Over the last three weeks I have gone to two conferences in two cities at two large ``conference center'' hotels --- long days, lots of meetings, lots of restaurants, a little down-time. I have had my iPad (with the ZAGGmate keyboard) with me almost all the time. It has become an extension of my arm. Here is how I have used it:
- Reading my morning newspaper: I read both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times every morning. When I get up in the morning, while I’m getting ready, I start the 1-2 minute process of downloading the day’s issues of both. Once that is done, then I have them locally available so I don’t have to worry about the quality or speed of connection when I read them.
- DropBox: This application/tool has multiplied the usefulness of this iPad by enabling easy access to lots of files. Many application developers have used this as a means to access files not stored on the iPad. Since it is also easy to access these files from both of my other Macs, this is the central storage depot in which I put all of the files that I am currently working on.
- Writing: I am a devoted user of LaTeX for my text processing needs. I use the app PlainText as my text editor for TXT, HTML, and TEX files. This app integrates quite seamlessly with DropBox so I can work on just about any of my current tasks at any time. I use this app a high percentage of the time that I am producing text on the iPad.
- Reading books: I have books both in iBooks and Kindle. Both are perfectly acceptable reader applications on the iPad. It’s hard to read on the iPad while outside but I don’t want to do that very often, so it’s not a big deal.
- Reading magazines: On the iPad I read BusinessWeek, The New Yorker, Golf Digest, Wired, and The Economist. The reading experience is phenomenal — easy navigation throughout the magazines, bright text and photos, integrated video, and the ability to carry lots of old issues easily. These used to be stand-alone applications but they are now integrated into the iPad’s Newsstand platform. The transition was seamless.
- Internet activities: Connecting to the Internet on all the different routers at the different hotels and restaurants were easy. Both of my hotels had AT&T WiFi hot spots so I didn’t have to pay for fast access. Further, when I couldn’t get a WiFi connection (at a few restaurants), the wireless connection was invaluable.
- Make a presentation: While I didn’t make a presentation at these conferences, it is easy enough (with a dongle) to connect the iPad to a projector.
As you might have perceived, the iPad has become nearly indispensable to me in remaining productive wherever I am, and (almost) whatever I am doing. I have stopped carrying my MacBook Pro with me when I am on the road.