Aeon Timeline, Revisited — and Two Displays are Always With Me #amwriting

Aeon Timeline is back on my desktop

Aeon Timeline is back on my desktop

The last time I mentioned Aeon Timeline I was in glorious Dulles International Airport, coming home from a funeral and trying to get some writing done. At that time, I was abandoning it as a tool, since it didn’t support my workflow very well.

Fast forward nearly three years: I have the beta version of Aeon Timeline 2 (AT2), and it rocks.

I’m not going to do a full-up review: it’s still not released, and it would not be fair. But it was definitely worth the $25 for the pre-order and early access. Enough to say, that the much closer linking to Scrivener makes it practical for me to use AT2 despite the fact that I’m starting to use it after writing two-thirds of a novel. As a result, I have my narrator character’s life actually described; I know how old he is, what schools he’s gone to — his prior career, his new career, the events that shaped him…

It has its problems, of course — but it’s so much more usable than the old AT — for me — that I tolerate the occasional quirk.

Oh yes — that’s my new Macbook in that picture, with AT2 on the main screen, and Scrivener on my iPad 3rd gen as a second display via Duet Display. Duet is a wired (only!) solution for using an iPad as a second display for a Mac or Windows machine. (Or even an iPhone — but I tried my iPhone as a second display, and trust me, an iPhone 5c is a lousy second display. It might work OK on an iPhone 6 Plus — if you try it, let me know.)

This solution works fine in a situation where I can plug my Macbook into power — the wired USB connection keeps my iPad charged, and Duet is fast enough to not even really be aware that it’s a software simulator rather than a hardware monitor that’s my second screen. But if I can’t plug in, the iPad will quickly vampirize the Macbook’s battery. For cases like that (no outlets, or I forgot my Macbook charger), I use the Splashtop Extended Wireless Display app. I already had the Splashtop streamer on my Mac in order to use the Mac Mini remotely; it got installed when I upgraded to the MacBook, so why not leverage? It’s a WiFi solution to using an iPad as a second display; as such it lags a bit on the iPad 3 — but it gives me a second screen without drawing down my MacBook battery for it. I can even use it without a real WiFi network handy — I use my iPhone as a portable hotspot, connect both the Macbook and the iPad to it via WiFi, and I’m computing. With two displays. It doesn’t even use my data plan as it’s all local data transference.

I love technology.

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