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Tag Archives: Ipad

Forest for the Trees

This drawing was made while looking out the window at my parents’ cabin in Northern Arizona, using Autodesk SketchbookPro for the iPad. It’s a fun program to use; they just need to make it easier to save files while you’re working on them. I’ve had a couple of times (including on this drawing) where the drawing was almost finished, then somehow I got out of SketchbookPro and all the latest work was never saved. I also have an annoying habit of getting into the section where you can rotate or move the drawing, then it ends up getting saved that way. Cool program, needs some fine tuning.

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Living with the iPad

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About a month ago, Christopher came to me with a surprise announcement: he was ordering a new Apple iPad. He was thinking about getting something similar to replace our old Dell laptop computer as a simple internet connection for us while going on long trips. As the Apple person in the family, I was delighted with this development — it certainly was going to get more use from me than that crappy Dell.

Now, I’m no early adopter when it comes to new technology, but the iPad really epitomizes what I’d want from a techno-gadget. When the iPhone first came out, I thought “this would be nice without the phone.” Then Apple released the iPod Touch, and I thought “this would be great if it was bigger, so you could read e-books and browse the internet.” Voilà, the iPad! The first generation iPad isn’t perfect; it’s still a bit bulky and the screen could use a few more square inches. However, even after a few weeks I can tell it will be a useful part of our household. We’ve already had a few times while watching a movie when C. will whip out the thing to check on an actor in the Internet Movie Database, a move that would have been not worth the extra work using the laptop.

The first thing I noticed on the iPad is how intuitive the interface is. You move around with the brush of a finger, like on the iPhone but more natural. Typing is accomplished with a small pop-up keyboard. Sure, typing with one hand takes getting used to, but I was able to adapt to it startlingly fast.

The first thing we did was to synched it up to my Mac’s iTunes. I downloaded several free apps, including some news feeds from NPR, the BBC and USA Today. While one could access all three via Safari, I kind of enjoy having them in their own uncluttered state. Browsing on Safari is nice, but the type is a bit too small and I had more than one instance of accidentally tapping the wrong link. As for the controversial lack of Flash, I’ve barely noticed it. Strangely enough, the best app I’ve seen has been MultiPong, a beautifully rendered simple pong game. Speaking of simplicity, there’s also a virtual koi pond app that Christopher immediately gravitated to. I bought SketchBook Pro, which packs an impressive array of features into a measly $7.99 app. At this point I’m just fooling around with it, somewhat frustrated at how I keep accidentally using my fingers to resize my sketches (hmm).

I’ve also explored e-books a little bit with Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle app. First off, I think it’s totally cool that Amazon even has a Kindle iPad app. With it, you can see books in color and set the type at a comfortable size, even having pages displayed in brown on sepia (my favorite). I downloaded a cheap copy of Treasure Island with nice color illustrations by N.C. Wyeth; hopefully it’s a sign of things to come that more illustrated ebooks will come along. Although I haven’t explored Apple’s reader, I can already tell that the Kindle has an edge for being able to bookmark pages (if iBooks have bookmarks, I haven’t seen it (note: iBooks does have a bookmark, I now see)). One enormous downside of both is that the type is completely forced justified and not ragged right like in most paper books (remember those?). The font choices aren’t too thrilling, either. Hopefully future updates will remedy that.

Perhaps the most ringing endorsement I have for the iPad is that writing about it here makes me want to fire the thing up and explore more — off I go!