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What To Do When You Are Stuck With Writing

Writer's block is the worst ailment I know; it's unpredictable, comes quickly and could leave as quickly or stay far too long and its remedy is never constant. If you have experienced this in the near past, you know exactly what I mean. If you are stuck in it now, here are ways that I hope will help you ease out of it or at least, help you meet your deadline.

  • Take a break - This sounds easy enough, but if done right, it could yield perfect results. Take a break from the place you are working at, be it your office or at home, and take a short walk. Go for a coffee at your favourite cafe or watch a short film, or read a couple of pages of a book you love. When you do something that inspires you, for some reason, your creative juices start to flow.
  • Ask for help - I know that many writers do not like the idea of buying essays when they have to deliver them but sometimes, asking for help is strength in itself. Look up a good essay site like Essay Shop and give specifications of the kind of essay you need. You can even send a sample of your previous work for them to keep the style constant.
  • Get rid of distractions - Distractions like phones, activity around you or even noise can easily distract you and make it impossible for you to write. Create a clear environment that works best for you. Some have suggested having white noise in your ear as you work. This clears your thoughts making it easy to re-focus and gather ideas.
  • Scribble - This is a tactic that Early Childhood teachers use to help kids learn how to write. I know you're wondering how this helps a grown, reputed writer like you. Well, sometimes, going back to basics helps us reinvent and even rediscover ourselves. Take a writing pad and scribble aimlessly like a two-year old. Setting your mind that free helps unblock it bringing a refreshment that you could use to start writing again.

Review: Apple iOS 4 on iPhone 3GS
Apple has released a major new version of iOS, the operating system formerly known as iPhone OS. Having spent the week working with iOS 4 on my iPhone 3GS along with a bevy of newly upgraded apps, I am pleased to report that it's all good. Simplistic? Yes, but blissfully true. If you have an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, or second generation iPod touch, there is no downside to making the jump to iOS 4 immediately.

The changes are substantial without degrading the elegant simplicity of the iPhone interface. There are over 100 changes in all including some deeply technical bits of interest to app developers, but here I will highlight all the good stuff for iPhone 3GS upgraders like me: Multitasking, fast app switching, app folders, universal mail inbox and message threading, home screen wallpaper, wireless keyboard support, 5X camera zoom and video tap to focus.

READ: Assignmentholic writing service

-- Posted 25 June 2010 by dtm

Safari 5 adds Reader, raw speed, and extension support
While there was certainly no shortage of exciting news emanating from Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, there was nothing a non-developer could use immediately, with one exception. Safari 5 for Mac OS X and Windows was quietly released in the afternoon following the presentation that did not not mention the new browser once. Strange, since Safari 5 has at least one killer new feature, an impressive performance boost, and a new extension architecture that users have been begging for.

The most welcome of Safari's new capabilities is Reader, which gives you the ability to view long articles in an uncluttered, printed page-like view. When you land on a page, Safari's address bar pops up a gray Reader button to the right of the URL. Click on this and a pane open up with the article laid out for easy reading, while the originating page dims in the background.

READ: Safari 5 adds Reader, raw speed, and extension support

-- Posted 8 June 2010 by dtm

Apple unveils iPhone 4
As expected, at WWDC10 in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4. It's a very handsome stainless steel/glass affair barely more than a third of an inch thick. Its display has four times the resolution of the iPhone 3GS (640 x 960 vs 320 x 480), the main camera is now 5-megapixel, there's a front-facing VGA second camera for video conferencing (via WiFi only for now), there's HD video recording, the same speedy Apple A4 processor as in the iPad, and a LED flash. The addition of a 3-axis gyro adds to the iPhone 4's awareness of motion and direction, and the battery is good for 7 hours of 3G talk, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video. The 16GB model will cost US$199, the 32GB version US$299. Pre-ordering will start June 15. Oh, and Apple now calls the iPhone OS iOS, and no word on relief from AT&T's monopoly or on their latest rate plan snafu. See iPhone 3 vs 4 comparison -- Posted 7 June 2010 by dtm

Review: Bill Atkinson PhotoCard for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
At first glance, the idea of an app that sends postcards via email or postal service seems like a non-starter. But Bill Atkinson PhotoCard is so compelling, inexpensive, and just plain fun that I quickly found myself looking for reasons to send cards to everyone I care about.

Bill Atkinson PhotoCard is a universal app optimized for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch that guides you through creating a postcard with photography on the front and text, stickers, and an audio attachment on the back. PhotoCards can be sent to any email address for free or to any postal address for about $2 domestic or $3 international. These custom 8.25" x 5.5" cards are printed on high quality card stock on an HP Indigo digital press, coated on both sides to survive the postal system and sent First Class. Postage is applied electronically and the first card you send from the paid version of PhotoCard is free. Of course, the only thing you lose by physical printing and mailing is the audio attachment, though my guess is there is a way to insert a custom audio playback circuit into them in some future version of PhotoCard.

READ: Review: Bill Atkinson PhotoCard
-- Posted 10 May 2010 by dtm

Windows XP on an iPad? I declare!
What you're seeing in the picture to the right is lots of folks' worst nightmare: Windows XP on an iPad. The real thing and fully functional. How is this possible? With a VNC client (I use VNC Viewer). The iPad is not really running Windows XP, of course; it's just running a piece of software that lets you view, control and use Macs, Linux boxes and, yes, PCs.
READ: Windows XP on an iPad?

-- Posted 10 May 2010 by dtm

WaterField Ultimate SleeveCase for iPad
Regular readers know that I am inordinately fond of cases and bags from San Francisco-based WaterField Designs. All their products are attractive, thoughtfully designed, made in USA, and reasonably priced. Their new line of iPad cases are further proof of the company's dedication to delighting customers.
READ: WaterField SleeveCase for iPad

-- Posted 5 May 2010 by dtm

Textie for iPhone: Unlimited free texting
AT$T charges my three-phone family $30 per month for unlimited texting. Considering that one of us is a tweenie, I suppose that's not too horribly overpriced; I'm sure my lovely daughter will soon be texting hundreds of messages every day. But the vast bulk of my texts are sent to my wife and to my editor, both of whom carry iPhones, making us all perfect candidates for a sweet new iPhone app called Textie.
READ: Textie for iPhone: Unlimited free texting

-- Posted 29 April 2010 by dtm

AT&T posts info on iPad 3G data plans
AT&T has posted a PDF fact sheet on their data plans for the iPad WiFi + 3G models hitting the stores on Friday April 30. Pricing has not changed but we were surprised by the auto-renew "feature" that forces you to remember to cancel or pay for another month. While full-time 3G data users will like this, travelers who only intend to activate their plan on an ad hoc basis may not. We were under the impression that the plan would be month-to-month with auto-cancel if not explicitly renewed by the user.
DOWNLOAD: AT&T iPad 3g Fact Sheet (PDF)

-- Posted 28 April 2010 by dtm

Review: Apple iPad WiFi 64GB
Sunday morning I awoke to a choice: either wait a week for Apple to send me an iPad, or drive 602 miles round-trip to buy one today and get to work writing this review tonight. Actually there was no choice at all — I gulped a second cup of coffee and hit the road.

The smallish Best Buy in Idaho Falls had the only iPads available to purchase for a thousand miles around my current residence in Boise, perhaps due to them receiving their shipment later than the big city stores. Several phone calls confirmed that the few they had were going fast and that Apple had forbidden all stores from accepting payment over the phone or even reserving iPads for later pickup. I could only hope there would be one left for me when I arrived; there was no guarantee I would bring home the bacon.

READ: Apple iPad WiFi 64GB

-- Posted 22 April 2010 by dtm

WaterField Designs Personal Muzetto Man Bag
Confession: I have carried various man-bags for many years but not so much lately. In part because of the occasional snickers I have gotten from good ol' boys in the parochial city I live in and the rest due to the highly changeable weather here that usually dictates that I carry a jacket providing all the cargo capacity I need. But there are many situations that are well served by a bag and I dislike carrying bulky stuff in my pockets. A new day job has me packing my lunch every day, so if I am going to carry a bag anyway it might as well be a cool one,. The search was on!
READ: WaterField Designs Personal Muzetto Man Bag

-- Posted 15 June 2009 by dtm

Epson Stylus Photo RX680 Multifunction Printer
My days of complaining about the limitations of multifunction printers are over. Used to be you had to give up so much in one or more of the functions that it just wasn't worth the space and money savings to have one. But that was then and this is now.

I have consistently preferred Epson printers over the years and the RX680 (List $199, $129 discounted) gives me no reason to change that preference. I have been living with this unit for over a month and can report that it is an excellent machine, worthy of your hard earned cash. It is not perfect, but it is the best multifunction printer I've ever reviewed.
READ: Epson Stylus Photo RX680 Multifunction Printer

-- Posted 10 April 2008 by dtm

New Life For Your Old Tivo: Drive Upgrades & the Logitech Harmony One
My five year-old Sony SVR-3000 TiVo went south. The 80GB hard drive just up and died with no warning at all. Just wouldn't boot and made nasty clicking sounds. I have a nine-year old daughter who absolutely MUST have her Hannah Montana, so I had to move fast or risk major domestic unrest.

I seemed to me that this scenario must be playing out in thousands of households right about now. There were boatloads of TiVo Series II units sold around the time we bought ours and all those hard drives are winking out all over the world, slowly but surely. So I decided to build this article based on the experience of replacing the drive.
READ: New Life For Your Old Tivo: Drive Upgrades & the Logitech Harmony One

-- Posted 21 March 2008 by dtm

Review: WaterField Cargo Messenger Bag
I have become an accidental messenger bag collector. Yes, I do ride a single-speed urban assault bike and yes, messenger bags make perfect sense for short jaunts around town, but I think the real reason I prefer them is because they are masculine. Any proper messenger bag gives you the ability to carry your stuff around without the metrosexual overtones of the dreaded man-bag.
READ: WaterField Cargo Messenger Bag

-- Posted 27 February 2008 by dtm

Casio Pathfinder PAW-1300T7
Used to be if you wanted a rugged watch for hiking or diving, you paid a lot of money for it. Now the Rolex Explorers, Omega Speedmasters, and Tag Heuer Aquaracers mostly hang from the wrists of folks who want to look outdoorsy but would never expose their shiny timepieces to the elements. Nothing wrong with that, it's just the way some products go upmarket over time. And it makes sense in a world where you can buy attractive, durable, and supremely functional digital watches for less than what it costs to get a mechanical Swiss watch cleaned and tuned by your friendly neighborhood horologist.
READ: Casio Pathfinder PAW-1300T7

-- Posted 30 December 2007 by dtm

iPhone News & Reviews section
We have created a master page on our sister site Pen Computing that is devoted to in-depth iPhone reviews, news, and product announcements. Check it out.

-- Posted 30 December 2007 by dtm

Feature: iPod Sound Systems
font size="2" face="Trebuchet MS">There are dozens of iPod-compatible sound systems on the market. You can't swing a cat in a consumer electronics store without knocking over stacks of them. We've rounded up over 20 of the best, put them all on the bench and let 'em rip. What follows is our short list of the best in each category, with ties given where we couldn't pick a clear favorite. Some models sound so similar that the only way to choose is because of a unique feature or a cool design aspect. Price did not factor into the equation, since in virtually all cases the prices are so close as to be irrelevant.
READ: iPod Sound Systems

-- Posted 17 December 2007 by dtm

Feature: World's Best Headphones For iPod
The people who create the music you love don't hear their work the way you do. They all use speakers and headphones made for professionals -- pricey, ultra-reliable, serious tools you'll rarely see on any store shelf. Think Sting walks along his private beach in Tahiti with common iPod ear buds on? Can you imagine Springsteen sitting on a plane wearing those throwaway earphones the sky waitress hands out with the peanuts?

It's not about status or wealth or fashion, it's about fidelity. When your life's work is made of sound waves, you need to hear the truth and you need to protect your hearing. Truly great headphones provide both, and they're not as expensive as you might expect. If you love music, read on and hear like you've never heard before.
READ: World's Best Headphones For iPod

-- Posted 14 December 2007 by dtm

Review: SeV Explorer Jacket
A coat, even one that is perfectly suited to a life entwined with personal tech, is still a coat. In the middle of the night, scrambling into something so you can drive your sick kid to the ER, it's just a coat and it had better do its job. Wallet, keys, mobile phone, grab the kid and you're out the door. This is no time to think about your iPod's earbud wires, okay? The SeV Explorer Jacket is a superb coat that'll keep you warm, make you look good, and let you brilliantly organize all your daily gear and effects within.
READ: SeV Explorer Jacket

-- Posted 11 December 2007 by dtm

Review: Voltaic Converter Solar Backpack
Green is good, no question. It's even fashionable. So does wearing a backpack brandishing three large solar panels make you cool or a tool? That's a call you have to make for yourself. I like the look of Voltaic's Converter in tan with green rimmed panels. It's less toolish than the same pack in Darth Vader black, blends better with outdoor environments, and is a bit cooler in the sun. If you are carrying a tuna sandwich in there, heat matters.
READ: Voltaic Convertor Solar Backpack

-- Posted 11 December 2007 by dtm

Feature: Let's Get It On (Your iPod)
Getting the music, photos, and video you want onto your iPod is accomplished by getting the files into your computer, either by purchasing songs or videos from the online iTunes Music Store, or by importing your audio CDs, personal photos, and home movies into iTunes on your computer for transfer to your iPod. Most of us have audio CDs already, so virtually everyone will end up using both methods eventually.
READ: Let's Get It On (Your iPod)

-- Posted 7 December 2007 by dtm

Personal Media Review is all about tools for creating and enjoying media. If your relationship to sound and image goes beyond mere consumption, welcome aboard! Our goal is less gear, better gear. Creativity and enjoyment are improved by great tools, so that's all you'll find here.

~David MacNeill, editor-in-chief

Apple iPad WiFi 64GB Review
Apple iPad WiFi 64GB Review The iPad is nothing less than the birth of a new computing platform.

Four computers have altered the course of my life: the original Macintosh 128K, the original PowerBook, the Newton MessagePad, and now the iPad. In each case, I changed careers so that I could be closer to the flame.

While iPad 1.0 is nowhere near perfect, its potential to change personal computing is staggering. Please read my in-depth review to see what all the fuss is about!

Apple iPad WiFi 64GB Review

Morningtown CD is shipping!
DAVID MACNEILL: Morningtown "David MacNeill's first solo CD is made up of eleven of the writer's favorite songs written from 1997 to 2007.

Over the rock-solid foundation of Jerry White's powerful bass lines and Buzz Baker's sophisticated percussion, David layers a shimmering array of acoustic, electric, resonator, and baritone guitars in addition to singing all vocal leads and harmonies. Studio ace Lance Taber played soulful electric guitar, Ray Elzey delivered brilliant pedal steel parts, and former Nashville producer Cory Fite contributed tasty keyboards and rich orchestral strings.

Within the album's inviting arrangements, moving vocals, and strong instrumental performances, the heart of this record is the song. Though composed and delivered in a very personal manner, the lyrics reflect common experiences and simple truths that resonate with everyone."

iPhone News & Reviews
We have created a master page on our sister site Pen Computing that is devoted to in-depth iPhone reviews, news, and product announcements: Check it out!.

Cool new media products? Relevant news? Bring it.
If you would like PMR to consider your products for review or post your news, email us.