Guest post by Tony C. Smith of StarShipSofa and the District of Wonders.
Some of us here are science fiction buffs, and most I’m guessing are tech buffs as well because we listen to podcasts and not all of humanity is as switched on as us. Am I right?
As a kid I dreamed of a science fiction future bright and shiny and now… well, I guess we are living it.
Looking at some of the things we take for granted now – it would have blown my mind as a child. Now… it’s, dare I say it, almost mundane. We can watch TV on the train from our smartphones. I can video call family and friends from all over the world and from the same train, and see and hear them live. We have electric cars. I have a coffee machine I can start and stop from the other side of the world. I can turn my home heating up from my phone. And the biggest bit of tech I love: I can run StarShipSofa!
I can talk (and have now for ten years!) about science fiction, and you can listen. Just how cool is that? You hear me from wherever you are, whenever you want! I have friends who listen from the other side of the world… some of them listen the moment a show goes out and email me straight away to say they loved it!
And.. there are many who listen. Our George R R Martin show has hit 22 thousand people who have directly downloaded it and listened to it. 22 thousand people! That’s staggering.
And.. that particular show was covered on YouTube by someone who has nearly 100 thousand subscribers!
Ok, I’m getting carried away here – I need to go lie down!
But… yeah it’s the tech – that is a big part of what still gets me excited.
And if there’s an app I can use to help me with DoW, then I’m all over it. Apps are the shining light of the tech world. I love them. Here are a few that I really love:
Evernote – one of the best places now where I store my digital Life.
Pocket – I love Pocket. This is where I keep all the really cool and intresting posts I want to read later. Here’s the thing: I could use Evernote, but I always believe an app should have a single purpose. And Pocket has this covered. I collect all the web posts by people who write up super cool articles and read them later in a “lovely to read” experience. Brilliant app.
Flipboard – This is the app that finds all those super cool articles on the web and puts them in a nice to read format for me to look at. I could read them all here but I like to save them to Pocket to read them later.
Quip – Oh I love Quip. This is a very basic Word kind of app. Actually, the word “basic” is wrong here. It’s so much better than Word. Again, it does one job, and it does it just great. Everyone should have Quip on their phone.
Timely – best clock app I have ever found.
Audible – goes without saying… just brilliant.
Sonos – I love my Sonos, and the app is brilliant.
And… get ready.. here is my pick for Best App Ever. I use it to capture all my ideas. If it wasn’t for this app I wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff I do for District of Wonders. Sure, I’d think about it, but then I’d forget it and then I’d be back to square one. The app is called…………………………….er………………… well, it’s called………………. how to put this…. lets try again……….. the best app out there by far is…………er…. a note pad and pen!
Afraid so. Bugger… that can’t be right can it?
Yes, it is.
With all this tech in the world, all these apps, and my best thing to capture ideas is a simple, real world, hard copy pen and paper.
Simply 14cm by 9cm, of 12 sheets of lined white paper, wrapped in brown card dust jacket. Oh and don’t forget the biro. These little notebooks are, just as we say, the bees-knees. I have tried all apps that say they are the best at collecting your thoughts and ideas. Trust me – there isn’t one better than my notepad and pen. It beats all tech hands down.
And… I think there is something really central to my being when I get an idea and I can jot it down in my notepad. I use it for all ideas. Nothing is sectioned or filed. I have an idea, I jot it down. Simple. Shopping lists will sit next to a Partreon idea, Anniversary poem for Mrs. StarShipSofa sits next to an author’s name that I’ve just discovered.
It’s true. Everything just gets thrown in very random-like with no specific organising going on. As long as it’s “wrote down” then I can relax and move on, ready for the next spark of genius to hit!
There’s a true story there, actually… It was our wedding anniversary in December, this December in fact. I remember the time – it was 2am in the middle of the night, a week before the special day, and I’m lying there in bed. My mind is wandering all over… skipping and jumping from one idea to another. I tell myself to get to sleep. Then it hits me. Out of some recess at the back of my mind… I have just thought of a poem! A poem already fully-fledged and done, ready to put on a card. It’s there right at the front of my mind, bright and shining. This is a gift! I have to remember it! It’s right there… Oh, it’s perfect… I have to remember it. It’s perfect. It’s only a little one but… it’s there. It’s complete. I have it…….. just there and….
(You think I’m going to forget it don’t you? hell, no. I have my notepad).
I grab the little paper miracle and stagger out of the pitch black bedroom, muttering I need to go to the toilet. Flick the light on in the bathroom and capture the poem. It’s like a little moth… fleeting in the ether… And I have caught it! I’ve caught the thing!
Scribbled it down in the notepad and wobbled back to bed content in the thought that I had just earned so many ‘brownie points’. And just to prove it – here is the little ditty, captured on the 27th December 2015.
(You can use it if you like – give a little wink to your partner and say you just thought of it.)
Melanie you are the woman of my dreams,
Who was… back then…
Who is now…
And who will be in the future…
Well yes, granted I’m no Shakespeare… but I got it! And, like I say, I was walking around all day ten foot tall after I handed Mel her anniversary card.
Capture those ideas… life is too short to let then slip away!
StarShipSofa: The Audio Science Fiction Magazine is one of the top SF podcasts in the multiverse that delves into the world of SF.
This post was previously published in a subscriber email and is reprinted here with permission.