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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ode to an iPad

I love my pad.
No, not my home.
And my dear dad
Had no such tome.
My pad's an "i."
It goes with me
Where'er I go.
The apps I buy
All let me see
What's there to know.

Hot diggity! Let's trot out the reference material to see whether I followed the form correctly. Or - no - let's skip it. In any case, I've found my iPad (purchased in late October) a constant boon and problem-solver - rather than the "toy" many have called it. Those who already have iPads will find the following natter redundant - though I hope that some among them may have suggestions to resolve the few annoyances I've accumulated. In any case, among the uses: Given that I often end up in a variety of unfamiliar locations, a ready (readable) variety of maps have let me travel with increased confidence. (Also, given the fun of travel, it's been downright necessary at times to determine potential weather problems - so the forecasts and radar from the free Weather Channel app have been a boon.) Given that I enjoy having an entertaining book with me at all times, I do. Given that I often need a calendar, I have it. Given that I seem to need to refer to iMDb virtually daily, I can. Given that there's ongoing discussion of comic books available for download, I've downloaded a few so that I can know what the heck people are talking about. Given that I like to keep tabs on my email, I can do that - and follow Twitter, too.

I've paid for almost no apps. The books I've loaded so far (and they're far more readable on the iPad than on the Kindle, which I used to use) have been free. (I'm now reading James Branch Cabell's Jurgen, though to do so I have to saddle up a lot more vocabulary than I've been used to using recently. And that was fun, too. In any case, that novel was free, as were several books by Saki, Mark Twain, Jerome K. Jerome, and P.G. Wodehouse.) Note: I have paid for Office2 HD and Star Walk - the first, for work; the second, for fun.

And so far, at least, the iPad holds a charge long enough to last between my opportunities to charge it.

Annoyances: It's not easy to use for professional writing or editing. It lacks direction arrows on the three on-screen keyboards. It lacks a cents sign on the ditto. It lacks a USB port (which, I suspect, is deliberate). It lacks a quick copy-paste function (maybe the "copy" function will pop up, as my finger lingers over a word; maybe it won't; in any case, it takes far longer to copy-paste than the simple clicks on even my tiny, cheap notebook computer). That's about it for gripes. [Looking for a solution, by the way, I've studied the Brookstone iPad holder with its built-in keyboard (complete with direction arrows) but am not about to plunk down $100 for what looks as if it would let me touch-type except that it seems not to have been designed by anyone who actually touch-types. (Hint: Touch-typists need a shift key on both sides of the keyboard. Check it out, Brookstone. And watch out, keyboard-lovers, if you've only been able to judge from small online images of the holder.)]

What are your favorite apps? I'm still experimenting with "Flipboard," following the recommendation of #PCHH's Glen Weldon. How about you?

6 comments:

trey graham January 11, 2011 at 4:06 PM  

Hey Maggie! Have you looked at the Apple-made Bluetooth keyboard? The new one is smaller-than-standard, but does have a double shift. And I've got an older model, which is full-on full size, complete with a number pad. You wouldn't want to lug the latter around, but for desktop use, with the iPad in a dock, it might be just what you're looking for. And I'd cheerfully overnight it to you.

I'm still experimenting with the ideal setup, but so far I'm happy with the new Bluetooth keyboard and the iPad sitting aslant on my desk. (Don't like the dock much, 'cause I don't wanna have to take the toy out of its case.)

Maggie Thompson January 11, 2011 at 4:11 PM  

Ah, no, I haven't seen that one. There was a keyboard on sale at Amazon, but comments indicated it was the same make as the one at Brookstone. No need for overnighting, but I'd love to borrow the older model to see what my fingers think of it, when you get a chance, thanks!

Maggie Thompson January 11, 2011 at 4:13 PM  

And, yes, lots of Saki. I keep returning to the not-often-reprinted "Toys of Peace" short (as opposed to it as the title of the collection) as a truth for all parents to keep in mind.

marcoshark January 11, 2011 at 7:44 PM  

Hey Maggie!
Look at "The Elements" and "Solar System"... Both from the same publisher, "Touchpress"... Simply amazing!

John koenig January 12, 2011 at 11:05 PM  

I'm equally in love with my iPad, Maggie. Reading in bed has taken on a new level of appreciation for me. From Daring Fireball to the NY Times to Flipboard to wherever I wish to go, so simply and easily.... Have been in love for a while. Trying to learn how to productively use Pages and Numbers, but as a reading / browsing / email / web device, the iPad is spectacular. Jess has a Kindle and enjoys it (remember my daughter?) but I need the bright backlight.

marcoshark January 15, 2011 at 7:44 AM  

oh, add "Bridge Baron" to the list (not cheap, but it's the best out there and worth it!)

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