What writing apps do you use?
Way back, in campus, after my Samsung Galaxy Pocket left me for the world, I took to drafting my blog posts on paper. The blogging blogs said that that was the way; that words came easier on paper. Writing or just scribbling about was more intuitive, more communicative. The dots of your I’s and the arms of your t’s fueled the letters to come. And I loved it.
But, see the trouble is, when you forget your notebook in a bedsitter in Eldoret, you won’t find a similar notebook, complete with its content at home in Kericho. They don’t do the syncing bit. And rained-on notebooks stop being notebooks and become something else… something soggy and unreadable. Plus this is Kenya; chucking out a notebook in a jav (matatu) earns you awkward looks and in some places unfair treatment from a tout who thinks you are an uptown kid. So paper notebooks aren’t cool, not even for your street (jav) cred.
So obviously, the best way to do this is to use a mobile app. The ultimate way to do this and still retain that pen-on-paper feeling is to get a Samsung Note-something. But we’re not all well-off. We’re an Infinix nation, after all. So that’s off the list.
I use apps now. It has its perks, despite feeling withdrawn, removed from the whole writing experience. Here are my notable apps over the ages:
This was my go-to app in my Galaxy Pocket, back in the day. Evernote was the cooler app to have but I had a (literally) meagre Pocket. Springboard was all it could handle. It had syncing, backup & restore. Unfortunately, it was shut down after a while. Evernote was too cool, it froze the whole block of note-taking apps. And to add insult to injury tools popped up to move your stuff to Evernote. I was too miffed. I resorted to pen & paper.
So long, Springpad.
I have used this for ages, mostly because there are not better options on Windows (Phone & PC). It works well and syncs well too, but this is the Google+ of apps. Yes, you can also find it on Android, iOS and the Web but it just isn’t cool enough, you dig?
I use it mostly when I have notes to take say in a conference and (a.) I’m using a borrowed device or (b.) I’m on my Lumia and I have a searing idea/note to put down. It is perfect for meetings, this.
But many people would go for this over Evernote, according to Microsoft, who just set up an app for MacOS to help users move their Evernote data to home-sweet-OneNote. This is probably in retaliation to Evernote bringing their app to their turf (Windows Store) toward the end of last month.
Sure, it’s everyone’s favourite. The most loved kid in the family. It is incredibly popular and powerful, almost too much for its own good. It has every feature imaginable: syncing, collaboration, name it. Add to that the little fact that it is available on virtually every significant platform/operating system. It is wonderful, but a few things kill its vibe; (a.) Pricey premium options for features available elsewhere for free and (b.) Being just too damn good for its own good. People prefer simpler, more straight-forward apps to write their stuff in.
Of course, you use Google Keep. It is dead simple to use and signing up is already taken care of if you have a Gmail, YouTube, Google+ or any other Google account. It’s part of the package. Its Android app can be worked by a baboon. Sync works like heavens meant it to, and it literally is the best implementation of virtual post-its or Windows’ good old Sticky Notes, version 11.0. I use this when I’m randomly surfing the web, mostly to erm… keep URLs and those one-off usernames/passwords I use in obscure websites (bad habit, I know). It works perfectly, but just for that role. I don’t see myself drafting an entire post on Keep.
You may not know this one, but it is one of the now-popular ‘focused writing’ apps that strip away all the chrome and clutter of traditional writing apps to leave a content-focused interface. And this is my favourite of the lot.
It is available in Android and (of all places and much to my angst) Chrome OS (Yes, but not as an Android app) but it is functional in my Remix OS installation. I use it all the time on my phone and it fits both of my writing forms – long prose and short scribbles – really well. It is free and comes with Dropbox sync capabilities. For a little more than Ksh 100, you can have Google Drive sync working on it too, along with a few other worthy premium features.
I love this one, one of Jack Underwood’s brilliant works another being Today Calendar. It is one of the apps that fuels my rage at the tech community for sheer under-appreciation (along with MiXplorer).
Good Old Word
Microsoft’s suite of Office apps are the best at what they do. Period. And the star in this suite is usually Word, the extremely capable, immensely popular Word editor that dictates what’s what in the playing field. I’m typing this in Word. If you are working on a CV, a table of some sorts, a letter or even some poster, Word will have a word with you about that.
This had to be here in respect of just how amazing this underrated app (and now service) is. Many of us use it daily. Google Docs too, another MS Word-like writing app, is worth a mention.
One other notable mention is Dropbox Paper, a relatively new player in this game. It however, comes along with some truly noteworthy features and is free to try out on https://www.dropbox.com/paper
There they are. My wonderful apps that let me beat copy, write a CV or just accompany my thoughts in scribbled adventure. Enjoy.