Dawn of the Couch-Blogger Nexus

One of the reasons I stopped updating my old LiveJournal was that, especially since Sam came along, I have trouble carving out enough time in my day to sit at a computer and write. I keep telling myself I need to make use of my lunch hour but usually 11am rolls around and my brain threatens to explode if I don’t leave the office for at least a few minutes.

Usually there’s some chilling in front of the TV going on after Sam goes to bed. I’ve tried before to blog on the couch, but it was always with a big gaming laptop or a tiny netbook that makes my hands cramp even by thinking about it and it never really panned out. Setup was always kind of a pain and it wasn’t comfortable and [excuses #48-52].

I also tried blogging from my phone, and that got old pretty quick, too. I love my Galaxy Nexus. It’s a great phone – but I don’t wanna write 500 words in a single session with it. I went through a couple cheapish Android tablets (an uncomfortable to hold but very fast ViewSonic Gtablet with a crappy screen and a very nice but underpowered rooted Nook Color) hoping to find some means of successful couch computing. I wasn’t satisfied with them, and sadly they both gathered dust.

When Google announced the Nexus 7 earlier this year, I didn’t pay it much heed. The more I heard about it, though, the more I wanted one. It was cheaper than either of the tablets I’d owned before, but it had great specs and greater reviews. I eventually succumbed to my gadget-lust and got myself an early birthday present.

My Nexus 7 finally fits the sweet spot for me between big enough, not uncomfortable to hold, and powerful enough to not be annoying. To be honest, I’ve heard the hardware in it is pretty good but I haven’t really had a reason to use it for much yet. I haven’t gotten the bug yet to really game on my Android devices aside from the occasional quick “I have five minutes to burn” game of Angry Birds. (Whether or not those five minutes have anything to do with bathrooms is up to your own imagination. I will say no more on the topic.)

Turns out blogging is actually pretty painless on this thing. In fact, everything I’ve posted on this blog thus far has been written entirely on my 7. I will say the Android WordPress app has a few bugs in it where it doesn’t do line breaks or insert mode properly sometimes, but it’s easy enough to correct by hitting the back button and touching the text entry field again. I do need to figure out how to make it use the various CSS headers found in the web version of the editor. I find they make my longer posts considerably now readable and less likely to be interpreted as a wall of TL;DR text.

The other major factor in making this a much more comfortable experience is Swype, a gesture-based keyboard that helps you type really fast. Using it you find hunt and peck like on a normal mobile keyboard. Instead, you drag your finger in a continuous path along each letter in the word you want to use. Then, it makes an educated guess as to what you meant to type, and it’s usually pretty close. If it’s not sure, it gives you choices that it might be. This gets me about 95% of the way through just about anything I want to write, and the rest I can hunt and peck like before. It took a little getting used to, but I like it. I used to run it back on my old Droid. I don’t remember why I stopped, really. I probably flashed a new ROM and forgot to reinstall it. Either way, it’s made quite a few improvements since then, and I highly recommend giving it a try if you are of clan Droid.

The interesting thing to me is that I thought I needed solitude and silence to write. Turns out I can handle some TV background distraction and Sarah breathing, existing, talking to me, and otherwise doing things a living human being does while I write. Granted, I’m just sort of babbling about whatever I feel like here, so I’m curious to see if I can get a Dire Flailings out from the comfort of the couch. I suspect I can. Guess we’ll see come Monday night…..