Week Number 1 of My iPad-Only Challenge!

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!

Setup

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.

Hardware

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!

About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

2 Comments on "Week Number 1 of My iPad-Only Challenge!"

  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).