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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, July 04, 2011

Taming the Beastie.

Beginning in seminary I had a laptop that, like Mary's little lamb, followed me everywhere. I was a "weekend commuter," at school during the week and home with my family on weekends. The laptop made school work and connectivity possible and portable. My first call was at a church roughly 45 minutes from my house, so transportablility was a continued blessing. Then I moved to Montana and took up the challenge of serving four widely dispersed mission churches. My office became my car, and "blessing" became "utter necessity."

All this meant that I always had a fully functional computer with me. It was easy to post to my blog and keep track of dozens of others with the click of a mouse and an rss reader.

Then we moved last summer. The laptop I was using at that point had been purchased as part of a diocesan grant, so it stayed behind. I needed something to replace it, but we also needed a computer for the house, upon which The Boy could do homework and upload music to his iPod (not necessarily in that order).

The cost of two new computers was beyond our means. But Apple thoughtfully came up with a new option: the iPad. Portable, less expensive, and seemed at first blush to let me do everything I needed: email, web browsing, calendar and address book, etc. So we bought a desktop iMac for the house and an iPad for me to cart around.

I think I'm generally comfortable with new technologies, but I've had a frustrating learning curve with this little beastie. It's a clever toy, and wonderfully lightweight to cart around; but operates very differently. It's rather like dealing with an idiot savant: it does some amazing things in elegant ways, but others are functionally clunky. And some things it just plain refuses to consider. Stubborn Beastie.

One of the trouble spots for me was blogging. I couldn't use my old rss reader, and the app versions I've tried so far are decidedly unsatisfactory. With my own blog, functionality was bad for posting and I couldn't work on my template at all.

But time marches on, and new apps appear. I'm posting this with one such: a test run of sorts.

I'm still looking forward to a new laptop one day. Don't tell the Beastie.


Blogger Ecgbert said...

As my biz and company try to survive, this weekly newspaper is trying to change into a daily news website with video reporting, so we all were issued new netbooks as well as Flip cameras, lots of fun as I never had a laptop. (I carry this new gear in my briefcase.) Now sometimes my car's been my office too. The troubles with the netbook are 1) a dinky keyboard seemingly not meant for adult hands (I can't imagine typing on a baby keyboard with one's thumbs) and 2) a wild cursor that jumps around the screen, randomly ruining my typing. No problems getting on the Web and Firefox handles feeds for me.

July 05, 2011 5:34 AM  

Blogger Rev Dr Mom said...

My laptop is 4 1/2 years old and (fingers crossed) still working fine, but I've been thinking about what the best configuration of technology will be for me when it is time to replace it. I love my iPad, and I have blogged from it, but I still turn to the laptop (and Word for Apple) to write my sermons, even though I know Pages works.

I will be interested to see how this whole iCloud bit works out ...and what the next iteration of the macbook is..hopefully before I have to replace the laptop.

July 05, 2011 11:18 AM  

Blogger Elaine C. said...

I've been wondering about an IPad -- and whether or not it would do for writing sermons ... what is your experience...

July 05, 2011 1:32 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

Hard to say for sermons, as I don't write mine out in manuscript form anymore. However, for extended writing of any sort I would HIGHLY recommend buying the optional external keyboard. The touch screen keys on the iPad screen are okay for short notes like this (after a significant learning curve), but I find it frustrating and unsuitable for anything longer.

July 05, 2011 7:09 PM  

Blogger Reverend Ref + said...

Don't tell the Beastie.

Why not? I've seen how that thing works (or not, depending on your point of view). That's the first thing I'd be telling it: "You are a temporary bandaid and you will be replaced."

Stupid beastie.

wv: piant -- I wanted to spell paint, but the beastie thought it knew better and it came out piant.

July 05, 2011 10:33 PM  

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