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Tabula Rasa - Bonus Round

So my last unemployment threw my upgrade cycle all out of whack, leaving my desktop from 2005 only just replaced earlier this year and me not having done my notebook upgrade yet, which it needs as it is failing and now out of warranty. Normally, when I go on vacations, I like to spend my free time relaxing and working on things on my notebook. Given its state, it wasn't going to be the best of ideas for my vacation to San Diego this year. Now, in the mean time, this year I made the jump into smartphones with my LG Quantum, so I thought perhaps I'd try something new this year: tabula rasa - clean slate, as in a slate/tablet device as partner to my smartphone, clean and progressive operating from the cloud. So, thanks to the gracious lending of a Viewsonic G Tablet device by one of the Notebook Forums members, I went to California with WP7 in one hand, and Android in the other.

One of the biggest problems the tablet market has is finding somewhere to fit. People have powerful phones, and powerful desktops, and the tablets fit in an in-between that most people don't need. My main desire for them is an actual need for a middle bridge, where my phone doesn't give me enough space for what I need to do, but it would be too inconvenient to boot up my computer to do the task. A tablet, for me, would be a good idea, which is why I went for the idea. Now it worked... somewhat. WP7 operates on SkyDrive, and thanks to the SoRaMi client Android can sync with SkyDrive. QuickOffice on Android allowed me to work with my documents in DocX format (which I needed to convert things form ODF to in order to use in Office 2010 on WP7).  However, at the end of the day, the idea didn't pan out so well in practice, for one particular reason: typing.

I will make note that up until now, except for a few additions to the above paragraphs, I typed that all on my phone. And I can do with my phone what I could not do with the tablet, because the LG Quantum has a hardware keyboard. I grew up typing on Commodore 64 and IBM Model M keyboards, and I am a touch typist, I don't look at the keyboard to know what I'm typing, except when I need to replace my hands (I didn't learn to type with the "home row" system, my hands instead move rather differently, so I need to reset myself when I move my hands away or I end up typing all sorts of gibberish as my hands are going through the motion on the wrong keys). With my phone, I have the feedback of the keys being pressed, and can feel them under my fingers to know I'm in the right place. For all but the simplest things, I use the keyboard instead of the softkeys, because for me it is faster. But with the G Tablet, there was no such benefit for me. I had to look at the keys, or else I would miss. And that's with the special split keyboard the ROM I was using had (VEGAn-TAB GingerEdition), I imagine the regular keyboard would have been even worse for me to use.

And that's the way it goes. I pretty much got no writing done the whole trip, because I just could not function with that soft keyboard. I need the feedback in order to type, I need to feel what and where I'm pressing. So now I'm left with a decision about whether to move on with getting a tablet or not. If I do, at the very least, I will need some sort of keyboard attachment to do serious work on it, such as the dock for the Eee Pad Transformer (which is what I was planning on getting before this mess came up). For your amusement, if you want to see how bad it was, you can click on the following link to read the previous entry as I wrote it on the tablet, giving up on trying to correct things:

Thu, 25 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500

Tabula Rasa

This entry I wrote while in San Diego last week. There's also a bonus round for this entry, which I will write as the next entry.


So, I haven’t done anything with this site for a while. To be honest with you, I really haven’t been motivated to do any writing at all since I finally got my new desktop built, which I guess can be attributed to the fact that I had a large number of PC games that I either purchased and was unable to fulfill the requirements for, or were gifted to me without my computer specs being known by the purchaser. Regardless, I haven’t done lately some of the things i usually enjoy, such as writing for this site.

Tabula rasa, in Latin, means 'clean slate'. In my mind, my thought process works in two different ways when I’m developing ideas: I either directly focus on letting the story in question develop, or I run a story that basically just happens as it comes to me, and I take whatever works and apply it elsewhere and toss the rest. Skewed used to be my storyline for this method until I started planning it out in cards and finished the storyline to the end, at which point it had no further development use to me, and so I wiped it from the slate. Hehehee The Story was also such a platform, and it’s premature end led to me starting the Red Ice series to continue some of the ideas I was playing with there.

Perhaps its no coincidence that these platforms are all essentially fanfics: I particularly do it that way because I don’t have to spend a lot of time coming up with new characters (which, as I have mentioned before, are all in the names). Coincidentally enough, my current platform started in the exact place I’m writing this entry now: 2 years ago, here in San Diego. It shouldn’t be of any surprise to certain people that know me well that the platform is the Touhou indie game series, which, back then in the last San Diego visit, I had just been getting into, and couldn’t tear myself away from reading practically the entire Touhou wiki (wikis do that of course). 

Now while I don’t particularly intend to share any of the storylines of what’s grown on that platform over the last 2 years, but I will share a point I have found interesting for it: tabula rasa is easy to apply. There have been multiple times where I’ve run up to a brick wall in where the story has gone, some within days and some much longer, but due to some unique properties in the way Zun has presented the series, I have multiple entry points to work with, so can just wipe the slate and go again whenever I have no more room. Over the last years, its ended up wi1h be having an overall story made of about 7 or 8 different major arcs that could be tied together into the main overall story of the platform, and a bunch of smaller independent pieces. Oddly enough, the story isn’t even anywhere close to Touhou canon anymore, having become in the most recent major arc a strange amalgam of Touhou, Fallout, Stargate, my Spiral Island series, and FFXI, with Gensokyo itself destroyed and the main characters of the arc living above the earth in a ship which I named, appropriately, the Tabula Rasa.

Although now even that’s running into a wall. So I’m hoping this trip back to its source will once again inspire me with a new seed, and I can wipe clean and start fresh once more.

Sun, 21 Aug 2011 08:00:00 -0500