Many people tell me things that I simply do not want to hear. This is one of them. Every time someone utters this sentence, comprised of 11 words, I instantly wish that they drowned in a vat of chocolate.
“You are going to have to get a tablet eventually.”
Now I take that particular sentence with a grain of salt, all the while hiding a pitchfork behind my back douched in chocolate. Here is why.
The people who know me, and know my profession, really should laugh when they hear computer people and others telling me that I should conform to the ever popular trend that swept my generation. The reason they should be laughing is obvious, isn’t it? It is just not a practical feet for me to make the giant leap to smudging a touch screen or even giving up a fully functional smart typewriter. It is not a practical choice for my work and no matter how many applications it has on it; it will not beat a laptop for editing purposes. It just will never be a type of device that meets my needs and profession.
A lot of my work is actually writing at a desk. Apart from interviewing, I am transcribing interviews and I am conducting interviews via email. I am poised in my element, clacking away banging out my next article a lot faster than I would be able to do on a tablet computer or even an iPhone.
For a writer, that just is not going to work. I would be spending more time with editing than the actual writing. The lack of a true word processor, complete with built in grammar and spelling checker will not ever completely happen on a tablet even though people are beginning to realize that this needs to be developed. Still, I have not seen a single word processor that performs like Microsoft Office Word. I do not think there will ever be a competitor apart from open office, which is also for the desktop.
In addition, I am visually impaired. Typing with a screen reader takes longer and it even slows me down on a tablet or cell when I could bang out the same kind of article in less time on my laptop, even though the laptop is old and needs a good hardware cleaning. Still. This laptop, for me, is productivity. Quality articles come out of this laptop.
I have actually tried writing via tablet. I felt the writing to be smooth and slow. The writing did not take so long but the editing took even longer than it would have using Microsoft Office Word. There were minor mistakes where my fingers mashed a key that I did not need to mash and I felt it tedious and hard to select text and edit bits of a document. Slogging through, editing a tablet document took a while because a tablet is not designed for real work writing. It is used for emails, text messaging, video games, and chatting on Skype. Writing a business letter that outlined key points, also known as, a letter more than two pages, took the entire afternoon because I refused to use my laptop for editing. If I were to hand that into my editor, he would definitely kick me out. Quality journalists might be able to use the tablet but not I. perhaps the enigmatic swish of the screen is lost within all the screen reader commands or the lack of a good word processor. Perhaps I am being very bias in my views.
I just felt that tablet typing was more of a nuisance than a comfort. I would hate to see an email interview published where my answers were tablet based. My documents looked like Swiss cheese. That was when I was just typing for fun. I could only imagine if I were under pressure by the fellow media.
So where does this leave disabled journalists such as me who, by the way, also have a speech impediment, making video journalism harder as well as the voice commands on tablets? I guess this leaves me to sit calmly in a coffee shop and sip my Cuban coffee, furiously and skillfully typing away on the typewriter of my generation as people all around me who do not have to write for a living splotch their screens, free from outlets, and giggle as they play words with friends. Perhaps lack of switching to the new trend expresses how old fashioned I am at 23 years old. Only time will spell out the answer.