Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

My 10 Favorite iPad Apps

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Personal, Technology, Writing

I’m a technophile, I’ll admit it. 

Working in IT for the last fifteen years has turned me into a technology junkie.  Some things like the Kindle or the Blackberry Storm I picked up because they were new and novel.  They weren’t things I really needed, but they were fun and came in handy.  I liked the Kindle a lot – want a book in seconds that you can read anywhere, you need a Kindle.  Well, except, it didn’t really do anything else.  I still needed an iPod, a smartphone and a laptop and all of the other little devices that helped me keep up with the increasingly desperate state of my email inbox.  The Storm was good for helping me stay up to day with email, so was the Droid that followed, but they were small and difficult to do a lot of typing or web surfing on. 

Then, came the iPad.

Now, I have to warn you, I’m not an Apple fan.  I’ve worked on PCs all of my life.  All of the companies that I’ve worked for have been PC/Microsoft shops.  Recently, I’ve had to start supporting a mac user, and it’s honestly a nightmare trying to find what I’m looking for.  They may be “intuitive” for someone who knows little about computers, but for those of us that know a bit more – they’re frustrating.  So, when the iPad was launched, I really had no interest.  I had a Droid, I had a Kindle – what the hell did I need with the iPad?

Until my boss bought one for us to evaluate.

It took about 15 minutes and I was hooked.  I ordered my 64GB w/WiFi & 3G that afternoon and waited impatiently for it to come.  It has been my lifeline ever since.  With hundreds of emails, dozens of twitter posts, RSS feeds, eBooks, Goodreads, Facebook and the dozens of other things I need to keep up with as an author the iPad makes my life a hell of a lot easier. 

Here are some of my favorite apps that help me keep up with all aspects of my life (in no particular order):

DropboxDropbox is a really handy little application that allows you to share files between any number of computers and smartphones.  It does so much more than that, though.  If you work out of the Dropbox folder, then every file you touch will be backed up automatically.  Because you can also access your Dropbox files from their website, you can literally have access to all of your files wherever you are.  No more emailing files back and forth to yourself, or worrying about whether your thumb drive is going to work or get lost.   Another great feature of Dropbox is that you can share files or folders with any other Dropbox user. So, my works in progress are shared with my beta and we don’t have to worry about multiple copies of files being overwritten.  This is probably my favorite iPad app.

QuickOfficeQuickOffice integrates with Google Docs, Dropbox and other file management systems to allow you to edit and add office documents on the iPad.  Use this app in conjunction with Dropbox and you have access to those files anywhere on earth.  The only two complaints that I have about this app are that it doesn’t handle Word comments or formatting well at all. 

Goodreads – For readers, the Goodreads application is actually easier (I think) to use than the website.  You can drop books onto shelves, review, etc. all through this easy to use app.  There is nothing for the author side of Goodreads including posting to your blog – but I can keep track of books that I download and read without dealing with the website which is difficult to use on the iPad.

FlipboardI can’t even start to explain how cool this application is.  You add RSS feeds like Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc and it converts them into a magazine like format that you can just sit and read.  It is a fantastic way to keep up with all of your feeds.  My only complaint is that the feeds don’t combine into one big magazine format so you have to hit each one individually, but I still love the app.

iBooks/Kindle/Good Reader – I love to read and to be able to read whenever and wherever I want was a huge draw for the eReaders.  If I get bored at a family or work function, I can just take my iPad and sit off to the side and read.  I’m not a very social person, so this is kind of a Godsend.  Another thing that I love about the eReaders is that I can buy books anywhere and not have to worry about if they are in stock.  I can carry around every book I own and not worry about it getting lost or damaged. 

Facebook/TweetDeck – One of the things that I have to keep up with, more often than not, is social networking.  Being able to do it from the line at the grocery store or while waiting for my tank to fill has been a huge benefit to me.

Apps Magazine/App Shopper – There are now hundreds of thousands of applications for the iPad.  Dozens of twitter apps, dozens of task list apps, calendars, notepads, etc.  Apps Magazine is a UK based magazine, but a lot of the apps they review are not region specific.  The magazine and the little app shopper help to bring new apps to my attention that might be really useful.  They also help pit one app against another to determine which is the better buy for me.

Informant HD – This useful little calendar app synchronizes with multiple google calendars allowing me to keep track of my publisher’s calendar, my calendar, and other things that are coming up that I need to be concerned with.  The app also has a task feature that I’m finding very handy.  Unfortunately, the tasks don’t synch with google.

Dictionary – This is a dictionary.com application that allows you to look things up but also pops up with a word of the day to help build your vocabulary.

Highlighter – I like this little app because I can pdf my stories and drop them in here to highlight and draw on them helping in the editing process.  I can also throw other stories in it to highlight and take notes on things that I liked or hated.

mSecure – All of my 4.2 billion internet passwords in one place?  Yeah, that’s handy! 

Talking Rex – Yes, okay, I’m a child, but I think this app is funny.  It’s a dinosaur that repeats, in his dinosaur voice, whatever it hears. It’s especially funny when my 2 year old niece sits and has an entire conversation with it.

And…there you have it my favorite iPad apps from the most productive to the truly time wasting. If you have an app that you love that you think others should try – comment and let me know!