Friday, May 25, 2012

Writing Update

This month, I eclipsed the 65,000 word mark in the first installment of what is currently planned to be a trilogy. Writing a novel certainly isn't all about word count; however, as the number quickly approaches the level of today's popular works, it does create a sense of validation. The writing may be absolutely terrible, but I've managed to weave a tale worth writing about for 65,000 words and more than 200 pages in my word processor.

I've never felt I'm a good writer, yet I do feel I'm a good storyteller. The further I dive into this story, I can only hope my writing skills improve as well. Many authors will tell you to write for yourself and not with the intent of publishing. I definitely write because I enjoy it, but I'd be lying if I told you I didn't want the world to know - and like - my story.

Should I ever be blessed enough to have this published, let it be known here today (5/25/12) that I do have a general framework planned for all three books. I know the major characters who will be involved, I know how it ends, and I know who lives/dies. In fact, one of the reasons I struggled to write early on is because I didn't have a destination. I had an incredibly broad idea about where I wanted the story to go, but I was trying to decide between a few different endings, the messages I wanted to send, feelings I wanted to evoke, etc... Truthfully, the "right" ending had been staring me in the face the whole time. I just didn't want to admit it because I knew how difficult it would be for me to write. I knew, in order to really hit home on the themes I'm aiming for, I had to go in a direction few novels ever approach.

This book has taken me on a journey I never thought possible...even at this early stage. As a younger reader, the themes of good v.s. evil, free-will and destiny, forgiveness, and love seem so simple. Our adult minds know that just isn't the case. I've wrestled with the idea of having characters who are "truly" evil. Can humans even be born evil? Or are they a product of their environment? Both? Can everyone's crimes be forgiven? Do we already have predetermined, unchangeable fates?

These are just a few of the questions I am attempting to explore throughout what I've tentatively called the Sense of Destiny trilogy. This weekend is a holiday weekend and I hope to crank out some quality content pushing me ever closer toward completing the first draft of K├ędu. Then the laborious editing process commences.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Logitech Ultrathin Review

The Apple iPad is one of the hottest devices this generation. Sales have been off the charts for each of the three iPads releases thus far. The iPad does a lot of things right. Surfing the web is great. Watching movies is convenient. Typing on the multi-touch screen? Not so much. If there's one flaw with the iPad, for me, it's definitely the typing experience. No matter how responsive the touchscreen or how large the keyboard (the touchscreen keyboard takes up a significant amount of screen real estate), the virtual keys can never replace the tactile feel of actually pressing a button on a true keyboard.

Enter the bluetooth keyboard. One of the most unique things Apple has done as a company is how they've paved the way for hundreds of other companies to start their own business. Zagg, Speck, and Otterbox are companies whose entire existence thrives on many of Apple's devices. Needless to say, when I began my search for a better typing experience, I had a plethora of available options.
After numerous web searches, videos watched, and even a returned product, I finally found a winner with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. The name is a little deceiving; no, this isn't a cover for your keyboard. Instead, it's a keyboard that acts as a cover for your iPad 2 or 3rd generation iPad. Much like Apple's own Smart Cover, the magnets snap to the side of the iPad and you can then "close" the case, which is compatible with the iPad's sleep/wake feature. When closed, the device maintains the iPad's sleek look and only adds a small amount of weight. Apple's own bluetooth keyboard may offer a better typing experience, but it's a hassle to carry along with your iPad plus you'll need a separate case/stand to set up the iPad with an ideal viewing angle for typing.
Speaking of the typing experience, which is - after all - the main reason for purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard, I have found it to be incredibly comfortable. It's not perfect because, let's face it, sacrifices have to be made when you're designing a keyboard this sleek and this portable. The keys are slightly smaller than most other keyboards; however, there is still a fair amount of space between each key on the chiclet style keyboard. Because of the decision to go with smaller keys, but more spacing in between, you don't feel as cramped as you would on a keyboard that uses full-sized keys and forces them into a smaller package.


The device also has a small slot near the top of the keyboard that locks the iPad into landscape typing mode, again utilizing magnets. This also serves as an ideal viewing angle for movie watching and general web surfing. You can also type in portrait mode; however, I'm not sure if Logitech actually intends for you to do so. The iPad in portrait fits into the slot, but the magnets don't lock it into place.

A few minor touches really stood out to me. First of all, Logitech has included two text-select buttons, which are fantastic when you're trying to cut/copy a few sentences of text and don't feel like reaching up and down to the iPad screen. Touching and typing may sound like a minor movement, yet almost everyone typing on a wireless iPad keyboard will find themselves reaching for a mouse at some point. You almost have to re-train your brain to alternate typing and touching on the iPad. For this reason, the text-select buttons are great as your fingers never have to leave the keyboard. Speaking of cut/copy, there are shortcut keys for those two functions as well keys to paste, play, pause, volume control, home screen, and device lock. Most of the traditional Mac keyboard shortcuts continue to work here as well (cmd + C copy, etc...).

The device retails for $99 and in case you can't already tell, I'm very pleased. If you're looking for the ultimate protection or a perfect typing experience, then the Ultrathin probably isn't for you. But if you're looking for a sleek, comfortable typing experience that doesn't add a lot of bulk to your iPad, then the Ultrathin is the way to go.

Read more about the Ultrathin on Logitech's Official Website here.

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