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iPad Hardware and Accessories Discuss the iPad hardware and accessories

A few weeks with the iPad - a traveler's tale


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IvanLasston

 
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I am trying to use the iPad as a travel device instead of my laptop. Currently I have 2 bags - 1 with all the laptop stuff, and 1 with the iPad stuff. I try to keep the laptop in the car and only use the iPad for customer visits. I sell CAD software so I do have a lot of computing to do and I was skeptical of being able to use the iPad. With my short use so far here is what I found

Note Taking
As noted in this thread I have tried a lot of note taking apps.
Taking Notes on the iPad
As my last post says I have settled on Notify
Underscore Notify for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
as it has both hand writing recognition and free form drawing. This is perfect for my work. I have been using it and it does quite well in meetings. Because I use a stylus with the iPad it does come off as just note taking. Not only that being able to clip the web, a picture or record audio has also been helpful. It has crashed on me a few times and I lost a page or two each time. This has replaced my Pen/Paper solution (which is currently a Mont Blanc and a Moleskine but it used to be a Logitech Smartpen. Switching to Mac the Smart Pen didn't have drivers)


Remote Access
My company supports a Cisco SSL VPN - and there is an anyconnect client available. This works quite well to access internal resources.
Cisco AnyConnect for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

I also have VNCViewer - which allows me to access my linux workstation while on the VPN. This works OK but there are a lot of graphics and typing so it isn't as good as a proper mouse and keyboard. It is good enough to use for commandline and checking on running programs.
VNC Viewer for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

There is also Citrix which my client uses. Again this works OK for quick access but a proper laptop would be better for real graphical work.
Citrix Receiver for iPad for iPad on the iTunes App Store

Lastly I have Webex installed and working. That works well for presentations. For demonstrations and taking control - again I'd rather have a full laptop
WebEx for iPad for iPad on the iTunes App Store

Presentations
This was quite frustrating. I wanted to use Keynote to do some presenting. There are plenty of older projectors at my clients so I had to carry around 2 dongles - 1 vga and 1 hdmi - which actually I had to carry around a hdmi to dvi connector for some other projectors. Too many cables/dongles currently. Hopefully everyone moves to hdmi soon so I only have to carry around 1 cable.
The frustrating part was Keynote and webdav. Sugarsync and Dropbox do not directly support webdav (At least I hadn't found any default way). Luckily there is Dropdav for Dropbox.
DropDAV - access your Dropbox via the WebDAV standard
That way I could keep presentations on Dropbox and not just iWork.com. I think having a me.com account may help this as well. Otherwise displaying stuff on a projector worked well.

File Transfer
Another frustration. I had to get some text from a webpage onto machines with no internet access. The best way to do this is a flash drive. No Dice with the Camera connector kit. (I don't have the iPad 2 jailbroken) I had to bring in my MBP and a flash drive at that point. It is a corner case but it happened so I can't be completely without a full laptop yet.

Documents
Haven't had any trouble opening up PDFs, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint docs. PDFs have been working really well in goodreader for me. Excel - is probably where I have the most trouble due to Macros but most basic stuff works OK in numbers. Same with Powerpoint in Keynote - I just don't get that fancy.
GoodReader for iPhone for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

Pim
Email works quite well.
Calendar works well.
Task management - Work in Progress - there is IMExchange 2 - which is $8 but I can finally sync to my exchange server.
iMExchange 2 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

I bought Pocket informant but there is too much rigamarole to get it to sync to any desktop task manger.
I've seen Things and OmniFocus suggested but the cost of desktop plus iOS app is pretty high.
Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks) for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
Things - task management on the Mac
OmniFocus for Mac - Products - The Omni Group
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This is very useful stuff, thanks for posting it.
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Good post and lots of good info!
Thanks.

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Great info! Thanks for that.

At the office where my wife works, their IT manager sometimes uses an iPad (first gen) to manage their network (all Windows). They are very useful for professionals and in an office or work environment.

16GB iPhone 5, 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad 1st Gen.

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Thanks Ivan for that post. Excellent info. Answered some questions I had also! Good job.
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Hadn't seen Dropdav before, thanks - that's really handy!
Quite a few reviews mention underscore is a it crashy… is it a real dealbreaker, or is it just occasional?
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For me, Notify has crashed a few times. Twice when actually drawing/taking notes, and a couple more when web clipping. The web clipping isn't that big a deal. Just go back to the app - and retry. When I lost some drawings that was a little more annoying. The problem is I haven't found many apps that have licensed the writepad technology. This is what is key for me - I want the ability to look like I'm writing - and get type written text out. Having that intermingled with drawn images, and a zoom function were my key usability issues. The reason is - I do a lot of customer interaction, and I need to look like I am writing, instead of typing. This makes the interaction more personal. For others that are just taking notes - this "look of handwriting" may not be as key. Then there are a few apps like Smart Note where you can just type away. Smart Note was pretty stable.

So the crashing is annoying but not enough to have me stop using it. I do need more time under the belt before I give a final judgement. I have just started using it so I currently have 5 notebooks with 5-7 pages each. It will be interesting to get up to higher page numbers (Notify talks about autobackup after page 50)
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Nice post!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IvanLasston View Post
For me, Notify has crashed a few times. Twice when actually drawing/taking notes, and a couple more when web clipping. The web clipping isn't that big a deal. Just go back to the app - and retry. When I lost some drawings that was a little more annoying. The problem is I haven't found many apps that have licensed the writepad technology. This is what is key for me - I want the ability to look like I'm writing - and get type written text out. Having that intermingled with drawn images, and a zoom function were my key usability issues. The reason is - I do a lot of customer interaction, and I need to look like I am writing, instead of typing. This makes the interaction more personal. For others that are just taking notes - this "look of handwriting" may not be as key. Then there are a few apps like Smart Note where you can just type away. Smart Note was pretty stable.

So the crashing is annoying but not enough to have me stop using it. I do need more time under the belt before I give a final judgement. I have just started using it so I currently have 5 notebooks with 5-7 pages each. It will be interesting to get up to higher page numbers (Notify talks about autobackup after page 50)
Have you tried Phat Pad or Notes Plus? I have some similar 'requirements' to yours when I was looking at note taking apps - although I have yet to really incorporate the iPad into every day life. I'm going to try again as we're grabbing a couple of iPad 2's for a work project.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianLachoreVPI View Post
Have you tried Phat Pad or Notes Plus? I have some similar 'requirements' to yours when I was looking at note taking apps - although I have yet to really incorporate the iPad into every day life. I'm going to try again as we're grabbing a couple of iPad 2's for a work project.
Do let us know how the project goes with the iPad 2's. Would be interesting to read.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Do let us know how the project goes with the iPad 2's. Would be interesting to read.
LOL - well if you're really interested - here's a little video one of of our little programs - the one I was specifically referring to. YouTube Linky It's a bit outdated but it's in the public domain so I feel quite comfortable sharing it. Nothing about this project is classified necessarily - just you know how companies get about proprietary data.

As offboard mobile devices are a part of the architectural paradigm - iPads of course have quite a bit of utility. This also gives me a good excuse to have a 'work approved' iPad



Let me know if you manage to sit through the whole thing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianLachoreVPI View Post
Have you tried Phat Pad or Notes Plus? I have some similar 'requirements' to yours when I was looking at note taking apps - although I have yet to really incorporate the iPad into every day life. I'm going to try again as we're grabbing a couple of iPad 2's for a work project.
I have tried Notes Plus. It is a very good app but doesn't have the handwriting recognition yet. It seems like the developer is planning to add it - and when he does I will look at Notes Plus again.
Notes + Should handwriting recognition come as free update?

Phat Pad - one of my friends went with that app and likes it. It didn't seem to have the zoom feature like Notetaker HD, Notes Plus, and Notify has. This feature is key for clean handwriting (as opposed to handwriting recognition - sometimes I just want hand written text with my pictures)
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I will be writing (and Ben Brooks has written) a post on the various versions of OmniFocus; to summarize both, the iPad version is simply the best version that can stand on its own; it's great for inputting tasks and there's really no better way to review what you have going on.

For my own personal use, though, I also have the iPhone version; this way I can input tasks while I'm at work and use the location-aware contexts to have a notification displayed when I'm near a location that I can get something done.

All-in-all, $60. For what you're getting, it's really not that bad.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElegantEsthetic View Post
I will be writing (and Ben Brooks has written) a post on the various versions of OmniFocus; to summarize both, the iPad version is simply the best version that can stand on its own; it's great for inputting tasks and there's really no better way to review what you have going on.

For my own personal use, though, I also have the iPhone version; this way I can input tasks while I'm at work and use the location-aware contexts to have a notification displayed when I'm near a location that I can get something done.

All-in-all, $60. For what you're getting, it's really not that bad.
I agree - as a stand alone task management system I've looked long and hard at the Omnifocus products. My issue is that my groupware is Microsoft Exchange. So for personal tasks I think Things and Omnifocus are superb. The problem is - if I want to assign a task to someone on the Exchange server - it doesn't really integrate, whereas IMExchange is using the tasks in Outlook.

For $60 you are talking about having the iPhone app -$20 and the iPad app -$40. Unfortunately, The Omnifocus product for the Mac alone is $80 on their website and I don't usually see their stuff discounted.

I would like to have one system for my tasks - so my other requirement is a Computer App or Web Page, an iPhone App, and an iPad app. So for Omnifocus as a standalone the outlay for me would be $140. That is a little steep for task management for me.
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I have found another shortcoming with the iPad. I have an Airport Express that I bought specifically for hooking into wired hotel ethernet so I can create my own wifi network. I haven't used it in a while since I have a Mifi Hotspot for US use. I am about to take an overseas trip - and was thinking about bringing the Airport Express. Unfortunately there is no way to configure an Airport Express without a full computer.

Most posts say - you can configure your Airport Express once for hotel access and it should work for most hotels. I agree with this but there are a couple of configurations that work for different hotel setups - so if I guess wrong then it isn't going to work - and there is no way to change that on the iPad.

Several forum members have railed against having a program to configure your access point - and I used to think what is the big deal? Well if I had a regular travel router any web browser would allow me to configure it - hence I could just bring an iPad. Until Apple makes an Airport Utility App for iOS - it messes up the convenience of a Airport Express paired with an iPad.
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