Simplifying Computer Life (Getting rid of my ipad)

After a big old binge of obsessing about the best set up for my workflow and preferences I have a new plan. I have accepted that the iPad is not the right tool for me. I like my iPad very much, but I find it so annoying and frustrating that it is locked down so I can’t manage my data how I like. I can on the Android Sero Pro tablet I have, but that OS just seems glitchy, doesn’t run smooth for me, and I don’t like the way it feels. Maybe I’m being petty, but it never feels right.

I like the portability and battery life of the iGizmos though. I’ve decided to strike the balance and buy a Macbook Air. Should get better battery life than this old Macbook I’m typing on, and I can handle my files the way I like. I’ll use my iPhone for little notes and things, and even the bluetooth keyboard I used with the iPad if I’m really serious about making notes while out in the forest or something (that happens). Then just transfer it over to my main file system on my Macbook Air.

It’s addictive twiddling with your system to figure out the best rig. But, while it’s sometimes kind of fun, it was getting out of hand, and I needed a simple, functional way to make it all work. I found myself taking my iPad and my Macbook out with me very often, which is just silly. I can use my iPhone for audiobooks and music, which was a main use for the iPad. It may be that after a couple of years I’ll move to a desktop for photo editing and actual work. I bought a basic external monitor at Free Geek here in Portland for that exact purpose. Something to be said for having a designated work space instead of dragging your laptop all over the place. But that depends on your mental space and work flow.

In the process of all this I’ve been transitioning a lot of stuff to a very simple plain text set up. All my notes, which I manage in Ulysses, Notebooks and iA Writer are in a simple directory set up with txt files. My journals are back in Day One, and I have it all set to back up to Tresorit and or Spideroak. I feel much more comfortable using those secure cloud systems than Dropbox and iCloud. Which is basically why I’m breaking up with my iPad. I also do a periodic disk clone to my external hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner.

Granted, once I get this spiffy “new” machine (refurbished – I’m a non-rich artist, and I never buy new Macs), I’m sure I’ll have to make sure my Linux Mint install still works on my tiny USB drive (just because it’s fun!). And I can work with those same text files from Linux if I feel like it.

# My current favorite software:
Notebooks – nice writing / notes app, includes webdav for local sync to ios (the only thing I can find that does this!).
Ulysses – pretty and comprehensive writing app
iA Writer – pretty and spartan writing app
Day One – charming journaling app
Bittorrent Sync (free) – syncing local machines
Spideroak – secure file sync / backup
Namely (free) – speedy hotkey application opener (Quicksilver is nice too)
Nottingham (free) – notes along the lines of Notational Velocity (I like the fact that you can open various folders to access all those text files)
Fraise (no longer in development) – swell text editor related to Smultron (Text Wrangler is good too)
Carbon Copy Cloner – making full backups of drives / partitions
FreeFileSync (free) – syncing local folders and drives
Tresorit – secure file sync / backup
Acorn for basic photo editing
Filezilla – open source FTP

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