Tool Comparison: Google Docs vs. SquareSpace's Blog App

A couple weeks ago I found out that SquareSpace has an app for iOS to write blog posts on your phone (or iPad). I've been trying it out and have some feels about it.

Oh my freaking gods, it is dang near impossible to select text on this thing.

I don't know what is going on, but every time I try to select a word or just move the bloody cursor back so I can delete or correct text without deleting the two or three words I wrote before noticing my spelling mistake or typos, I end up spending 1-2 minutes fighting with the app to stop freaking switching between edit and non-edit mode and just move the dang cursor!

Look, I still don't type all that great on this swiping keyboard I have installed on my phone. Sometimes the keyboard thinks I mean one thing (for) when no this time I actually do want the other one (four). Sometime, I just completely mistype a thing and out came the wrong word. I need to be able to go back an edit as I write. It's part of how I think.

I did try for a couple posts to write on the app and then do an editing pass through the desktop interface. Let's just say there were more errors than I was happy with in the final post. And like the whole point of using the app, namely to free up time in the evenings to spend with Partner, was negated by having to edit through the desktop. Not because I needed to edit. But because I needed to edit a lot

Now to be fair, I need to compare this with using Google Docs, which also requires using the desktop interface. For a Docs written post I have to a) transfer it over to SquareSpace, b) clear the formatting and take out extra paragraph breaks, and then c) do the editing. Transferring is fast (hurrah copy/paste) and clearing is quick (cntrl+a and a button). Editing after writing the post in Docs is much faster than through the SquareSpace app because I've already done a lot of it. Taking out the extra paragraph breaks is annoying though. Just annoying. Not 'gripping the edges of my phone so I don't start gnawing on it' frustrating like the issue with the cursor has been with the app.

If I had a clear sense on which method chewed up more of my data plan, I'd be factoring that into consideration. But as it is, I think I'll be going back to using Docs and saving the app on my phone for emergencies. Like being at my mother's place with no wifi.

On Trello

As promised, I tried out Trello for organizing what I need to do next to The Dangers of Fraternization (the current writing project) and have some thoughts to share with y'all.

I'm just not sure how much use I'm going to get out of Trello for my personal projects that I couldn't get out of my to-do list (I use Wunderlist, btw). I definitely see the utility for collaborative projects — it's been useful coordinating between Partner, myself, and Tom, the guy we're working on pulling together a Red Markets pick-up-and-play convention packet. We can leave ideas we know we need to happen up on the board and folks can grab tasks as they have time. But that's not really relevant when it's just me on a project.

I used labels? It's nice to have color markers for quick visual reference whether a task is organizational or writing or editing. I guess that could be good if I have a variety of tasks and have more energy for dealing with one over the others that day. But that's not really how I work on projects... I tend to do all the organizational work. Then build a skeleton of scenes based off the outline I built (in the previous step). Then do the writing. Then the editing. Then... Point! Point being that I work more iteratively and less with multiple types of tasks to do.

The checklist feature in Trello matches up with the subtasks feature of Wunderlist. Neither lets me assign a due date to the checklist item/subtask, so there's no gain in features there (that is something I like to have). I suppose I could accomplish that by converting each checklist item to a card (Trello has a button for that) and assigning a due date to the card. Which defeats the purpose of using a checklist in the first place?

Comments on a card seem more useful when multiple folks are on the project, otherwise I might as well just call them notes to myself.

I think the real thing Trello provides that Wunderlist does is visual organization. Moving cards around on a board between lists is dang useful for some folks, just not my thing. I am primarily a visual organizer, but visual in that I want to see the task written down, not that I want a cork board of index cards I can move around to organize my thoughts.

Don't get me wrong, Trello is a good product — heck, writing this post reminded me to suggest using it to the Technical Difficulties crew. I just don't find it useful for how I think about my non-collaborative project. If you're one of the folks who likes the cork board of index cards of ideas or more visual organization than a to-do list or stuff like that, I'd recommend Trello. It's really robust, with good features, that's free for personal use. I'll just be sticking to Wunderlist for solo writing projects and expanding into Trello for collaborative projects, of all varieties. Gods help me if/when Partner and I need to go house hunting...