Sunday, December 05, 2010

I took only the iPad

Last week, I had a state technology coordinator's meeting.  That's nothing new, as we have them every month.  What was new, however, was the iPad that I took.  In fact, what was new, really, was the fact that I *only* took the device to use during the meeting.  How did it go?

First of all, I had recently updated to the iOS 4.2.whatever and let me say that the switching of the "anti-rotate" button into a "mute" button has got to be one of the WORST decisions I have ever seen made to a device that freely flips the screen around at the tip of a hat.  Hold the device flat on a table, and it might rotate the screen 90 degrees in one moment, then do a literal 180-degree turn in the next with no rhyme or reason.  The ability to freeze the screen in any given position was one of my favorite features.  Now, that's gone (unless there is some trick to getting it back, which I would love to hear about!).

I do not have ANY type of case for the device yet, so that played into several of the problems (like the freely-rotating screen) I had.  It's a pain in the rear to type on the thing while it is laying perfectly flat on a table, at least for me.  I've heard a lot of folks complain that the keyboard doesn't "work" because you can't "feel" the keys.  Let me tell you, it takes a LOT of getting used to.  Even though there is a 'click' when you hit the keys (unless, of course, you flipped the anti-rotate switch and instead it muted it), there is no real tactile response.  You get no physical feedback.  I like physical feedback.  I eventually got the hang of it, except for the times I "rested" my hand, only to find a bunch of random characters in my notes from accidentally hitting keys.

My next problem stemmed from the 'autocorrect/auto spellcheck' that is enabled by default.  That stupid thing kept trying to "fix" my typing.  That's great for actual misspelled words, but not so great when one is typing acronyms, names, etc.  In the settings, one can turn off auto-correct, but then that immediately and automatically turns off spell check.  Seriously!?  Can we not have it check spelling WITHOUT fixing it!?  Let's see, Microsoft Word has been doing that since...what, 1984 or something?  Stupid.  I'd like the little red wavy "hey, I think this is not spelled correctly" line, in case I *do* type something incorrectly.  Once I disabled auto-correct, though, that went with it.  Again, stupid.

One last editing-related problem: I cannot touch a word and set the edit cursor where I want.  For example, if I typed: thenIwent home, I cannot simply touch between each of the three words run together in order to add spaces.  Seriously!?  Again, if someone know a fix or technique, please let me know.  How ridiculous that I have to type an entire word again just to fix a spelling mistake or a transposition of two letters.  Come on, man!

The rest of the meeting went fine (checking email, looking up resources on web, etc).

And then, I needed to post my notes.  Granted, I used the built-in notepad.  There was no way (that I could find) to copy all the text and paste it into a blog post (or even to just select ALL the text, for that matter). Useless.  I have to email the notes to myself, then copy the text on my computer in order to post it into another document.  Talk about frustrating!  Not only that, but also VERY counterproductive and a complete waste of time.  If I have to do all that, why bother carrying the thing?  I'll just take my computer and save 9, 10, 50 steps. Thanks.

I am still learning what the iPad does (and doesn't do).  So far, the best three apps for me are:

iNet Network Scanner - Scan your network, see what's out there.
Jump - Remote desktop into any machine with full integration.
FlipBoard - The coolest reader for Twitter and Facebook (hoping they add RSS soon!).

I'll keep you posted.

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