Thursday, June 09, 2011
iPad apps I'm loving right now
This iPad was obviously a big purchase. I did tons of reading before making the decision to be sure that I would have a tech tool that could enhance my life and not just a fun gadget. Trust me...this is one heck of a fun gadget!!! When I travel, it's a rare event to forget about work. These days, most of my big travel is for work. I'm actually heading to Australia for a conference here soon. Pity, right? When I'm away I need to be able open and edit documents, I need remote access to my office computer, I of course I need email with the ability to attach documents as needed. What I hate is lugging around my giant laptop and acquiring random notepads of notes during the conference. I'm decently strong, but lugging around a laptop during a week-long conference can do a number on my back! Here is the arsenal of apps that I've gotten in the last few days to make traveling with only my iPad possible. I have very few apps on my iPhone that I paid for. However, I knew that most productivity apps would be paid apps. Here they are...
iWorks $9.99 each
iWorks is actually a suite of 3 apps including Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. They are the iPad counterparts to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. I'm honestly not sure how well it works to create a new document and then edit it on a PC. Importing Microsoft documents and making edits isn't bad though. To be fair, I haven't done anything major with these yet, but the reviews I've read are good. I'm really impressed with the general sophistication of these apps. The documents you can create using these apps are far from basic! It takes a little to get used to, but there are tutorials at are super helpful.
Splashtop is a remote desktop application. This was a gutsy decision on my part. I mean rurally...how do you know if a remote desktop app is going to work for you just be looking at a brief description and some screenshots? I read reviews, but even those direct me to a single best app. Finally I found a review that basically said Splashtop was the best because of the ease of set-up and the price. Some of the other remote desktop apps are $30! One downside is that you have to download some software onto the home base computer. That meant I had to submit a request to our IT department. Luckily, they were totally cool with it! Once the home base computer software is activated and a password is set, it's super easy to connect and my brief test tells me that I can do anything with this app! Plus, you can access multiple computers! I'm going to install the software on my home computer too. $1.99 well spent!
Daily Notes +todo $4.99
I wanted an app that would allow me to type notes during meetings and create corresponding action items. There are lost of apps for creating task lists. There are also lots of apps for taking and organizing notes. Evernote is pretty popular. It's not bad. I like the way Daily Notes is organized better. You create your own notebook categories. Right now I have one for project meetings, dissertation related stuff, blog ideas, and conferences. The app basically creates a new page for each note book on each day of the month. It's easy to visualize your notes by date. You can also add tags within the note categories. There is a task list within each category as well. So let's say I'm in a project meeting like I was today. I can take general notes throughout the meeting. When an action item comes up, I can immediately create a task with a priority level, a tag for easy searching, and a due date. You can also email the meeting notes to anyone. I believe you can also delegate tasks. Boom! Done. When I'm back at my desk I can review all the tasks for all categories in one view. There is one feature that I have yet to have an opinion on: I don't think you can sync with your online calendar. So my final opinion is that this is one very organized, stand alone digital notebook and I like it!
Alright...blogging isn't really work, but it's also not so simple to do from your phone. Blogging through the Blogger site on an iPad isn't as simple as you might think either. Everything is all fine and dandy until you want to upload a picture from your iPad. So, to really be able to integrate images, you need an app. I honestly don't know why I ended up picking BlogPress. I'm sure I read reviews, but they aren't etched in my mind. It's easy to use. I need to work out a few quirks related to formatting, but it's just a learning curve thing.
Right, so the grand total spent on apps is $40. But actually, I had a $20 gift card to BestBuy that I used to buy iTunes gift cards and a $10 iTunes gift card that I bought using Chase rewards. So I only actually spent $10 out of pocket on the apps. Not too bad if you ask me!