On Sunday, the power supply and adapter for my Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop pegged out. To tell the truth it had been struggling for several months and, without the mains connection, the battery hardly lasted five minutes. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford to deal with the situation but that I was preoccuppied with other things… work, for instance. Anyway, on Sunday, after its monthly visit to church to record Fair Trade takings, it joined the ‘choir invisibuuule’, like Monty Python’s Dead Parrot, and the replacement components from Dell were going to take three days to arrive.
“Don’t worry about me. I’ve got the iPad,” I assured the husband, even though I was half-way through writing a review on Patsy Collins’ ‘Paint Me a Picture’. It wouldn’t matter if I delayed it for a few days, would it? I mean, the editor wasn’t going to bother with it before Christmas, was she? But on Monday evening, being the sort of person who can’t leave things alone, I called up my half-finished review on Dropbox on the iPad. I loaded it in Pages, completed it and posted it on to ChapterSeventyNine (my online writing community).
Then I started to wonder… do I actually need the Dell with Windows and Microsoft Office? Apart from for work, where I teach using Ms Office and Adobe CS5 applications, I wonder. For writing-writing, probably not. Pages is not like Word, nor is iOS like Windows. My biggest issue was that the iPad keyboard layout provides letters in one view and numbers and symbols in another one, whereas I’m used to having numbers at the top of the conventional Dell keyboard. I also missed home and end, which I use a lot, and also the cursor key. Selecting, copy and pasting could be done, but the techniques felt very strange. But, Dear Reader, I do believe the problem was that it was different, not that it wasn’t as good. Having used Microsoft products for so long, I am institutionalised.
The only real problem when inputting using Pages was that pressing on the touch screen to access an exact character for editing was nigh impossible. I nearly always resorted to the backspace delete and retyping.
The battery, power lead and adapter arrived this morning and I fitted them in the space of a few minutes, so the Dell with Windows and Microsoft Office is alive and well again, yet my experience on the other side was interesting. Unfortunately, however, the work I did on the review using Pages has not synced with Ms Word, even though Dropbox reckons that all files are fully uptodate. Hey-ho.