Apple brings an effective value upload pipe to the world

Apple released iBooks2 and a new textbook creation app for the Mac (You'll need Lion for that, and even if these things are free, they'll end up pocketing money from that new tide of upgrades - I know they will from me). Keynote already made a huge difference to helping me communicate to an audience (people seeing the presentations tell me regularly: hey, this is definitely *not* a PowerPoint, it looks waay better, and is more effective!). So, I was using it on my iPad to convey ideas in meetings, where it brings a sense of closeness and bonding that helps in securing business. But with the textbooks that do come to life, we enter a new dimension. Think about all Seth Godin PDFs in the form of animated Textbooks, think about curated content with comments on a given subject put together and released to the world! Mmh, in a sense, it is weird that this is announced aroud the time SOPA gets protested and MegaVideo got busted by the FBI. But I may digress. Anyway, this is a super gift for all of us who have value to share. And sharing this way is really making it all exciting. That's what Apple products have succeeded in doing: getting people involved in getting excited again. It is not happening with Linux, it is not happening with Windows. It is happening with Apple products, and a bit less with Android phones. I've bet a lot of the farm on Apple. Not because I am any kind of fanboi, but because it is the logical thing to do when a cash-laden company uses it to roll out such innovative and stimulating stuff ot the world. That's what Apple is strong with: cash-loaded, innovative, master of their supply chain, and controlling the delivery channel. Walled garden? Sure! But generating money and recognition for the players: very very true indeed! Love, money, recognition: they made it so that you get the three assembled with Apple. That's what leadership is about: instilling the motivation to follow and make your best. So, Apple may lead to people challenging jumping off buildings at Foxconn (and doing something about it, as was reported) but they also deliver us these. I started with an Apple II eons ago, moved off when they were out of fancy, and am back to them 20+ years later. Yet another proof that you can turn things over given the right decisions. Quite different from Kodak. But quite alike to Fujitsu. Some more info: http://mashable.com/2012/01/19/this-is-how-apple-changes-education-forever/  

Test of Logitech iPad 2 Keyboard by Zagg

I am now test driving the Logitech keyboard for iPad 2 by Zagg. I had read a rave review about it and wanted to test drive it first hand. Well, first thing is that the borders are annoying when typing. But even if they are a hassle, typing on the keyboard is fine and much faster than typing on the iPad's on-screen keyboard. The space to type is cramped. I don't know if I'll be able to type long stuff on that either. But for reporting on trade shows, making a quick letter and so on, it is a good thing to have. It coples as a protection for the device and as such it is great. It is pretty cool to have access to the media control keys while working. I like to listen to music while working and this is a plus indeed. Of course, the keyboard is a national keyboard, so do not expect accelerators like on the virtual keyboard. But you are then able to use all keys and accented characters directly. The positioning of the iPad 2 on the keyboard feels solid. As I type this, I am adapting my position and it goes faster. While typing on my lap, I had to switch the device to landscape mode and the it is easier and making more sense. Compared to a laptop, this runs cool. Some think that using a hot PC on one's lap is bad for fertility. One problem solved then. And while we are on that, the iPad can be placed on either side, no problem at all.My power cable is on the left of my desk and if this wasn't possible, I would have to do a convoluted setup to be able to continue working as the device is about depleted (hey, it's been several days since I made the last charge). Using the keyboard arrows and shift key helps when selecting text and generally moving it around. All usual OSX shortcuts (Cmd-C, Cmd-X, Cmd-V, Cmd-Arrows) do work and help in restructuring the content. Adding pictures right away is a big plus, it makes a lot of sense if one is attending a presentation and wants to make a report of it. When there is a small space available, using a mouse or a trackpad is awkward and here, just reaching for the screen with one's finger is really helpful. I've been writing this on Pages and there has been no issue with all possibilities. Switching to full screen to type would be great but is apparently not possible. Too bad. But that is a general limitation of Pages. While we are on the subject of screen, there is a key on the top left of the keyboard which is equivalent to the home button. So, double type to get the multitask bar, triple type for (in my case) reverse display (comes handy in a dark room). The keyboard has no backlight, so you'd have to learn key locations before being able to type without errors. I am trying this out in a dark place and it is working nicely after two lines of text. I am very pleased with this acquisition and highly recommend it to reduce your backpack burden when on the move.

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iPad2 and information creation

I am typing this on an iPad2 and inside Quickoffice. I am reading a ton of eBooks and given my not so suberb eyesight, I needed something that would support what I am reading. So, let's try this out. Is the iPad a joy to use? Well, it depends. There are a lot of idiosyncrasies in the way things are done. For one, there is no file system so to speak. And no built in productivity application like this one. You have to shell money for the applications, adding €50 or more to have something dece Of course, one could work with Google documents on the system. But this translates into being connected all the time. So, Quickoffice was my choice here. Pages is fine but really not what you need when you use the device for dealing with Office style documents. For presentations, Keynote is nice and I got a copy of it. And you really start to understand what "cloud" means on such a device. Dropbox, Google Documents, and MobileMe all make a lot more sense to use here. I expected a better camera at such a price point and it definitely sucks. A lot of grain. Not a great focus. Reading outdoors is a big no-no. For that a Kindle is the way to go. But even as iPad users are mainly using the device for gaming, that's not what I have in mind for my own use. To be frank, consuming information is great. As long as the information isn't fast food style. One can get addicted to such things as RSS feeds, Twitter streams, Flipbook, and, the ultimate time waster of all: Facebook. Being constantly distracted is a big issue these days. But to achieve anything meaningful one needs to concentrate and produce meaningful results. The iPad helps in producing content for me because it works well in places that are completely unsuited for holding a laptop but perfect for thinking. Try a laptop in a hammock!

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Test driving Pages on iPad

It looks like that I now have all applications of iWork on my iPad (except Numbers but I don't use it anyway). After a moment of adjustment, typing on the screen keyboard appears eminently doable. Well, in landscape mode that is. In portrait, it is a pain. It is clear that the device takes much less space on a tabletop than a laptop and is much less intrusive due to it's low profile. With the smart cover helping with a gentle slope it really is nice to use. Text selection works but is still a pain to work with. Maybe do I need more testing. Of course, multitasking is not yet as smooth as I want but there are also positives on the iPad, especially when it comes to the integration of social applications. I wrote several WordPress posts and it went fine. Also the Twitter client is really zippy and nice to use. The net result is that for dealing with business matters, it is way sufficient. Of course, one is not going to code software on this thing. But writing content and editing it is great. I also gave a shot to GarageBand and it was a nice surprise. The touchscreen adds a really interesting dimension to it. And iMovie is also fine to use. For basic edits and titling, it fits the bill. One thing about typing on the iPad is the following: the US keyboard layout is much more usable for a lot of things than the French keyboard. Especially for things like dollar signs and so on. And accents do work from the US keyboard anyway. So, back to qwerty for now! One ridiculous thing tough is that given the size of the keyboard on screen, one can only see a small chunk of the text at once. There is a full screen button, but the keyboard is then gone... Too bad. All in all it is an interesting device and piece of software. As always with Apple, you get top notch stuff at top of the line prices. Like with the smart cover. Got myself a leather cover. €69 for a cover? Insane! But get it and you won't regret the expense. I see this as paying to be part of the in crowd. Sometimes, that's the way to go. But with the price of the device, the cover, and basic software, you quickly reach €1K. As a professional expense that's all right and valuable. But for private things, it is damn expensive as a book reader or game console. So, this will conclude this typing exercise in Pages on the iPad. Generally satisfactory. And for sure, superior to anything you could get from an android device. Add to this that the integration with MacOSX is perfect and we have a perfect winner for the premium segment.

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