Thursday, March 31, 2011

New toy

After having an iPad for a couple of weeks, here's my take on it.

My boss bought a stack of the new ones for the office when they came out on March 11th, and he kept one of the new ones and gave me his old one, the original iPad. I wouldn't exactly consider it "old," though, of course, since it's less than a year old. It's the top of the line model--64 GB, WIFI and 3G. And I LOVE it.

I have some kind of problem with the WIFI at my house, but I've never really cared enough to get Time Warner out to figure it out. Bob can get WIFI upstairs for his PC, but for whatever reason, I can't get it on my Mac. But it's not a big deal, I just plug in, and it's fine. But of course, I wouldn't be able to do that with an iPad. So I was thrilled to get the 3G iPad. I can sit upstairs now and play Scrabble with the guys at work, shop at Amazon, read and answer email, read a book, all the things I can do on the computer, but I don't have to be tied to any particular place.

It's pretty much the same stuff I can do on the iPhone (I got the new iPhone 4 recently, too), but a lot more comfortable with the larger screen. And what a screen! It's big, beautiful, and sharp. Photos look wonderful on it. The on-screen keyboard takes some getting used to, but I'm getting pretty fast on it. With the touchscreen, you can also take notes by writing; I got a stylus and I've been using that some, it's easier than using a finger.

I haven't tried using a wireless keyboard yet, but I have one at work, so at some point I plan on figuring that out. With an external keyboard, there's almost nothing that I can't do on the iPad that I can do on the computer. Well, Photoshop, I guess. But pretty much anything text-based. I've spent hours on the iTunes stores looking at software, trying out free versions, and figuring out what I need.

My favorites right now are:

For work:

  • Penultimate ($1.99) - for taking handwritten notes or making drawings with stylus or finger
  • Todo ($4.99) - syncs with iCal task lists
  • Pages ($9.99) - (Apple official app) for viewing and editing Word docs
  • Notebooks ($8.99) - for taking and organizing text-based notes using the keyboard
  • Photosync ($1.99) - wirelessly transfers photos from desktop to iPad and vice versa
  • Dragon Dictation (Free) - converts spoken word recordings into text
  • Printer Pro ($6.99 - try Printer Pro Lite (Free) first to be sure it will work for you) - wirelessly print documents from the iPad
  • Dropbox (Free) - Invaluable. A cloud storage service that you can access from anywhere, with any device
  • Readdle Docs ($4.99) - connects to Dropbox, iDisk, Google Docs and FTP accounts; allows you to read PDFs and MS Office files
  • Terra (Free) - a tabbed browser that I prefer to Safari
  • Sugar Sync (Free) - Creates a folder on your desktop computer that instantly syncs anything in that folder over wifi. And I mean instantly. It's crazy! You can watch it happen.

For news and weather:

  • The Daily ($.99/week) - I subscribed to this for $.99/week, mostly because I love the daily crossword and Sudoku
  • AccuWeather (Free) - Just the weather. Simple. What's the temperature, is it raining or not? That's mostly what I want/need to know. I also have The Weather Channel app, and use them both.

For entertainment:

  • Kindle (Free) - a really great reading experience, I unexpectedly like it more than the Kindle itself
  • Netflix (App is free, but requires a Netflix account to watch) - so much fun to watch streaming movies!
  • Zinio - magazines are a lot of fun to read on the iPad


  • Scrabble ($9.99) - I have a couple of constantly ongoing games with people at work
  • Sudoku2 Pro HD ($2.99) - I've just recently started playing Sudoku, and love this app
  • Angry Birds Rio ($2.99, free version available also) - yes, it's everywhere, but for good reason


  • Min to Go (Free) - A timer that shows the "minutes to go" as an icon badge
  • Remote (Free) - Control iTunes remotely, i.e., I can be playing something--music or a video--on my desktop computer and conrol it using Remove on the iPad (or iPhone)
  • Fluid Monkey (Free) - Love this! It reminds me of . . . I'm not sure what. I used to have a little notebook that had a squishy liquid cover, I guess it's like that. Very soothing, anyway.

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