February 25, 2011

Pen(ultimate) and Paper

After struggling with Penultimate for several months, wishing...no, willing it to work for me, I'm on the verge of going to a bookstore and buying a Moleskine notebook. The paper kind. With lines.

I feel this is the only real failing of my iPad, and it saddens me greatly. It's not really the iPad's fault at all. Software developers just haven't yet made the correct mix of usability and performance. As I've chronicled (at length) before, the apps with great usability have sucky writing and the ones with good writing have a sucky interface. I'm sick of it. I just want something to work.

My OCD paralyzes me when I stare at an empty page, but I have a similar paralysis when about to write in Penultimate. Will it drop my strokes, trying to implement its (sub-optimal) wrist protection? Or will the protection just fail outright and scribble all over the bottom of the page? Judging by the forums, I'm not alone in my frustration, but the reviews are all glowing on the AppStore. I don't get it. It makes me feel even more broken than I already am. The result is that I don't want to write in it, and that's even worse, because I need to write things down for work.

Now I guess I get to buy a notebook. I'm sick of spiral bound books. The pages and cover always seem to rip long before I'm finished with it. I'm sick of composition books; I'm not in 8th grade creative writing class. I want something sophisticated, yet functional. Apparently that costs almost $20 a book. And yes, that drives me every other kind of crazy.

Of course, the first step in purchasing something is finding it in a store and handing someone money in trade. This turns out to be harder than you might expect for one of these books. They don't sell them everywhere, mostly in Borders and Barnes&Nobles. Still sounds easy, two huge chains with lots of stock and tons of stores? I tried the first Borders, they didn't have any notebooks with lines in the size I wanted. I went to another bookstore, they had closed. Doors shut, paper over the windows. I tried the Borders at the airport, same deal with no lines. I walked around Chelsea in Manhattan looking for a B&N, and guess what? Closed. I have one more store to try on Monday, but I'm not holding my breathe. Yes, I can buy one on Amazon, for $9 no less, but I want to hold it in my hands before I buy it. I want the instant gratification for this purchase, to feel if this is really what I want before I put the money down. This, it seems, is simply not to be.

This whole endeavor is full of fail. Fancy, luscious, supple, overpriced notebook fail. With lines.

Posted by pinkerton at 8:37 PM | TrackBack


Remember that blog post I wrote recently about scrolling on the desktop with a trackpad? Seems like Apple has listened to me.

Now why won't The Daily developers listen to me and make their app background-aware? I mean, it's not that hard. Even if it was, thinking it's not important to get right, even on the third revision, shows they either don't use their own app, or don't care, or both.

Posted by pinkerton at 6:51 PM | TrackBack