My full Query Me This submission is now up at The Public Query Slushpile, along with nine others. I haven’t had a chance to read through all of them yet, but it looks like there’s some good stuff.
I wrote the entire submission, query and pages, on my iPad, as a sort of experiment. I was looking to find out whether the iPad would be reasonable as my primary computer. Ever since I got it, I’ve been using it almost exclusively. It’s wonderful for all types of reading, and, even with its wireless keyboard, it’s about ten times easier to cart around than my laptop.
But it order to become my primary computer, it would have to be good for writing on. Which, I guess, it’s not.
First of all, i have to say that if you plan on doing any sort of writing on the iPad, you really need to have a wireless keyboard. Otherwise, it’s sort of a nonstarter. But even with this equipment in hand, I found a number of small problems with Pages, Apple’s word processor for the iPad. Such as:
Only one window at a time
This is sort of necessitated by the iPad’s form factor, but it’s still annoying to have to switch to the desktop every time you want to look something up.
No CTRL-B, CTRL-I, CTRL-E
Etcetera. Not a major factor, just a bit of an annoyance.
Poor bulleted lists
You can make a bulleted list, but there’s no obvious way to indent sub-topics.
Very aggressive auto-correct
For example, when I was typing the above section, the iPad insisted that I really meant “billeted lists.” It also just added a period after that quotation mark. And it always reformats “its” to “it’s.” This sort of aggressive auto correct is kind of nice when you’re using the touch keypad (because you tend to make plenty of miskeys), but it becomes more than a little annoying when you’re actually using the wireless keyboard.
All of these things are irritating, but I would probably find a way to be ok with them if it weren’t for the following deal breakers:
No word count or obvious page count
Yes, you can scroll down to the bottom of your doc and see what page you’re on, but that’s not quite what I want. I want a visible control that tells me how long my work is.
No searching within a document
By the time you have a three hundred page document, you need to be able to search for specific passages.
Comments are a big part of the way I work. I use them not just for editing, but also for keeping track of what time it is within the world of my story, and whether a minor character’s eyes are blue or brown. This is the biggest deal breaker of all.
So, there you have it. I still am head over heels for my iPad, but it’s better at consuming media than it really is at producing it. The laptop will remain my primary computer. I just won’t love it quite as much as I did before it’s younger, sleeker cousin came to play.