Dvorak or no Dvorak

Posted on May 7th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Further adventures in iPad land today.

Henry did eventually get it to sign me in to iTunes. As best we can tell, it was a problem on the server side of things with Apple. I don’t find this comforting, exactly, but at least there’s nothing wrong with my device.

Getting all the apps I needed installed didn’t take very long, but I quickly realized there was a a big hurdle that needed overcoming before I could start writing. The keyboard was QWERTY. Now, this isn’t a problem for probably 99% of the populace (I don’t have any accurate figures on Dvorak layout usage), but for me it’s an issue. Sure, I can type in QWERTY for short periods of time well enough to get my point across and send text messages. My typing speed is even somewhere between between 50 and 70 wpm once I really get going, but my accuracy is rather on the low side. To type in QWERTY I now need to concentrate. It’s no longer second nature the way Dvorak is. This isn’t good when my focus needs to be on my story. Not to mention the increase in typing errors that will have to be edited out later. Yuck.

The first results I got when I started Googling Dvorak for iPad were not encouraging. Fortunately, I didn’t throw in the towel after the first discussion board I read through. Man, there’s some serious venom against Dvorak on the Apple community boards. At any rate, I eventually found the answer I was looking for.

Although iOS does not support Dvorak natively for the on-screen keyboard Dvorak was hiding in the settings for the hardware keyboard. That works for me since I plan to do most of my typing via the Bluetooth keyboard built into my iPad’s case. I did a find a 3rd party software keyboard that supports the Dvorak layout, so I’m giving it a try. I think it may even have some swipe functionality like I’m used to with Android, so that would be a plus. Usually I don’t bother with switching the layout on my on-screen keyboard. Strangely enough, I hunt and peck better with QWERTY still. But, with a screen almost big enough to touch-type on it’s worth giving it a go.

The next thing I need to explore is if there’s some sort of adapter I could use to make my favorite keyboard, my TypeMatrix, work via BlueTooth. Now THAT would be sweet.

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A Big Bite from a Bad Apple

Posted on May 6th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Self-Publishing Woes

Today I decided to take a leap and try something new. I bought an iPad. It has a tough little case with a built-in keyboard, and I thought it would be great for writing on the go. Let’s face it, poor old Harbinger with its bad battery isn’t much of an option for a busy author on the go. My poor, even older and heavier iBook is so past its prime. Even after I replaced Mac OS with an extremely lightweight Linux I still type faster than that poor computer can process. Seriously. And don’t even get me started on its internet situation. Remember dial-up?

But, before you get all excited about Sara the perpetual Apple-hater buying an iPad… I’m already thinking about taking the stupid thing back. I am at this moment, as my husband hangs on hold with Apple’s support people, wishing I’d bought an Android instead. It was cheaper, has expandable storage, and I guarantee you the problems we are experiencing wouldn’t happen with Google. Ever. But the shiny allure of an iPad on sale brought me around to the Apple way of thinking. In other words, temporary insanity.

At this moment my iPad is as good as useless, because I can’t sign in with my Apple ID. Oh, I’ve got the right email. The password is right, too. I reset it through the website on my working android phone. The stupid thing won’t let me update my billing addresses. And since it can’t update my billing address it won’t finish signing me in to iTunes. Since it can’t finish signing me in to iTunes, I can’t download apps. Since I can’t download apps, I can’t install Google Drive, Google Docs, etc. Since I can’t do that, I can’t use the stupid thing for what I bought it for.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a run-in with Apple. When I was trying to get my book out there to all platforms I had a heck of a time getting it up on iTunes. Now, some might say it’s my own fault for working with Apple directly instead of going through Smashwords, but I didn’t like Smashwords terms. Here’s the problem though. In order to sell something on iTunes you must have an Apple device. Let me repeat, to set something up to sell on iTunes you must have an Apple device. The necessary application cannot and will not run on a Windows or Linux device. And once you get it downloaded, well, let’s just say it’s not exactly intuitive and no one on Apple’s support team knows how to use it. I can’t tell you how long I sat on hold at my sister’s house while using her Mac desktop to attempt to upload my book. And when it did upload, half my name got dropped for some reason. Sadly, I didn’t notice that until it was too late and I haven’t been back to my sister’s since to fix it.

Needless to say, that whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth where Apple is concerned. I was hoping this experience would be better. So far, not so much.

So, here I am, using Harbinger to update my blog with an anti-Apple rant. We’ll see if Henry can get the iPad working. If he can, then I’m prepared to give it another shot. If not, well, there’s a Samsung Tab E with my name on it at the Verizon store.

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Posted on May 2nd 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News

Firstly, let me start by saying I really need to add a calendar of events to my website. Yes, that’s right, yours truly is getting her butt in gear and doing public appearances! I will endeavor to do better about, you know, letting people know when said appearances will take place.

Now that that confession is out of the way, let’s talk about Oddmall.

For those of you who don’t know, Oddmall is kind of like a cross between and arts & crafts show and a comic con. At least, you’ll definitely see some cosplayers wandering around. I wish I’d gotten a picture of the giant purple minion. Other notable costumes included a spectacular Darth Vader (he really had the force choke motion down pat) and a really, really tall Mario. I also saw someone dressed as Kiki from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. I also totally geeked out because someone had a replica of a sword from Sword Art Online. What has my husband done to me? I recognize stuff from anime! Shudder.

Aaaand moving on. I went this past weekend with other Indi authors from my NaNoWriMo group, the AkroNaNos. With me were Rose Withering, Dena Hall, and Dan Arman. Books on sale included Rose’s Thornburg’s DaughterDan’s River of Dreams, and Dena’s three books, Greek Ends, Celtic Beginnings, and The 13th Apostle. I, of course, had copies of Saving the Dragon available for purchase.

Dena Hall, Sara Cleveland, and Rose Withering at Oddmall

Dena Hall, Sara Cleveland, and Rose Withering at Oddmall

As you can see in the picture above, Rose (who is also the AkroNaNo’s esteemed Municipal Liaison) dressed up as a character from her book. Dena dressed up the day before, but I didn’t go, so no pictures. Sadface. I’m told it was a rockin’ outfit. I’ll have to think of something for the next event…

All in all, we had a great time, and even sold some books! We got to hang out with some other Ohio authors, eat great chocolate, and pay way too much for concession stand food.

Next Oddmall is July 8th – 9th in Hudson, Ohio. Expect to see some announcements from me closer to the date. And this time I’ll get more pictures!

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