Moon+ Reader and Other Stuff

I rarely use anything but a Kindle to read ebooks. When I am compiling my own indie ebooks I look at them in other readers but I usually don’t read for pleasure in anything but Amazon’s eco-system. I own an old Bookeen Cybook which I bought at the end of last decade. I sometimes dig it out to look at the compilations I bought when I first started reading ebooks on a Palm handheld. There were some astonishingly good value compilations of classic authors by Packard Technologies which remain better put together than the stuff you find on Amazon. Mostly though, it’s Kindle all the way. Amazon is where I buy pretty much all my ebooks these days and its reader is just so damn convenient. I can read something on my e-ink Kindle and continue seamlessly on my phone.

That said, recently I have found myself using Moon+ Reader a lot. It’s not that I find it innately superior to the Kindle reader, though it is. It’s certainly not more convenient. I sideload my books onto it from Gdrive. It’s because it’s excellent for editing.

Recently, I’ve rambled on about the Kormak series bible endlessly. This was one of the tools I used to create it. Moon+ Reader is brilliant for marking things up– I can easily underline things or highlight lines and paragraphs with a digital marker pen. I can easily add notes too.

So what, you cry? You can do the same on the Kindle. I would argue that Moon+ Reader’s interface is better, but that’s not where it really scores. It’s at exporting those notes that Moon+ excels. On my Nexus 5, I can just hit the share button and send them to Google Keep or Google Drive or Jotterpad or Simplenote or any other note-taking tool I happen to have installed. I can also email them to myself or anyone else I choose. To do something similar on the Kindle, you need to jump through hoops.

Moon+ Reader’s interface is very clear and its a simple thing to go through the marked-up manuscript and jump from bookmark to bookmark or note to note. I will probably add this to my general editing process. Its available for Android and there is a free version, which is what I currently use.

Another thing I did this last week is acquire a new battery for my old MacBook Air. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been less than gruntled with Apple’s computers for a long time now. If I had to point at one thing, it’s the new keyboards. I mean yeah, they look cool, and they let you have a very thin laptop but I find them uncomfortable to type on. And the typing thing is kind of the point of a keyboard. In a nutshell, there is everything that has gone wrong at Apple since the death of Steve Jobs.

Having said that, I loved my MacBook Air back in the day. The battery failed about two years in and, at the end, the trackpad was very glitchy but when it worked it was probably the best portable I ever owned. I never warmed to my Retina MacBook Pro in the same way.

I had an email from an old friend who still uses his six-year-old Air and that got me thinking. I’ve become more and more obsessive about recycling my tech over the past half year, so I thought maybe I should get my Air sorted. I took it into a repair shop and got a new battery put in and the trackpad checked out. The battery swap went fine. The tech said there was nothing mechanically wrong with the trackpad, which surprised me.

It was a software problem then. I considered doing a clean install but before I did I googled my particular problem. It appeared that the sort of glitching I had was a fairly well-documented problem with Yosemite. My problems started before Yosemite but the description of what was going wrong was spot on. The main solution appeared to be updating the OS.

I figured I might as well try and see if that sorted things. It did. So there you go. For the cost of a new battery (roughly $129 plus tax) and a quick software update, I have what feels like a new MacBook Air. That makes me happy. It also confirms what I have suspected for a while now. Pretty much any computer released in the last eight years will do what I need for work. A modern Macbook Air would have almost twice as much battery life but its performance would not be significantly better for my purposes. And let’s face it, seven hours of battery life, which is what my Air gives me, is more than enough.

Since I have essentially switched everything over to cross-platform software, the Air slots right into my working life easily. Markdown plus Dropbox remains a great way of getting blog posts done. Much to my surprise, Scrivener on Linux Mint actually works better than the Windows version. Never saw that coming. IMAP email is email no matter what client or OS you use. I am still using Linux for my main work computer but the Air makes a really good walking about laptop.

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