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  #1  
Old 05-25-2011, 08:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default Tablets For Real Work? If You Keep Your Expectations In Check, Yes

<p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/lpt/auto/1306291795.usr1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>Last week I did something for the first time: I took my iPad 2, my Apple Bluetooth keyboard, and a pair of headphones - nothing else - and went to my local library to do some writing work. <MORE /></p><p>I've gone to the library to write many times before; if you're looking to get serious work done, it's a good idea to break up your routine and get away from your office, or at least the distractions that can hit you while there. Every time previously though, I've taken a laptop or a netbook. Taking my iPad was a first, and I have to admit I felt a little weird setting it up - it was easily the most lightweight, compact mobile workstation I've ever set up - it all packed up nicely in a <a href="http://www.sfbags.com/products/ipad-cases/travelexpress-ipad.php" target="_blank">Waterfield Design iPad Travel Express</a> bag (watch for a video review soon).&nbsp;I set it up on a <a href="http://www.marware.com/ipad-cases-and-covers/ipad-2-cases/c-e-o-hybrid-ipad-2-case" target="_blank">Marware CEO Hybrid iPad 2 case</a> (another video review coming soon), fired up some orchestral music - listening to music with lyrics messes with my ability to concentrate if I have to read or write - and got to work.</p><p>Here's where the reality of using a tablet hits you: as long as you keep your goals simple, it will work great. I was primarily brainstorming ideas for a presentation I was working on, so I ended up using the built-in Notes application. It's simple, but it's perfectly&nbsp;adequate&nbsp;for jotting down ideas as long as you don't care about formatting. If I really wanted to go all-out I might buy Keynote, the Apple PowerPoint-like app, but ultimately I knew I'd be doing the more complex work of assembling the slide deck back at a desktop computer.</p><p>All in all, it worked really well - I cross-checked information I had in Evernote, kept up on my email, and because I was paranoid of data loss, I emailed my notes to myself every 15 minutes or so. In retrospect I could have done the note taking in Evernote and relied upon its cloud sync system to keep my data safe. The iPad is a very capable productivity tool if your needs are simple, and I didn't miss not having my laptop with me. If I were doing anything more demanding than note taking and brainstorming though, I'd very likely be wishing for a Windows-based laptop.</p><p>Have you used the iPad, or another tablet, in productivity scenarios? How did it go?</p>
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:33 PM
Brad Adrian
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I started a new job in a new city about 6 months ago, and found out that I really was no longer in Kansas...but my iPad helped me adjust.

I had previously been used to attending meetings at which virtually everybody brought a notebook for taking meeting notes. However at my new job, the culture was very, very different. For some reason, it was considered gauche to bring anything but a pad of paper to meetings. I couldn't deal with either filing notes away in physical drawers and not having electronic versions of my notes.

I knew my boss's boss had an iPad, so I asked her if she minded if I brought mine for note-taking. She agreed and before long was asking me about the iPad handwriting recognition software I was using to jot things down. I'd still rather type than write, but at least I'm done filing papers and can search all of my notes electronically.

I've been using my iPad for note-taking at meetings ever since.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:00 AM
The Yaz
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I actually convinced my employer to purchase three gen1 iPads for our Foundation for event management. For the goals I gave them they worked great. They included:

Guest list management/sign in
Note taking
Countdown timer
Teleprompter

and at the end of the night they were the checkout terminals (credit card processing with Square).

Now my bigger problem is that management wants them for all of the upcoming events, and that's not possible unless they buy more of them.

And to think I had to beg them to purchase the ones we have

Steve
 
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:44 AM
Michael Knutson
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I've been using SimpleNote on iOS, OS X and Windows7 systems. Similar UI on all, iOS app, but browser-based on Mac and Windows, and the notes are stored in the cloud. I'm also experimenting with Dropbox editors that export in a format that I can read and write from Mac OS X and Windows. iA Writer is pretty good, and offers a pretty clean UI. No holy grail yet however ... For real work I still grab a laptop.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:46 PM
Tim Williamson
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I recently bought a used iPad 1 thinking I wanted to see if it would become a useful tool before spending the small fortune on an iPad 2.

There were a few things I imagined being able to use the iPad for, including as a digital sheet music viewer when I'm playing piano/organ/sax. The main troubles I have with paper music is with being able to turn pages quick enough and being able to find and organize my music.

After reading numerous reviews and articles and doing research I came upon a great iPad app called forScore. It imports pdf files and has a built-in web browser so you can head to any URL that has PDF sheet music and download directly into the app. It also integrates with the Dropbox app so any PDF files you open in the Dropbox app can be imported directly into forScore.

Since all my music is paper, the next step I had to figure out was how to get paper music into forScore. I initially started by using Camera+ on my iPhone to take photos of the music, crop the photos in Camera+, then import them into another iPhone app called Scanner Pro. Scanner Pro can import multiple photos, assemble them into a PDF file, then filter the image to black and white. This saves space and cleans up the image. This method worked pretty well, but sometimes the notes were grainy or faded in certain spots. The main advantage was that this was a completely mobile solution.

I wasn't completely happy with the Camera+/Scanner Pro results, so I searched for another method. The next method was to use a photo copier that has scan-to-PDF functionality. This produced extremely crisp and clean scans and smaller file sizes than Scanner Pro. This allowed me to do really clean scans without having to perform post-scan cleanup on the images. This is the method I settled on for scanning a majority of my music, saving the Camera+/Scanner Pro method for when I needed it in a pinch.

The easiest method I found though was finding the music already saved as a PDF. I'm an organist/pianist at my church and found that they have a PDF version of the hymnal, so I was able to load a 900+ page, 7MB, PDF file, onto my iPad and have access to every hymn we sing. Plus many sheet music publishers now offer digital PDF downloads of music, so I could go online, find the music I'm interested in, and download it directly into my iPad. Pretty cool stuff!

forScore also has a number of other great features I hadn't planned on. As I'm choosing music for Sunday I can save the pieces into forScore then create a set list, which allows me to easily organize and have each piece in order and ready to go. forScore also allows annotation of the music with pens, highlighters, and typed text in various colors and sizes. I can also tag the PDF files in forScore to make it easy to search and organize the music library. And finally I'm not fumbling to turn pages, I just tap on the right side of the screen and the next page instantly appears.

I'm really pleased with the elegance and efficiency of this use of the iPad and look forward to one day (in the far future ) when my entire music library is instantly available anywhere I go with my iPad.
 
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:50 AM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Williamson View Post
I'm really pleased with the elegance and efficiency of this use of the iPad and look forward to one day (in the far future ) when my entire music library is instantly available anywhere I go with my iPad.
What a great story! That's awesome to see how you integrated the hardware and software into a scenario where it can excel. A++!
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