Thanks to the beneficence of a very trusting friend, I have the use of an iPod Touch. At least until that friend comes back to Canada at the end of May. And if you’re wondering why he’s not carrying the device with him, said friend is travelling while carrying 10 pounds of less, a la Tim Ferriss. My friend’s iPod is one of the things he decided not to pack.
Anyway, I’ve been doing more with this device than just listening to music. I’ve been experimenting with incorporating the iPod Touch into my writing workflow. It’s been an interesting experiment, to say the least. I’ve found a number of applications that enabled me to do that.
Here’s a quick look at a few of them.
Note: I won’t be looking at the pros and cons of using the iPod Touch as a writer’s tool in this post, or the specific strengths and weaknesses of the device and its software for this purpose. Maybe in a future post.
Apps that work with a couple of my favourite Web services
If you’re one of the fives of people who read this space regularly, you know that I use a number of Web services. Of course, I quickly latched on to a pair of apps that work with a pair of my favourite Web services.
First up, a client for Evernote. Evernote is a powerful and flexible application for taking notes. Many people use the desktop version of Evernote, but since it doesn’t run on Linux I use the Web version.
The client for the iPod Touch integrates nicely with the Web version of Evernote. I can create new notes on the iPod and upload them either immediately or, if there’s no wireless Internet connection, at a later time. Unlike the BlackBerry client, I don’t have to launch a browser to view my notes. They’re on the device, which automatically syncs with Evernote on the Web whenever I’m connected to the Internet.
The WordPress client is simple but effective. I can create and edit posts, check and reply to comments, and add or edit pages on my blogs. Nothing spectacular but it is everything that I need.
What writer doesn’t use a word processor these days? That’s what Doc2 is. It’s a basic word processor that allows you not only to write on an iPod touch, but also apply basic formatting. Like what? Like adding font styles, justification, bullets and numbers, and indents.
Doc2 is quite easy to use. The on-screen keyboard can be a pain after a while, though. And while you can’t upload your documents to, say, Google Docs, you can connect to your iPod Touch over a wireless connection. To enable that, go to Settings > Enable File Sharing. You’ll be provided with a URL that you can point a desktop browser to.
Doc2‘s file format is Microsoft Word. So, you can easily pull a file into Word, OpenOffice.org Writer, or Google Docs to edit it.
The iPod Touch comes with a note taking application. I tried it, and didn’t like it for some reason. So I gave ThoughtPad Pro a look. It’s a note taker, but I use it as a supplement to my Moleskine notebook. Yes, it’s true: I don’t always have my Moleskine with me!
ThoughtPad Pro, while you have to pay for it, is a lot more flexible than the default iPod Touch note taking app. You can create categories (called folders) for your notes. I have folders for personal and professional matters — Writing, Quotes, Presentations, and General.
You can’t add any formatting to your notes. And you can’t export or sync from ThoughtPad Pro to the Web. You can, however, send individual notes to yourself by email right from the app’s interface.
If you’re wondering why I’m recommending ThoughtPad as well as Evernote, keep in mind that while I use the latter not everyone does. And not everyone wants to. Some people just want a simple app that acts like a paper notebook.
If you’ve been reading the posts in this space for any amount of time, you know that I like using wikis. A lot. When playing with the iPod Touch, I came across an app called MyWiki and had to try it out.
Obviously, MyWiki is a wiki-like app for the handheld. And while you can’t interface with an actual Web-based wiki with it, MyWiki is good for taking notes, outlining, and writing drafts.
MyWiki uses simple markup, and the wiki edit is a lot like a form. But you don’t have to add the markup manually. Instead, you highlight text and add links, bullets, or bold and italics by tapping a button. You can also attach images to a wiki page.
A couple of paragraphs ago, I mentioned that you can’t interface to an actual wiki with the app. But you can email yourself wiki pages (called articles) from within MyWiki. You can even choose which articles to send; by default, MyWiki emails everything. The articles are:
- Converted to HTML
- Compressed into a zip file (any images attached to the articles are also added to the zip file)
- Emailed to the address you specify
You can edit the files in a text or HTML editor, or view them in a Web browser.
Do you use an iPod Touch? If so, what are your favourite writing apps? Feel free to leave a comment.