6 great mobile writing rigs

Summary:One of the best things about being a writer is the ability to leverage mobile tech to do the job. The six systems I use are as portable as can be, which lets me work practically anywhere without compromise.

Writing for a living has many benefits, not the least of which is the ability to do it outside the office. I head out most days and end up working for hours in some coffee shop or other venue. What makes this work well for me is the mobile gear I use.

6 Mobile Writing Rigs open 2
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

While my collection of mobile devices can be partially attributed to my documented tech addiction, it also lets me keep familiar with current technology. Even so, for me to buy a device to use for work it must be pretty good at what I need to do.

All of the systems I cover here are systems I purchased and that I use regularly. I rotate them often, picking one at random when I'm heading out the door. This works given the methodology that I use for work, along with the ecosystems I employ that help me access all my stuff no matter what mobile platform I happen to be using.

How I work

To understand why these systems work well for me it's necessary to understand how I work. Just about everything I do is online, so the ability to do that well is essential. Part of my online solution involves using various cloud services, which is covered in the ecosystem section below.

The beauty of using Evernote as my editor is that everything I write is immediately available on any device I use.

Because of my platform agnostic approach to work, the primary apps and services I use are multi-platform. It's essential that I be able to pick up any of the gear covered here and be able to access my information.

I do a lot of research online for my articles and this includes following hundreds of RSS news feeds. I also use some news apps that aggregate the information I may find of interest. I use the Feedly RSS service with various apps to handle the thousands of RSS items I follow daily.

A big part of my online research is conducted using social media. This includes Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, I follow a lot of news feeds and status timelines of a lot of people I respect for providing accurate information.

Once the research is done, I write my articles using Evernote. This is available on every platform I use and also available through a web portal. The beauty of using Evernote as my editor is that everything I write is immediately available on any device I use. This includes my phones should I need to reference something when I'm not working. Having my work in Evernote also gives me a backup of my writing should catastrophe strike.

Evernote is also a superb note app and I use it to capture a lot of information I may need for future writing projects. I also use it to store ideas I have, often made by voice notes on my phone. It is a big part of the methodology I employ for my writing projects. It says a lot how the Evernote people have improved both the app and the service, when I can use it not only for its intended purpose, note taking, but also as my primary text editor.

It's all about the cloud ecosystems

For this to work the cloud services are important. I've already mentioned Evernote which is a cloud ecosystem in its own right. Other services I depend on are iCloud/iTunes, Google Drive/Play, Feedly, and Chrome.

Of all the systems I use, the Chrome ecosystem is probably the most important. With one exception, I use Chrome on all of my systems for the majority of my online work, and it's vital that my Chrome environment be the same no matter what device I use. Google has done a good job with this, not only keeping the browser bookmarks in sync but also the Chrome extensions that I use with the browser.

I use Google Drive for keeping files in the cloud and it works on all platforms that I use. It is also the home for Google's office suite, which I use heavily. I have Microsoft Office on my Windows system, but I can't remember the last time I used it for work. Google's solution works fine for my needs.

Next: On to the systems!

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Laptops, Tablets, Windows


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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