I'm one of those people who has trouble writing at length on my main machine, because of all the distractions it offers. Email and messaging and social networking: they all combine to form the "ludic loop" that Mark recently blogged about.
I've tried various things over the years to help keep me focused, from simple full-screen word processors such as WriteRoom and FocusWriter to gadgets like the Alphasmart and Freewrite. But apps are a tab away from fun, and glorified typewriters tend to expose their limitations in odd and frustrating ways.
After a lot of experimentation, I've arrived at a best-of-both-worlds option: proper apps running on a tiny old iMac from when Apple switched to Intel chips. It's modern enough to run good software, play music and hook up to useful services like Dropbox, but so old (and tiny) that there's not much else you can do on it except work. And it's immobile, too, so it creates a space just for that one task, which I think helps.
Even web browsing is just right: the older OS X 10.6-compatible version of Firefox it runs will access research resources well enough, but the media load on dangerously interesting sites (including Twitter and Facebook) renders them almost unusable.
There are dangers to this approach. If I were cunning I'm sure I could rebuild the ludic loop on this, by hitting the mobile versions of websites and exploring what other apps work on Snow Leopard. But its age (and adorable low-res 17" display) are so far dissuading me from trying. I'm writing more.
People keep asking about this keyboard! It's the Planck ($100 on Massdrop). I made the wrist wrest myself out of a plank, to go with those old KLH Model 19 speakers. I'm not entirely convinced the Planck is for me, but fans swear by them. I'll probably switch to something just as compact but a little more traditional, such as the MiniVan.
Acclaimed sci-fi/fantasy publisher John Joseph Adams has announced the return of Fantasy Magazine, after being shuttered for nearly a decade. Here’s the official history, according to the press release: Fantasy Magazine was originally launched in 2005, published by Sean Wallace and edited by a team of Wallace and Paul Tremblay. It started as a print magazine […]
Somewhere between discovering The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Hellblazer, I fell deeply into love with early-to-mid 20th-century detective fiction. It was a world of smart men who mean well, knife-sharp banter, romance, the end of ropes and of, so much violence. I loved Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson, and Patricia Highsmith. But the writer […]
Carla ordered these cheap Bic mechanical pencils. I tried one out and I actually like it a lot. The lead diameter is 0.9 mm and it has a number 2 lead inside. It also contains one extra lead in the barrel. A 24-pack sells for about $.25 a pencil. They are supposed to be disposable, […]
You could actually watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex walk down your street right now. And no, this isn’t the latest Jurassic Park sequel. Of course, it isn’t real either, just a Google recreation of some pretty realistic looking dinosaurs transplanted right into any environment around you courtesy of augmented reality. Yet it’s just another example of […]
A guy on the Apple discussion forum started a thread titled, “Why do your Charger Cables have the lifespan of a housefly?” That question is probably enough to elicit a whole bunch of head nods from virtually everyone reading this, whether you’re an iPhone user, an Android owner or have virtually any device that needs […]
For all their power and capabilities, image editing software isn’t like sitting down to play a video game. You aren’t there to have fun. You’re likely looking to make a few minor tweaks to an image to make it ready to be shared, then you move on with satisfaction in a job well done. If […]