So where is the disconnect? We have a society who believes all youths are programming prodigies, and yet they generally struggle with "simple" tasks. My thoughts are that while students are surrounded by tech, they do not seek out meaningful ways to use it. Phones are for selfies. Computers are for reports. Tablets are for Pinterest and Facebook. This is very sobering when we think of the immense power the average student carriers around in his or her backpack every day. What a waste if they never learned how to implement technology into making their work better and more efficient.
I have recently begun conversations with my students about how I use technology in my research and writing. This is definitely not to say I am by any means great at using the tools. However, my thoughts were simply that if they could see an example of a workflow or talk to someone about this stuff, they would be the better for it. They could be exposed to things like Evernote, Pocket, and Drafts. They could use Extensions on OS X and iOS. Granted, I'm ever so slightly Mac biased, so I make sure and do some research about options on the Windows and Android side. It helps that there is already a large amount of information on workflows out there. I highly recommend that my students who use Macs listen to the Mac Power Users podcast with David Sparks and Katie Floyd. This is the first podcast I started listening to and remains one of my favorites. It is a must listen for me every week. As far as what I have put together, I'll detail a few things I use most often.
Since I am at my desk the majority of the day, I rely in the iMac for the bulk of my work. I spend most of my time with Evernote, Pocket, and Dropbox open. Evernote is my go to app for note taking, research file keeping, and task management. I have it installed in my other devices as well, so I can have everything with me wherever I go. Pocket is what I use as a first screen before things go to Evernote. Web articles, blogs, pictures, and pages all get sent there before I store them in Evernote. Pocket helps me keep Evernote less cluttered, because it allows me to review items instead of just dumping the entire thing into Evernote. Most of the time I end up just taking a few notes on the article and then deleting it from Pocket.
Dropbox. Oh Dropbox. You don't offer a lot of free storage, but every app I use has a great interface with you. Dropbox is my main cloud storage. I use it as a quasi backup for my work files, and as a repository for pictures and articles as well. I also use Box, Google Drive, and One Drive for their storage and connection with other apps. Google Drive is used mostly for home file storage, while Box and One Drive are storage for my work files. I guess you could say that Dropbox exists as a sort of working directory for me. The files there are ones currently active and need to be accessed most frequently.
Another little thing? I can't get enough of the Hanx Writer app for iPad, which simulates typing on a typewriter. I'm still waiting on the travel typewriters in my grandma’s basement, so this works in the mean time. It’s extremely simple, distraction free, and therapeutic in the"shook shook" sounds. Yes, it's limited in the editing options and exporting is a bit of a pain, but I love the focus I get when using it. Quick tip: when you're done writing, select all of the text, copy, and then go to your favorite editing app and paste. It's the easiest way to get text out of it without going to a PDF first.
When I write on the iMac, I stick with writing in Pages. The entire iWork suite is exactly what I need for my work. The cloud syncing works great, and I love using my iPhone as a clicker for presentations in Keynote. I do not write anything on my iPhone, except for the quick ideas into Evernote. Strictly speaking, I use my iPhone purely for article reading and it's camera. The camera gets the most workout with the Scannable app for Evernote. This app scans paper documents and then sends them to Evernote. In my quest to go paperless, this has been more useful than I could have ever imagined.
That's a brief run down of the apps I use every day. There are a smattering of others, which you can see from the screen shots, but aren't as essential to me getting work done. I should probably add that I'm a big proponent of backing up your data. Currently I'm using Crashplan to back up everything off-site, in addition to TimeMachine for my local backups. I like Crashplan because I can access files through their online interface from any computer. I'm still trying new approaches and I encourage my students to do the same. Unfortunately it isnt as easy as going to the most population productivity app section and downloading the top 5. It takes searching trial and error to find the right mix of apps and workflow for you.