iPad as a writing/research tool

dr
druid
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Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:00 am Post

CPQ, that's true. But as I said, the Pad is no replacement for a laptop. Instead, it has other advantages.

Case in point: we are presently compiling a list of books to locate in our campus library. The workflow is Endnote --> Bento --> Numbers for iPad. When we get the Wi-Fi problem on campus resolved (soon, it appears), we'll detach the Pad from its keyboard and bring it along on our stacks search.

We could carry a laptop, but it's cumbersome, and a printed list will require re-typing of any fresh data we pick up. This is a writer's version of how iPads are used in hospitals and factories, for data storage and revision, on the go.

Other uses I can imagine are voice memos and brief interviews, plus jotting notes in all kinds of situations, limited only by the reach of Wi-Fi. In those instances the Pad may be more useful than a laptop; but I fully understand anyone who prefers the latter.

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Sean Coffee
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:57 pm Post

A few good tips on using the iPad keyboard: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20 ... j=MacFixIt

dr
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Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:18 am Post

Ok, Tonight I am using the wireless keyboard and the 69-cent card holder from Office Depot. This is the best setup yet: screen is in landscape mode, both units are wireless, the Bluetooth connection is solid, and I am as happy as a woodchuck chucking wood. The key action is smooth, and the landscape mode is terrific.

Yes, it resembles a laptop; but my MacBook Pro would be awkward in this situation: I'm in a recliner, typing on a lap board, and the two units together weigh no more than a small book. I know from prior usage that the MBP is far heavier, and its wireless time frame much shorter.

I can easily see writing this way on a plane, train, or bus. The normal screen resolution is readable, with my cheaters on, but it's a mere two-fingered gesture to enlarge the screen. So far, I've done 5 e-mails and this posting, all in a few minutes, and the Pad battery still says 100%. In a few days I'm taking the Pad on a trip, and I'll let you know how it goes.

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Mishenka
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Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:12 pm Post

If you really want to use Scrivener on your iPad, try one of these from the App Store: iTeleport for iPad @ 19.99 Euro/14.99 GBP (http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/itelepor ... 05685?mt=8) or LogMeIn Ignition @ 23.99 Euro/17.99 GBP (http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/logmein- ... 16801?mt=8).

I'm using LogMeIn Ignition (was recommended from a friend who had trialed both) and can log-on to my iMac at home from my iPad, and then launch Scrivener (and anything else on my iMac) directly from my iPad. You might want to contact others who might have tried both before purchasing yourself - LogMeIn tends to have a lot more better reviews from other users.

Takes some getting use to but if you are remote, and really want to work on Scrivener, there is an app for that.

dr
druid
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Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:48 pm Post

Mishenka: thanks for your input; really appreciated.

Latest from here: on iPad keyboards and how to transfer iWork docs.

Keyboards: with either the wired or wireless keyboard, you may now use the Pad in portrait or landscape modes.

The wireless keyboard does both easily, and I prefer this setup because I can leave the Pad in its Apple case (see link for pictures)

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/03/appl ... ro-review/

The wired keyboard is normally in portrait mode, but some genius at Engadget learned how to set it in landscape, using the standard dock extender cable. (see link for picture)

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/26/land ... ible-thri/

iWork docs: Apple wants you to transfer files to the Pad via iTunes, but it doesn't work perfectly, as this Gizmodo note suggests. http://ipad.planet5d.com/fm4

I have been using GoodReader, which allows Wi-Fi transfer, as well as picking up files from Web or FTP servers. See http://www.goodiware.com/goodreader.html

I'm about to take the Pad on a trip; will report later on how well it works in transit.

Ah
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Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:21 pm Post

If I may speak in Seinfeldian terms, do you find the iPad lounge-worthy? Does it perch near the couch, ready for a quick imdb or Google of what you thought was going on, but isn't? Followed by quick notes to self about what to do tomorrow to solve a nagging problem when you set back to work on The Next Big Thing?

I played with one at Best Buy in Bangor last week, and it was an eye-opener, more for who else was playing with them than its self-evident playability: a crowd of intent noodlers, evenly split between hormonally addled adolescents and feeble old geezers, like me. All of us wondering, For Us? While eyeing each other suspiciously: For them?

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AmberV
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Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:38 pm Post

All right, so I have had one for about four days now, I think (it all kind of blends together), and for me lounge-worthy is practically the definition of this device. That is precisely what it excels at---a way to get at information or mark notes down no matter where you are in the house. It doesn't so much replacing a laptop as it does extend some of what a laptop can do, to anywhere. You could be cooking and suddenly remember some variation on the recipe you wanted to check out and be at it in a few seconds. Working on a piece of furniture and referencing a DIY page as you go. Sure you could bring your $2,500 laptop into the garage, but---yeah.

Does it do it better than an iPod Touch? Yes, in all ways it is immeasurably better, save for the size factor (which is of course what makes the iPad so much better for browsing, jotting things down, and doodling ideas in the first place). With an iPod as a portable reference tool, you can slip it into a pocket and forget about it. Likewise if you are listening to music on it, you can stand up and go some place else for a while without thinking about it. Try that with an iPad and you'll be rudely reminded of your mistake by a bang and clatter and the sinking sensation of realising you just essentially tossed $700 dollars onto a concrete floor. So it's somewhere in between an iPod and a Laptop in terms of that. It *is* a solid device though. A big chunk of glass and metal with no moving parts that doesn't feel fragile at all. You don't have to feel as though you need to always be delicate with it.
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dr
druid
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Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:23 am Post

Road report: I'm now 1200 miles west, typing on the iPad via wireless keyboard. Time spent in the airport lounge was a pleasure, thanks to the Pad. Checked on e-mail, sent some responses, and read papers and magazines via the Web. TSA did want to inspect the Pad, after all, so apparently they DO regard it as a computer.

I never write anything on the iPhone, so I'm discovering now the Copy/Paste conventions, which are pretty slick. Tap twice in a location to get the box with blue handles, then drag them to cover the area you want to copy/paste.

Although the Pad currently lacks multitasking; it's easy to work back and forth between apps. Example: writing a note to a friend, I wanted to include a web link to a news story. So, in the midst of the letter, I pressed the Home key, launched Safari, found the link, copied it, hit Home again, and bingo, I was back in the letter, at the very spot where I left it. Paste the link, complete letter, and send. This took far less time to do than the description I just wrote.

I'm especially glad that I use Apple Mail, since it works beautifully on the Pad. And it cooperates nicely with the IMAP mail folders back at the U. I do have a laptop along on this trip, but right now I'm using the Pad as a convenience for taking care of everyday chores.

PS to Ahab: lounge-worthy, indeed. Great companion to baseball, movies, or just for jotting down quick notes and e-mailing to self. I'm also beginning to read papers, magazines, and books on the Pad. Someone needs to build a really good reader that lets me highlight, annotate, and bookmark passages, the way I do with pen and Post-It tabs.

Many have commented on how much multi-touch changes the interface. It's so easy to tap or stroke to make a page flip or the screen scroll; and a light tap enlarges text or else brings up app tools. This ease of interaction seems not like "computing" at all, but a whole new way to read and write.

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AmberV
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Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:24 am Post

druid wrote:I'm also beginning to read papers, magazines, and books on the Pad. Someone needs to build a really good reader that lets me highlight, annotate, and bookmark passages, the way I do with pen and Post-It tabs.


Have you given the free Kindle reader a look? It does everything you just stated. In the same way that you select text for copy and paste, you get the little blue handles, and once happy with the selection, can tap either 'highlight' or 'note'. Bookmarks are made by just tapping a ribbon icon in the upper-right corner, same as with Apple's reader I think. The really nice thing about these notes is that they are automatically synced to Amazon's servers, just as the books themselves are. You could delete a book from the device, download back a year later, and every marking will be intact. Same goes for using multiple devices. Notes made on the iPod will show up on the iPad, Desktop version of the reader, or the Kindle. The second thing I like about the application is that it provides a menu which lets you scroll through all of your annotations and markings. Tapping on any of them will jump right to that spot in the book.

The main drawback is that it is a little tricky to get at your notes later. You can view them on kindle.amazon.com, but it is a lot easier with the actual Kindle itself, which logs everything you do into a text file. I wish the iPad would let you e-mail out your notes for a book.

Personally I like their software better. It is a lot more focussed on the text, though I guess some like having the graphics around the edge of the page. I think Kindle in sepia colour mode is fine enough.
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Ioa Petra'ka
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Ah
Ahab
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Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:26 am Post

Well, hmmmm: Loungeworthy and Workworthy, thus passing the tax-deductibility straight-face test.

dr
druid
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Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:57 am Post

Amber, thanks for the tutorial on how to use the Kindle app, which I do have, with my favorite book :D currently loaded. Will go experiment. I have much to learn about the reading apps, obviously. On e-mailing notes; I experimented today with Sundry Notes, which lets me do that, but it's a separate app and thus less convenient when reading. One cool aspect of typing on the Pad: it has the same spell-suggestion and correction as the iPhone. Very handy to have that, along with rapid touch-typing. — D

PS: just found a super annotation tool, iAnnotate. Works on iPad and iPhone, plus there's a desktop version, for Mac and Windows. See http://www.ajidev.com/iannotate/. It works mainly on PDF files. The iPhone book-reader with best annotation is Stanza, but I understand that Kindle bought it and it won't improve beyond its current state.

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Sat May 01, 2010 11:52 pm Post

Taking notes is a basic task for writers, and for that activity the iPad offers two kinds of apps: task managers or note books. My preference is for note books, which let me write longer pieces of copy.

They have some common features, beginning with a two column-layout: (left) table of contents, and (right) text for individual notes. They use only one font, often Helvetica. Wireless typing works fine, with spell-assist and check. You may write in portrait or landscape mode; then share by e-mail or synching to a server.

Of the seven I've tested, I'd rank them from Good to Better, in this order. (I've not yet found a Best.)

Mail: the easiest way to write copy and share it via e-mail. Edit via multi-touch or Cmd-keys on the keyboard. You may include web-links, but not attachments. No outlining or sorting, but you may create mail folders for the latter purpose.

Notes: the text-entry pane resembles a lined legal pad, pale yellow. The only font is Marker Felt. First line becomes title of note, date and time-stamped when you save. The latest note always goes to top, and there's no way to sort that list. Share by e-mail. http://www.leancrew.com/all-this/images ... r-felt.png

Simple Note: same two-column layout, with a Search feature, and you may sort notes by Alpha, Created, or Modified status. The font is Helvetica. Besides e-mail, you may synch notes to a free account at http://www.simplenoteapp.com.

Sundry Notes: has several types of entries: text, drawing, image, and sound. Helvetica font, but you may change the color and style, though that affects an entire 'graph. You may insert symbols, clips from Google or Wikipedia, and merge different file types in one entry. Also import PDF files from the Web, and export an item as a PDF. Backup and export sends single notes or all of them to an e-mail address. This tool has much versatility, if you want to include more in your notes than text. http://sundrynotes.com/

EverNote: Well-known to many in the L&L forum, the iPad version lets you enter text, image, or voice notes, and sort them into notebooks, marked with tags or place names. You may search them easily and synch them to your free or premium Evernote account. The text font is Helvetica. Nice display of notes, in thumbnails with or without text details. http://www.evernote.com/

Outliner: The only note-taker with built-in outline functions. Lets you choose check box or numbered entries, small or large font, and move the items into hierarchical positions. Possibly less useful for long-form notes, though you may export to e-mail in either Text or OPML formats. http://carbonfin.com/

Pages: a simple version of the desktop edition, but with many features: document setup; insertion of media, tables, charts, and shapes; a formatting toolbar; enter outline headings with a touch, and export/share in multiple formats via e-mail or iWork. Two flaws: choice of styles but not fonts, and you may only enter text in portrait mode. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4065

Of these, I'll probably most often use Simple Note, Outliner, and Pages, since my entries are mostly text with web links.

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AmberV
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Tue May 04, 2010 5:57 am Post

Someone finally hacked a way to print off of the iPad:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/15/ipad-printing-solved/
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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dr
druid
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Tue May 04, 2010 2:42 pm Post

Amber, that's hilarious! Now, if they would just build in OCR.....
Actually, there's an app called PrintCentral ($12.99) that alleges to print/share files.
I rarely print files; just e-mail them as PDFs.
And for print jobs over a few pages, I mail them to a local copy shop.
I use a Brother HL-1440. Last changed the cartridge three years ago!

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Gaijin de Moscu
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Tue May 04, 2010 8:41 pm Post

After several days of trial, I can quite happily write on iPad. I like the full screen Pages mode. The touch keyboard on the screen doesn't bother me. It makes me think more as I write, which must be a good thing.

Of course, I miss all the comfort of Scrivener, so I keep running back to my laptop for notes, scripts, and other things which Scrivener holds.

If I were to ever find Scrivener ported to iPad, I'll pay before I'll think. Just saying. Please don't scold me.