iPad Experience – part 2

In a previous post, I recounted my initial thoughts on the iPad and said that I’d be trying it out on my little boy as a time waster / amusement.

I’m back from holiday and the iPad was a godsend, I have to say. I pre-loaded “Monsters, Inc.” and “A Bug’s Life” for Finn to watch on the plane journeys and, although he didn’t watch much on the journey out , he made full use of it whilst in the hotel room and on the journey home. He very quickly mastered the UI for the video player app – he’s had a lot of iPhone experience – and was jumping around between films and selecting his favourite chapters to repeat from the get-go. He also quickly found how to switch to the TV programme tab and spent a lot of time watching “Rex the Runt” cartoons (until his mum heard one of the characters say “bastard” and put paid to that – I guess it’s slightly inappropriate for a 3-year-old).

I, myself, did very little with it while on holiday. Didn’t get much of a look-in, TBH, plus wary of data roaming costs in a land where ‘free wi-fi’ is virtually unheard of.


iPad Experience

So, a couple of weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and bought an iPad. I was feeling flush and so went for the top-of-the-range 64G 3G one.


I was cautious about buying an iPad – unusual for me, as I am a complete Apple fanboi. I really couldn’t see the point or need for one in my life. I manage to come up with a couple of possibilities:

  1. It would make a good coffee table browser. OK, but if the family are going to share it I want multiple user facilities so we can all get at our own email accounts without the embarrassment of having to read each others’.
  2. I could use it for work. Here there’s a better fit, as most of my work is around documents and numbers, resourcing and scheduling. (In fact, Pages and Numbers, if we’re talking applications.) However, it doesn’t meet all requirements, as I sometimes code (PHP, SASS) and a lot of our core work involves video – so iPad’s lock down on video formats excludes a lot of things it would be nice to have the iPad do for me.

So, like Natalie Inbruglia, I was torn. My Apple lust made me want one and my practical side couldn’t justify it.

This finally resolved itself when I said to myself, “We could really do with an iPad for work. You know, for testing and that.”, which was the excuse I was waiting to come up with, and so I went out and bought one.

Two weeks later

After the (well attended) official unpacking ceremony at work, the iPad spend the first few days if its new life in  a bag doing nothing. I was still finding it hard to see what to do with it. Having spent the money, though, I did some research, got some apps and now it’s become a staple of my day.

I use it almost exclusively for work related activities; it’s great to take to meetings and I will be trying it out at a conference for the first time this week. (“Building Perfect Council websites ’10” – see you there!)

Although not exhaustive, here’s the list of applications I’m currently using:

I use Things on all my Macs. The iPad experience is great, making good use of the larger screen that makes using it on the iPhone a bit frustrating. (That’s not Things’ fault, mind.)
Again, Evernote is a staple application in my environment. I use it for knowledge management, mainly. Again, it’s been re-purposed for the iPad and is a really good experience.
I do all my work off Dropbox. Available on all my computers, and also viewable on iPhone and iPad. This makes my life so much easier, as I synchronise my iDevices with my personal laptop, so having my files available in this way means I can sync them across from my Personal iTunes, into the iWork apps on the iPad (see next).
Pages & Numbers
The user experience of having to synchronise via iTunes is not good, but tolerable. The iPad versions of these applications are lovely. Although not feature-full (which causes problems when you want to edit files) they are well worth using for document creation.
On my Macs, I use Mindjet’s Mindmanager, but on the iPad I’ve discovered iThoughtsHD. It’s compatible with most mind map file formats and has the added advantage of being able to load and save maps to and from DropBox directly. I’ve used it a little and so far, so good.

The future

I’m off on holiday very soon, so I’ll be grabbing some childrens’ books and videos and putting them on the iPad; I think it’s going to be an excellent way to keep my 3-year-old occupied on the plane journey.

After that, who knows? If you have any great apps, I’d love to hear about them.


My Sync’s Blocked

Blocked sink

Credit: Kevin Dean (www.betaart.com)

So, I’ve got a Mac Mini at home, a Mac Mini at work and a MacBook Pro that I carry around with me for both. Oh, and an iPhone for personal use and a Nokia 5800 for work. I’m on Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn and MobileMe, and at work most colleagues have google calendars (as do I, for my work appointments) and use Yammer.

The question is “How do I sync all my contacts and appointments efficiently and effectively?“.

At the moment, everything’s screwed: my iPhone has duplicate (and even triplicate) contact entries; my work appointments are being duplicated on my laptop (but not anywhere else); the list goes on. (I won’t bore you with it.)

The reason for all the mess is this: I’ve made a stupid mistake.

I don’t have a consistent ‘master’ copy of the data – different machines are syncing in both directions and everything’s getting confused.

I’ve decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and start from scratch. So far:

  • I’ve stopped all my syncs on all my machines; nothing is talking to anything anymore.
  • I’ve stripped my laptop back and installed BusyCal (which is fab, BTW).
  • I’ve logged into MobileMe and ‘refactored’ all my contacts (which basically meant deleting a lot of duplicates created by my sync setup and redundant crap that Daylight had created – sorry MarketCircle, but I gave up on it).
  • I’ve forced my contacts down on to my laptop from MobileMe, and switched on syncing of these.

To do:

  • Similar to above on my other computers
  • Then iPhone
  • Then turn on Plaxo syncing (but on which computer? Need to determine which will be the ‘master’ – the changes should then just trickle through MobileMe to the others).
  • Then start thinking about the Calendars(!)

Watch this space.

Tweetie 2 for the iPhone

I’ve just installed Tweetie 2 on my iPhone and I’m very pleased with it. I know a lot of people are begrudging having to spend money on an upgrade, but I believe that the money is well spent, as the new UI and features make it an excellent application.I’ve always preferred Tweetie because of it’s multiple account management.

The only downside (at least at the moment) appears to be that Boxcar is not compatible with the new Tweetie, so I ‘ll have to wait for an update to that before I can permanently remove Tweetie V1 from the phone.

Ho hum