Week Number 1 of My iPad-Only Challenge!

Welcome to the first weekly report on my quest for the 99% computer! As noted my plan was to use my iPad for as much as I possibly could, and note whatever functions required me to use a ‘real’ computer. So let’s get to it!


Perhaps not surprisingly, there wasn’t much for me to do. I have had my iPad loaded up with email, web, productivity, statistics, music, games, utilities and so on … so there wasn’t much to do. And in fact, I decided NOT to do anything in specific – I really wanted to know how much I was already doing, and how much I needed to change to make the iPad more useful.


Whereas when I had to buy a Bluetooth keyboard to use the Google Nexus 7, I already had an Apple keyboard dock and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, so I was covered. I only use the iPad with SmartCover, and have the IK Multimedia iKlip Studio that I use when filming video with the iPad. So again I was covered.

PC Gaming Exclusion

As I noted from the start, my ‘99%’ does NOT include PC gaming. As it is I segregate that computer almost exclusively for gaming (I also have my web bookmarks there as well as some work programs that are PC-only), and since I am playing Borderlands 2, Tryst, Torchlight II and Dungeon Lords MMXII for review right now … I need PC access.

Day One

Dan and Carly have made a big deal about Blogsy, but honestly I have never really connected with it – I have been fine with WordPress. But on the first day I tried again … and was having issues with getting pictures to upload. I went to WordPress and it worked fine – and haven’t touched Blogsy since. Is WordPress perfect? No – in fact I accidentally published something I meant to save as a draft, but it works for me, and is SO much better than the Android App.

By making the first day of my challenge a work day, I needed to be able to use my statistics programs on the iPad, but also Office apps, web/email/RSS all day long, music and games and Facebook/Twitter before and after work, and of course WordPress for Gear Diary stuff when time allowed. A big part of the challenge was doing as much as possible on the iPad, and that meant moving WordPress stuff I did on my work PC to the iPad. That has always been my goal but I had lazily shifted back from iPad to work PC. This month my goal was to isolate my work PC for work stuff only.

First Exception – Video

Right away I had an issue – all of the video I had for my ‘quick look’ videos for Spec Ops: The Line, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 was on the Sony Bloggie Dan loaned me, and it needs helper apps and so on … so I needed to get it into my Mac to deal with it. Since then – for the Garmin video, for example, I have been using the iPad.

Second Exception – Marathon social sign-up

One cool thing with the Wineglass Marathon is that they had a social media feature that would automatically post on Facebook, Twitter and text messages at certain milestones – it ended up just being the half-marathon line and the finish but was still cool – but I couldn’t do anything from the iPad because of whatever was used for the sign-up app. This took less than five minutes combined for my brother and I … but it was still something I couldn’t do on the iPad.

Third Exception – GPS Watch Synchronizing

The first iPad-only week was also my last pre-marathon week … so tracking my data was perhaps less critical than before, but as I prepared for the marathon and to use a brand new untested Garmin ForeRunner 10 in place of the Nike+ I had used since May, I needed to access the data. Neither watch has wireless support … nor do they work with anything but a Mac or PC.

What Has Worked Well (aside from what I have mentioned)

  • Paying bills / managing finances – I didn’t run into a single issue with the variety of websites.
  • Music – the new iTunes in iOS streams rather than downloads, so I didn’t even have to worry about space!
  • Updates – OTA updates of apps might not be new, but in the case of something like Notebooks where the LAST update made it take forever to start editing text … it was very welcome.
  • External keyboards – the reality is that even though I do well typing on the screen at this point, having a real keyboard AND not losing half the screen are definitely better!
  • iOS 6 Sharing – when the iPad started out it was a single-tasking island that required a Mac/PC and a cable. Now I can take pictures or video and immediately share it across apps or social networks without having to email or work through iTunes!
  • The Apps – this is a general thing … but because of the greatness of iOS apps, the new iOS 6 features, and how quickly developers have adopted the changes, I am able to do more with ALL of my apps, not just the Apple first-party stuff. The goal is not iOS vs. Android, but given how Apple rolls out universal iOS updates and how quickly people update their devices, I have to really state my appreciation of how developers pour resources into supporting these updates as well.

What Has NOT Worked Well (again, apart from already mentioned stuff)

  • External hardware – things like hooking up the Sony Bloggie or GPS watches are great examples of stuff that doesn’t work … same with my wife’s Sony D-SLR (and its proprietary memory stick). I can attach the SD card from my Fuji camera, but that doesn’t help when the pictures are on the Sony.
  • Downloading music – Scott Schorr (who produced the Levin-Torn-White CD I reviewed) introduced me to a new piece of great music to review from the band Living in Question, and sent it along digitally for me to review through YouSendIt. I couldn’t get it to download/unpack/work on the iPad … so it was off to the Mac.

Outlook for the Next Week and Wrap-Up

This is a normal work week, so I anticipate having basically the same experience. I have started taking more video with the iPad to avoid the Bloggie issues, but there is always the chance of more ‘for review’ music. Also, not only have I started my post-marathon running sessions again, I just got the new Magellan ‘Switch’ GPS watch, so I have THREE devices to sync and upload … and NONE of them are wireless. I will be connecting them to the Mac to track my progress and their relative performance and accuracy.

So how would I score my first week? Time-wise I would put it close to 99.5% iPad usage for non-work items. In terms of tasks, the GPS watches and video stuff dropped me to more like 95% of tasks. With video under control and only needing GPS watch sync on the Mac, I expect this week to be closer to 99%.

This has been an amazing challenge so far – I have discovered just how EASY it is to supplant my ‘need’ of a laptop for almost everything. It shows me how easy it would be to have the iPad and shared use of a Mac amongst the family. Hmmm … maybe that is an idea worth contemplating? Who knows, but for now I will see you next week!

Categories: Editorials

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2 replies

  1. This is a lot like my experience with the iPad. When I bought mine, it was a companion to a Mac Mini that both Shawn and I could use instead of getting a MacBook Air just for me. I use the iPad for almost everything at this point, which is why I am champing at the bit to upgrade my poor, sluggish original iPad to something a bit faster. :-) I can’t wait to hear more on your experience!

  2. Try and send a Word document from DropBox by email to someone else. Or, try and modify and then upload a Word document (such as a CV) into a job application, on a site like Monster or Seek (AU).