I love new writing utensils. In middle school, I nerdily-enough spent my babysitting cash on new writing supplies. I made lists of lusty marbled papers, pretty stationary and colored pens. There was a wonderful little shop called Area’s, where I spent a great deal of time picking out writing utensils, note paper and Kitty Cucumber erasers.  (I included mention of Kitty Cucumber to take away the power of would-be blackmailers.) Keep in mind, this was the ’80s. Kids didn’t have cell phones or hand-held video games. We rocked those hand-held mazes with the little rolling ball.  Then I proudly displayed these prized supplies at school, complete with folders of marketing materials for my PPKO club, which had by-laws, a mission, logo, a feline theme and a board of directors. Yes, yes. Even in 6th grade. We held our club meetings on the top floor of my tower bedroom in the Victorian home where my family lived for a while. My role on the board was President and my friend, Gillian, was V.P. Her younger sister, Cammie, Secretary/Treasurer. We made buttons and brochures. I designed our logo–the word “CATS” written in the shape of a black cat, loosely inspired by Manet.  I recruited new members at school using the marketing materials I developed in the tower. That was the most fun part of it for me–creating the content at the heart of the club.

Flash forward to grad school, 2001: I got my first PC, a Dell 8100 Inspiron laptop, which lasted 8 years. It was a reliable, beautiful beast of a machine. That Dell 8100 Inspiron survived a house flood in 2004 (where an entire portfolio of art & graphic design work from 9+ years of art projects soaked up the water and disintegrated before I could rescue it) and many, many moves from apt to apt throughout grad school and after. I wrote the first few chapters of my creative nonfiction book and my master’s thesis, along with all of my graduate study work in human ecology and sustainable business on that PC. I loved that computer.

I can’t say the same for the subsequent models of Dell notebooks (several models and a decade after I got my first), including the Dell Studio 1535–what a nightmare. I’m still working out some problems caused by a Cycle-of-Stupid with a Time Warner/CA Security incident last April, so I haven’t been able to enjoy a reliable PC at home in over 6 months. For a writer, that’s like fasting. One of those weird zany fad fasting diets that just makes a person crazed for anything that remotely resembles a writing tool, other than a pad of paper & Pilot pen. (I don’t chew pens. Let’s not mix metaphors.)

I love the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1!

Then I got the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and it’s fabulous! I’m learning how to use its many applications, including the S-pen, which allows me to write, draw, design, build presentation materials, doodle, brainstorm and create. I can work in two screens using the multi-screen lay-out, supposedly bring in images and items from another screen into my S-note document. There’s Adobe Photoshop Touch, which I haven’t explored yet, as well as countless apps. This is new to me since I have not used a Smartphone or iPhone (due to the drama with the frequency of CMP’s SmartMeters, which killed the signal for customers in most of southern Maine for using smartphone types of devices in their homes–with the exception of Samsung Galaxy products, which work fine). I learned this when CMP sent a consultant, who has worked for TimeWarner and CMP, to my home to sort out the problems I was having with my WiFi thanks to the SmartMeter. He recommended a Samsung Galaxy tablet, as they had fewer problems with getting their signals jammed by CMP’s new digital meter system. Good news for me: the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 works well in my home. No issues picking up my own WiFi in my house, in my backyard, or in other locations with WiFi. It’s user-friendly and the screen resolution is perfect. I’ve watched a few videos on it, though I’ve had trouble installing the latest version of Adobe Flashplayer, required by some videos (like those on ABC.com). Overall, I don’t think I would want to write an entirely new blog post on my new tablet, but I have found it to be useful for managing my social media sites, checking email, and surfing the web. As I get to learn the more advanced applications, I think this will be a fun and effective tool in my work as a communications & marketing professional, especially in meetings, on-the-go, in coffee shops (hypothetically speaking) or while traveling. Ah, to travel with a lightweight tablet instead of lugging a heavy laptop bag as a personal item. My new tablet fits in my work bag. Hurrah! It makes me feel sleek and chic. And the iPad cover fit the Samsung tablet well enough. I didn’t like the Samsung choices for tablet cases (boring, very expensive, etc.) This one looks like camouflage on my writing desk.