As you’ll remember from last week, I use Dropbox to store all of my working and reference files (well, most of them, I have a few scattered on Google Drive—but that is for another week), so I can access any of my files from any of the machines below.
ComputersPrimary Machine: Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga
This is a 12.5” Ultrabook with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It has a touchscreen and rotates into tablet mode, though I find I almost never use it that way. I run Windows 8.1 on it currently and Office 365 (Word/Excel/PowerPower/etc. 2013). I also have a docking station for it that allows me to easily connect an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
What I use this for: most of my work, whether it is docked at my desk or sitting in my lap.
Secondary Machine: Microsoft Surface 3
This is not the Surface Pro 3, but the smaller, lesser-powered Surface 3. It is a 10.8” screen with the Surface 3 keyboard, the Surface Pen, 4 GB RAM, and 128 SSD. I bought this more because I wanted something with long battery life, but not as a true laptop replacement. But I wanted a full version of Windows, mainly because I wanted a full version of Office. And that is what it has worked for. One nice thing about the Surface 3 is that it charges off a USB port, which meant I could charge it in the car on a recent cross-country trip. I can’t do any graphics or video manipulation on it, but it works great for the web and Office. Another drawback is it is not a true laptop. Its tablet form-factor means it is top-heavy and the kickstand really needs something to sit against. I ended up using a legal pad in my lap in the car. But I would totally consider keeping a slightly larger messenger bag so I could have this with me all the time for spur-of-the-moment editing. (Yeah, I know, I’m weird. Move along.)
What I use this for: when I need longer battery life and more portability than my Lenovo can provide but still want an almost full-sized keyboard.
Troubleshooting Machines: Acer Netbook and MacBook Pro
These are not everyday machines, but as mentioned last week, I also have an 11.6” netbook running around that still runs Win7 and Office 2010 and a MacBook Pro running the latest version of OSX and Office 2011.
What I use these for: troubleshooting, helping authors, and creating help videos for non-Win8/non-Office 2013. I also have OpenOffice on these machines (I have it on my primary machine as well) for when working with authors that work with it.
Mobile DevicesI tend to carry my iPad Mini with me wherever I go because while I can read in a pinch on my iPhone (though it is more comfortable to do so on the Mini’s larger screen), I have determined editing on my iPhone just doesn’t work. It really is a read-only device in all but the most extreme circumstances.
It’s not the latest one, but I have an original iPad Mini running the various Microsoft Office products on it. It is a fantastic program and does Track Changes like a champ. I will often use it to edit while I am on the go (or when I am lying in bed), though I find that instead of making complex changes on the Mini’s touchscreen keyboard, I will mark a blank comment to remind myself to come back to that spot when I get back to a bigger computer later. I really wish that the iOS keyboard had arrow keys. It would be much more efficient.
Unfortunately, the iOS version of Office doesn’t do three things that I really, really want it to: advanced find and replace, macros, and (in Excel) conditional formatting.
which leads me to…
Asus VivoTab 8”
Finally, my Asus tablet has 2 GB RAM, 32 GB SDD, and a 64 SD card, running Windows 8.1 and, yes, Office 365. I got the Asus to replace the Mini when the Mini started dying because I wanted something that would allow me to do the three things that the iPad version of Office was missing, yet would still fit in my purse. It’s a new addition to my lineup, so I haven’t used my Asus as much as the rest of the list to know if it is actually going to work for the purpose I intended, but I am hopeful. Early tests are looking positive.
iPhone 5S (Soon to be an iPhone 6)
I’m including this more for completeness sake than anything, though I do keep a working version of the Office suite for iOS on my iPhone so I can open documents and see them properly formatted. Mostly I just read and/or copy and paste from them; I don’t try to edit on the iPhone.
And that’s the current (active) list. Let me know if you use something else that you think I would be interested in. I love gadgets of all kinds, especially if they make my life easier.
Before I go, a quick note. If you ever wanted to get even farther into my head, the Mischief Corner Books crew interviewed me for the second volume of The MCB Quarterly, released on July 31. In it you can read my opinion on all kinds of random editing topics, as Freddy MacKay and I had a bit of a stream-of-consciousness Skype conversation and she pretty much lets you see it all.
Erika Orrick wanted to be a writer when she grew up, but detoured into computers when she realized she actually wanted to eat. Financial stability established, she eased her way back into storytelling by fixing other people’s words and discovered she had a knack. An admitted geek, she is constantly distracted from resuming her quest to be a writer by all the shiny. Luckily, since she hasn’t yet grown up, no one can say she hasn’t met her goal. She has tried (and failed) to escape Texas twice and in fact now lives on the north side of Houston, less than 100 miles from where she started.
Erika can be found on Twitter at @erikaeditsbooks or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.