It’s here! My Cregle iPen is here! Finally! Only a few weeks after promised, but I’m not complaining. Mainly because I don’t know how useful this little guy’s gonna be yet, but I have high hopes. As a writer, I do like to do a certain amount of red-pen-and-paper editing, but it’s not very green… especially when we’re talking 140,000 words and multiple drafts. My plan is to bring in PDFs and edit them with a digital red pen… at this point, there seem to be ten apps that the iPen works with, so I’m going to try out Ghostwriter Notes. Why? Because it’s the first one I heard about. Lame reason, but whatever.
I started playing with the iPen earlier, just in a blank notepad, and it does work quite nicely. It captures my handwriting, even when I write small and fast. I need it to do that.
So far, my first hiccup is that my PDF is too big– 629 pages. (Yikes, I know.) It crashed the app while importing. I’m no quitter, though. I broke it up into three smaller PDFs, and am trying to import them as I type this. (Stay tuned for the results, folks!) If that works, then I’ll start making some notes. I did get a preview of this earlier, with my somewhat imported PDF. It was pretty cool… it zooms in on the text you touch, so you can write pretty fine notes there, and cross out words with precision.
My only question is… is there a way to quickly thumb through the edits once they’re made? For instance, if I cross out a word on page 6 and add a sentence on page 121, is there a list somewhere of those edits that I can easily see? Or do I have to thumb through all 210 pages to see what I’ve edited? That’ll be a deal-breaker for me. It looks like there’s a bookmark view, or maybe it’s a page view… I’ll have to see how that looks once I’ve made some edits.
But… that’s a limitation of the app, and not the iPen, so I can’t fault the utensil for that. Anyway. I’m going to be the author/editor’s guinea pig and do some testing of this nifty little device… and I’ll report back to you when I have some conclusive results. So far, the iPen itself feels nice and writes well.
UPDATE: Ghostwriter Notes did import my first two 210 page PDFs, even though my iPad went to sleep for a second during the upload of one of them. 🙂 *Note: Password-protected PDFs will not work.
If any author/editor/journalist/whatever has any specific questions about this iPen or the Ghostwriter Notes app, just let me know by adding a comment or emailing me at the address on the home page of this blog.
Okay, UPDATE 2 (10:30pm on 3/12): Ghostwriter Notes is the only app that currently works with the iPen, contrary to what their website states. They say the rest of the apps will take a few weeks to get approval from Apple. Okay, that’s cool. I trust more are coming. As far as Ghostwriter Notes goes, the calibration is pretty wonky. It’ll be fine for a few seconds, I’ll lift the pen, and then it will be up to an inch off. Pick the pen up again, put it down, and it’s fine once more. I was reading on the forum that this would be addressed in a future Ghostwriter Notes update. It works okay now, but I did find myself erasing and re-writing things, and when I want to do down-and-dirty editing, I don’t want to have to rewrite my notes. The page thumbnail view does give you small visual representations of your edits, so you can tell what pages you’ve worked on, provided it wasn’t just a little period somewhere. I could see that being a little tricky to see. So whatever notes you make, make them big enough to see in a small thumbnail.
Would this have worked while editing my first draft? Probably not. Will it suffice on my fourth draft? It very well may. I’ll continue working on it tomorrow.