The Only Reliable Tech is Pen and Paper

This is becoming a regular story of mine, and probably yours. An app that I really liked using for writing and making digitally, and on which I relied upon regularly, seems to have gone dead on me. Its name is Legend, and it was an animated text app that Terry Elliott turned me on to long ago.

And I loved it on my iPad, for its simplicity and its design and the way you could easily find Creative Common images via its Flickr connection and then layer short text on top of the image. I used Legend for poetry and for quotes, and for merging words with motion and image. It was my go-to app for many things.

And now Legend is gone from the App Store. Vanished without a trace.

I was having some troubles with Legend on my iPad the other day, and I deleted the app in hopes of re-installing and re-booting it, and soon discovered that the app itself was nowhere to be found in the iTunes App Store. It’s not even a mention anymore in my “bought” apps file bin in iTunes. It’s like it never even existed, and its loss saddens me.

But, of course, I should know better.

In this world of digital writing and composition (and art, and whatever else we want to call it) the only technology that really stands the test of time with any consistency is a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. All else is mostly temporary, so be sure to back your stuff up and keep an eye on the horizon for alternatives.

In my mourning for Legend, I have been trying out a few different animated text apps. I grabbed a quote from Dave Cormier’s recent piece on Rhizomatic Learning.

This is HypeText app:

Experimenting with Animated Text Apps (w/Dave Cormier quote)

and this is TypiVideo app:

Experimenting with Animated Text Apps (w/Dave Cormier quote)

And this is TypoTastic app:

Experimenting with Animated Text Apps (w/Dave Cormier quote)

None do what I want it to do. None feel quite right. Some have limits on loop time (either going too fast or too slow). Some don’t give you much access to images beyond your own files (which has value but requires deeper planning than I am usually doing for this kind of work.)

I’ll keep exploring. I am checking out Legend on my Android phone … hmmm … seems like it now has an entirely new name now (Animated Text), and has advertisements within it … and no longer has access to Creative Commons images. Dang.

This exploration is another reminder to myself, and maybe to you, that nothing lasts forever in this shifting environment of operating system updates, app development, and that our own means and venues of digital writing is always in flux and motion.

Peace (animated with image),

PS — I’d also like to say that I could probably do what I want with animated text via Keynote or Powerpoint (and I have) but I appreciated the ease of making animated texts with Legend and other apps. Maybe another post for another day is about what we give up as writers — creative control, freedom to make change, a vision from start to finish — when we allow our tools to guide our writing process.

  1. I had the same problem with my image of the quote from Terry. I perviously used Visual Poetry and remember Notegraphy? Notegraphy changed to Mood and now Mood is something totally strange.

    I was very disappointed, so I used Canva and paid $1 for the image because it was what I wanted, and I could create it quickly. However, I could have downloaded NASA’s Apollo 8 Earthrise and created the poster with Keynote, which exports to image.

    I’ve never really used animated text much, but perhaps I need to figure out that workflow with the apps I know I’ll have. Your post is a reminder about how quickly tech changes. And it is difficult for app developers to keep up with OS changes, whether Apple or Android, so I can’t really blame them either. But darn!

    Thanks for sharing some alternatives, and perhaps we’ll find one that works for our purposes.

    • I did love Notegraphy for a long time. Mood is indeed weird and unusable (for me). For a while, the plugin for Notegraphy kept working in Chrome but I think it now, too, dead and gone. You point to ease — and that is what I was getting at, too, and the trade-offs that come with it. I’ll pay for something good. And I agree, too … changes in operating systems are difficult for small-time programmers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *