Good evening, Steemit! Let me tell you, this is a post that took me the entire day to complete. I’ll let you all in on a little secret. The pretty ladies in lingerie that I post so often; not a hard thing to do. Those are easy nights. I’d be editing those photos whether Steemit existed or not. Posts like the one I’m doing tonight, though, are labors of love. They’re passionate intro-and-retrospectives of my life and the things I’m excited about. Ironically, the posts that take the longest tend to be the ones least read and rewarded, but that’s the reality of pinups in lingerie versus really nerdy technology endeavors.
This is about technology, yes, but it’s more about pursuing something that near and dear to my heart. My entire life, I thought I wanted to be a comic book artist. I mean, I still do, but in the last few years, I had the epiphany that more than doing comics, what I yearn for is to tell stories. I went through a phase were I wanted to write short films and screen plays, then back to comics, but I’ve landed on novels as my good friend and cohort, @lovejoy convinced me, novels are the source material. They are the canon and everything is derived from there. I’ve made that commitment, and now I’m following it.
The greatest obstacle I’ve faced since taking this so seriously is myself. I am more immersed in technology than the average person. I have a tendency to be an early adapter, and to want to try and test out new technologies. As such, my micro-habits have formed around technology deeper than most. I check things, instinctually looking for notifications and corresponding with search engines for every little thing I don’t know […especially when trying to write]. I bought a Kindle Paperwhite last year and was amazed at how well it locked me in to the actual text, and forced me to focus on reading!
As the months went by, I couldn’t deny that my ability to get distracted was the biggest hinderance of effectively writing these stories. For a moment, I actually considered a typewriter at the behest of British author, Will Self, whom I respect very much for his commitment to his work. I ambled for a solution, and eventually came to a company called Onyx who makes a series of Android based e-readers called Boox. This isn’t so much a technology review as far as specs and screen resolution, but a summary of how it fits in to my life and the problems it’s [so far] solving for me.
I picked up the Onyx Nova Pro for $300. With it, a Logitech Keys-To-Go slim bluetooth keyboard and a little stand. It comes with a Wacom input screen with a glass surface, and a small golf pencil style pen. Most of you know my affinity for comic book illustration and art. This was a nice added feature, and although it wasn’t why I bought this device […the writing is the priority] it’s definitely more value for my money. This device does offer bluetooth pairing with non-audio hardware, which the Paperwhite does not. It runs Android 6.0.2 for tablets, which is one of it’s biggest drawbacks.
I’ve had this for about two days, and during that time, I’ve been testing it, drawing with it, and yes, writing with it. As an iOS user, Android, especially on an e-ink device with low RAM and processing power, it’s painful. Once I got things set up with the endless feature adjustments and “optimizations”, it does do what I need. It’s not pretty, and it’s not intuitive, but it works. The Wacom stylus drawing ability is surprisingly amazing within the notes app […I’ve been reading that’s the only app it works seamlessly because most other developers haven’t implemented the Onyx SDK].
Drawing on this device is similar to the experience I had with the Kindle Paperwhite in regards to reading. There are almost no features, and in a way, that’s a feature. When I open my 12.9” iPad Pro, and Procreate, it’s daunting! There’s this expectation [.for myself, I think] that this needs to be amazing. Like, my magnum opus! It’s liberating to just sketch and draw with a simple ink pen on a note that’s easily just a throw away. It feels like I’m back in high school, not paying attention in social studies and doodling on the back of a hall pass or napkin.
The Kindle app on this device sucks and it came straight from the Google Play Store. It’s available as an official Amazon app, and there’s nothing anyone can say that’ll convince me it isn’t purposely this bad just to encourage people to buy a Kindle instead. It does manage to turn pages, albeit slow, but when it does work, it lookin SO good. I’ve been reading an old pulp horror anthology called Creepy from the 1950’s and it looks like fresh ink of paper, the way the artists must have intended it. I’ll be digging in to some of my Kindle books on it tonight.
Finally, writing! It took a while for me to find the right “optimization”. I had to download an app that force a rotation of the screen in to landscape, and I had to tweak the refresh settings so there isn’t any latency when typing […ghosting does occur with this setting, but I’m weird and I kind of like it; it somehow makes me feel like I’m on real paper if I can see ghost images of the page “behind” what I’m working on]. Bluetooth took a bit to connect and it tends to drop when the device turns off, making me have to reconnect it, but once it’s connected, the little Logitech keyboard is great. I’m kind of keyboard agnostic. I can type fast on almost anything.
The typing experience, after everything is set up, is beautiful. There’s more preparation than I’d like, but once I’m there, it’s the writing equivalent of what makes the Kindle Paperwhite so remarkable for reading. You are in there! No text alerts, no ability to Google “…what kind of plaster did Puritans build their houses with in 1880”, and other things you know full well you should be looking up after your first draft is done. I wrote more in an hour, once this set up was together and I was left alone, than I have in weeks. Again, Will Self’s warning that the network connected computer will lead to the death of fiction.
I like this, a lot. I have about 27 days to decide if I like it enough to keep it at just around $400 with the Keyboard and stand. Also, do I really need a fourth screen in my bag? In my old age, I’m getting better about knowing when I’m being straight up ridiculous, but there’s also merit to having the right tool for the job. What makes this took so unique, is it’s lack of tools. It’s ability to get everything out of the way […again, once Android finally cooperates] and let me create in rudimentary drawings, or focused writing. I may do a follow up conclusion closer to my return window closing, but for now, I love this device.
Thanks for indulging me, if you made it this far. To be honest, I wanted to make this post for Steemit writers like @ericvancewalton, @tarazkp and @ezzy, since it’s far from a traditional writing setup, but thus far, a very effective one. Also, writing these brings me happiness. I imagine it’ll bring me even more happiness when the STEEM blockchain in 20 years old and I can come back to my comical ramblings in the medium of expressions through technology. With that, I’ll close and take this piece of glass upstairs and read until my weary eyes fall. For more posts like this, and other art, follow me @kommienezuspadt!