Do I have too many apps?

This iPad has been displaying some odd problems with apps crashing, it seems, when they try to access memory, for instance Sketches app when saving, ScannerPro just after it takes the picture, when it frames it up. Paper too, when browsing through books of drawings.

I’ve been dropping into the app switcher mode to close apps thinking that maybe one of those is at fault somehow. Nothing consistent yet.

I understand the average user has 24 apps. 24 apps… Only on average 24 apps installed and maybe regularly uses a half a dozen….

I swiped up to close 61 apps.

61 apps.

And then ScannerPro saved the scan.

I have six screens of apps.


Who! Me?


Filter madness

Traced over a photo in Sketchbook Ink for the colour masses. Didn’t care for it very much. Downloaded Repix. Brought that drawing in for fooling about with.

Blogsy experiment

So, I bought Blogsy from the app store and it turns out to be really nice. Easier to use than the WordPress app. And it seems to deal with images in posts more easily. Anyway I dragged in an image from the sidebar off of the Picasa bar. It doesn’t show here. Somewhat up with that? Seems it was a matter of mere patience, waiting for the account to confirm.

Anyway that image was dragged in from the Picasa account. Difference from the WordPress app, which can deal only with Photo app images.

I took the photo last night. Popped the card into the little drive slot in the back of the iMac and synced. Uploaded the album to Picasa, posted to Google+ from the Mac. I suppose I could have used the camera connection kit and used WordPress app with that set of images and then synced. Of course neither Blogsy or WordPress app address Google+ and WordPress notifies Twitter and Facebook.

Probably flop around using the three methods for a while yet.

Notes, Notepads and Journals II

Muji notebooks grid display of notebooks and notes is well suited to a visual thinker. The image reminds me of what notebook I want without stopping to read. Its very subtle, but when I have to switch processing modes from seeing to reading, I am for a brief moment stunned as I switch processing modes.

notesPlus shows me this information with a pop-up list. Yes the image is there. It also has textual information which, subtly and honestly takes me momentarily away from seeing. Much prefer the straightforward grid arrangement in Muji Notes.

notesPlus has so many other wonderful and well thought out interface moments: the two finger touch for text boxes, the awareness built in to the microphone for sound annotations, the popup boxes for tool settings. Copy and paste, essential, is missing but promised.

SmartNote is ambitious but, silly again as this, seems forces me to stop and read the interface before using it. Everything is otherwise two, perhaps three touches deep. But it does everything I think a sketchbook-like app should do. I would prefer a way to set the default text to something else. The undo button is practically invisible. The eraser, once again, is two clicks deep and without the chance to set a default. Why make me choose every time?

I think I’ll be using notesPlus as the default for a while, and wait patiently for the copy and paste ability. The whole of the iPad is the journal.

Breaking away from the physical Book is a rethink. The book is immediate, it is sequential, I don’t have to think about the interface tools, it can record whatever you can put into it.

The ideal sketchbook app would keep the metaphor of pages and sequence. I should be able to go left to find an overview, a grid of visuals of the note pages relative to the page I am on, and also go left again to the top level of the closed book, and perhaps see a grid view of the books I am keeping – though I keep only one journal at a time.

The sketchbook needn’t have a full range of drawing and painting tools, but I should be able to tap and go to my preferred painting app and do work there, and link it back, copy and paste, or live links into the sketchbook location.

I’d also like to have apps have the ability to load a bookmark onto the iPad home screen. Pages should be able to save a bookmark, like Safari can, to the iPads screen so I can drop right into the document I want to work on without going through the interface process of switching and finding.

Update September 24 2011

This post continues to get hits from iPad forums, so I’ll just note here I’ve broken down and downloaded Noteshelf. Great note taking app. I’d say that if you need to type any notes, because, like mine, your handwriting is horrible, then Notes Plus is still the best choice. Penultimate is still fast and flexible for my one or two word scrawls. I’m certain that others get far more intensive use out of it. It wouldn’t still be on the bestseller list if it didn’t serve. The price is right. Noteshelf is Penultimate on steroids. If either of them took text from a keyboard… that would be a steel cage match.

Notes, Notepads and Journals

This is a screenshot of my iPad home screen. The apps that get used most find their way here. I describe my iPod Touch as a magic Post-it-note. I describe my iPad as a magic piece of paper. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I don’t much use the iPod, except as a music player, and for Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock.

Now, a magic piece of paper. Really? Even that metaphor falls short of what the iPad is, as it binds imagination to one use – because I keep looking for a magic sketchbook, a collection of magic pages bound into a one inch thick bound black book of blank pages.

I keep one folder of note apps on the home screen because I keep looking for that black sketchbook. I have also a collection of sketching and painting apps. I fall back again and again on a very few basic ones because they are, basically, fast, responsive and simple. The others I keep around because they are, in one way or another, more capable.

So, on top, I keep Brushes, Penultimate, and Noterize. Brushes launches fast. So also does Penultimate. I drop right into drawing or painting or writing a note. Noterize presents me with choices, but by the time I’m there, I have roughly figured out what I want to do. The visual metaphor for these apps is straight-forward and familiar. They are sheets of paper, or books of pages of paper.

Now to the Note Record folder. I keep Good Reader there because I found myself popping back and forth between it and Note Hub for downloads. It was easiest just to keep the folder open.

Apple’s supplied app Notes is on the level of the three apps noted above – focused and unobtrusive, and still basically useful, and loaded with legacy information. It doesn’t draw.

Note Hub approaches the black book. Like some others I have tried, and some I haven’t tried, it sends it’s multimedia tentacles out into the web. It’s nice, for instance to be able to work a browser inside the app, and it works well enough as a simple sketchbook. You can lay the text boxes anywhere on a sketch. Could this look more like a traditional book? Yes. Could it record sound? Why am I asking it to do everything?

Muji Notebook: once again, clean and straight-forward. Book-like. Doesn’t export to iPhoto app, so it’s difficult to get an image here except as a screenshot. The drawing tools are okay as for the most part the drawing tools in any of these apps are intended as pens to interact within the text dominant modes of these apps.The handwriting recognition is a cute trick, intended more for Kanji than English. Once again good marks for the paper and book paradigm.

Notetaker HD. Ambitious. Powerful. Flexible. Interface gets in the way of doing things directly. I’m always busy thinking of how to get it to do something.

Notify: can’t you make this look like a book and paper? Smaller icons for tools and modes, spread them out. Man, it does everything, and sometimes it’s a bit to figure out. The unlimited page space is disconcerting. Where is my paper? Where am I in this huge space? The handwriting recognition is quick and even works with mine! Pinch scaling is jerky. Is that huge page space using up memory unnecessarily?

Notepiler: smooth drawing tools. Strange interface.

Notebooks: Expensive. Like Notetaker HD, you can’t use multiple modes on a page. It’s either text or ink. Love the links to pages.

Paperdesk: Losing out on interface flexibility as compared to other apps. Pens quirky and don’t respond to to transparency settings.

So I also have Chronicle, a good little diary app. I like the time stamps, but only every hour? Needs better frequency. Notebooks does this.

Nothing yet, singly, replaces a sketchbook. Everything shines in some other area where each is uniquely strong. Interactivity is limited, perhaps more by system sandboxing than anything else. The paradigm shift has to occur in the way I interact with the iPad itself. Use each app where it’s strong. Brushes, for painting. But why can’t I link or import directly into Chronicle or Notebooks, into a page combined with text? Geez, Notify! Make it look like a page!

I want time stamps. I want recordings. I use them infrequently, but sometimes they are the only suitable media. Single apps do a fine job. In-app recordings need to come out through iTunes, then imported back into Goodreader, but I can’t get them into anything because there’s no common accessible database.

I want to copy an image and paste it into a page of text, just like in Pages. Why not use Pages? It doesn’t have time stamps.

Notify is close, but it throws away linearity.

Everything reaches to interactivity, but none intertwine their fingers.

Update November 30

Most recent Muji Notes update, downloaded just this very day, has export abilities to iPhoto App. I also found Notes Plus which is remarkably flexible, unobtrusive, and intuitive. It has sound recording, a cool closeup writing trick and easy text as type entry modes,and all the appropriate export abilities. Cut and Paste is promised for an imminent update.