Let your fingers do the walking.

I confess. I am a little bit of a gadget freak. Oddly enough, my obsession is limited – mostly – to computers and computer-related stuff. Although my desktop recently died (RIP), I’m still able to use my laptop, my two iPods, my iPhone, and my three tablets to satisfy my technofetishistic behaviours. That’s not to mention the Android phone and the other laptop that I carry around for work. I think I have a bit of a problem.

So. Three tablets. I’m using a Dell Venue 8 Pro running Windows 8.1 to type this post. My Asus MeMO Pad – the Android tablet with the 7 inch display – is sitting not far from my 3rd-gen iPad. And until very recently, I was using the onscreen keyboard to do most of my typing. You know, it’s interesting enough that my computer needs have evolved to the point that most of what I do can on a personal level can be accomplished on a screen with a 9 inch (or smaller) diagonal. Now imagine trying not only to consume content but also trying to create content by using your giant sausage fingers on that invariably tiny onscreen keyboard. I just bought a Microsoft Universal Keyboard. I may never be happy using an onscreen keyboard again. Ever.

Although the keyboard is absolutely tiny, it’s a wonderful typing experience. I’d had another Bluetooth keyboard before. I bought an extremely cheap throwaway to see how I liked an external keyboard. That thing lasted about four sentences before I put it into a drawer, never again to see the light of day. This device is a whole different ballgame. The stand holds any of my devices easily. It’s actually connected to all three devices, and has a switch that allows me to choose which one is connected. The stand detaches from the keyboard (it’s a magnetic connection), so that if I want to strain the crap out of my eyes, I can move my device away from my keyboard. Otherwise, this is just like typing on any other laptop, more or less. I don’t even feel as if it’s cramped.

I thought that my desktop had reached the end of its useful life, and I was right. If I wasn’t so invested in connecting peripherals (USB drives for storage! external optical drive!) to my laptop and in using it for photo processing, I wouldn’t even bother using one any longer. That’s how much I like being able to use my tiny keyboard with my tiny tablets. Besides … who doesn’t love a new toy?

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Google Inbox. it’s the new black.

No, I’m sorry. No invitations to hand out yet.

Although I feel as though I’ve missed the boat a bit, I’ve been trying this Inbox thing for the past few days. You know what? I like it a lot. My previous clients were Mail (on iOS) and CloudMagic (on Android), and the biggest thing that I appreciate is the fact that I’m seeing a lot more signal than noise when it comes to incoming mail notifications.

The word on the street is that Mailbox is very much the same beast as Inbox, so I decided that I’d try running them in parallel to see which of them I liked best. Turns out that I got rid of Mailbox about seven minutes after installing it. That was in large part because I didn’t like the changes that it made to the way I set up my mail folders. Because don’t fuck with my mail folders. (That’s a whoooole different rant.)

There’s no question that there are things that Google could have done differently with Inbox. It does look and act a lot like Mailbox. A more unique identity would have been a good thing. I would very much like to be able to launch it in Firefox as well as in Chrome. And I would love to be able to delete my mail in a more efficient way instead of marking it as “done” (whatever the hell that means). But I do have to say that it seems as though I’m handling my email more efficiently than I was before, and that I like the way that the mobile clients help me to do that. Reminders and email snooze (especially the location-based component) are a big highlight for me. And although I’ve in the past preferred to have all my email organized in a linear way based on date of arrival, I’m finding that the bundles make a lot of sense to me and that it didn’t take long at all to get used to that way of looking at my communication stream. This is a win, as far as I’m concerned.

One last thing: I don’t have any invites yet. Sorry.

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