Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Testing out Scrivner

So, I finally broke down and started testing out Scrivner. For those who don't know, it's basically a word processor specifically designed for writers. It allows you to organize and work on large writing projects, and it has been highly recommended by just about everyone.

So far I like it. With one exception.

Let me take a quick step back here, and say that I've listened to a lot of people talk about how the iPad is a great media consumption device, but that it sucks for media creation. I disagree. I use my iPad all the time. However, I use it differently than my desktop.

For example, brainstorming. I love MindNotes. It's the first computerized mind-mapping software that I felt was realistically useable. In fact, I now prefer it to paper. It's almost as easy to use, and I can so easily move things around, or export the results to use in other programs. In fact, my only complaint is that I cannot connect items into loops. I'd really like to be able to draw additional connections between existing nodes.

I am also a big fan of Pages on the iPhone. Don't get me wrong, I would never sit down and write anything of significant length. However, for editing documents, it is absolutely brilliant. Again, I probably prefer editing on my iPad to editing on my computer. In the old days (back when dinosaurs walked the earth--you know, the 90's), I would typically print out hard copies when editing, mark them up, then go back to the keyboard to make the changes. I find that editing on the iPad gives me almost all the advantages I found in working on hardcopies (very portable, a uni-tasking environment, easy to mark up with notes and comments), with the added bonus of removing the tedious final step. I can make the changes directly on the iPad, and just export them back.

In fact, I wish someone would develop a word processor on the iPad that really focused on making it a good editing tool. I'm not entirely sure what that would entail, but I can feel the general shape of it.

Enter Scrivner.

Scrivener, in many ways, has the ability to become an excellent editing platform. I love the way I work with scene-sized blocks of text. And it feels like there should be some sort of synergy between the outlining in Scrivner and the outlining I already perform in MindNotes. Mostly, it just feels like there should be some way of getting the peanut butter of Scrivener into the chocolate that is editing on the iPad.

But there isn't. And it doesn't sound like the folks at Scrivner have any interest in making one. And that's a sad, sad thing.

Sure, I could export the Scrivner document as a word doc, then import it into Pages on my iPad. But, I cannot round trip the document back into Scrivner (or at least, I don't know how to). And that may turn out to be a deal-breaker for Scrivner.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Developers prefer Android" is Bogus

Ok, I know I'm a huge iOS fanboy, and given the amount of time and energy I've invested in learning the platform, I have a vested interest in its success. But, I'd hope that I'd be a bit miffed at these headlines, even if the situation where reversed.

Today CNet posted the following article Survey: Developers favor Android over Apple long-term.

OK, first off, let's be accurate here. There is a 59% to 35% split in the surveyed population that says Android has the best long-term outlook. Which is very different from developer's preferring Android. I prefer Lisp to Java, but its pretty obvious that Java has had the better long-term outlook.

But what really upsets me is the science behind the survey. This was a survey of 2,363 Appcelerator Titanium developers. For those of you who don't know (and I didn't until I looked into it) Appcelerator Titanium lets you write cross-platform iOS/Android applications using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. In other words, these aren't your typical iOS developers, and will be heavily biased towards people who are interested in making cross-platformed apps.

It is not surprising, given the selection bias, that Android polled favorably. Also, overall iOS didn't do too badly. You might even say it kicked ass. Here's the iOS vs. Android rundown from the poll.


Friday, September 24, 2010

MacTech Conference

If you liked my articles, come see my presentation at

Or, more importantly, come see the the presenters. It looks like it will be quite a gathering.


Throwing off the shackles of a reliable paycheck

So, the move is mostly behind us. I've traded the nice beaches of Hawaii for Houston. Somehow that feels like a step down. The beach is farther away, and the hurricanes are worse.

Still, I'm now freelancing full time. I'm trying to focus on iPad/iPhone work and tech writing, but I'm willing to stray for interesting technologies (Ruby, Smalltalk, Objective-C) or for applied AI.

So, if you know anyone who needs an iOS gunslinger for hire, let them know that I'm available.



Location:W Holcombe Blvd,Houston,United States