What I learned on Day 1 with my iPad 3G

I didn’t use 3G on day 1. Didn’t even sign up. I was home with my wi-fi and 3G didn’t cross my mind. I was planning to use the $15/month, 256 mb plan. So I actually turned on 3G on day 2. Easy and no obligation except to prepay $15.

My iPad arrived at 1:42 pm. I was waiting in anticipation near the door. I heard a truck and ran up 3 flights of stairs to see if it was UPS. False alarm. A few minutes later Spinner, my dog, barked excitedly as the man in brown arrived. I was thrilled to have my brand new iPad in hand on a Friday at 1:42 with lots of time left in the day to explore.

I didn’t sync right away. I chose the fresh blank iPad option in iTunes which immediately left me free to try out the standard apps. I quickly opened and sampled a few standard apps then rushed to the App store. I had almost a month to think about and read about apps while waiting for my 3G after all. My first two apps were Twittelator for iPad for $1.99 and Instapaper Pro for $4.99. I wanted to be on twitter looking for iPad info as it was reported by citizen journalists on twitter.

Instapaper is great if you like to save links for later perusal – I do. Second thing about Instapaper, it has excellent font controls and even lets you darken or brighten right within the app so you can read in bed or read in a fairly dark room while watching TV and see just fine without straining your eyes. It also allows sizing the type and setting the margins. It’s fabulous, a must-have for news junkies of any stripe.

In order to read things in Instapaper, though, you need to have something there. I did but I wanted all the hottest current iPad information coming out on iPad 3G release day. I fashioned a search string like so: “iPad -win -free -contest -gangstaz” to get as much iPad news / comments as possible while filtering out a lot of the spam.

Twittelator for iPad was a surprisingly good compliment to Instapaper. Stone Design put a lot more effort into making the UI attractive and enjoyable than they have on the iPhone version. The landscape view is delightful with your friend stream in one column and another column of your choice beside it. The right column accommodated my iPad Search string, my iPad Enthusiasts list or the Tech & Science/Apple channel. I alternated between columns switching back and forth to check the latest tweets in each. Much fun for any healthy iPad fanatic on iPad 3G day!

Holding the iPad can be a conundrum. Sideways or portrait, tilted or flat? I found it no problem on day 1 but I did keep moving it and holding it differently from one period (say 15 minutes) to the next. Resting it on something is your best bet so if you have your knees up on the couch, you are set. You may want to rest the iPad on something like a thin pillow or folded towel in bed so it doesn’t dig into your stomach after a while.

The iPad New York Times Editor’s Choice is another promising app and worked perfectly on day 1. In subsequent days, I’ve become less satisfied as it isn’t the whole NY Times so it’s only good when the article you want is in there.

I was struck by how much you can do with an iPad. I liked Newsy with all its high quality video clips. But since the novelty wore off a day or two later, I’m not all that excited about it as it serves up the news a couple days late. That’s not so bad if you haven’t been in touch with big stories and want to catch up but otherwise it is slim pickings.

On day one I was elated. I tweeted that I felt stoned and I don’t do that sort of thing any more but did at one time and the feeling was similar. It’s kind of that being in love feeling turned towards a stellar and game changing new gadget. Also, I predicted the iPad might be like a Linus blanket. You never want to be without it.

Finally around 7:30 pm I decided I needed my photos on my iPad. That led me to sync to my Mac’s 3000-image iPhoto library. Too bad as that stole at least 45 minutes of my wonderful first iPad day. I love the photos on iPad and wished mightily I could organize them right there and then. Please hurry up on that upgrade, Apple!

Next up was finding a mind mapping app for iPad since I was already using a mind mapping tool, SimpleMind, on my iPhone. I did a bunch of research on my iPad with Google in Safari and discovered that one iPhone app maker decided on January 27 to go for it and do an iPad version of his mind mapping app. That app is iThoughtsHD and it is compatible with Mindjet MindManager on Mac so I sprung for the $7.99. I am so very pleased about being able to move all my mind maps from my Mac to my iPad as well as being able to move new mind maps created on iPad to my Mac. The map appearance is not up to Mindjet, but it is quite full-featured.

Next project was to get some Kindle and iBooks going. I downloaded the Kindle app and pretty soon was totally set with my Kindle library. Fantastic!!! Then I went over to iBooks and uh, nothing. I could see from looking at Winnie that I needed to get more ebooks quick. I had heard on twitter that people were putting PDFs in there using the GoodReader app which is an absolutely awesome app for $1 and does a lot for you.

So I downloaded a fresh copy of Calibre and worked on getting a user manual in there. Calibre will take a PDF and turn it into an ePub book for you. Sometimes this is pretty and sometimes not. You can select the Books icon in iTunes and then drag ePub ebooks into iTunes. Then sync. It works.

I researched a bit and found that I was entitled to download some ePub versions of my Take Control ebooks. Yay! I found the Take Control ebooks waaay better than reading PDFs on my Macbook screen. Wonderful and I can even bookmark stuff which I did a lot of and got yellow highlights for my trouble.

With the exception of that long iTunes sync, I explored, experimented, expanded and otherwise played incessantly with my amazing new tool/toy until midnight. What a great day!

Just Blogged About Ordering iPad 32gb + 3G

iPadI just blogged about my iPad choice this morning on my sister Tech Ronin blog. It includes why I chose the 3G option, how I plan to use my new iPad when it comes and where my Kindle will fit in. I’m hoping the iPad will be a perfect fit between my iPhone and Macbook Air allowing me to leave the Air at home more often. There are still lots of questions that won’t be answered until the product is released next month and apps that take advantage of the larger screen and faster processor become available.

Why Samsung’s new Bada OS is a good move

bada

Samsung is a big player in the cell phone market. But, they excel in the feature phone space. The writing is on the wall and feature phones are rapidly losing ground to smartphones. Samsung has to get into this game with their own OS.

Bada can come in all about the lower end of the smartphone market and match up well to feature phone users who are thinking of switching to a smartphone.

Samsung has developed bada to make these exclusive smartphone experiences available to everyone. – Samsung

If you are one the biggest companies in the world, you can afford to make the effort to create a niche for yourself that favors your agenda rather than forever playing second fiddle to Google, Microsoft, Nokia or Apple.

Apple has shown all the other players the way. Half the battle with software development is seeing how something can work. Everyone gets to play with an iPhone and all the accompanying iPhone apps and see for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

Apple paid for all the prototyping and market testing and made smartphones worth having. Now Samsung can imitate, extend and perhaps favor both Samsung and the Asian market — which, by the way, it going to be huge.

Why not? Consider the resources they have. They can afford to do their own OS to control their own destiny in this increasingly mobile, constantly connected world. Don’t run out and buy the first Samsung Bada phone, but eventually all the big phone makers will learn to play in the mobile web space.

And, yes, I’m sticking with my iPhone for the foreseeable future.

State of the Mac (and iPhone) Nov 2009

Time is flying by as usual and it is time to give you my take on what’s up at Apple. This is easy since they are doing so well. I’ve been writing about Apple in one way or another since the early nineties. Back then I was writing a paper newsletter once or twice a year.

Snow Leopard has been great for me. The only hassle was that quite a few things broke and weren’t fixed for a few weeks. Apple had said Snow Leopard in September and all the developers thought that meant September 30. Apple got crazy and introduced Snow Leopard on August 28. How rude!

iMac27

The main thing to know about Snow Leopard if you haven’t upgraded yet is that (1) it makes your machine noticeably faster and (2) the screen pops and dazzles in a way Leopard doesn’t. Apple rewrote the Finder in Cocoa and put the full horsepower of their core graphics engine under it. Now windows pop like you’ve never seen them. As soon as you install Snow Leopard there’s no going back. It’s too lush and enjoyable — and did I say fast!

Then in September we had the new iPod touch and iPod nano. I covered them in my last post, so will skip those here. I still think the Nano makes a fantastic Christmas gift for anyone who likes music or gadgets the least bit. The iPod touch is for all those people who can’t do iPhone due to contracts, crumby reception or exhorbitant data plan charges. iPhone-less college students are perfect mates for the iPod touch because wi-fi runs rampant on a college campus and money isn’t all that plentiful in most cases when you are a student.

Then came a *mightier* Mac mini upgrade, a fast, battery-laden $995 white Macbook with everything but firewire and a crazily ginormous iMac 27. Apple rocks! They do not let up. They drive the tech world.

I only have two tiny complaints at the moment. I wish Apple had knocked Mac prices down a little more somewhere to increase Mac marketshare. But if they did, they could not wow us as well with things like the 7-hour battery life of the white Macbook. Second, where’s my iPad? Lots of people have shiny little netbooks and I want a mini-tablet as an alternative. Lots of Apple owners *had to* go out and buy netbook PCs. Since I have a Macbook Air, I held the line. I highly recommend Apple’s video about the new iMac – there’s a lot of Apple’s amazing industrial designer, Jonathan Ive, on there.

Windows 7 is here. As an after thought, I’ll mention the big W from the North country. I haven’t seen a screen with Windows 7 on it. I go by my tech reading. What I see is that Windows 7 is a great boon to Microsoft’s bottom line. Since a lot of the good things about it are already in OS X, Mac lovers need not be concerned. We know who the innovator is between Apple and Microsoft. Since there is an incredible inertia in favor of Windows, Apple will have to hustle. Glad of that.

Steve Lives and Back in the Saddle

steve_lives_gizmodoWe are disappointed with Apple’s decision to leave the camera out on the iPod touch. On the other hand the 64gb model looks pretty nice. The little nanos with video cam, microphone and fm radio look like great Christmas gifts this year.

Lots of goodies in iTunes 9 – finally better design so you can find what you want faster and a wishlist! Being able to organize your iPhone and iPod touch apps in iTunes looks really good.

Couldn’t resist this pic. I’ve got iTunes 9 running and both iPhone and iPod touch running OS 3.1.

Photo compliments of Gizmodo.

Using Thesis Theme on our Studio Manager site

Even though it is going to take a while to figure out how to take care of every single minor issue that occurred moving from our static website to this blog-driven WordPress site, we are sure it is a great move.

We’ve got the basic pages of our tokerud.com site up now with tabs across the top for navigation. Switching web hosts is about as hard as switching from static to blog-based, so we are not sure doing both at once was such a bright idea.

About a week ago, we committed to using the Thesis Theme for our tokerud.com WordPress site. That cost us $87. We had so much fun and are so enthused, that we’ve now started building up the studio-manager.com site as a WordPress site. Our $87 license for Thesis Theme is a one blog deal, so we limped along since last Thursday on the studio-manager site with the Kubrick theme. Not pretty!

Today, I decided to use Thesis on my new studio-manager wordpress site. So, that cost $77 more. Now, though, I have a license that lets me use thesis theme on as many sites as I want for my own use. If you value your time and you think you have a good theme, it saves time to use the same theme. You learn once and apply twice. And, since these are both related sites, the resemblance is a good thing.

We have over 25 pages to migrate on the studio-manager.com site, so it is going to be a while before we transfer the studio-manager.com domain to our new blog-based site. More to follow.

My Twitter Followers Profile Cloud

tokerud_followers_profile_cloudThis is just a little too fun to resist blogging about. Here’s the profile cloud for my followers on Twitter. Now I’ll need to figure out what to make of it.

If you would like your own personal follower profile cloud, just go to twittersheep.com and enter your Twitter name into the prompt. No registration required.

I found this little gem of a resource in The Twitter Book. Insightful, entertaining and a very quick read by the way!

State of Apple – July 2009

I see AAPL is at about $147 per share today. Not too shabby for a deep recession. Steve Jobs is back at the helm after a successful liver transplant! That was a surprise for everyone but seems to have come out for the better. I’m relieved and hope to see him live a long life. He’s only 54 after all.

While Steve was on a leave of absence, the Apple machine showed no signs of distress. Perhaps this is because, Steve remained involved on major decisions and he’s hired an amazing team to carry out Apple’s groundbreaking initiatives.

iPhone_3GS_400px

The new iPhone 3GS is looking to be a big success. I absolutely love mine. The improved camera hardware and software was worth waiting for. I don’t feel bad leaving my point-and-shoot at home anymore. The increased speed and extra memory mean you can flip between web pages and apps without a pause in the action. Voice control and the new compass add even more to the package. Don’t get me started on iPhone OS 3.0 which works on all iPhones and iPod touches. Did I mention the App store?

MacBook_Pro_13

The Amazing new Macbook Pro 13″ was a wonderful surprise. Starting at $1199, this Mac can’t be beat. And they gave us back the Firewire they took away when the unibody MacBook was released last October. Plus much increased battery life and a better screen. If I weren’t in love with my MacBook Air, I would have run to the Apple store for this one.

In spite of some credible initial efforts from the Blackberry, Android and now Palm, Apple seems close to attaining the crown in the Smartphone space. That’s not bad after only 24 months in the market. Keep in mind that mobile is the next computing platform.

We have Snow Leopard and new iPods coming in September. Rumors of a mini-tablet in October tantalize. Really glad to have these amazing technology treats to look forward to in these challenging times.

We Are Doing a Makeover of tokerud.com

Heads up friends. We re-engineered the tokerud.com website so that it is based on WordPress. I’ve been blogging since 2003 and it only seemed right that we underpin this website with blog smarts. I will put in a FileMaker tab and other niceties shortly. I’m really liking the look as is but we are making small changes with custom CSS and with the extra dashboard options panels that the Thesis theme provides.

These are early days at Tokerud Blog so you may see a few rough edges at first. I’m loving WordPress and this cool Thesis Theme which I’m putting through its paces. So that the blog will reflect our history, we’ll be re-posting some of our older material to our blog archives to back fill.

I’ve written a series of 5 blog posts on my Tech Ronin blog called Dipping a Toe Into WordPress if you would like to know a bit more about my process going from a static website to a WordPress-driven site.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter if you are so inclined. I’m tokerud there. A lot of my blogging is micro-blogging on twitter these days.

State of Apple – April 09

It’s about time for an Apple update. The Expo is well behind us now and new Macs have been recently released. We know that iPhone 3.0 will be out by July. Here are the recent high points and things to look forward to.

The Return of Steve Jobs? At Apple’s Annual Meeting on Feb 25th, spokes people seemed to hint that Steve was returning and was in communication on a regular basis with Apple’s board and key execs.

Steve_Jobs_Jan_08My take is that Steve’s health situation is serious enough that we can’t count on him to fully recover. In fact, he may not make it. But, he can afford the best medical care and is making his health priority one. He has a lot to live for. If his health is good at all, he’ll be champing at the bit to get back full-time to Apple. I sure hope he comes back soon.

iPhone Update. The iPhone is still unrivaled and is moving smartly towards a dominant position in the mobile market. All I know is that:

There are iPhones everywhere I go.

There are bajillions of iPhone apps and some of them are quite good like Tweetie, Evernote, Fieldrunner and Todo.

Apple keeps improving it – they are finally releasing cut-copy-paste.

I love my iPhone. A new, faster, more capacious (32gb) iPhone with a better camera is rumored for release in June or July.

Here’s the competition in order of strength: Blackberry, Palm Pre, Google’s Android phones like the G1, Nokia, Windows Mobile phones. Palm Pre looks hot but pre-release, so Palm has a lot to prove. The Blackberry Storm, released in November, was a disappointment. The first Android phone, the G1, is OK but development of the platform has been disappointing to observers like engadget and gdgt. Nokia’s Symbian platform lags technically even though Nokia dominates the smartphone market.

mac_mini

Mac Update. Yay for the upgrade of the Mac mini. The updates of the iMac and Mac Pro were good but mostly speed bumps with decent pricing. A lot of people hoped for even lower prices to suit the economy but that didn’t happen. I look at that as a sign of strength on Apple’s part.

New iPod Shuffle. I do like the new iPod Shuffle, by the way. What I like is the introduction of which_ipod_are_youadditional functionality via voice feedback. This innovation opens up a whole new avenue for gadget-human interaction. I hear it is well-implemented too. Multiple playlists are now supported.

Rumors of a mini-tablet or 10-inch notebook. I vote for the mini-tablet but since it is a new form factor am afraid the odds favor a smaller version of the macbook air that somehow manages to be cheaper. Not sure that is possible. Maybe it will be more like a small version of the Macbook. What I want is something the size and weight of the Kindle for $800 or less — hopefully less. Rumors have it that a device like this might possibly appear between August and October. Or maybe a netbooklike device will come out. I’m happy with my full-sized Macbook Air, so am not netbook-inclined.

Tokerud Consulting Group