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Friday, October 31, 2008

Creative writing...it's all about the tools

When I write, I need tools to get out of the way so they don't hamper the flow of words. My current tools include:

  • Eleanor2 -- my Lenovo X60 tablet PC. I will not use a non-tablet PC laptop if I can help it. Being able to switch between typing or hand written input is awesome. I've written about it before and will likely write about it again -- entering handwritten text (that, in the case of word, is automatically converted to typed text) enhances the creative process. Hand writing definitely accesses different parts of the brain. I'm sure of it now. And sometimes, being able to doodle in the margins, well, that just makes it all worth while.
  • Word -- love it or hate it, Word does words well. I love the new ribbon in the 2007 version, but just as cool, they've upgraded the spell checker to now catch contextual errors, so no more "form" when I really meant "from".
  • MindManager -- mindmapping software that is fully INK ENABLED! That in itself is reason enough to celebrate, but the software really does help you organize your projects, meetings, stories, etc in a visually stimulating manner. Does it improve creativity? I'm not sure as I've fairly recently adopted it, but early results are very positive. And the way it handles ink and the pen is inspired.
  • Live Mesh -- best synchronization program/process I've ever used. It promises much more in the future, but for painless and predictable synching of your important docs, this boys and girls, is the one to get. And it's free. It was released as a technical preview, but yesterday it officially went beta and they released the long-awaited clients for Windows Mobile and MAC. I've downloaded the Windows Mobile beta, but can't log on yet. More on this soon...


  • OneNote -- a relatively new addition to the Microsoft Office suite, OneNote is a notetaking app that takes the concept of a multi-subject notebook and makes it digital. Search is amazing and when using a pen you almost forget your NOT using a paperbound notebook. I don't think a month's gone by without me mentioning OneNote on this blog.
  • Windows Home Server -- don't leave home without it. Backup and remote access tool par excellence.

Over the course, I'll write more and more about all of these issues.

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.