboard seems better too, allowing me to type a little more quickly onscreen than I did with the iPad 1. I can't really explain or quantify why I feel that way, it's just a better experience. Also, the text you create is crisp and very readable. When editing, I prefer my new iPad to anything else now because of how easy on the eyes the display is.


There are only a few retina optimized games out there. I've spent a couple of hours with Infinity Blade II and Mass Effect: Infiltrator. I think once more games come out, this will be the mobile gaming platform to own for power gamers. I still play Ultima Underworld 1 in a DOS box, so I wasn't as dazzled as some. However, if mobile gaming platforms are your thing, the new iPad is your device.

Some of my old games, purchased for the iPad 1, run a little wonky. Seriously, it made me all kinds of nostalgic, but it wasn't to be unexpected. I still have a 1997 laptop to play old games. It's just the price of doing business.

There's been some talk that the iPad generates a large amount of heat when running games for an extended period of time. I did my own tests, both on battery and AC power, and didn't find this to be the case. That's not to say that it stays perfectly cool, but the heat is negligible. User experience in this regard probably varies depending on a number of variables, and maybe I just lucked out.

Yet-to-be Retina Enabled Apps

Most of them aren't so garish to be rendered unusable, but a few are. I've had a mostly favorable experience so far. Microsoft's OneNote app, for instance, looks fine and works great. Their SkyDrive app needs a hug, but I'll save that for a different review.

The short term solution seems to be loading the iPhone retina display capable version, if available. If you are looking for a reason to wait, this could qualify. Waiting for developers to upgrade to the new retina display shouldn't take too long though.

LTE 4G vs. WiFi

I took my iPad around to a half dozen different places that had public WiFi and had no connectivity problems. Also, the new iPad seems to have a pretty good range, as good or better than the iPad 1. No complaints in that regard.

I bought WiFi because I didn't have any faith there will be decent 4G in my area in the near future, and I don't travel that much. Virtually everywhere I go has WiFi except my favorite Vietnamese Resteraunt. I'm generally too busy eating anyway.

There aren't a lot of cities with real 4G service. Do your research before buying an 4G version with any expectation you'll get LTE speeds. As I write this, I don't think AT&T is supporting the WiFi Hotspot functionality, and if that's part of the reason for your purchase, make sure you get the Verizon equipped device instead. AT&T only made their press release a week ago, and things might change in that regard. They always do.


If you're perfectly happy with your iPad 1 or 2, and use it primarily to consume content, I think you could easily wait another year to upgrade without missing out on much. It'll take the developer community some time to get their applications up to speed with the new retina display, and the next iPad will come into the field already good to go in that regard.

For those of us who use the iPad as part of their professional workflow and log more than 500+ hours a year on the device, the new iPad is a good buy for the perfomance increase and the display upgrade. For reference, I upgraded from an iPad 1, buying a new Wifi-only, 64GB iPad in Black.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Political Stance, Illustrated

I didn't go anywhere, they did. I drew this mostly out of frustration, but also to put my feelings into some sort of context.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February, 2012

I'm putting this up for my own benefit, so feel free to skip reading this unless the minutia of my work is interesting to you. Okay, doing the math at 1:00 AM...

By the end of February I had...

... knocked out 26.5 solid days of work on my novels and 132,404 words of my 1,000,000 word goal.

To give myself some perspective, I did have a lot of stuff going on in my personal life in February. Also, I needed some time to reread my old outlines, notes, and drafts for the first books to give myself fuel and consistency in the story. Fifteen really good work days is a healthy step up from January, but still not where I need to be to reach my goal.

Looking ahead...


I thought my traveling in March would only cost me two days, but it turns out it'll be three. That gives me 19 solid work days which could add 95,000 words to my total word count. This assumes I rest on weekends and don't push too hard.

This will land me in the 225,000 word range by the end of March, 25,000 words shy of where I need to be, or five days worth of work.


There are 21 perfectly good work days in April. If I continue to increase and maintain my output, I could add 105,000 words to my total. If everything went well in March, and again in April, I could be sitting at 335,000 words, right on schedule.

If I get caught up in April, and I continue to create 100,000+ words a month thereafter, I could reach a million words by mid-November and have the holidays off to edit and prepare for publishing next year. Depending on which books I write first, I could conceivably prep to publish 2-3 books this year.

I'm going to stick to writing whatever I'm inspired to work on to keep output high. If it works out that the right books get written in the right order, so be it. I'm not going to sweat it either way.