Technology : Tools of the Trade


It’s not a murse. Its my backpack. It holds a lot of my technology that I use on a daily basis.  And because of it, I have been writing a lot more. I have been getting out of the house more. But is it my decision to get out? Or is it the tools which allows me to do so?

These are the questions I ask myself, as I write on my netbook directly onto a website interface, while sipping on double dark chocolate mocha watching rainbarrel clouds out the window. Yes I should be writing, I did get around 2k done today for another chapter of Goodstone’s mystery in King City. Yes, I should shutdown my other tabs on my browser… (facebook, gmail, classified ads, webcomics) and I should concentrate on writing this entry.

Which brings up the next point, are we becoming technologically ADHD? Will there ever come the day for the single tool that will be able to do it all?  From my days of instructing eager minds the methods of computer hardware and repair, I always preached that I wouldn’t be that guy. You know them, you’ve seen them. The one man laptop, music player, cell phone etc… I’ve inadvertently become that person…. with a gps for another hobby. Geocaching.  Which reminds me, I should get one of those solar panel chargers for my batteries…

Has this technology made our lives easier? In some regards. An unfortunate side effect is that in an instant messaging world, the easier we have accepted quick change. Unfortunately, we have pushed ourselves into situations where longterm plans become complicated with all the small quick changes along the way. I remember a time when I would only use a phone once a week. And when people made plans, they stuck to them. Even if it meant that you had to ignore other factors that came up in the meantime. You commited yourself to those plans.

Yes, for writing and creation of content, computers have become just as necessary as knives are for cooking. I wrote the majority of my NaNoWriMo novel on my home computer, plugging away at the daily count. But for research, surfing, quick notes and information feeds, it went back to my netbook. I’ve written more flash fiction on this netbook than on my home computer. Definitely a sign of what I’ve written is more along the lines of instant nomadic creative content, a singular flash mob of story. Also a sign of how the tools themselves also influence the shape of the content I’m creating.  But the software is the same though. I still use WriteMonkey and ZuluPad for my initial writing, then put the text into something heartier to run spellcheck/grammarcheck/layout. I still use MediaMonkey for listening to podcasts and music on both machines.

Could I handwrite my stories? I could, but with the flow of story, I find that I can keep up via typing faster. Handwriting is not fast enough to keep up. But it does work for outlines, for lists, for cryptic little notes about characters that occur to me during the day when I’m not writing. It’s a different style for me, a different mindset to see the ink on the paper. I think I will limit myself to doing just that as my handwriting is horrible.

Is there any other tools that you would recommend that you can’t go without? Any piece of software that you can’t live without? Let me know your opinion, post up comments, send cookies…

I’m still here,

Pearce