Textarea Enhanced

I work in the typical big company corporate environment where access to webmail sites, social networks, etc. is blocked. In such an environment, having an Android phone has been a bliss. Being able to access and (if required) reply to personal emails without waiting till the end of the day is something that I can't do without any more. Also, Twitter!

One fly in the ointment is having to type on the phone's virtual keyboard. I am not one of those folks that can bang out paragraphs on these tiny things. I'd much rather be typing on the large keyboard sitting in front of me most of the time. Wouldn't it be great if I could just type out my email replies and twitter posts on my desk keyboard and then have that text somehow transported to the phone?

Well, there's this magical little thing called Chrome to Phone which does just that! Chrome to Phone is a browser extension for the Google Chrome browser. Its main purpose is to send the link that is currently open in the browser window to the linked Android phone. Watch the below video to see what it does.

Chrome to Phone also has a secondary feature: if you select some text from the current browser page & hit the send to phone button, it'll copy that selected text to the phone's clipboard! So all I have to do now is type out some text in the browser, select it, hit send to phone, wait one or two seconds for the text to make its way to my phone and then hit paste on the phone!

But where do I type out the text? I started off using the Google search entry box as a placeholder to compose text. Then Google Instant launched & ruined everything. So I went looking for an alternative when I found textarea.org.

Go ahead, open textarea.org! When you are done admiring its simplicity, come back here.

As you can see, textarea.org is as simple as a browser based text editor can get. Perfect for typing out stuff & then sending it off to my phone! I used it happily for a while till I found an imperfection.

See, sometimes I feel lazy & even compose Twitter posts in textarea.org before sending them off to Seesmic on the phone. As you may know, Twitter has this deep technical limitation that they can't handle posts longer than 140 characters. So sometimes, I would type out something on the computer & send it to the phone only to find that I had exceeded the limit that can't be exceeded. Which meant editing the post on the phone to get it down to size.

Wouldn't it be sweet if textarea.org also showed me a character count as I typed? It would be! Let's suggest this feature! But... I couldn't find any way to contact the folks behind textarea.org to suggest this enhancement.

Which brings us to Textarea Enhanced. I took the textarea.org code (please don't sue me!) and added a simple character counter. That is all. Thanks for reading!

PS: This post is way longer than the five lines of code it took to enhance the original Textarea.

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