Tag Archives: iPad

Why I Still Need A Traditional Laptop or Desktop

Simple: other devices. Not everything syncs via Bluetooth, WIFI or ANT+, etc.

I have devices I need to connect to my computer to sync data from. My Garmin Edge, my Nike+ Watch.

Luckily my Nike Fuelband and Fitbit sync via Bluetooth now. But until I can get away with running an iPad, Chromebook or Surface RT .. I will need a traditional laptop or desktop. Macbook Pro or Air, iMac, Windows Desktop or Laptop, or Surface Pro…

Another reason, but not a complete dealbreaker, is software and services that I can’t use on non-traditional devices.

Excel 2013 with Power BI? Can’t really run that anywhere but on a traditional laptop or desktop. Yea, I know I can remote into a machine or server, but that is cheating. What else? Visual Studio, Management Studio, etc. Same thing, I could set up some IaaS VM and do things, but I would be taking way longer trying to create from an iPad or Surface RT, etc. The Surface at least as a sanctioned keyboard. iPad with a bluetooth keyboard works well. Chromebook works, but when it comes down to hard core work, these devices fall down.

I don’t even feel like typing up a blog post on these devices. I can pound out tons of content on a laptop or desktop. On a tablet/limited device, well, you are limited. Limited by entry speed, limited by having to be always connected, etc.

I am looking forward to a convergence of laptop/tablet along the lines of Surface. Surface Pro 2 is close. Probably the closest device. Unless you want to develop iPhone apps, then you need a Mac too :)

Hoping in the not to near future I can limit the number of devices I need to create or do the things I need to. Content creation, app development, syncing external devices, etc. If 2014 isn’t the year, guessing 2015 will be.

No Laptop for a Week

This past week I went to the PASS Summit 2012 in Seattle (more on that in a later post). But I did something that I haven’t done ever. I went to Seattle without my laptop.

Now, if you have ever been to a tech conference, first off the wifi and network in the hotels are slow because you have thousands of geeks doing the same thing. 3g/4g slow too, so you are already hampered by that fact.

Next, you are up early, to breakfast/conference sessions all day, usually till 6:30 pm, and you then have conference events every night till 9, 10, 11 whatever, so you aren’t in your hotel much, maybe to sleep, shower, drop your bag off.

I found that I could “get by” without my laptop, but there were things that weren’t easy, and things I couldn’t do easily when I wanted to.

First trial was an email sent to me with a PDF that asked “can you sign this and get it back today”. Ok, let’s see. Download a PDF signing app and do it in iOS. Works. Little hokey to get the file back and copied and back in the email, but works.

Then, a couple of days later, “go here and fill this web form out”.. well, let’s cross our fingers it works in mobile safari or chrome without issue. It was clunky but worked.

I would say the biggest gripe though I had was this: lack of keyboard. Now I know with iPad (and things like Surface with the touch cover) you can get a keyboard, but I don’t have one of those cases for my iPad so I was just winging it with the iPad.

With no keyboard, it is *very* hard to sit down and bang out paragraphs at any fast type of rate. Blog post? Not quickly. It is just a slow down without a physical keyboard to type on. Other things like emails, twitter, web, whatever, work fine with just the iPad. And of course consuming/reading content is great. Just that typing something like this post here, I waited till I was at my desktop at home to write it. I think I would pull my hair out just trying to use the soft keyboard on the iPad.

Overall it got me by like I said, but there are still some gaps, at least for me, in what I need to do that can’t be handled without a laptop or physical keyboard. Maybe next year :)

Operating a Computer is like Operating a Car

Old people. Yeah, well, older than me. Not part of the “Nintendo” generation. Computers are “hard”. They didn’t grow up with them. They need to learn how to use them. Now don’t get me wrong, many people in that older generation are actually the pioneers of the computer age (Bill Gates? Steve Jobs?, etc), many are very good and know how to use. But I am talking about.. parents, your average joe’s, etc. They have no clue.

Analogy: Owning the computer, and operating is, is like owning and operating your car.

Giving a computer, especially a Windows machine, to a baby boomer and saying “have fun”, is tantamount to giving the keys for your car to a seven year old, and showing them how to shift and hit the gas. Yea, they will be able to drive it for a little bit, but they are going to crash.

And then you hear “well, I am only checking email and surfing the web”.. and I would say, ok, well just give your seven year old the car and have them drive around your yard. They are still going to crash, just into the tree in your yard instead of the ditch.

You just don’t jump into a car and know how to operate and drive it, you actually need to get training and get a license. Same thing should go for computers. Simple things like, “go to this address” or “run this program”, etc. Knowing how to type in a URL and hit should be like unlocking your car and buckling up. Just common knowledge. If it isn’t, you need training. One other problem? Most boomers that need the training (and probably “want” it) don’t really want to take the time to learn. They just want it to work. They want to get email, surf the web, do eBay, see pictures, and not worry. So, go to days of training, have family members or the geek squad fix your computer over and over and over.

Or just get an iPad.


Vacationing with the iPhone and iPad

Was just on vacation since Sept 3rd through today.. Drove up to Nisswa to drop the little one off, then down to the Twin Cities for 4 nights, then back up to get the little one in Pierz, then back down to Eau Claire for 2 nights, then back home for 2 nights.. fun time. I didn’t really connect to work (only to extend my holiday by 2 days!) but I was still *connected* to everything I wanted to be.

First, I shut off email/exchange sync to my iPhone/iPad, easy enough in the settings. Turned off the calendars too so I didn’t get any new meeting alerts. Good to go.

How else did I use my devices?

Well beyond the basics (on the iPhone – Phone, SMS, Email (personal), Taking pictures and videos, weather, calculator, maps, maps, maps, maps..)

1. Gowalla/Foursquare – I recently just killed both my accounts and started fresh. I tried to see the usefulness and benefit of these. I like Gowalla better – just prettier. Foursquare tells me what is trending better. I use them both to find things around where I am, and check in to keep track of where I went :)

2. Twitter/Facebook – just killed my Facebook account again as well, I think I have 15 close friends on there now, so it is pretty quiet, but nice. Twitter I use to just keep up on the real time stuff going on, track favorites, as usual.

3. Soundhound/Shazam – used these to lookup songs I heard at bars or wherever, it is a given pretty much anywhere.

4. Flixster – used this to find movie theater near by and showtimes. Couldn’t buy tickets at the theater I went to, but I could have with fandango, just not worth the hassle I guess.

5. Yelp/OpenTable/Urban Spoon – more targeted in finding foodie places. OpenTable to reserve.

6. SportTacular – to keep up on the Twins and Vikes :)

7. WF (mobile site) – to view my accts and transfer and what not

8. Nice Ride and Train Brain – these are where it gets good. Downtown Minneapolis has these cool bike stations you can rent out a bike (for free for under 30 minutes!) or for a small fee (http://www.niceridemn.org/_ (FYI Trek has a similar offering, called B-cycle). Ride it all over and drop off at another station. We rented two and drove them from Uptown to Downtown. Was pretty awesome. The app shows you the stations and has a timer, it could do much more though :) Train Brain shows you the light rail schedule in town, we took the train from Govt Plaza to Mall of America, and back. Was pretty cool.


9. Scanner – QR codes are all over in Uptown on shops, etc. I used this to scan their codes and open links.

10. Reeder – on the iPhone and iPad – used this to keep up on my Google Reader :)

11. iPad – in general used it for mostly news apps, and surfing the web, used it as a “computer” – did you know on maps.google.com on an iDevice, if you click on the icon of a “place” it does much more than the native Maps app on the device? I thought that was cool.

I also used CityPages app on the iPad to look up some things going on.

Saw a Twins game vs the Royals (they won!) and Wicked as well. Got a little sick Wednesday morning through Friday so that was a bummer but overall it was a good vacation


Flipboard for iPad, Personal Techmeme

Last week Flipboard informed me that their iPad app was ready for me to use (I have had it since day one, but their servers were overwhelmed).

The premise is that it takes your Twitter and Facebook feeds and creates personal “magazines”. It has other aggregated/curated content from around the web as well. I don’t know what the exact algorithm for figuring out what to show me is, but it seems to do ok. Right now I see it as another quick way to scan through things.

What I think would be an awesome edition, if it could handle it, is syncing my Google Reader. I want a personal “cloud” or personal “techmeme” – filter and find and combine like items. I thought maybe “The Early Edition” for iPad would do that, but it croaked on my 300 some feeds.

Some day there will be an app that does it :)


Goto Meeting vs Whatever

I have used a ton of “meeting” apps. Live Meeting, Goto Meeting, ATT Web Conference, TeamViewer, etc, etc.

Best of the best? My opinion? Goto Meeting. Easy to setup, easy to use. Just works.

There is also an iPad app! I have used a couple of times and it works great. Whenever some *other* meeting software seems to fail, Goto Meeting works.

Not saying there isn’t room for improvement, but it just seems to always work. I have had to use it to step in when LiveMeeting fails, or ATT web meeting fails, etc. It is a pretty awesome product and if you have a chance to use it, I would say go for it, You won’t be disappointed.

Sent from my iPhone/iPad

Mini rant. Too much to write in one tweet. To everyone out there who has an iPhone (and now iPad): Do you not realize that even if you go into your mail settings, and remove the signature that will add

“Sent from my iPhone”

that we still know you sent it from your iPhone (mostly). Example: Outlook. Default now in Outlook is Calibri size 11 and black/blue for to and reply. And then we know you have have an iPhone, and we know you aren’t on your laptop 24/7, and then we receive an email that has jacked up all the formatting in Outlook and you are sending it with Times New Roman (or whatever font it comes in as) and it looks just an email that would have “Sent from my iPhone” at the end, yet that isn’t there.

Who are you trying to fool? Do you think we don’t know you are on your phone? Why care about letting us know – there is nothing “wrong” with sending an email from your iPhone. It might even make us think, “hey, so and so is working from their phone – so I won’t attach a 20 MB PDF back, or maybe I will give them a quick shout back, etc.

To all of those out there that removed the signature… why? And if you have, I think you should put it back!

Ok..