Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Apple iPad's Versatility

The Apple iPad's Versatility
The Apple iPad is the most versatile digital device I've ever owned. Lighter and easier to carry than a laptop, the array of comparatively inexpensive app solutions makes the device a winner at both work and at home. Although I purchased the Apple iPad primarily for use at home, it's versatility has made the device a work day essential.
Apple iPad and iPhone Integration
One of the delightful aspects of owning and using an Apple iPad is the easy integration of work processes with the Apple iPhone. As I've mentioned previously, I use both OmniFocus for the iPad and the iPhone to manage work projects. Synching calendars between my Apple iPad, iPhone and my Mac at home is a feature available through Apple's MobileMe service.
iWork apps and iCal
I'm now using Numbers, Pages and Keynote on the Apple iPad and documents from the Mac and iPad versions of the apps can be easily transferred between devices. Being able to integrate project management, synch calendars and share documents among devices is creating a decidedly lesser role for my office PC in day-to-day workflow and accomplishments. 
The Apple iPad Transcends The PC
I have my iPad with me at all business meetings for the purposes of taking notes and entering new contact information. Because my iPad, iPhone and Mac at home all synch through Apple's MobileMe service, I no longer bother to enter business contact information into my work PC. All of my business contact information is readily available on my mobile devices when needed and is stored on my Mac at home.
Ironically, my iPad has become my general use device while my work PC has become a limited and specific-use utensil. At home my Mac is used primarily for content creation, Website updates and moderating discussions in the Apple Finance Board. All other tasks from following Twitter activity, reading news, reading books and monitoring my email activity is performed more conveniently on my Apple iPad. 
It's not that the Apple iPad "replaces" a netbook or notebook PC. The Apple iPad represents a product paradigm that transcends the netbook and notebook PC. The iPad's touchscreen and app environment is rendering the netbook obsolete. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

OnmiFocus for iPad and iPhone

I've started the hard work of entering all of my active projects and tasks into OmniFocus for iPad and I'm finding this organizational solution surprisingly effective for my needs. Although I was ambivalent about the $39.99 purchase price, I'm finding the dollars invested to be well spent. 
This week I purchased OmniFocus for iPhone to serve as a complement to the Apple iPad version of the product. The two versions synch over MobileMe, allowing for the iPhone version to serve as a pocket-sized personal organizer. In just a few days of use this has proven to be a convenient way to keep track of current projects on-the-go while away from both my office and my iPad. 
My investment in the iPad and iPhone versions of OmniFocus totals about $60. So far I consider it money well invested in a mobile productivity solution. 

Robert Paul Leitao

Sunday, November 7, 2010

OmniFocus For iPad

Last week I took the plunge and purchased OmniFocus for iPad. It's a $39.99 app for project and task management. The price was outsized for what I would ordinarily pay for an iOS app and I was ambivalent about the price. But time and time again I found myself at the Omni Group Web site checking the features or watching the brief tutorial videos waiting for the impulse to buy the product.
Purchasing a $39.99 app was above the threshold I had set for single app purchases. It's more than I've spent in about the past two years in the iTunes Music Store and more than I spent for the iWork suite of apps the day I purchased the iPad. But there I was looking at the app one more time. What finally prompted me to buy the app is the recommendation of my former boss. He's an extraordinarily organized guy and a recommendation from him in favor of an organizational app carried a lot of weight. I clicked the purchase button, bought the app and I've been busy adding action items, contexts and projects to my OmniFocus database ever since. 
A fews days after buying OmniFocus for iPad, I'm now visiting the Omni Group Website looking at the features and watching the video to determine if I should buy OmniFocus for iPhone as well.  I'll probably do that a few more times before taking the plunge. The two apps work in concert or as standalone solutions.
I have a lot of things to do and after loading into OmniFocus all the things I need to do that I can remember I need to do it's no wonder I'm constantly thinking about all of the things I need to get done. I've already invested a few hours figuring out how OmniFocus works best (or at least works best the ways I want it to work best). There's one big thing I've already determined from working with the product the past few days. Those things I really don't want to do look much less ominous when reduced to a simple action item among the many things I do need to accomplish.
I'll post a review of OmniFocus for iPad after I work with the product for a few more weeks. Already I feel much more organized after only a few days of active use. The manner in which OmniFocus organizes information has become surprisingly intuitive after only a few days of use.

Robert Paul Leitao

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Apple iPhone As An iPad Companion

Since purchasing my Apple iPad in July, the device hardly ever leaves my sight. It's on my work desk all day and it's somewhere within easy grasp while at home. 
I am an information junkie. The more information I have the more information I want. Both my Apple iPad and my iPhone have over 100 apps installed and most of those apps are news and information gathering apps. Since the purchase of my Apple iPad there are unopened magazines in my mail pile at home that I have yet to even glance at in what I now describe as the "Apple iPad era." At renewal I plan to cancel all but one of the few magazine subscriptions we receive at home. The Apple iPad is a far superior means to access and consume content than waiting on the mail for publications in print. 
The impact of the "Apple iPad era" is unfolding before our eyes as developers see opportunities in iPad-specific apps and Apple ramps supply of iOS-based devices to meet global demand and further the company's multi-product, integrated approach to the market. In the iPad era I'm even looking at my Apple iPhone from a new perspective.
In addition to being my primary device for voice communication, the iPhone is a pocket-sized complement to the tablet-sized Apple iPad. From app-based news alerts to dozens of apps shared with the iPad, the iPhone has become a practical extension of the way I use the Apple iPad. In this context the iPhone's functionality has been enhanced by my heavy use of the Apple iPad.
The iPhone is an excellent device for voice communication, text messaging and emails while on the go. As a companion to the Apple iPad it has become more useful mobile resource. I use the Apple iPad for email much more than I use the iPhone.  The iPhone has become a pocket-sized means to follow-up on communications that were sourced on the Apple iPad and access updates to news stories I have begun to follow. The shared app resources makes this integration all the more possible. 
Apple's MobileMe service syncs all of my iOS-based mobile devices together and with my Mac. Shared bookmarks, calendars, contacts and emails allows me to continue with the work I started on my iPad when the device is out of reach or I'm at locations or events for which I'd prefer not to carry around a tablet-sized device.
There are tens of millions of iPhone users worldwide and millions of those users may come to see the Apple iPad as a practical means to enhance the usefulness of the phone they already own. There will also be tens  of millions of new Apple iPad users over the next 12 months. Of those new users there are potentially millions who will see the iPhone as both a logical and natural next step in the iPad's immersive experience. 
Apple's multi-product iOS paradigm may prove increasingly irresistible for users seeking to extend, expand or enhance the usefulness of any one particular iOS-based device they own. A mutual halo effect among the devices should be expected. 

Robert Paul Leitao

The Apple iPad As A Navigation Device

In September I activated 3G service on my Apple iPad to use the device at an off-site conference. The iPad worked splendidly as my primary communication and productivity device over the four-day event. The 3G service also came in quite handy when my office lost Internet service on a weekday morning.
Not to let an investment of $14.99 for a month's 3G go to waste without making the most of the dollars, I took the Apple iPad on a short road trip to test its uses as a navigation device. For those of us who have made use of an Apple iPhone or other smartphone to find directions and track progress to a selected destination, the Apple iPad is a singular delight. The iPad's comparatively massive screen eliminates the need to squint when tracking progress and the "pinch and zoom" ability allows one to travel greater distances without moving the map in response to the miles already travelled. Absent the desire for audible turn by turn directions, there's no reason to look beyond the Apple iPad for a navigation solution when 3G service is activated. In addition to providing a much larger screen to track progress to a destination, locations detailed along the way are much easier to see and note.
Alas, I cancelled the 3G service hours before its automatic renewal to save on another month's charge. For now the service isn't needed. But I won't hesitate to activate it again if for no other reason than to have the 3G iPad's navigation tools available for the next business or personal trip out of the area and to unfamiliar surrounds. 

Robert Paul Leitao

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Apple iPad And Why I'm Glad I Purchased The 3G Model

When The Apple iPad was released in April I thought about being among the first buyers. I didn't see a real need for the 3G model which was not yet available and the $499 price point was an attractive one for my budget considering the accessories I also desired to purchase. 
I'm not one to buy personal digital devices and leave myself wanting for the accessories that enhance productivity and usefulness. I waited over three months from the April release date and purchased my iPad in early July. I'm glad I waited for the 3G model. Readers of my Posts At Eventide blog are familiar with My $1,000 iPad Purchase Odyssey
Along with the Apple iPad with 3G, I purchased the Apple keyboard dock, the Apple iPad case and the 6-foot auxiliary power adapter. The auxiliary power adapter was purchased principally to allow for better positioning of the keyboard dock on my work desk.  Each of these accessories have proven to be necessities
I knew the additional $130 for the 3G model would blow my budget, but the 3G capability has proven to be essential for using the Apple iPad as a business tool. About two weeks ago I attended a four day professional conference and activated the 3G service for the first time. While the convention center where the conference was held offered Wi-Fi in the open areas and exhibit halls, the service was non-existent in the conference rooms. The 3G service allowed me to keep working throughout the day. 
This morning when I arrived at my office Internet service wasn't available. The Internet service provider for the organization had a regional service outage and it took over three hours to correct the problem. Although outages of this duration aren't common, they are too common when they happen. I pulled the Apple iPad out of my backpack, downloaded, read and responded to the work emails over 3G that otherwise would have stacked up until early afternoon when Internet service at the office was reestablished. If I lose a morning due to a lack of Internet access, I've lost virtually all productivity for the day. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

WolframAlpha And AppShopper

WolframAlpha is an amazing app. Purportedly you can find information immediately  on just about any topic. I purchased the app on an impulse the day I purchased my iPad.  Maybe I thought I'd feel smarter just from having the app on this dandy Apple device. The app only cost a $1.99 and I figured it gave me access to the WolframAlpha cloud-based supercomputer. But for what?
My first WolframAlpha query was Pi. I don't know why I even remember Pi. But it seemed like an intelligent thing to query. The results would have been satisfying if I really cared anything about Pi. The three things I remember about Pi are: It determines the circumference of a circle when multiplied by the diameter, my math teachers years ago in high school mentioned it a lot, and in one original Star Trek episode Captain Kirk asked the ship's computer to determine the value of Pi as a means to overwhelm it and retake control of the Starship Enterprise. Why the computer on an intergalactic battleship capable of warp speed would be overwhelmed determining the value of Pi is beyond me. But who said Star Trek is real? I've never met a Vulcan in real life. 
My second query was Richard Feynman, the late Nobel Laureate. I find him more interesting than Pi. Again, WolframAlpha produced a list of satisfying results if I wanted to spend some time researching both the person and his work. For my third query I searched on my name, Robert Paul Leitao. The results: Nada. Nothing. Zilch. I was humbled by a $1.99 iPad app. 
A few weeks after I bought the Wolfram Alpha app it went on sale for $.99 as a back-to-school special. I felt duped. If I had only waited a few weeks it would have cost one dollar less to be humbled. I really didn't mind being humbled by WolframAlpha. But I would have preferred it be done on the cheap. 
In searching for ways to save money in the iTunes app store I discovered AppShopper. It's a free iOS app that tracks changes in prices of apps available through iTunes. I'm always looking for deals on apps and AppShopper assists in finding the most popular free apps and apps with recent price changes. Downloading AppShopper is a smart move. Soon after downloading and installing the app I felt smarter already. I use it regularly to track apps and discover new apps I might not find searching on my own through the iTunes app store. 
For students needing easy access to a massive information source for research and for those of us who enjoy searching for information of many different kinds, the WolframAlpha app is an amazing tool. It's worth the purchase even at $1.99. AppShopper is a free app download and is a fast and easy way to discover new apps and apps that have recently gone on sale. I recommend both apps for iPad owners. 

Robert Paul Leitao

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Manage iPad App From Kerofrog

Readers of my Posts At Eventide blog are familiar with my use of Manage, an iPad app developed by a small firm in Australia. In a word, this $2.99 app is charming. That's not a word I'd usually put forward to describe a get-things-done productivity tool. But after a few moments of viewing the product's design in landscape mode you'll understand the description.
Manage provides for the use of digital highlighters for emphasizing tasks and digital pens for scribbling notes and comments. But the one feature I find most useful is the ability to export and email task lists in .pdf format. This one feature puts in visual perspective work to be accomplished and work that's been done.
My work desk had been covered with little notes and reminders about projects and tasks that would become successively buried under new piles of new notes and new reminders about new projects and new tasks. For anyone looking for an intra-day morale boost, organizing all those tasks and all of those little slips of paper into Manage will do the trick. 
I now have several task lists neatly organized in Manage. Each task can be delineated with sub-tasks allowing for the listing of the incremental steps involved in task completion. After using the Manage app for a number of weeks, it's no longer a question of how much work I can get accomplished in a day, but what to do with the empty desk space formerly covered by not always discernible paper notes. 

The Manage app by Kerofrog makes getting things done just a little bit of fun.

Robert Paul Leitao

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apple iPad Travel Essentials (Part 1)

In my travels with the Apple iPad there are three items I now consider to be essentials. The first item is iKlear. It's no secret the iPad's screen becomes quickly smudged. Don't even think of using a hotel towel to clean the face of your favorite Apple device. It's a safe and effective cleaner for your digital gear. The cloths that come in the package pickup anything that's been left on the screen.
The second item is the Apple iPad Case. Both my backpack and my business carry bag have laptop compartments that shield the contents from jostling and shock. The Apple iPad Case is an extra layer of protection and assists in setting the iPad in a number of different positions for work or display throughout the day. 
The third item is AppleCare. Ninety days of initial phone support passes quickly. I rely on the iPad at work, at home and when away from both work and home. If an issue comes up I want answers quickly. I consider AppleCare a necessary investment for Macs, iPhones and Apple iPads. 
Over the next few weeks I will be using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter for Keynote presentations. I'll provide feedback on the uses of the Apple iPad as presentation device in an upcoming blog post. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Apple iPad And A Road Warrior's Toolkit

I don't know if it's one of Murphy's Laws, but work crises tend to rise in degrees of severity proportional to one's distance from the office. The phone calls started yesterday about 8pm. By 9am today there was a second problem that needed immediate attention.

I had desired to relegate checking office email correspondence to the late evenings in order to focus on the content of the multi-day conference at which I'm in attendance. Circumstances denied me that choice.

This morning I was sitting in the front row of a conference workshop session while configuring my iPad to send and receive office emails rather than use the Web interface for correspondence. In less than five minutes about 50 email messages came streaming into my inbox. It was the 24 messages about a singular issue that captured my attention. Within 15 minutes, while listening to the workshop speaker, I had dispatched responses.

Following this early morning session I learned the iPad is a wonderfully stingy device. I set myself up in an open area by the conference exhibits and the free Wi-Fi service kicked in. The iPad is programmed to switch to Wi-Fi from 3G whenever it's available. It saved on the data quota on the monthly AT&T 3G plan while I kept working without interruption.

By early afternoon it was beyond doubt the best road warrior tool kits include an iPhone and an Apple iPad. I was talking on one of the devices while reading and sending emails on the other. The .pdf files that were sent my way were read and forwarded to the office for immediate follow-up.

I'm now used to having my iPad at the office all day. Today proved the Apple iPad can amply assist with crisis management from remote locations as well.

I'm seeing fewer notebook PCs at meetings and conferences these days, but smart phones are in abundance. Smartphones are good for quick notes and email replies. I'm preparing this blog entry using the Pages app for the iPad. For the things I want to do and for those things that just have to get done while away from the office, a smartphone is good. But an iPhone and an Apple iPad combination is simply better. Enclosed in the Apple iPad case and stowed in my bag, the Apple iPad is lighter than any laptop I've ever carried and can be used to get at least as much done.

Robert Paul Leitao

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Apple iPad On The Road

I'm attending an off-site conference for work and brought along my Apple iPad as an all-in-one productivity solution.

For the first time since purchase I activated the 3G service. The process was almost uncomfortably easy. I need to remind myself to cancel the service before it automatically renews 30 days from today. The 3G service is fast and responsive.

Equipped with the Apple iPad keyboard dock I'm able to quickly respond to emails and I'm using the keyboard to compose this post. I've been using the iPad and keyboard dock at work for the past few weeks. At first I thought moving between the touch screen and the keyboard in the absence of a mouse would be awkward. Quite the contrary. Pinch and zoom is a decided benefit in reading correspondence and in composing responses. If I have a lament it's that the keyboard dock can not be used while the iPad is enclosed in the Apple case and portrait positioning is the only option.

Just for sport I want to see how far I can stretch the 250MB 3G data quota for $14.99. No media-rich Websites or apps until I'm back on Wi-Fi.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The iPad Chronicles

I've started The iPod Chronicles as a companion to my Posts At Eventide blog. The Apple iPad is the most immersive digital device I have ever owned. I'm convinced it will transform the way we use digital devices to access information and communicate with the world and one another.

The focus of this Web presence is the use of the Apple iPad at work, at home and when away from both work and home.I am testing the Apple iPad's uses in a variety of settings and everyday situations and I will chronicle my experiences on these pages.

I currently own an Apple iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Though purchased in mid-July, it has quickly become my preferred device for information gathering and personal productivity. I look forward to sharing my iPad experiences on these pages as I chronicle the many uses of this device and explore several of the iOS apps specifically designed for Apple's latest hardware product. 

Robert Paul Leitao