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Showing posts from April, 2010

Hoping Dropbox's iPad Version is imminent

Three weeks ago, a Dropbox employee stated on their forum they hoped to have the actual iPad Dropbox app out in "3 to 4 weeks".  Let's hope it is imminent.  I know too well though how development deadlines can slip, sometimes badly. The iPad is a new platform and while similar to the iPhone platform, it has its own pitfalls and traps.   What Dropbox does is the very antithesis of the iPad philosophy, making files visible.

The iPhone version works on the iPad for now.  Some report issues on the forum, but I have not seen any.  But the best solution is to use GoodReader to access your Dropbox files.

Thank you for the Dropbox Referrals

A couple weeks ago, in a post about Dropbox & iPad,  I asked folks if they were going to sign-up for Dropbox (and everyone should) to use my referral code.   Several have, so I want to thank Jim, Lou, Eli, and Jason for doing so.  I appreciate the free extra bit of space each referral adds to my Dropbox, and I hope each of them like Dropbox as much as I do.

Be sure to see a post on Dropbox and a PDF Reader for the iPad.  The GoodReader App is wonderful with Dropbox.

And rumor is that Dropbox will soon have a native iPad app.

If you want to sign-up for Dropbox, and bump up my space by 256 meg, use this link.

Loose Ends

I just realized when you click in the Safari for the iPad URL box, the bookmark bar appears.  I want that same behavior in Google Chrome.

The sole design flaw I've found with Job's latest baby, is that when I go to plug in the power cable to the iPad at night, in the dark, there is no tactile indicator on the connector as to which side is up.  The logo on the connector is perfectly smooth.  My bedside table has become the family charging station, and the iPad cable is the only one that has to have a light on to plug it in.  Ironically, my $1.58 6 foot cable from (before shipping) does have the tactile clue, so that minor Apple design flaw is dealt with.

Isn't it nice that the only design flaw I can find so far is so trivial?

Of course, I'm not considering iTunes--what a disaster.

Review of

On a recent "This Week in Tech" from Leo Laporte's TWIT networkVeronica Belmont almost offhandedly mentioned  I'd never heard of this shopping site but took a look.

I have wanted a longer recharging cable for my iPad, so I ordered that and one other cable.  With First Class postage, the two cables came to $5.64.  You read that right, five dollars and change.

I ordered it Sunday night.  I received e-mails from them acknowledging the order, and another telling me it had shipped Monday.  That e-mail included a First Class tracking number.  I didn't know that even existed.  I was able to track to the order at the site.

The cables arrived Wednesday.

Monoprice carries an assortment of cables, adaptors, power supplies and other accessories.  I'll definitely use them again.

Review of iWorks for the iPad

Ars Technical has the first significant review of iWorks I've seen. iWorks is the Office-like apps Apple produces  for the iPad consisting of Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

They are found wanting, but unfortunately are the only games in town.  Currently--I hope that changes.

Google Docs?  Can we, someday, please?

Some things are better on a tablet

Odd. Yesterday's traffic to this blog was more than it has been in weeks, and I haven't posted anything yet this week.

I continue to poke at my iPad, trying to figure out what works and what doesn't with it.  One thing I've found are certain web pages just work better on the tablet form factor.

In fact, I pretty much now use the Twitter web page instead of a Twitter client when on the iPad.  It's just easier and faster at scrolling, and access to Lists and other Twitter features are right there.

I use TweetDeck on my desktop.  On the iPad it would often lag in scrolling while it downloaded profile photos; something I really don't need.

I added Twitterific but it makes noises I don't want and I can't find how to turn them off.  What am I missing?

And it seems easier to get through my back log of Google Reader items on the iPad.  Just being able to pick up the iPad when I have a free moment, lets me run though items briefly before I have to put down the…

Mike Elgin: Why the iPad is a creativity tool!

"They can't see -- refuse to see -- the obvious possibilities in the new because it threatens their advantages in the old."  With that great statement, Mike Elgin writing for ComputerWorld completely castigates those selling the meme that the iPad is not a creation tool.  Certainly, is it enhanced for consumption, but he reminds us it can also be used as a great creativity tool.

Maybe a student cannot produce footnoted research papers yet since Pages (iTunes link) does not yet support footnotes, but they certainly can generate the raw text of a paper wherever creativity strikes them.  They can take notes in class, write sections while in the library or beside the pool.

In Japan, millions of novels have been written on cell phones. My great-grandfather wrote his Ph.D. dissertation with a #2 pencil. Chaucer, Shakespeare and Jefferson wrote their brilliant works with bird feathers. Yet the iPad's critics say creation is impossible using a device that would have been a Pen…

Tablets, the Clipboard of the 21st Century

We shouldn't be surprised at the appeal the iPad, as the first mass market tablet, has encountered.  Many of us have had touch screen smartphones for over a year or more now.  My Samsung Instinct, other's iPhones or Android phones are really nothing more than mini-tablets.  The iPad, and the many tablets that will follow it to market really just give us more real estate on which to work.

The iPad is aimed as a media consumption device.  You read books, magazines, web sites, and watch videos easily on it.  It hasn't really been pushed for any kind of business setting, although many are using already at work.

I have been thinking about how every job that needs a clipboard can benefit from a tablet.  The most obvious is a doctor's office or hospital.  My doctor walks into the examining room and immediately sits at the computer and pelting me with questions.  After the exam, he sits down again at the computer.

When I was last in the ER (ice, parking lot, head on pavement, …

Local 28 year old reporter wins Pulitzer

Daniel Gilbert, a 28 year old native of nearby Manassas, Virginia won the Pulitzer for Public Service this week.

He wrote a series of stories for the Bristol Courier Herald on landowners losing out on natural gas royalties.  Poynter Online has a good background on his achievement.

For a while, Daniel wrote for the News & Messenger, the newspaper my column is in on Sundays.  A friend's daughter mentioned on Facebook that she knew him, and many chimed in that he was always destined for great things.

The beauty of this is Daniel is one of only seven reporters at the paper.  It is really good for small papers to again understand they can do great things.  Of course, an even smaller paper once won a Pulitzer, as I wrote about early in 2009.

Improving the Wi-Fi Reception for the iPad

Like many people, but not all, I had wi-fi issues with my new iPad.  Our access point is on the lower level of the house.  On our mid-level I would sometimes lose connection and then reacqire it.  On our upper level, in the bed room, I'd lose connection and have to walk out into the hallway to reacquire.

Since the iPad is built for in-bed surfing, that was most disagreeable.

Even Apple acknowledged the problem and offeredsomehelp.

Several days ago I tried the option of altering the "Wireless Network Mode" in my Linksys router.

When I originally set it up, I had it sending out both "b" and "g" signals since one of the cards we owned back then (like four years ago) was a "b" card, not the then new "g".

So I set it to "g" only.

I checked all the devices on our little home network, and they all ran fine.

And the iPad now gets good reception throughout the the house, loses connections much less frequently, and regains lost co…

Some iPad Links

First off, I promise this blog has not permanently morphed into an iPad only blog.  I will be getting to other topics eventually.  For right now, my iPad is my bright and shiny new toy.  And I do think the tablet form factor is going to be significant going forward, so it warrants some attention.

Apparently some have had issues with Evernote on their iPads.  I have not.  It has been very successful for me.  Evernote's blog though addresses today the issues some have been having.

Other links of note recently about the iPad:

Netflix, the iPad's First Killer App?

iPad stands

iPad Cases

10 Tips for the iPad

PDF Reader for the iPad

Friday I wrote about the advantages of using Dropbox with the iPad to make it easy to move over PDF files. The PDF files do not look as clear as they should that way.

Saturday night I was playing around in the App Store and was looking at PDF Readers.  I have bought very few programs for the iPad but knew I needed a good PDF reader.

I found GoodReader (iTunes link) at a promotion price of 99 cents.

GoodReader takes a little playing with.  The user interface is not as intuitive as we have come to expect on the iPad but if you read the help by touching the question mark, you'll get going fairly quick.

What makes GoodReader positively sexy is it is able to import files directly from more than one Dropbox account.  I added my Dropbox account and my wife's account.

Dropbox is but one way to move files over.  You can also wi-fi them over, or move via iTunes.  Dropbox though seems to be the easiest to me.

Reading PDF files is one of those fundamentals you need from any platform.  The…

Dropbox on iPad

Update 4/14/2010: I see this post is getting a lot of hits.  Be sure to check a follow-on post on even a better way to link the iPad and Dropbox.

It was no surprise my favorite app, Evernote is very useful on the iPad.  What I didn't expect is that my second favorite app, Dropbox would be useful too on the iPad.

I use Dropbox to share files with my family, and with a collaboration team I work with every week.  Almost everyone who my wife or I have drawn into using Dropbox for a collaborative project, end up using it a lot personally and pushing it out to their friends.  That is the very epitome of Freemium.
I wasn't quite sure how that would work on an Apple product.  The iPhone, and iPad do not use filenames generally in Jobs' efforts to keep things simple.
The free Dropbox app for the iPad just works.  Once installed, you give it your Dropbox credentials (username and password) and then you see all your files.
If you touch an MP4 file, the video plays.  If you touch a PDF fi…

Evernote + Dragon Dictation on iPad is great

The first app installed on my new iPad was of course Evernote.  If you have an iPad and use Evernote on any platform, make sure it goes on your iPad too.

I'd feared my 7000+ notes would take up an inordinate amount of room.  But that wasn't the case.  My storage space was only a bit smaller after syncing was complete.

Having all my notes inside what I'm beginning to think of as my "magical clipboard" is wonderful.

I use the Windows client for Evernote, so the voice recording ability of the iPad client was new to me. It allows you to record comments and it saves the audio file to a note.  You can add text to the note, and tag it of course to assist finding it later.

But there is a better way even then that I've found.

Another free app in the App Store is Dragon Dictation (App Store Link)   Simply press the red record button and speak.  The app does a wonderful job of translating what you have said.  You can edit the text after transcription.

Then just choose t…

The iPad Case

The case and dock for the iPad just came to the door.

I'll tell you something.  It is worth getting an Apple product to just experience what obsessing about design can give you.

I was expecting a huge dock.  Something like a copy stand.  Instead, this thing is small.  It's about 3 inches square and the lip that supports the back of the iPad is about an inch.  And it is heavy, to counterbalance the iPad.   It is what it needs to be.  My vision of it would have worked, but so does this more efficiently.

The case is really well designed.  The iPad slips in like a glove.  All the openings for the connector, and volume, on/off are all in the right place.

The cover folds behind so you can hold the iPad as well as you as you would without the case.

The cover can lock into a flap on the back to allow it to be sit up at an angle conducive to typing on the onscreen keyboard.  Or you can stand it up to use it with the wireless keyboard that I also have.

Both the keyboard and the iPad i…

Is a tablet worth it?

I spent the weekend with the iPad.  I'm still trying to "make it my own" as Dave Winer said in his blog this morning.

One sign I have found the iPad useful is how little time I spent in my home office.  I could check e-mail, read my RSS feed, and follow Twitter all from the family room or in bed.  I have always found laptops to be poorly named; they just do not work well on laps.  They need a chair and hard surface to function.  The iPad works well on my lap, or simply being held.

I have found the iPad to be a wonderful tool for reading blogs, checking e-mail.  I knew from Jobs' introduction I was going to like this device. We have been waiting for it for years.  Remember Yeoman Rand handing Captain Kirk orders to sign on a tablet?  And in this week's Time, Stephen Fry wishes his friend Douglas Adams had lived to see his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy form factor come true in the iPad.  I'm sure there are many other sci-fi references out there for tabl…

First Blog entry from the iPad

This is my first blog entry done direct from the iPad. It's not perfect. Blogger, I mean. For some reason it won't let me type into the text box in the Compose mode, but will in the Edit HTML box. Why Google? Or should I be asking, "Why Apple?" Does this bode bad things for Google enabling Google Docs for use by the iPad? Now, you can only read Google Docs on the iPad. That was understandable on the iPhone where editing was not really practical on the small screen, but that is not relevant on the iPad.

I added the wireless keyboard today to the iPad and it makes text entry much easier. The iPad case is enroute and I just read up on it online, and it acts also as an easel holding the iPad at the right angle to use the on screen keyboard, or vertically if you are using a wireless keyboard.

The Apple wireless keyboard I have is small and light enough that carrying it along with the iPad is a non-issue. If I was taking a class, as I was supposed to next week, I…

It arrived!

I received the iPad today.  The UPS guy told me this way far away a busier Saturday than most.  He had no idea what these iPad things were, so we opened it and showed him, albeit not operating yet.

When I did turn it on I was amazed it was already fully charged.  I have never bought an item already charged.  This shows the eye for detail Jobs demands.

I'm still exploring it.  The one thing I have learned, is the whole family loves it.  And these are machines meant for one individuals use.  There are no "accounts" and logins and settings for each member of the family.  Uh oh.

We'll work out it.  Lots more posts coming on the iPad next week.

iPad Eve and a Wonderful Surprise

Tomorrow is the rarest of days in GeekDom.  With iPad's arriving finally to the masses, many geeks wait anxiously.  Even many confident it is no-big-thing have ordered them, while others think the iPad could be the-next-big-thing; perhaps one of the ten most innovative gadgets to emerge since the invention of the microprocessor.

My brother is buying one, and I'd already asked him to guest write a post here of his experiences.  In this economy, and as an under-employed individual I was going to wait this one out.  I was already planning a 45 minute drive to the Apple Store next week to see and more importantly, feel one in my own hands.  And I was eyeing rumored cheaper tablets that may be coming with Google's Android operating system, hoping by then perhaps I could afford one.

My brother and I had a wonderful time these last several weeks considering the potential of a tablet device after both watching Jobs introduction on streaming video.  We both thought geeks who lambas…