If you want to write, you need a Windows computer, Microsoft Surface or an Applemac. It is accepted that iPads are for viewing and keying in the odd email, Facebook or Twitter post, but not much more than that (although my Scottish writer friend once posted on Facebook that he had started writing a short story on his iPhone, because he happened to be out at the time he felt the urge to write). However, I am now looking forward to the prospect of a whole seven days (possibly more) without my dear old Dell laptop, which is going to have to go to the computer hospital to have an operation on its hard drive.
For the next week or so, I will be stuck with the iPad, which has never been my favourite piece of equipment, although, being small and compact, it’s invaluable on holiday. So, I’ve bought a Bluetooth keyboard – the Cerulian Technology Mini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad and iPhone. I’m using at the moment. Connecting the thing to the iPad was a bit hit and miss. I had to switch it on, press down an ‘ID’ key, which initially I couldn’t find, wait for the iPad to detect it and then key in a PIN number. I had to do this three times before it actually connected.
Here is a list of things it doesn’t do or have:
- Capitalise beginnings of sentences
- Have home or end keys
- Have a shift on both sides. It only has shift on the left hand side, which makes capitalising the letters on the left hand side awkward.
- Implement the spellcheck/autocorrect in the iPad build. I have to do the capital P on iPad manually.
The lock key (top right, above delete) is a pain, as it keeps blanking the screen and forcing me to log back on again. Your point, Mr Cerulian?
Good things about the Cerulian keyboard:
- The numbers are at the top of the letters, as on a normal (ie Windows) keyboard, and also function keys (F1, F2 etc).
- The punctuation keys are in the normal places too.
- It has cursor keys like a normal (ie Windows) keyboard and, unlike the navigation facilities on the onscreen version, they work and don’t stall. Moving back through text and making edits and corrections is a dream. This probably makes up for everything else!
- The delete key is in the place where you would expect the backspace delete to be and it behaves like a backspace delete. There is no ordinary (forwards) delete.
- Selecting text can be done by pressing down the (one) shift key and then moving along using the cursor keys, as you would do in Windows. (I did this without even thinking about it.) I can see all of my iPad screen, without having to obscure part of it with the onscreen keyboard. However, you can use both keyboards together without upsetting either or the iPad.
What is bugging me is that the short list of ‘key functions’ detailed on the minute slip of paper that came with the keyboard leaves me wondering what to do with the rest of its functions. So let’s experiment. (Who knows, I might lose the lot in a moment!)
§§§§ ±±±± ~~~~ ∫∫∫∫∫∫∫∫∫˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚ßßßßßßßßß That’s me experimenting with the § and alt keys. Is that it? …No! Miracles will never cease! I have found a substitute for home (Control and left cursor goes to the beginning of the line ) and end (Control and right cursor goes to the end.). Hurray! It would be nice to get into the menu at the bottom of WordPress … you know, bold, underline, bullets and all that. Let’s try again.
Command and B does bold. Command and I does italic. Command and U does. (To cancel any of them, you just repeat command B, I and U again.)
I’ve just found a manual for the keyboard but, as it doesn’t include any of the things I discovered above, I’m leaving my pennyworth in here.
It’s physically possible to import Word documents saved in Dropbox into Pages and edit them, so I will do it, using the iPad and the Cerulian Bluetooth keyboard. Unlike my Scottish writer friend, I’m not so desperate as to use on my phone (a Galaxy Ace with a tiny screen), but I have the technology to write. No excuses!