iPad

To use or not iPad at work?

I have been asking that question since I got iPad 2 shortly after it was introduced. I am still asking that same question. That quite much sums up the situation. Not an easy task for few reasons.

First of all, I use (or I am actually almost forced to use) PC at work. Not a Mac (which I use at home). I write scientific articles, funding applications, and many other kind of documents using Microsoft Word because it is most widely used word processing system and it actually has the best document commenting and tracking system available. So this info is important as a background.

I would like to use my iPad in many meetings we have here at work to make notes and short memos which I could easily transfer to my PC and which I could effortlessly distribute to my colleagues. I have tried so many kind of note making apps with iPad and no one of those have been great. Sometimes I would like to open a scientific manuscript with my iPad and make some corrections in it. Not an easy task. Actually I find it quite much an impossible task. It seems that an iOS version of MS Word would be needed to effectively work in this PC-Mac-iOS world.

I think the easiest way to fix these problems would be to buy a MacBook Air and istall MS Word for Mac in it. Then I would have the best possible (even though not perfect) solution for my above problem. But that solution would cost me about 1000 euros in minimum.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

I have recently been wanting a real keyboard for my iPad (2nd generation) to achieve faster writing. Then I spotted Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover in a local store and decided to buy it even if I did not know about any reviews on it (later on I spotted many very positive reviews on it in the web). I can say that I am happy that I bought this keyboard. It is quite expensive one (99,95 €) but I think it is worth of that money.

I like the idea that this keyboard works also as a cover for iPad’s screen. I have been using Apple’s iPad cover and wanted the keyboard to be similar in that respect and this one really is. This keyboard is very thin and do not add much thickness to the iPad when closed and covering the iPad. It attaches to iPad with similar magnet thing than the iPad cover. I would like those magnets to be little bit stronger though. I am somehow worried how those magnets will work after a year or so. Are they still strong enough to keep the cover in place when closed?

The keyboard itself is fantastic. It is large enough for fast and accurate writing. It is about 20% smaller than my Apple Wireless Keyboard I am using with my Mac Mini. You’ll get used to this Logitech’s keyboard very easily. Also the writing feel is very good. And it is silent too. I think this is a needed feature if you are going to use a keyboard in meetings for example.

This keyboard have a very nice finish (aluminium outer shell) and a magnetic groove where the iPad is placed. The iPad is always in a fixed viewing angle (60 degrees) which could be problem for some users. I feel it is totally okay on table and even on my lap. iPad is staying very firmly in that groove and it is even possible to lift the whole combo by grabbing the iPad when it is in the upward writing position.

If you write a lot (or even not so much) I really recommend this keyboard for your iPad. I use it now always because it doubles as a iPad screen cover and in that way it will be always with my iPad.

Fantastic Snapseed app now in iOS and Mac

I have now Snapseed app in my iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) and in my MacBook. Really fantastic. I think I am going to use the desktop version quite much for my Fuji X100 shots. I’m shooting in JPEG with X100 and I feel Snapseed will suit very well for those shots (even though Snapseed is capable to process RAWs too). If you are not familiar with this awesome app, I suggest that you should visit Snapseed website.

 

Here’s one quick processing by desktop version of Snapseed from last night. 

 

 

Processed in Snapseed

The shot below has been shot with Fuji X100 and was initially saved in my Aperture 3 library in my MacBook. In Aperture I saved some of the shots from that photo shoot in the photo stream in iCloud which is very handy way to get shots in your iOS devices (and vice versa of course). I opened this shot from the photo stream in my iPad and processed it in the very wonderful Snapseed app. I cropped it and adjusted color and contrast. Very handy indeed. I uploaded the final version in my Flickr stream straight from Snapseed. And of course the final version was immediately also in my MacBook through iCloud. Fantastic. 

 

Test post from Blogsy

Just a quick test using Blogsy for iPad to write a blog post here. This app seems to have very nice formatting tools and nice handy link to my Flickr account to attach photos here. Let’s try to include one Christmas shot here:

 
 
 

 

Why I chose Pages for writing meeting minutes

First of all I personally have a Mac, iPad, and iPhone. And at work I am forced to use a PC with MS Office package.

I work in science and we have quite a lot of meetings and I would like to use my iPad to write short minutes of them. I want to read those minutes using all my devices at home and at my workplace. So, there are many things to fullfill for a notes/writing app. And I really have tested quite many.

It would be nice if a note app is easy to use and fast for writing using mobile devices. Of course somekind of syncing feature is also a must because I am using many devices to create and read them. I’ve tested at least the following ones (some are iOS and some for Mac, some for both):

Evernote, NoteMaster, Elements, iA Writer, TaskPaper, Note Taker, ThinkBook, ByWord, and Pages (at least these – there may be some else which I do not recall now).

Some of those are really great writing apps. I especially like iA Writer and ByWord for distraction free writing and I am using them for that purpose. But they are not perfect ones for taking notes. Pages is a word processor (at least sort of) and is not a pure note taking app either. But there are few reasons why I chose Pages over the other for my meeting minute app:

You can make decent lists by Pages (even though you have better system for that in other apps – like TaskPaper). But the lists are decent and quite easy to make. The main reason for choosing Pages is the iCloud sync. It is fantastic. I have many of those other apps which use Dropbox sync which is also very nice but Pages with iCloud is very special case – at least for me. When you have your Pages documents in iCloud they are in all of your iOS devices and also in your Mac. Okay, Dropbox will do the same. Some of the other apps use file formats which are not so good if you want to use them in Word. And that’s what I need (I have to circulate the minutes to many people who are using Word). Plain text format will of course work but then I have to do quite a lot of formatting in Word before I’ll send the minutes to others. If I use Pages I can download the minutes from iCloud as Pages, Word, or PDF format. That’s super handy! I can even send the file in Word or PDF format straight from my mobile device as an email. And I can upload Word documents to iCloud too. Even more handy. So, there is much less messing around when I use Pages instead of those other apps.

One bonus more when using Pages. You can easily add some pics and charts in your documents when using Pages.