It would be great to be able to do without a case on the iPhone. No extra cost and no extra weight or size. Plus the iPhone looks pretty damn ...
From the not too distant past.....
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A few weeks ago in New York I was at a demo of Windows 8 and the new Surface tablet. There was nothing new on Windows 8 but getting to use the Surface did enforce just what a powerful tool Microsoft are bringing to the party.
From other posts here you will know that I really do like the iPad. Unfortunately, it could never replace my laptop for certain aspects of my work. Thus on days like today when travelling I am forced to carry the iPad and laptop and appropriate chargers. Granted the iPad is not a large device and not a huge inconvenience to carry but still.
The Surface will change that. The Surface (not the RT version) runs full apps like Excel and Word. They demo’d a little docking station for it and advised that you could hang 2 monitors off it and it also connected to your keyboard and mouse. So it became your full desktop solution. This little slab of tech could do it all. No more laptop and iPad needed. No more dropping stuff in dropbox so I could grab off the iPad. No more switching between devices depending on what I needed to do.
The device was very fast and responsive. Windows 8 was very easy to use on it. Of course as with any new OS there will be a learning curve and bugs to work out but initial view was very positive. The new version of Office interface was very clean with similarities to Outlook.com new interface. An added bonus was the pen\stylus. Unlike the iPad, that needs capacitive touch tip for writing, the Surface can us a fine tipped stylus. This tool meant that accurate writing was easily achievable and it means hand written note taking on the device is a real option.
The iPad is a wonderful device. For many it will continue to be so. The Surface however is a more complete tool especially for business. The ability to have full applications installed, the integration of the operating system with SkyDrive, the ability to dock it and use external monitors, a mouse and keyboard, the fine stylus all mean that it’s not just a real iPad competitor but it could spell the end for PCs and laptops as we currently know them. For the majority of people this device should be enough. There will be exceptions as there always is for those who need lots of processing power and memory. However, for the majority, like me, who need to access email, the Internet, and run Office applications for the most part then this device is ideal.
Over time as apps are added to the Microsoft store then it may turn from the ideal device into the perfect one. I hope it lives up to that potential.
I was initially a big Blackberry fan but unfortunately in recent years I lost faith like many others. However, for anyone out there looking to Blackberry the newish model 9900 is the first one in a while that seems worthy of a recommendation. Forget the Torch, or Curve or any other model and get the 9900 (if that doesn’t sound too arrogant!) . So it’s not full screen like the Torch but it is a great little performer and its back to Blackberries best if a little too late. The Torch (in its various guises) always feels a little lagging and I don’t like the size and balance of these devices. The 9900 however is very well-built, nicely weighted and perfectly balanced in the hand. Thus a great device for typing with its superb keyboard. The screen resolution is very good and the screen touch sensitivity\responsiveness is the best on any BB in my opinion. It is also a very fast little device with items opening up immediately on touching. Combined with a very good camera it’s almost perfect or at least for many who like a proper keyboard and can live with the resulting smaller screen.
The main downside is a lack of serious apps or at least serious options in apps. However if apps are not your focus then this may just be the best business partner for you. Pity it wasnt around a year or so ago it may have stopped many a person from jumping ship. All in all it is a great little device and worth a consideration.
How frustrating is it just when you have to take a call you notice you have 1% left and no plug or charger around. Yes every so often days don’t go to plan and that full charge the previous night didn’t get time to complete or you are out of the office using the iPhone all day and by 4pm it’s on 3% and you are still a few hours from home. What are your options?
With the iPhone 3GS I bought one of those battery covers as the battery life was terrible. Flicked a switch on the bottom and it started charging my iPhone and it was good for another few hours. However I like the size, weight and shape of the 4S too much to compromise it with a big batter cover. That combined with the fact I use my iPad so much meant I really wanted a solution that could work for both. So off I went for a search.
After a bit of reading I decided on the Proporta USB TurboCharger. It has a capacity of 7000 mAh which when translated means it has enough power to recharge a device a few times. It has connectors for most devices so whether its my iPad or my kids Nintendo DS this will work. It has an LED display that will show you how much power is left and at just 175 grams I can throw it in my bag and not even know it’s there. It comes with 2 little extendable cables, a car charger (not shown above as it’s in my car), plug and little velvet case. Most days it just sits in my bag but those days when there is excessive travel involved or its jut been a busy day on the device this has come to the rescue. It even has 2 charging ports if you really want need to charge 2 items at the same time. So if you sometimes find the need for more power then this little device is a very handy one to have sitting in your bag.
Where once there stood books, print-outs and folders there only stands a few ornaments and keepsakes. The paper is all gone. I have a couple of posts already on trying to go paperless and honestly it has taken a few years to get here and the final piece has been possible because of the iPad. After getting rid of filing cabinets in favour of electronic files on Sharepoint I also tried to go paperless with a tablet computer but it all seemed like too much work so paper still played a large part of both my personal and work life. However, with the addition of the iPad and the growing number of good apps and gadgets that accompany it I am glad to say that now I am truly paperless. All the papers that sat on my shelves mostly gathering dust are gone. Donated, recycled or shredded. Obviously some companies still send paper invoices by post but that is the exception rather than the rule now and mostly outside of my control. Companies that allow selection of paperless invoicing such as O2 I have selected that option.
So yes I use the iPad! The apps I use that enable me to go paperless are:
- Studio Basic + > Using this app in conjunction with the Studio i pen means I really can forget the pen and paper. From note taking to signing off on invoices it’s all possible and better than the capacitive pens. See post on the Studio i here
- Evernote > at last I am starting to really use Evernote and using it to store and categorise relevant items on the web, documents and for work. Easily accessible from any of my computers or mobile devices.
- Instapaper > Loving this to aggregate pieces from all over the web and then maybe once a week I can flick through and mark items as favourites, send to Evernote, archive or delete. No more printing of articles and stacked on a shelf
- Adobe Createpdf > If I get a Powerpoint presentation, Word Document or Excel file that I want to read and mark up I quickly use CreatePDF to turn it into a pdf and then I open it in Studio Basic where I can use the excellent Studio i pen to mark up the document as I would if it were printed on a piece of paper.
- QuickOffice > For opening any Powerpoint, Excel or Word office document
- Scanner Pro > This little app is for the iPhone but works on the iPad2 OK. I can take a pic with the iPad2 with this app and ‘scan’ it straight as a pdf to Evernote, photo library, google docs or share it via email. No need to walk and look for a scanner or carry the paper around with me. Scan it and go.
- Flipboard > For consumption of my favourite web sites. News, tech, cars and more…..
- Kindle > For all my books both personal and work. Any good books I had I have purchased the electronic version and recycled\donated the paper ones I had on the shelf.
- Newsstand – Focus Magazine > The BBC science magazine I subscribe to. (Excellent app – see post here )
- Newsstand – The Guardian Newspaper > - For the daily news obviously
- Zinio – For the F1 Racing magazine > My subscription to the paper mag has ended so from now on I’ll be purchasing the electronic version on Zinio
- The Journal > For daily news with an Irish focus
- Dropbox > If needed for file access but I am favouring Evernote over this lately just for document storage.
In my last post I mentioned Goodreader but while they have added features I feel it is clunky to use and navigate around. Evernote is a much slicker app. And for my pdfs and marking up as mentioned I now use Studio Basic. A few other apps have fallen by the wayside along the way.
I am really enjoying my clutter free desk and note needing to carry books, magazines and print outs when ever I travel or even to and from work. Its takes some time to get used to and at the start it can be tempting to just print something out of habit but I would recommend it to all. Spend some time finding the apps you need to lighten your paper load and enjoy only carrying an iPad wherever you go.