Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

05/19/12: So a couple months ago I got a new phone for work. I had been using a Blackberry, and while it was a pretty good phone and was great for getting my work e-mail, it was awful for occasional web browsing. So much so that I ultimately only used it for checking the Weather Underground site, which for some reason popped up almost instantaneously, when even the plain Google home page would take forever. I wasn't necessarily looking to change, but they want to get rid of the Blackberry infrastructure that the company had to maintain for the dwindling number of Blackberry users, so they suggested I upgrade.
     So I was given a choice. I could get an iPhone or an Android. I know the press just fawns over the iPhone, but I didn't want to have to install iTunes, and I'm not a fan of a lot of how Apple operates, so I went with an Android phone, specifically a Motorola Photon. It was one of the only Android phones offered by Sprint which would work overseas, in case work ever sent me there, and it had more positive reviews than the others on the Sprint site, so I got one, and so far I love it. It's great as a phone, e-mail is good, the web is usable, and battery life is good.
     But it got me thinking. It doesn't have a hardware keyboard like the Blackberry did, but I've gotten pretty comfortable typing on the on-screen keyboard, so I figured it might be good for some of the fiction writing I've been trying. It's too small for editing anything longer than a sentence or two, but if I could, for instance, capture a few paragraphs on the train going to work, I could just clean it up when I'm at an actual computer. Stephie bought me a Netbook for my birthday last year so I could write on the veranda or sitting in the yard, but this would be even more convenient for jotting down ideas when they hit me.
     So I tried Google Docs. I'd heard good things about that for a while, it's free to use, and it's integrated in Android, so I write something in Docs on the phone, and I can retrieve it from any web browser. Turns out there are two problems with that. First, if you're in a dead zone with no Internet access, like when I took Stephie to DeKalb for her art demo last month, you can't access your documents. I sort of knew that, being that everything is in "the cloud." But I found that I could not even start working on a blank document without Internet access. Even worse that that, though, was when I was typing something on the train and my connection dropped for a couple minutes. It actually stopped me from typing, with a message that I could not work on that document any more because I had no Internet connection. I think I even lost a little of what I was working in. Not cool.      One of the things I really used on the Blackberry was the Notes feature. It automatically synced with the Notes section of Outlook at work, so if I typed something on the phone, it would automatically be in Outlook. That integration does not exist in the Android world, but there is Evernote. My buddy Dan has raved about Evernote, and I tried it on the Blackberry but quickly discarded it because of the atrocious Internet capability that it had. I once tried to create a note, but canceled it after it spun on the screen for five minutes. Now on Android I see what Dan was talking about. Creating a note was instantaneous, I could type what I want and it would be accesible from any web browser. Even better, if I was not connected to the Internet at the time, it would wait and make my updates when the connection was restored. And it was free to use. I even tried the Windows client, and it worked really well. Or so I thought.
     Last week I was working on the latest story for the Tamale Hut Reading Series that Stephie and I have been attending for the last year or so, and I was working on it on the Netbook. I finished for the night and shut down, but when I went to look at it on the train the next day, my last changes were not there. The only thing I could think is that there was some problem and it didn't sync with the server. It was only a couple paragraphs, and it was probably my own fault for not noticing, but I need something that works without me thinking about it. I'm spending too much time fooling around with the programs, when I should be writing.
     So now I'm trying DropBox. It's also free to use, I've heard good things over the years, and a guy at work swears by it, so I'm giving it a go. There's a folder on my hard drive and on my phone (and on my work machine, since my company says it's OK to install), and anything I put in one magically appears on the other. (Incidentally, if you want to try DropBox, use this link to sign up. You will get an extra 500MB added to the 2GB space they give you for free, and I'll have the same added to my account.) It's only been a couple days, but it seems like it might be just what I need to integrate all my writing environments.
     Well, almost. A while back, I decided to save all my documents in an RTF file format. Since I happily use LibreOffice at home and reluctantly use MS Word at work (and Chris used Quark to lay out Casco Cove), I thought RTF would be the best because it was cross-platform, and didn't have the security problems that the Word DOC format has. Unfortunately, QuickOffice, the default Android document editor, doesn't understand RTF, and it doesn't look like any of the other popular editors on Android do either. Rats!

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