About That Satanic Monument…

Those funny li’l folks from the New York “Satanic” (Baphomet, but nevermind) “Temple” (club of overgrown teenagers) who want to build a monument to the devil (who they don’t believe in, but nevermind) at the Oklahoma (Where they don’t live, but nevermind) capitol?

No one is actually offended by this, are they?

I mean, these are pitiable, damaged people looking for someone to pay attention to them, and stand not a snowball’s chance in their favorite place of generating anything more than headlines, which they’ve already achieved. Someone will place one somewhere eventually, and who cares? The country is littered with ugly, pointless statues. As Sean Dailey observes, “If the culture war comes down to who has the most monuments on state government property in Oklahoma, then the culture war was over years ago, and all we’re doing now is divvying up the spoils.”

They may, however, be onto something.

When I was a teenager, I thought I was joining Satanism but read the sign wrong and wound up practicing Stanism:

Hail Stan!

So can I build a statue?

Child’s Play Charity Sets New Record

When the creators of the popular web comic Penny Arcade created the Child’s Play initiative in 2003, they had no idea how big it would get. That first year they raised $250,000 in toys and money for kids at the Seatlle Children’s Hospital to “make the holidays a little bit brighter for the kids in need.”

Every year the donations have grown, and they continue to work to get toys and contributions to kids in over 90 hospitals around the world.

This year, the take was $7.6 million.

“It’s absolutely mind boggling,” they wrote in an official statement, adding

Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have believed it possible. That’s more than the cumulative total for the first six years of Child’s Play, raised in the last 12 months. Not only have you been able to support our growing network of hospitals, but we’re also been able to expand our initiatives and benefit children in domestic violence shelters. In 2014 that program will move past the pilot program to encompass facilities across the country and provide them with vital resources to support the kids they see every day.

Child life specialists reach out to us every year, overwhelmed and amazed at the generosity of gamers. The iPads they use help distract and comfort kids as they prep for surgery. An Xbox will find its way to the community playroom for siblings to play together again. The movies, craft supplies, CDs, toys, and books sent from Amazon wishlists let kids just be kids for a moment: not sick kids, not hurt kids, not scared or lonely kids. Just kids playing like kids.”

The donations are almost entirely from gamers in small denominations, rather than large grants or sponsors. In 10 years they have raised a total of $25,196,670.

Go to childsplaycharity.org for more information.

Drafts [App o’ the Mornin’]

I hope to write small reviews of my whole mobile productivity suite over the next few weeks (alternating with entertainment reviews), and concluding with a post on how it all ties together. I’ve tested a vast array of software over the past couple years, trying to rebuild my work system from scratch, first going wholly paperless, and then drifting back to some paper-based note-taking and lists.

Text highlighted in the Universalis app is turned into a document with one tap.

Whatever I do and whatever I’ve changed, however, Drafts (Agile Tortoise, iOS 7 only, iPad: $4, iPhone: $3, no universal app) has been a constant since I adopted it for both iPhone and iPad last year. Drafts is the funnel through which all my text flows, and its simplicity hides a power that allows to you create and use text anyway you like.

Drafts is a straight-up text utility. You type plain text, and that’s it.

But it’s not merely a text editor. I have several of those, some of which I prefer to use when I’m doing long-form writing on a mobile device. (iAwriter and Textilus both have their uses.) If you choose to use Drafts as your total text creation solution, it will work just fine. It has special characters in the bar above the keyboard, arrows that allow you to move by letter and word through the document, onscreen word and character counts, and some light character formatting features. 

But Drafts is special not because it’s a text editor, but because it’s a text manager. It allows for the fastest, easiest “text capture” on any mobile device. It opens quickly on a blank page every time (unless you set it to open on the last file), and allows you tap out text fast. All of your saved pages are readily accessible by tapping an icon to open a list of documents.

The power comes from it does text. You can “push” it anywhere you need. Let’s say you take a note and want to Tweet it, Facebook it, email it, turn it into a text file to save on Dropbox, make it a reminder, and drop it into Evernote. It does each of these actions with a tap.

Say you don’t want to create a new Dropbox file, but rather append a new piece of text, complete with a time and date stamp, to the end of a file. It can do that too. It’s the best way I’ve ever found to keep a continuous journal. It will start a new file each day, week, or month if you like. The list of actions is large and each can be customized for your needs. You can even chain actions together so that one tap will do all of the things listed above.

It’s like a little notebook and filing system in one. I use it for everything from jotting down quick notes to capturing story ideas or sentences that occur to me. Sometimes I dictate straight into it using the iOS voice recognition icon, and it works just fine at capturing voice-to-text. When you tap and hold the new document creation icon, you get a menu that allows you to create a new draft, new from clipboard, new from selection, or import from Dropbox. If you’re looking for a way to grab slices of text on an iOS screen and send it somewhere for future use, it doesn’t get any easier than this.

There are a lot of features buried in here–like the ability to use it as an app launcher–that I never use. It’s a powerful piece of software, and though some might be annoyed that it’s not a universal app (you’ll need to buy iPhone and iPad versions separately) $7 total is an absurdly small price to pay for something this useful. It has an elegant implementation of its features, masking serious flexibility and power with a deceptive simplicity. That’s a sign of good design. On any device I use, it has a permanent place on my dock.