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Archive for April, 2011

Apps for Writers

If you use iPhone/iPod/iPad, you will find that there are quite a number of wonderful applications that will make writers’ lives easier.  Here are a few that I’d recommend:

Kindle (free):

Kindle

Reading is often a big part of writing, either for general preparation or for direct referencing.   You do not have to own an expensive Kindle to access ebooks from Amazon.   Kindle apps are available to be installed on your iPhone/iPod/iPad, your Mac or PC.  If you install it in all your devices, your reading can be synched.  You can bookmark, annotate books you have been reading, if this is part of your writing process.

MoesNotes ($0.99):

Moes Notes

This application allows you to take notes, pictures, even audio recordings.  It’s like an interviewer’s dream coming true.   It will be extremely helpful if you are gathering information for your writing.  I find that you can even edit your audio recording.

Dropbox (free):

Dropbox

If you use multiple devices/computers for writing, you may consider signing up for a dropbox account and install it on various computers.  If you click here to sign up, I get some extra space for my account (thanks!).   With iPhone/iPod/iPad, you can download the dropbox app which will allow you to see your saved file on your iDevice.  Unfortunately you cannot edit it.  It is best for reviewing something you have already written.

IA Writer ( iPad only,  $0.99):

IA Writer

If you are tired of writing on the Notepad of your iDevice, this application makes it easier to write on your iPad.  It is just like a compact Word for iPad.  Of course it does not have all the functionality of a computer-based word processor, but it has a fuller keyboard with punctuation marks right on the interface so that you do not have to go back and forth in iPad’s keyboard modes.  You can also synch your written notes to your dropbox account so that you can edit it later on your computer.

Dragon Dictation (free):

I simply LOVE this application, and have been using this to compile email messages and take notes of whatever ideas that come to my mind that can turn into materials for writing projects later.  You can speak to your device (iPhone/iPad and some later versions of iPod with voice functions) and the application convert your speech into text (Google Voice also does that).  When you speak, find a quiet environment to cancel the background noises.  When speaking, say your punctuation as well, such as “Please write this down  period.” or “Next paragraph” to start a new paragraph.  There is a one-minute limit for the amount you can dictate at a time, but of course you can then continue after Dragon Dictation has finished processing your earlier dictation.

As for accuracy, the application even recognize most of my Chinglish if I speak slowly.  If you find the application does not transcribe your voice into text correctly most of the time, then you have to question what kind of American you are. 🙂

But seriously, you will just need to “train” the application to accept your speech by speaking probably more slowly.   Usually the accuracy is above 80%.   You can then send yourself an email with the text.  It generally saves a lot of time, especially if you are not good at typing with thumbs on a small device.

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