iPod Touch Stuff Again

I was lucky enough to get the 4th generation iPod Touch for Christmas. I’ve had the 2nd gen for quite some time and love it. There have been updates to the “software” it uses but it could only do so much with what it had. This one, however, rocks.

Transferring over the apps and music was simple enough. Some bumps along the way but I think I have it figured out. This one comes with a camera, too, so I also had to figure out how to get the pics from there to my computer. Disgustingly simple, really.

Then I realized I had all my notes on the standard Note program. I tried to email them to me but for some reason, I get an error message. Then I remembered the newest thing for iPod Touch and the iPhone. Used to, if you wanted to transfer docs from the device to the PC or visa versa, you had to use a desktop program that may or may not work. Then Apple, in its wisdom, decided some of these transfer programs were illegal (especially the ones that actually worked). It was one of the big reasons why I don’t do much writing on the Touch. In one of the recent updates, transferring became much more simpler. Mostly.

screenshot of the file sharing section of iTunes

To transfer the Notes from the 2nd gen Touch to the PC, I copied the text and put it into Notebook as a ‘note’ (vs a ‘book’), a writing app I tried. I used this one because it opened the fastest. Then I plugged in the Touch, opened iTunes, and went to the apps tab. Below the apps listing is the File Sharing. Any app you have that allows this will be listed. Clicking on the Notebook app listed the folder it uses to store notes. I selected the folder then the “save to…”. Viola! There they were. I plugged in the 4th gen Touch and went to the file sharing. I selected Notebook app, then the “add” button and added all the text files I had made (you can also drag-and-drop).

But when I checked the device, none of the files were listed. I think it is because Notebooks uses a folder. You cannot open that folder and put the files directly there. If you select the folder then the ‘add’, the files are not put in the folder that way either. This time I tried DocsToGo and it worked. I will probably leave most of them there and only copy/paste over the ones that I use the most. Otherwise, I will just view them via that program.

Now, how to transfer over the ebooks…..

Apps for Writers – Reviews

Today I finally got a new router and finally got the laptop to working through it. I said some words, banged my head several times, plugged, unplugged, replugged, reset, called my brother twice, said some more words…you get the idea.

So now the laptop is attached to the net via wireless. Cool. Once I was certain I had that down and everything was working, I then went to work on getting the iPod Touch to also be on the wireless network. This wasn’t as painful but there’s a lot of info out there (better than I could find for the router) on how to do it. As soon as it was connected, I got to work on figuring out how Quickword and DocsToGo can be synced with the laptop.

Quickword was so easy. I opted to “mount as a drive”. At the bottom of the opening page is a URL ( You then go to the Network section of your computer and make the Touch a part of the network using that URL. It is easy and I did it the first time. Once that was set up, it is a simple matter of dragging and dropping documents in and out of its network folder. The other way, and is even more simple, is to enter in that URL into your web browser. Quickword can only read .doc (and I think .txt) so I had to open and save a document from .odt (openoffice format) to .doc. Then drag the folder into the other and boom, there it was on the Touch. However, and you knew there had to be, the Quickword app has to be open before it will transfer.

And I found out why. That URL? That’s for Quickword only. DocsToGo has a different port it uses so the URL ending is different. So unless Quickword is open, the network won’t see it, just like if a computer on the network was turned off.

DocsToGo wasn’t quite as easy. First, I had to download another software for the desktop. Then I had to add the device. Then I had to enter a code into the device. DocsToGo has a URL, too, although I’m not sure what it is for. The other software is simple enough, although I can’t seem to get the document on the Touch to transfer to the computer. I’m trying again right now and the transfer, if that is what’s happening, is taking a very long time.

The third app I tried, and may have actually liked, is called Notebooks. But it has a major flaw, in my opinion, and that is in editing. Here’s an example. I write this sentence: “Sitting in the waiting room, doing nothing but wait, is a pianful experience.” With DocsToGo and Quickword, I can put the cursor directly in the middle of the misspelled word and correct it. With Notebooks, just like the built in Notes, you can’t select the middle of a word. I can only select the end of the word and hit backspace. Rather annoying. I kind of liked its ability to stack a “book” within “books”. Meaning I could have a “book” named WorldBuild and inside it have books called characters, geography, archery, etc. But that annoying edit bit will drive me nuts far too soon. And I’ve tried software like that before and grew to dislike the dozens or more folders with bits of the novel scattered throughout.

As much as it pains me, I will (probably) be using Quickword. The syncing of documents is the easiest and requires no additional software. Now that I can sync, I will be using it to do actual editing in the form of writing bits as it comes to me then pasting it into a document either on the computer or on the device.


Now for the podcast post. (gosh, that’s hard to say out loud!)

On my iPod Touch, I have started downloading podcasts. I subscribe to a bunch of them. Each time I sync the device with iTunes, it puts all the new ones on there. I had to mess with the settings for a while to figure out how to keep the ones I wanted on the device vs getting deleted because they were “old”. Basically, I keep the device setting (in iTunes) to manual.

National Public Radio (NPR) must haves: (and the average length)

    A Prairie Home Companion – actually, this is American Public Media (APM) not NPR (13-20 mins)
    Car Talk (53-58 mins)
    Fresh Air (42-48 mins)
    Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me (47 mins)
    This American Life – this one may fit better into the writing category (58-60 mins)

Writing Related:

    Garrison Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac” – another APM (5 mins)
    Grammar Girl – all writers should listen to at least two of these (4-11 mins)


    The Dog Trainer (comes from the same place as Grammar Girl) Not listened to it yet so it may get deleted (3-7 mins)
    That’s Gay – funny video podcast about/for us gays and lezbos (3-4 mins)

You don’t need a player to get or listen to podcasts. I normally either listen to them directly from the website or I download them and listen later. That’s how I used to listen to ‘Wait, Wait…’. I sometimes listen to “Writing Excuses” and “Litopia” (they have a sidebar chock full o’ ways to subscribe/download to podcasts).

The problem with podcasts is that you are listening to someone’s voice. And the beauty of voices are in the ear of the beholder. There are some people I cannot stand. Carl Kasell, who does the “Wait, Wait…” shows – cannot stand his voice. The idea of winning his voice on my answering machine just is not appealing. I enjoy him, enjoy his sense of humor and style, but nope no way on the voice itself. Grammar Girl has a good voice and enunciates well (good?). I can listen to Garrison Keillor all day and enjoy every second of it. Except when he gets long-winded and I forget where he started. Some podcasters insist on putting loud music on before and after. “Writing Excuses” also tries to be funny. Which they usually aren’t. Which is why I don’t listen to them very often. Again, your mileage may vary and my opinion is just that: mine. Lorna has no trouble listening to Carl Kasell.

The good thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them at any time. On the way to work, while waiting at the drs office, etc. “Grammar Girl” is best listened to when you can take notes. “Wait Wait…” is best listened to when no one will look at you weird for falling down while laughing.

Just don’t let them pile up on your computer or device. I save “Writer’s Almanac” and listen to them all at once, usually a week’s worth. Same with “Grammar Girl”, although sometimes she fries my brain. And don’t get a ton of them. Get a ton at first then weed out the ones you know you won’t go back to often enough to make it worth the space on your drive. I’ve tried out a lot more podcasts than the ones I listed above. Some were just silly/stupid, some were loud and obnoxious, some were just not for me.

Again and as always, I would like to hear from others who do the podcast thing. And if you don’t, I’d like to know why. And no, I won’t ever do one. I have an awful voice and the accent would drive people nutso.

IPod Touch and Writing

(note: the subject line has changed since I first wrote this. I decided to not get into the podcasts just yet).

I’ve been having fun with my iPod Touch. For those of you who don’t know, the Touch is just like the iPhone with one major exception – it’s not a phone. It uses wi-fi for internet connectivity while the iPhone uses the cellular carrier (which is exclusively AT&T). So far, I’ve used the Touch more for music and games than I have for internet stuff like email and web surfing. When/if I get the wireless network working again here at the house, I may use it more.

Anyway, the Touch is not a PDA unless you use M$ software such as Outlook. Ironic that the Apple device uses predominantly M$ stuff, eh? I had to enter in all of my contacts (granted, there’s not that many). Any notes I make using the built in application (herein known as ‘app’ or ‘apps’) cannot be transferred to the desktop.

Before I talk about what apps I have found useful, I want to discuss iTunes. I. Hate. It. You cannot add any app, song, etc to the device without using this software. While there are some programs that allow you to use the device like a USB flash drive (DiskAid), it is limited. The iTunes program is lousy. For example, I wanted to see what dictionaries, thesauruses (thesaurusi?), etc were available. Open iTunes, click on App Store, click on Reference. And there it ends. 20 apps per page, 121 pages. No way to further divide them into sections. You can filter them into release date, name, and most popular. And you can’t go directly to page 120 of the 121 because you are looking for something that starts with the letter Y. There is a Power Search available. You can narrow it down to section (applications vs music), box to select searching only the free apps, enter in a keyword and/or developer name, category (reference), and device capability (touch vs iphone). You click search and you get the results. Here’s the next major error. It doesn’t say “page 1 of 12” for the results. You click “see all” and get a list of 30 apps. Then, in the corner of the screen, in tiny little letters, there’s this “more results”. It’s not in the scrollable part of the screen, but on the frame of the software itself. Still no “page x of y”. So I have no idea how many results there are nor can I then re-search the results to narrow it down further. On the first page there is a list of developers, a very short list. Dictionary.com is listed but it only has two apps in the search result. So finding what you want/need can be difficult unless you know the exact name or are lucky enough to hit the right keyword.

Okay, rant mostly off.

Here’s some applications I found that I have tried:

I was pleased to find the WordWeb I use so much on the computer to be available as an app. And it is free so that makes it even better! It works much the same way as the desktop version so adjusting to it was easy.

I am trying out QuickWord (by QuickOffice for $4.99), an app that reads and edits .doc format documents. I think it can view .pdf, too, but not edit them. Transferring the documents from the desktop to the device is only possible through wi-fi transfer using the IP address. It sounds unnecessarily complicated. Why not just sync, upload, or download the same as I can music and podcasts? Also, the help files are only accessible via internet connection. WTF?

Then there is DocsToGo (by DataViz for $4.99) is another .doc format app. Again, transfer is done via wi-fi or through Microsoft Exchange (a paid-for additional program). It’s got a “getting started” help guide but anything other than that is only available online. The plus for this app vs the other is that it’s available options are scrollable along the bottom so there’s more to use.

Next up is FileAid (by DigiDNA for free). While FileAid allows me to view even OpenOffice.org formats, I can’t edit anything. It is for viewing only.

I just downloaded another one called Notebooks (by Alfons Shmid for $5.99). I’ve not tried it yet, though. It is touted to be for thought processing and organizing.

The recent software upgrade allows for the iTouch to do cut/paste, something the users have been screaming for. Doing so is relatively easy as long as you don’t have big huge fingers.

Speaking of typing, the keyboard is not that bad. It is much much easier if you are a touch-typer vs hunt and peck. I type mostly with my thumbs. Letters are on the screen with numbers and most punctuation accessible via another key that changes the keyboard. Another key on that one takes you to another punctuation keyboard. Hitting the space bar automatically takes you back to the letter one. This would be a major PITA if you needed to enter a series of numbers. The comma is on that second screen and, again, hitting the spacebar automatically takes you back to the first one. QuickOffice has the spreadsheet capabilities and I wonder if it works the same way. You can turn the device sideways to make the keyboard wider and more accessible.

The word completion capabilities are a device thing, not an app thing. So far, I don’t like it. I’ve had several arguments with it on the spelling of a word I was trying to enter in a note. But I’ve never been a fan of word completion doohickeys anyway.

I was reading a review of an app and learned how to take screenshots within the device. Now if I can figure out how to transfer them to the desktop, I’ll have some images of my later reviews for these apps.

If anyone uses any of these or some other I haven’t found yet, please let me know! I’d love to hear from other writers about how or if they use the Touch or if they use a PDA instead. I opted for the Touch because the industry says PDAs are a dying breed and software is getting difficult to find and maintain.

In another post later, I’ll share all the apps I have installed so far. I love the Touch, I just wish it didn’t have that obnoxious “iPod” in front of it. Cannot tolerate the “iThis” and “iThat”. In yet another post, I’ll discuss the value (or lack thereof) of podcasts.

Music and Air

Ah, two things we humans can’t do without. Really.

Read a study a few weeks ago about how infants, tiny wee newborn to just a month or two old, can actually appreciate music. And appreciate it to the point they are surprised with a missing drumbeat or drastic change in rhythm. As for air, well, just ask my asthmatic bro about how important air is.

We recently got a DVR and we’re loving it. First we had the Motorola Moxi. It promptly went haywire just a few weeks later and the cable company replaced it with another Motorola. I record Ellen every day. We also record Bones, CSI, NCIS, K9 Cops, K-9-to-5, Cities of the Underworld, and a few other similar things.

I love Ellen’s show. Wish there were much less commercials but that’s getting to be the norm anymore. Ellen is funny as heck and very human. And oh so butch! Where was I? Oh, yes, music. Ellen has a singer or musical group on her show every day. Most often it is some big name person that even I know (Beyonce’ is on a lot and Stevie Wonder was on a few weeks ago) but usually it is someone I’ve never heard of before. A while back she had a singer on called Pink, or, rather P!nk. I’d heard of Pink but couldn’t tell you what she sounded like or looked like or anything. Most of the singers/groups Ellen has on her show, I don’t like. I can’t understand (as in hear well enough to know what they are singing) the words. Beyonce’ is sexy as heck but, girlfriend! Learn to enunciate! But I could understand Pink’s words. She’s been on Ellen’s show three times now since I started watching regularly. The other day we were in Best Buy (Lorna needed headphones for her MP3 player) and I got her “Funhouse” CD. Great music. This is the CD put together in response to Pink and her husband splitting so some of the songs are rather harsh

I don’t know if I could yell any louder
How many times have I kicked you out of here?
Or said something insulting?
I can be so mean when I wanna be
I am capable of anything
I can cut you into pieces
When my heart is broken
– from Please Don’t Leave Me

But some of them are downright sigh worthy

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Closed your eyes and trusted
Just trusted
Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?
– from Glitter in the Air

The girl has a fantastic voice. From the raucous Funhouse to the gentler Crystal Ball to the in-your-face-ness of So What.

I catch myself singing So What a lot.

As for the Air:
Today I went and got a new CPAP mask. I’d been using the ComfortLite 2 for a while now. It’s a decent mask attached to a lousy head gear. A common problem. This time I have a weird contraption called, so some weird reason, the Mirage Liberty. It’s a hybrid kind of mask, part full-face, part nasal pillow. I’m having to sleep more on my back which means my mouth sometimes opens. Then with the allergies I keep experiencing, I often can’t use the ComfortLite ’cause my nose is plugged. I have about 14 days to decide if this mask will work for me or not.

Like any of you care about that. But, So What?

Weird, Wacky, and Wonky

That’s how the computers have been for me lately. First the internet connection was acting up (got a new cable modem). Then I upgraded my servers with my website host and my sites went down for several days (a bad script or something on their end). Next I upgraded the main site’s WordPress install and it promptly went down (no clue exactly but a wide variety of fixes was needed and it’s still not acting right). Then I made Mike his own site with WordPress and, you guessed it, that went bad (not sure what was wrong there either, but it is working).

Normally, WordPress works great. But I’m not sure about the latest version. Each time I install it, either myself or through Dreamhost’s “One-Click Install”, something goes wrong. Then yesterday, this blog was not letting me into the admin section. I hadn’t done the upgrade because the others were so mucked up. No clue what was wrong but it is working, so far, today. I did do a virus and spyware/malware check on this laptop and did a hard boot. Nothing came up but who knows?

Anyway, life goes on. Mike is growing, Joella is jealous, PopCorn is ill (more on that in a few days), Sam is playing with Mike, Casey is still being her usual obnoxious self, and Lorna is just as wonderful as ever. I must’ve done something wonderfully good in my otherwise normal childhood in order to deserve such a wonderful partner. She’s beautiful, smart, a great cook, got a glorious singing voice, and yet, she loves me. How weird, wacky, and wonky is that?

Back It Up!

Sheesh. I’m gonna chuck the modem.

We have Charter Communications for our cable, internet, and phone. Great price and I like them. We’ve had the internet through them for a long time. They provided a Motorola Surfboard cable modem. I think it is the original one. Anyway, the modem is connected to the two computers via a Linksys wireless router. Lorna’s computer, the Dell laptop, is hardwired. The Toshiba, the one I am using, is wireless. At first I thought it was this Toshiba acting up. Then I checked to see if the Dell could get on line. Like the Toshiba, it does, but it takes fooooorrrrrrever to load a page if it does at all. Some websites load partway then think about loading the rest. Sometimes, I can hit stop/reload and it finishes. Tomorrow (or maybe tonight if I feel like it) I’ll bypass the router and see if that helps any. The reason I am certain it is the modem is that the lights on it keep going off and on. The Surfboard has 4 green lights for connectivity and an orange light showing activity. At times, only the top light and the second is on with either the second one blinking or the third blinking. I did a reboot (simple unplug) which worked for a few hours then I did a reboot and reset. But it keeps doing it and it is very frustrating.

If bypassing the router is no different, then I’ll call their tech support. Sometimes there is a reset or something they do remotely.

Anyway, I’ve been trying for the past several days to post this message about backing up work.

As a writer, my documents can’t be just recreated from data elsewhere. Unlike numbers in a spreadsheet, a lost manuscript will never be the same if re-written because the hard drive crashed. I’ve discussed backing up work before but its been a while. This is your reminder (and mine!). I back up my manuscripts to 3 different places. I have an external hard drive and I have a hidden, password protected directory in one of my websites. And, when I remember to can, I upload files from the external drive to the Dell.

I use Ipswitch’s WS_FTP Pro to upload chunks of files. I use the program’s faster (and lighter) Upload Wizard to upload one or two files, such as images and such. There are other online ways to save files. There’s places that let you upload files to their site and they keep it safe for you. Kinda like a safe deposit box. My webhost, Dreamhost, has a Files Forever option but I’ve not really looked into it yet.

The external hard drive is the old one from the Dell. I wiped it clean, reformatted it, and got an external case. It connects via USB cable and is hot-swappable, which I like. I have a flash drive/memory key but I keep losing the damn thing. Flash drives are getting cheaper with bigger capacity. External hard drives are also getting cheaper with huge honkin’ space on them. Someday I hope to have a networked hard drive system where I can access files from any networked computer in the house. Not sure if I want to do the remote access way, though. For now, when I want to put files on the Dell, I upload them to the ‘net then download to the Dell. Yeah, complicated and why don’t I just plug in the external drive? ‘Cause the poor half-dead Dell won’t recognize it, that’s why. I really ought to shoot it and put it out of my miser.

A lot of people save files on CDs for their backups. I’d do that, too, except I don’t have rewritable ones. I’d just be wasting CDs since I do backups weekly or even daily when I am actually working. Regardless, be sure to mark each CD with the date so you can quickly grab the one you want. I’d suggest putting manuscripts on a CD of their own.

Okay, well, that’s all for now. I’m going to hit ‘publish’ in the hopes it actually gets saved and put on the site. Sigh.