E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez

iPad

@Janetter or How I Started to Enjoy Twitter Once Again

logo.jpg

There used to be a time when I was very much in love with Twitter. It was my favourite social networking tool by far. It was quite an exhilarating experience being constantly exposed to some of the most amazing conversations and informal learning at its best. To me, it was *the* place to provoke plenty of facilitated serendipity to take place and keep in the know with all of that stuff one gets passionate about over the course of time. But then, after a short while, I started hating Twitter. Perhaps a bit too harsh of a word, maybe loathe could do.

Over the course of just a few weeks Twitter managed to destroy, in a very pernicious manner, not only the overall user experience, but the entire ecosystem as well that made it a success in the first place: Third party apps. And it totally hit me when I saw my all time favourite Twitter client (Nambu) disappear into thin air just because of that series of misbehaviours. Fast forward to the end of 2011 and I am back in love with Twitter again, not because of all of the various different new features and capabilities they have been putting together, but because I have finally found The Best Twitter Client On The Net: Janetter.

Yes, that’s right! It surely looks like Twitter continues to be keen on destroying not just the Third Part Apps ecosystem that made it incredibly popular in the first place, but also some of its own desktop clients like Twitter for Mac or TweetDeck, where the latest upgrades have deteriorated the user experience for both of them tremendously altogether! Or so I am told. The thing is though that ever since I started making use of Janetter my overall user experience has seen quite a profound transformation.

It was through my good friend Rachel Happe that I first heard (Of course, on Twitter!) about this very special Twitter client that works both in Windows and on the Mac. She liked the experience and right away I thought about giving it a try myself, after having been actively searching for a good substitute for Nambu throughout all of this time playing with a bunch of other Twitter clients whether on the Mac or on iOS devices. And right off, within the first few hours I knew that Janetter would be my new, much preferred, default Twitter client on the Mac. What a beautiful experience, indeed!

I realise most of you folks would notice how I hardly ever get to talk about (Productivity) Tools and such on this blog, since I have always thought that they usually come and go and it’s very hard to get attached to any of them over the course of time, because you never know when they will go ahead and disappear. But since a bunch of people have been asking me what I like so much about this particular Twitter client why not put together this blog post and share some of the most compelling reasons why I have been enjoying it since day one that I installed it. At the same time, there have been a few other folks who have tried it out themselves, after I mentioned on Twitter myself how much I enjoyed it, and they didn’t like it at all. They actually thought it was a horrendous experience, so perhaps this article would help me share across some of the main reasons why Janetter is, to me, as good as it gets with regards to Twitter clients on whatever the platform. Hopefully, with that input it would give you a pretty good idea on whether you may want to give it a try or not.

So here are some of the most compelling reasons why I heart Janetter as my all time favourite Twitter client, even way above than Nambu, from back in the day:

  • Cross-Platform: Indeed, no matter whether you may be using Windows, or Mac, it would work in both just beautifully! Time and time again I kept finding it a challenge recommending a Windows client that would not be TweetDeck, which is, I guess, what most folks tend to use at the moment. And now we have got a pretty good and rather impressive rival: Janetter. (Yes, I do realise there isn’t a version for Linux users at the moment, so those folks may need to continue using whatever tool they may have at the moment)
  • Scalability: You could probably say that I’m a power user of Twitter, and perhaps of several other social networking sites, too, and one of my favourite features from Janetter itself is how scalable it is! It’s amazing! I have been using it rather heavily over the course of a few weeks now, with large networks and rather complex searches, and not a single glitch to be observed with the overall performance of the application or the machine altogether, which is not the same I could say about a bunch of other Twitter clients or even other social networking sites’ Apps. That’s a winner for me, specially, if you are a heavy user of Twitter yourself. Worth while a try just for that!
  • Reliability: Another one of my favourite features from this Twitter App. Like I said, I use it daily rather heavily and, probably, in the most extreme of circumstances hacking different behaviours and I have yet to see, and experience!, the first crash on the Mac! And that’s been weeks of long and lasting use already! Like I said, not a single one!! Not sure what you would think about it, but that’s what reliability is all about in my books, don’t you think?
  • The Look & Feel: This may well just apply to Mac Fanboys, but one of the things you would very much like from this Twitter App is that it behaves and works in pretty much the same way than any other native Mac App, which is a lot to be said for an application that’s developed to work cross-platforms. The time dedicated to make it look and feel like a native Mac App is just priceless. It doesn’t give you the impression, at all!, that you may be using a Windows copy! No way! A big Yes!!
  • Customisation: This is an area that I know most folks would not care much about it, but I love it. Being capable of customising my own user experience of what I see and play with is just a tremendous bonus! The wide range of Skins with multiple colours, displays, fonts, etc. etc. and the extensive User Preferences to tame the experience to your own likes and dislikes, needs and requirements surely is quite a treat! And something that you hardly ever see on Twitter Apps at all these days.
  • Like TweetDeck: But … without the hassle. That’s pretty much how I basically describe Janetter when people ask me about it. It’s like TweetDeck but without all of those issues that keep crumbling the overall experience of Adobe AIR Apps (I had enough of the Kernel Panics, so I no longer use AIR on my MacBook Air and everything running smooth again!). Any kind of problem or issue you can find in TweetDeck it’s fixed in this Twitter App, for real! Seriously, if you are looking for a pretty impressive alternatively to TweetDeck on the Mac, or on Windows, take it for a spin and see how it would work out for you. I can probably guarantee you won’t be back ever since…
  • The Timeline: I guess at some point I should probably go ahead and put together a short screencast of how I use the Twitter Timeline to quickly scan through tweets and pause through those I would really want to digest and muse further about and when to speed up and move on. But if you try out Janetter youself you will see what that experience looks like to me at the moment. As easy as it can get and using something so relatively simple, yet so powerful as keyboard strokes to advance on reading tweets, as well as natural scrolling (Up or down or both!) without seeing the application come to a hault! No matter how fast you go! Just brilliant!

  • The Groups: This is probably the one single feature that most folks who use TweetDeck today, or any other Twitter client that allows you to gather twitterers by groups, would enjoy very much and by far! Creating groups in Janetter is just such a breeze! Groups as in Twitter Lists, obviously; if you have created them already, it’s just as simple as displaying them and they will stick around pulling a bunch of initial updates to let you know how things are going, and then move from there. You can mark them all as read, if you would wish to as well, and you can have a whole bunch of columns without a single glitch on the overall performance itself. Very powerful and strongly recommended for power users, for sure! 

  • The Mentions: If you have been following me on Twitter for a while, over at @elsua, you would probably know how Twitter Mentions is my most simple, and long standing, grieving of my overall Twitter use. I have been complaining about how poor the accuracy of the Mentions is overall and time and time again we have seen how Twitter itself seems to be not very keen on wanting to address the issues and fix them. Well, no longer needed. Janetter did just that for me, allowing me again to catch up properly with those Mentions by not missing any of them! Pretty consistent and rather reliable! Not sure how they do it, but it just works! And thanks much for that!!
  • The Searching Capabilities: Whether you are searching for specific terms, whatever those may well be, even with complex searches, or following a particular hashtag (Like I am about to do with #ls12 and #connect12 when I get back to work – More on that soon!) Janetter’s searching capabilities and real-time searches are just superb! Not matter how busy the Search timeline may well be, it will keep up with it and provide you with all you need. Just like that. No need to figure why this or that search doesn’t work, or why it doesn’t pull off updates. It just does it and beautifully! And in columns, too!! Which means that’s rather easy to keep up with them in a single view without having to go click, click, click.
  • Following Conversations in Context: For those of us who have always considered Twitter one of the hottest places out there in the social networking sites realm for holding conversations on a wide range of topics, this Twitter client would be incredibly helpful and very powerful, because as you engage in conversations with other twitterers you would have an opportunity to catch up with them without having to go elsewhere. They are right there, embedded as part of the tweet stream, and in a rather beautiful and elegant manner, which is certainly everything, but disruptive, and that is what it should all be about! No longer will you be missing out on conversations in context while you are tweeting away! Fantastic and very much needed altogether!
  • An ecosystem on its own: Where viewing and displaying Twitter related data from other Twitterers, like their profiles, their latest tweets, the following, etc. etc. or the pictures and videos they keep sharing along works like a charm; embedded right there within the same window and with an opportunity of, once again, not having to go anywhere else, which means you can keep tweeting along without having to worry as to which window you were at at that very moment. Love how it takes tweeting in context into a new level altogether!
  • Muting Options: Yes, I know, I know, plenty of times I have been enjoying some serious rounds of twitterrhea myself, specially, when I am live tweeting conference events, and time and time again folks keep wondering how to mute me for a (long) while. Well, Janetter offers that opportunity, right there, in the Application itself and with a good number of options. So if you ever need to mute any of your social networks it will do the job just beautifully, which means you can keep your focus where you would want it to be, instead of getting distracted unnecessarily. Priceless, don’t you think?
  • Support of Multiple Accounts: Ohhh, and if you have multiple Twitter accounts, this App would help you manage each of them rather elegantly as well. Now, I now longer need to worry about that one myself, but if I were, I would surely make use of it, instead of having to go for more costly options to try to achieve the very same thing. Very nicely done altogether!
  • Local Cache: This is perhaps my all time favourite feature from any of the Twitter clients I have used over the course of the years. From what I know it’s not even available for the vast majority of them, but, to me, it’s become an essential key feature I cannot longer live without. We all know that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the Twitter streams, so we eventually get to dive in every so often to see what’s happening. Well, Janetter takes that into a new level. It allows you to cache all of the tweets, so you can catch up with them, if you would want to!, at your own pace and rhythm. If you have got a special group of twitterers that you would always want to read all of their tweets this client would allow you to do that easily!

    I love it particularly when I’m travelling, or away from the computer for an extended period of time, and would come back wanting to learn what’s happened on my Twitter streams and there it goes… all of them (In the hundreds, or the thousands!) available with a single scroll! Yes, I know you are not supposed to read them all, but sometimes, whenever time allows you to, you do, and it’s just such a treat having an App that fully supports it that overtime it’s become the one single main reason why I couldn’t live now without Janetter to keep up with those folks I’m keen on following up with. 

    Really powerful altogether to give you, the end-user, the ability to decide how much you would want to dive into your tweet streams without going crazy, but having a good grasp of what’s happening. Can you imagine Twitter allowing you to do that natively on their Apps or the Web interface? No, indeed, not a single chance! Massive kudos to Janetter in this regard, for sure!!

And, finally, perhaps the one single key favourite feature of them all. After all of what I have mentioned above, all of the reasons, features, capabilities and huge potential it offers to us heavy twitterers, I still find it quite amazing that Janetter is made free, as in FREE!!, for all of us. No doubt, even if they would ask us for money I think it’d be the best money spent on any Twitter client out there by far, I would buy a copy of it in a split second and without thinking too much about it!, but the folks behind it have made it available to us all free of charge, which is just probably as good as it gets!

That’s about it, folks, here you have got in a single blog post the various many reasons why I’m now back in love with Twitter, not because of Twitter itself, or the technology behind it, but because thanks to the absolutely delightful user experience of Janetter I’m capable of doing something that in the last few months I kept struggling with time and time again: following, digesting, and learning plenty more in good context from the tweet streams of my favourite social networks, which, eventually, is the main reason of why Twitter exists for most of us and I am happy to see how this Twitter App is making that possible. At least, for me. Hope for you, too! If you have found this blog entry useful enough to take it for a spin, let me know in the comments what you think and whether it’s helping you transform the way you interact with Twitter, like it has done with me so far and big time …

 


Ohhh, and in case you may be wondering what would be my favourite iOS clients for both iPad and iPhone, for when I am on the road, away from my MacBook Air, that would be Osfoora HD for the iPad and the native Twitter for iPhone client. But, once again, they are not the same as the real thing, which is why I do seriously hope that some day we would be able to see Janetter entering the iOS world helping us redefine that mobile Twitter user experience once again! I very much look forward to that!

0 votes
Read More »

Reflections from 2011 – The Year of Mobile, Again

Tenerife - Mount Teide in the WinterIt’s rather interesting to see the kinds of conversations that one gets to embark on in the offline social networking world while on a couple of week vacation break (By the way, hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas time, as well as a Happy, rather Prosperous and very Healthy New Year 2012!!). It’s even more interesting when some of those conversations have been going on around what we have done and learned in 2011 and right off it all turns into personal reflections for what’s happened throughout the year. Just like in the virtual world, I guess, like I am doing with this series of blog posts. So continuing further with that set, just the other day one of my offline good friends asked me what I thought was a rather interesting twist, which would be a good intro for this article as well. He asked me what was the biggest disappointment I experienced in the past year that I could have done without. My short answer: Technology. The long answer: here is why.

Technology is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt about it. I am sure we all agree with that statement. It’s helping shape up and change radically all aspects of our society as well as the corporate world. It’s helping us understand how we can keep striving successfully for the ultimate goal for every knowledge worker out there: work smarter, not necessarily harder. It’s essentially helping change who we are and what we do. Yet, some times it’s utterly disappointing to see how far we are from what we all know we could have at this age in 2011.

This year we are about to finish has been an incredibly hectic and exciting year with plenty of amazing happenings and unforgettable events altogether. For me, it’s been one of the busiest and most fruitful, too! With plenty of business travelling and frenzy at work one learns to build a certain level of expectations that you would want to see met, so you can keep up being rather productive and effective, which is what matters at the end of the day. Specially, nowadays: effectiveness continues to beat efficiency any and every time. But it looks like we are another year onwards and we are not there just yet. Let’s see it with the most crippling example I can think of, based on my own first hand experiences …

If anything, 2011 has been the Year of Mobile. And, finally, if I may add that, too, myself! But has it really been that way? Well, in my experience, it hasn’t. Another year gone by and another big disappointment, because we keep suffering from the very same problem we have been having for the last 5 years, when we were first commenting on the huge opportunity for the mobile world to disrupt everything around us. We keep seeing a good amount of tremendously powerful reports and insights on why every year we seem to be experiencing the year of mobile and yet, it just doesn’t happen. At least, in 2011 with yours truly.

Yes, I do have a smartphone (An iPhone 4S which I love to bits, too!); yes, I do have an iPad (My favourite tablet by far and for a great number of reasons that I have recently picked up, once again, on my Google Plus profile, but more on that shortly…); and yes, I do have a MacBook Air, which is as light as you probably could get nowadays with heavy computing tasks. Yes, in short, you could say that I’m a fully empowered mobile worker. I work from home most of my time; I travel quite a bit to conference events, summits, customer meetings, workshops, seminars, etc. etc. I work quite often at airports, at hotels and various other locations. Work is me, I’m work. I am a road warrior, too, I suppose, with a clear mission: work happens around me. It’s no longer a physical location, but more of a state of mind. So my expectations have become rather high when I want technology to work just like I want it to. Alas, it just doesn’t happen. It keeps failing time and time again, which is rather disappointing, to say the least, if not too frustrating altogether most of the time.

Over the course of the year, and as I keep living “A World Without Email“, I have had a growing and continued need to stay connected for as long as I possibly could. Living on the Social Web does that to you; you need to be constantly connected. Social networking tools do not understand the concept of working offline, apparently, or so it seems, so you expect that technology will come up to the rescue, yet, it keeps failing. Why?, you may be wondering, right?, since we are just about to finish another “Year of Mobile“? Well, hardware wise I would probably venture we are there and pretty nicely: with smartphones and tablets taking the enterprise by storm it’s no surprise how keen and very much willing knowledge workers are to even bring in their own devices at work. Yet, we keep failing to deliver at one key issue that most people keep ignoring time and time again and not even sure why: Connectivity. Or, better said, lack of reliable, scalable and sustainable connectivity. The telcos. The (mobile) carriers.

I am not sure about you, folks, but that has been *THE* major challenge for me for 2011. Trying to stay connected, while on the road, to keep being productive with the Social Web. Time and time again, while attending & presenting at conference events, for instance, access to the Social Web has been rather patchy, whether through free wi-fi hotspots, or even paying for the connection it hasn’t worked the way I would have wanted it to. In fact, while I’m writing this blog entry I am realising one of the various reasons why there have been long periods of silence on this blog, and various other social networking sites, was just, basically, because I was not connected to the Web or because it was just so slow that it was rather unbearable to try to get anything done. Ever tried connecting to the Web from your hotel room, whether on a free wi-fi or paying up to 22€ per day to just reach out to the Web? Yes, exactly!, that is what I mean! A complete waste of time, energy and effort just increasing the levels of frustration more and more by the day. I still find it quite amazing what a huge business opportunity there is out there and yet no-one seems to want to pick it up accordingly.

But you may be wondering, hang on for a minute. Both your iPhone 4S and iPad are 3G enabled; and you also have got a 3G modem you can use for the MacBook Air; doesn’t that help out a bit? Well, not really. Yes, I do have that extra kind of connectivity, but, once again, it hasn’t delivered really much. As a starting point, as soon as I leave Spain, which is when most of my business travelling kicks in, I’m out of 3G coverage, as well as good use of the 3G modem, since I don’t want to incur in the ridiculously high costs of international roaming, which, to a certain point, are starting to become a joke, on all of us, poor end-users (even on the literal sense, too!).

So that leaves me out to use the 3G and the 3G Modem while in Spain, right? Yes, but the results are equally disastrous. Every month I’m paying about 120€ to 130€ (Yes, I know, very pricey!) just to stay connected and while one expects to be able to make it, the reality is that 3G coverage and broadband penetration in this country has got a lot to be desired for. For many times I have been travelling to mainland Spain, to rather big cities, right in the city center, and yet the 3G connection is incredibly poor. Knowing that the Social Web is just out there, waiting for you, and yet you can no longer reach it as you would have liked can surely be a rather disappointing experience and what a complete turnoff!

Yet, it looks like no-one is doing much to try to improve things where I feel should be much improved. Stop us, end-users, to keep being ripped off time and time again by telcos and whatever other mobile carriers, for very poor connectivity, while paying huge costs for it. No wonder I have been rather frustrated throughout the year with regards to how little I have remained hooked up to the Social Web over the course of time. I keep wondering when will the European Union start coming along to protect our rights to information and staying connected without having to pay through our noses and fight the good fight. It’s starting to become a far too frustrating experience altogether, so when I bump into rather interesting and enlightening short video clips like “Mobile Year in Review 2011” one cannot but have a chuckle or two thinking how, unless things change drastically with our current telcos and their abusive policies, we will keep longing for that “Year of Mobile” to kick in at some point in time in the next 5 to 10 years. Right now, it’s not even there, by far!

Ohhh, and that’s not all of it, on my next blog post I will share with you folks Part II of why technology has been the biggest disappointment for yours truly for 2011. And this time around social technologies themselves. Then there will be a final follow-up article where I will share further insights on what I plan to do in 2012 and beyond to try to tame that frustration and attempt to get the most of what it is still a rather poor experience of interacting with technology and the Social Web. It’s going to be a revolution, for sure, but one where I am no longer willing to pay through my nose for it, even if that means changing radically what the Social Web experience has been like for yours truly in the last 10 years … I think it’s a good time now to make a stand and take back what has always belonged to us. The Web and the use we make of it.

0 votes
Read More »

My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad 2

Gran Canaria in the WinterIf you have been following me on Twitter for a little while now, you would probably know by now how much in love I am with my new shiny iPad 2 that I bought in Madrid almost a month ago, after having tried in multiple places. I guess that’s one of the perks of travelling on a regular basis, that you keep trying to get your hands on it at multiple venues, till it eventually happens heh Anyway, I am sure you may still remember the blog post I put together over here, almost a year ago, when I bought my iPad v1 under the title “My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad 2“. Well, since a few folks have asked me what that experience has been like with v2, I thought I would venture today into putting together this particular blog entry, as a nice follow-up, where I can share with you folks my “My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad v2“.

Now, apart from all of the reasons that I mentioned on that other previous article, and which would still very much apply over here, since I, too, feel the iPad v2 is an evolution, more than a revolution, from v1, there are still a bunch of reasons why, like I said, almost a month ago, I decided to take the plunge and get my hands on it and so far I haven’t regretted it a single time, which is why, after all of those weeks, I thought it would be a good time for me now to put some of them down over here and share them across with you all, so that you would have an opportunity to judge whether it would also be worth while a purchase for yourself or not, whether you already have v1 or not. So let’s get things started with those reasons as to why I am sold, big time, on v2:

  • Speed: By far one of the most noticeable new features from the iPad v2 is the speed of execution, not only from an iOS perspective while flipping through pages of Apps, but also when opening them up to do whatever the task; even the most complex and resource intensive ones are handled in a matter of one or two seconds. Even when switching up between Apps, a la multitasking, is now a complete breeze, resembling pretty close what you could get from your personal computer. Ohhh, and if you like playing fancy games, like I do, on the iPad with some heavy graphics, that overall experience has been improved tremendously with these new speeds! Totally recommended if you are a heavy gamer!
  • Quality: What can I say about quality that hasn’t been said already about Apple’s products? I am not sure why, but when I first got my hands on an iPad v2, I, like plenty of other people, I am sure, started drooling all over the place. Somehow it felt like I was holding excelling quality right there in my hands and felt pretty much like a labour of love, even beauty, to the point where I still get that feeling some times despite the novelty having worn out a bit already. Yes, good quality products would do that to you. They would also even help you talk about them openly like I am doing over here, so for those vendors out there wanting to delight their clients with their products, start with bringing top quality to them. The rest will come!
  • Design: Yes, good, … oh wait!, great design still sells big time! At least, it does for me, to the point where for a good week I have both v1 and v2 sitting next to one another, side by side, and the difference in the perception of a great design has been very noticeable all along, making v1 feel old. v2 is much slicker, rounded, feels lighter, rather elegant, smart even (Bought the white model, which probably add up a bit of glamour to it altogether, who knows!) to the point where v1 felt like a brick during the time that both of them lived next to each other. Pretty much the very same feeling when I moved from my old MacBook Pro 15” to the MacBook Air 13”. Yes, great design still makes a huge difference! And surely wish other vendors would notice, too! 

    So there you have it! What makes a good product enchant your customers? Well, I am sure many many things, but excelling quality and great design surely look good to me already! Can you imagine that for Enterprise Social Software? Will we ever reach that stage? … I surely hope so!

  • Cameras: As you well know, this was one of the features that everyone was missing on v1, but that we all knew it was going to become a reality sooner or later. And while for most folks it’s been a bit of a disappointment, since the quality doesn’t seem to be that good (Specially the front camera), I am actually enjoying it quite a bit. Now, I do realise I can’t take good quality pictures with it, and I’m happy with it, that’s what my iPhone 4 and my real camera do and rather nicely anyway, but the cameras on the iPad 2 surely make for a superb add-on when doing videoconferencing, a la Facetime. It works and the quality, so far, at least, with me, has been rather good! Almost like being there!

  • Games: I travel quite a bit, which means that I get to spend plenty of time offline and totally disconnected (Last day and a half has been that way thanks to patchy wi-fi connectivity at the hotel I am staying at and a non-working 3G Modem card that wasn’t activated in the first place, back when I was provided with it! Oh well … ); and while there are a whole bunch of iPad Apps that I use on a rather regular basis, there are times when one is confronted with long hours of business travelling and prefers to spend some time exercising the mind, and several other talents, playing games, as Jane McGonigal mentioned a little while ago on a recent TED Talk under the title “Gaming can make a better world“, and which I have blogged about it over here in the recent past). Well, playing games on the iPad 2 has been taken into a new level, specially, when more and more of the v1 games start adapting to the new capabilities from v2, specially in terms of speed of execution, improved graphics, and overall look and feel. Again, if you are a serious gamer, the iPad v2 surely is worth while the money!
  • Friends: Yes, that’s right! I totally wasn’t expecting this one, but the moment I shared with my close friends the fact I was going to buy the iPad v2, that very moment that my v1 had already a new owner! In a split second something magic happened: a common shared experience amongst friends with a passion for that same shiny object. It was no longer a matter of me talking about the wonders of such device and so forth, but now it was a shared experience; we can exchange hints and tips, Apps, tricks to get the most out of it, we can both enjoy each other’s experience with it, making those relationships even so much more engaging, to the point that when having coffee, and talking about things, they are both on the table ready to extend that shared experience even more! Priceless!

  • Price: Yes, indeed, that’s another one of the perks of getting your hands on v2. The price is still good, in my opinion, for what you are offered. I got myself the 64GB 3G white model and, once again, just like I did for v1, I haven’t regretted it yet. In fact, this time around it feels even a lot cheaper. Like nearly half the price! See next reason for more details on what I mean …

  • Early Adopter: Like any bleeding edge early adopter, I just couldn’t help it myself, I had to buy it. You know us all. There is a new shiny object out there and we need to have it. We must have it. Well, another advantage of doing that, and very much tied in with the Friends reason, mentioned above already, is the fact that I am helping covert others and become early adopters themselves by passing it on. And just like v1, v2 has already gotten a new owner waiting for that transfer, once I make the jump into v3, whenever that happens. There is nothing more gratifying that seeing you stopping from being the HelpDesk service for everyone, because everyone now would be at the same level you are already: an tablet, a computer, whether v1 or v2, that works! No longer HelpDesk skills required and supported from yours truly! Yes, I know! It feels great!! And, again, like I have mentioned under “Price”, at half the price from here onwards!
  • The Apps: Indeed, still the Apps! The main single reason why I went to the v2 versus trying other alternatives that few other folks have been talking about already like XOOM, PlayBook, etc. etc., with not so many very good prospects, judging by the reviews coming along so far, indicating exactly the main reason why the iPad is the killer device: the several thousands of iPad Apps that one has got instant access to in a matter of seconds to do almost everything! That, to me, is still priceless and an ecosystem that, as an customer, I enjoy quite a bit realising fully that it would probably be far too difficult to leave behind over time, and somehow that thought hasn’t bothered me at all so far. And I doubt it would ever will, to be honest. Getting plenty of benefits already from the several dozens of really nifty, powerful, beautiful, immersing experience that lots of these Apps have been providing us all along.
  • Mobility: Indeed, with the iPad v2, the dream of the mobile world is now, more than ever, at our fingertips. Once again, I keep travelling lighter, or, at least, as much as I can, and there isn’t a single time that I don’t take it with me, wherever I may go. For business use, for quick reference, for annotations, quick recordings of thoughts to pick up and revisit at a later time, for reading books, PDFs, whitepapers and other articles, for playing games on the go, for being able to do some of the most amazing things by just downloading an App on the go and start using it instantly and without having to worry too much about it. It just works! No matter even how fast paced you may well be, it will still catch up and big time! Something that I cannot say for some other advanced high-tech devices. 

And that’s it! Oh, wait… I almost forgot, there is another good reason why I eventually got my hands on it that can be explained, very easily, with a single word and a very very short video clip in order to understand how I feel about it overall and why I am certainly going to have a blast with it for the next few months, till v3 comes along… The word, magic, the video clip, this one:

Regrets? Do I have any, you may be wondering, right? Well, so far, only one of them. Funny enough it doesn’t even have anything to do whatsoever with the iPad itself, but with the accessories, specially the iPad cases. That has been, probably, my only regret. The fact that I made some investment on having multiple cases for v1, to help accommodate multiple needs, and now I’m finding out, the hard way, that none of them would fit in nicely for the v2. Which means I am on the hunt, once again, for a good solid iPad v2 case, since I am not too convinced about the Smart Cover just yet. I have seen a couple of rather interesting cases already (like this one or this other one), but I still haven’t decided. Perhaps I would go out to you folks and ask you kindly to drop by a comment with your favourite and maybe one or two reasons as to why that iPad case is your favourite. Any takers?

And that’s it (Again)! Those are some of the main reasons why I decided to get my hands on an iPad v2 and so far I don’t regret it a single bit. It’s been totally a complete blast so far! It’s been an absolutely wonderful experience and highly recommended, whether you own a v1 one or whether you are thinking about purchasing one for the first time; and, best thing of it all for me though, is that it would also give me a great opportunity to pick things back again and keep it rolling for “My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #N“. It’s been a long while and over the last few months I have acquired a whole bunch of new iPad Apps that I am sure you, too, would enjoy quite a bit! Thus stay tuned for more to come, since I am going to resume that series shortly as well!

For now, that would be it for me. How about you though? What are your main reasons as to why you decided to jump in and get yourself v2 of that shiny new object that seems to be inside everyone’s head at the moment? Care to share a thought or two in the comments as well? That would be just wonderful, and very much appreciated, as it would help provide some further insights to other folks who may want to dive in, but may not be that sure just yet. At least, for now. Perhaps we can all help influence that change. What do you think? Want to share them across?

Ok! Let’s do it!

0 votes
Read More »

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #9

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #9As we keep witnessing how the iPad is entering a whole bunch of new markets for tablets that perhaps never thought they would be making it that far, while being taken by storm by the iPad itself like they are at the moment, here I am, once again, ready to go and share with you folks the next blog post from the series of My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, this time around with Week #9. First though I would want to share with you folks a couple of rather helpful articles you may want to check out, specially, if you are a librarian or perhaps an English language teacher. They are just basically a couple of articles with plenty of helpful tips and recommendations on Apps to check out, specially for those two groups, which I am sure is going to keep you all busy for a while. To name: “40 iPad Apps That Librarians Love” and “iPad Apps for English Language Teachers“, respectively. And now that we are over with that short introduction, let me recommend you as well to read one of those posts a good friend of mine put together just recently and that sounds incredibly scary as to how well he has described not only his own iPad experience so far, but mine, too! Check out Jim Worth‘s “What’s so special about the iPad“… Yes, indeed, that’s exactly how I feel about it myself: special!

Some of Jim’s thoughts on what appeals to him about the iPad would also be very true for me: the always Instant On, the All Day Battery Life, the Portability, the Continuous and Free Software Updates, the Social Web, the Video and Audio Capabilities and, of course, the games, the brilliant games that I have been playing there now for a few months and that helped my gamer self resurface once again from the good old times! However, there are still plenty of other things for which I *heart* my iPad experience and very shortly I will be putting together another blog entry where I will try to cover the main reasons as to why I gave in a few months back, bought my iPad, while in the US, and haven’t walked back ever since!

The always inspiring Paul Gillin already hints some of the topics I will be covering as well in that upcoming blog post in a recent entry he wrote under the title “Age of the Tablet Has Begun“, which, I am sure you would agree with me, has got a very suggestive title of what’s to come in the new year we are approaching fast and furious. Indeed, Paul is just basically detailing how he feels the iPad, and other upcoming tablets, whenever they come out!, are going to change the whole concept of mobility and portability, even beyond that one of ultra-portable devices like netbooks or the MacBook Air, to name a couple. And I think he is absolutely right and spot on on that one, since the last couple of months, while I have been on the road myself in various different business trips, I, too, have experienced what it is like just relying on my iPad while presenting to customers, or being immersed in workshops, attending & presenting at conference events, etc. etc. and just having to rely effectively on my iPad alone.

To name a couple of very simple and straight forward benefits, which I will touch base on at a later time on that other upcoming post, from carrying an iPad for your business travelling, as an starting point, is that both my shoulders and my back are incredibly grateful they no longer have to carry that extra bag which weighs a few extra pounds, more than probably necessary ; instead I just have to carry with me my iPad in its light case and off we go. Instant access, wherever I may well be, ready to work and catch up with things under whatever the circumstances, scenarios and whatever other contexts. The other benefit is that my wrists are rather grateful, too! Mainly, because I am no longer spending so much time in front of the Mac typing away, but instead I am much more mobile, changing work places on a rather regular basis and finding those lovely breaks one can use here and there to give those wrists a well deserved break. Something that while using the Mac I keep skipping time and time again, for whatever the reason…

Like I said, there are several other reasons as to why the iPad is probably that particular device that has changed, the most substantially over the last 6 months!, the way I interact with my own working environment, whether behind the firewall or outside. It’s that device that has certainly brought back a level of comfort that I felt I was losing time and time again when having to spend too much time in front of the Mac itself. Now I can still keep up and have that mobility I once thought I lost it for good!

But you will find out plenty more about the rest of the other benefits I am getting from my own iPad experience in that upcoming post. For now though, I am going to go ahead with the usual sharing of the “My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week“, this time around for Week #9 picking up those Top 5 iPad Apps from the ones I keep sharing every so often over at my Twitter acount under the hash tag #elsuapps. So if you would want to see which ones I am sharing on a daily basis, you may want to subscribe to the Twitter feed from that hash tag. As usual, this set of recommendations helps me in two different areas: first, as a way for me to recommend some of the iPad Apps I have been enjoying quite a bit as of late, as more and more of my friends and colleagues are purchasing their iPads and want to know which ones I have been enjoying the most and, secondly, a method for me to remember and capture them over here in my own blog, since Twitter doesn’t want to do a proper job at it, at least, for now. In a way, it’s like my own Personal Knowledge Sharing iPad tips!

As usual, I will be recommending 5 different Apps, one of which is the iPad Game of the Week and the others are Apps I keep using on a regular basis for a bunch of tasks and activities, both for work and for personal use. I will also try to keep the reasons why I am recommending them a bit short and include the link to them in iTunes, so you can have a look into them right away and without delay, should you be interested in any of them. And, as always, if you would have any other iPad apps you yourself would want to recommend, share them across in the comments section, and I will incorporate them into future posts as well. The more, the better!

Thus without much further ado, let’s go with the recommendations for Week #9:

  • XpenseTracker – (Expense Tracker & Mileage Log): This is one of my favourite iPad Apps to keep track of expenses, both personal and work related, specially, for when I am in the road and need to keep track of them in order to declare them at a later time, for the work ones, and to keep an eye on things for the personal ones. It’s just as good as it gets, in my opinion, more than anything else because it allows you to get the job done easily and, most importantly, export it elsewhere for easier processing while handling those expenses. A must-have for those travel warriors out there!
  • Slide by Slide: My good friend Stu McIntyre recommended this one a little while ago over at the This Week In Lotus podcast as perhaps one of the most powerful iPad Apps to view, digest and share across presentations stored in one of our favourite Web 2.0 tools available out there: Slideshare and after having used it myself for a little while now I can confirm it just rocks!! It’s my default viewer for Slideshare decks at the moment and the ease of use it has along with the lack of ads surely makes it a treat working with it, specially when you are hunting down for ideas and other thoughts to reuse for your upcoming presentations! Very very helpful!
  • All-IN-1 Battery HD: Yes, I know! Even though the battery of the iPad can last from anything between 10 to 13 hours, I still like to have a little App that helps me stay informed about the status of the battery, hours I got left for various activities and how to fine tune things better, to, even get better results! Well, that is exactly what All-IN-1 Battery HD does for you and although there are a bunch of other related iPad Apps, this is probably one of the best out there! Oh, and it has a lovely Weather widget you can use at the same time! hehe

  • Google Earth: At this point in time, there is probably very little that I would need to add about Google Earth that may not have been said yet about it, but if I can add my ¢2 I could probably say that the experience in an iPad is fantastic! Having that ability to check out places, while on the move, to see where you are going, what you need to do, places to check, people to meet in places you never heard about, show everyone where you live or where you work in a way they, too, can interact with it at the same time as you are, is just priceless! It’s just like having that wonderful thing we call World right at your fingertips! Amazing! This is one of those Apps I really enjoy using with people who have never used the Web, nor are they interested in it. Yes, I know, there are still plenty of people out there in that realm and they all *love* the Google Earth iPad App… I can’t blame them for it. I do, too! 

  • Fieldrunners for iPad: And, finally, the iPad Game of the Week, which in this case comes directly from the iPhone, where I first fell in love with Fieldrunners; it’s a rather simple game with a rather concrete plot, but, boy, does it get addictive the more you play it and the game develops further! I can guarantee you that you will be spending a bunch of hours playing this fun game and don’t get bored with it! And the music is rather catchy, too! hehe

And that’s it for today, folks! Very soon I will be putting together the next one which will make Week #10 of My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week. Stay tuned for that one to come up! For now, I would want to wrap up this blog entry by reminding folks to check the blog post for Week #8, where I shared the tip about AppShopper, which given the time of the year we are in, is a must have, an essential iPad App to have, to catch all of the best deals and sales offers that most Apps are already offering during the holiday period. You may want to give it a go and see what you find! Some of the gems I have bumped into over the last week or so I have got them for almost no money just waiting for the bargains to kick in! Don’t miss out either!

Hope you have enjoyed this blog post, just as much as I am enjoying it myself with all of these iPad Apps and I surely look forward to reading your recommendations in the comments! Keep having fun with your iPads! 🙂

0 votes
Read More »

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #4

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #4 Continuing further with that on-going series of blog posts on My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, here I am, once again, sharing with you folks another round of interesting and worth while checking out iPad Apps I have bumped into over the last few weeks and which I have been enjoying quite a bit. This time around we are going for Week #4 where I have got something for news junkies, road warriors, weather addicts and, of course, the game of the week! So, let’s do it!

Oh, hang on, before we get things going with them, and like I have mentioned on a previous blog post over here as well, I thought I would share a couple of interesting links related to the iPad and how it is changing the way not only we participate on the Web as end-users, i.e. as Web 2.0 enthusiasts, amongst several other activities, but also from a business perspective. Specially, today, where I have got a couple of superb links to share with you folks that clearly establish the path to follow on improving the overall user experience into new heights for mobile business workers.

The first link comes from my good friend Thomas Otter, who, not long ago put together this blog entry under the heading “The iPad and the Enterprise” and where he shared this rather thought-provoking reflection:

“[…] But what I’ve not yet seen is the must have enterprise application on the iPad. Yes, I’ve seen some neat repurposed reports and simple entry screens but I’ve not yet seen an application that makes me sit up and say wow, that is a new and fundamentally better process enabled by the device. So far the innovation is all about Apple.

Well, that may no longer be the case. Read further on for his conclusion, which I think is very much worth while reading. I think the race has just gotten started. I think that more and more businesses are beginning to turn into devices such as the iPad to help improve overall the performance from their knowledge workers, specially those who are mobile. SAP has already started with that race, but I think that’s just the beginning. Have a look though into what Hyatt Hotels & Resorts are doing though. Specially, check out the nearly three minute long video clip that explains thoroughly what that innovation within the Enterprise could look like! And be ready to be WOWed big time!

The whole article is very much worth while a read, for sure, on what’s to come not just for knowledge workers, but also for consumers enjoying some of those really nice and powerful services, but here is one of my favourite quotes:

Mobilizing hotel staff with iPad lets them get out from behind the desk and in front of the guests

Or this other one:

“We use Lotus Traveler as the core platform to integrate with our messaging collaboration system, Lotus Notes — and users have full access to our VPN infrastructure

Indeed, I can relate, very much, to what John Prusnick mentions on that article, since I have been using Lotus Traveler myself for work and it’s just beautiful! Not that I care too much about email, since I hardly use it anymore, but having quick access to my work calendar & agenda, as well as contacts, while I’m on the road, in a secured manner, is a killer! And, if, on top of that, you have got VPN access to your company’s Intranet network, like I do, then it all becomes a treat, to say the least! Boy, I just can’t wait for my next business trip and see whether I can make it and survive it without having to carry anything else than the iPad. Can you believe that? 2 months ago I didn’t think it would be possible to travel without my Mac. Very soon, on my next business trip, it’ll be a reality!

Yes, the iPad for the Enterprise is here! And, sooner or latter, it will catch up with everyone! So you better start looking forward to travel light, to much less pain on your shoulders and back, to the complete mess with cabling and gadgets to carry with you, and so on and so forth. Never mind where things will be going as we all become more and more mobile by the day! Indeed, I can’t wait!

Ok, enough with that drooling! Let’s go and move on focusing on the My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week for Week #4, where this time around I have got some recommendations for news junkies, folks up in the air, weather addicts and, of course, the iPad Game of the Week. So let’s go!:

  • Pulse News Reader: For those news junkies out there (Yes, I know! You can never get enough of them, can you? Welcome to my club! hehe), here is the first news related app I installed on the iPad on the same week when I bought it and I still use it on a daily basis. It allows you to customise the resources you would want to tap into and both the horizontal and vertical scrolling experiences are amazing. Incredibly engaging! Worth a look, for sure!
  • NewsRack: Ok, in the past I have mentioned how Reeder for iPad was my preferred RSS feed reader client for the iPad. Well, since we all know how RSS Feeds are not dead just yet, right?, I have got a second one: NewsRack. It was actually my first iPhone app for feed reading and I was surely really glad when it came over to the iPad as well. I access my second Google Reader account through it on a regular basis and the reading experience is quite something! Even for large amounts of feeds! Loving it!
  • Kayak Explore + Flight Search: This one is for those road warriors or those folks up in the air living their lives more on a plane than on the ground itself. Kayak would allow you to just find plenty of really good options for your upcoming trips and find that weird combination you can get anywhere else! I have tried it out a few times and it’s gotten me out of trouble far too many times! And browsing it through the iPad vs. the iPhone *does* make a difference!
  • Accu Weather Free for iPad: From all of the various iPad apps related to the weather and weather forecasting, I must confess there are a couple of them that I really enjoy. Accu Weather is one of them. It’s free, rather accurate and the hourly forecast is quite an amazing experience, specially if you slide your fingers through the clock! Never thought I’d be interested in the weather just as much, but this iPad app is helping change that perception rather quick! Not much more to add … hehe

  • AirAttack HD: And, finally, like usual, to close off the Top Picks of the week, here is the iPad Game of the Week: AirAttack HD. When I was a lot younger I used to be hooked into these kind of video games where I could play them for hours without getting tired of them. Remember the original Battlefield 1942? Well, this one is just as good, if not better! The graphics are amazing and the overall gaming experience is amazingly engaging and all of that for 0.99$; so who can’t ignore that? It’s just unbeatable, don’t you think?

And that’s it for now, folks! Hope you have enjoyed the Top Picks for this time around and, stay tuned, because, if I have some more free time later on in the week, I may be capable of sharing another round of Top 5 iPad Apps, since I am running a little big behind still from what I have been sharing over at Twitter under #elsuapps. That just to keep you busy for a little while longer… For now, I will let you all go and explore some of those, while I will go back to my meetings galore 😉

Keep having fun!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 votes
Read More »

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #2

From the My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Weeks #1 and #2Judging by the good number of positive comments I have received both online and offline, it looks like the first of the series of blog posts on My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week has been somewhat helpful to a good number of folks. So, like I have mentioned on the initial blog entry, here I am, once again, wanting to share on this blog the top picks for Week #2.

 

You would remember how I am putting together these short articles based on the Daily #iPad App series I keep sharing over in Twitter, more than anything else as a reference for myself that I can keep mentioning back and forth, whenever people would be asking me about my favourite iPad apps. And also as a way to provide a more permanent basis for those recommendations, other than Twitter, since its search engine can only go back up to so many days…

 

The purpose of this exercise is to keep it on the short side as well, so you have an opportunity to read briefly why I have gone for those weekly picks and then provide you with a link to where you could download the apps, as you may see fit. So I am also going to continue with that plan for this particular blog post on Week #2. And without much further ado, here we go, once again:

  • Twitter for iPad: Last week I mentioned how my all time favourite Twitter client on the iPad is Osfoora HD; this week, it looks like we have got a pretty decent rival in the shape of Twitter for iPad, the official Twitter client that has put together some pretty nifty features that would surely bring you a new Twitter experience on a mobile device. Now, I will still continue to make use of Osfoora HD, but you cannot deny one of the biggest advantages from this Twitter client: it is free! Worth a try, for sure!
  • MindNode: Like I have mentioned in the past, I have been a big fan of mindmapping for several years now and time and time again, whenever there is a new mindmap app out there worth while having a look into I just can’t resist the temptation. Check MindNode. One of those mindmapping applications for the iPad that surely is quite interesting and worth while having a look into, more than anything else, because, if you have got MindNode Pro installed in your Mac, there is a full, and rather nifty, integration between the iPad and Mac apps, so you can take your newly created mindmaps where you would you would to. Pretty neat, don’t you think?
  • GoodReader for iPad: There are quite a few file sharing apps available for the iPad, but if I would have to pick one that I enjoy quite a bit, I think that one would be GoodReader. One of the reasons why I have been accumulating a good number of PDF files, and other file formats is because I now have a lovely way of interacting with them through GoodReader, no matter how large they are. There is one other app I enjoy quite a bit (That I will probably talk about in another blog post from the series), but I think this one will make it into the top list of essential ones to get without any doubt. Another must-have.
  • Newsy: If you are a news junkie, like I am myself, if you have a tendency to enjoy a cup of coffee (Or tea) in the morning and / or in the afternoon while you are catching up with the worlds and its various news, Newsy is one of those resources you just can’t do without. From an innovative approach towards delivering news (“Multiple Sources. The Real Story”), to a rather refreshing user experience of how you are actually going to digest the ones you would be interested in, Newsy is the kind of iPad app I am sure you will be checking out a couple of times a day … 
  • Words with Friends HD: And, finally, the iPad game of the week! This one, Words with Friends, is actually one of my all time favourite ones, as I have mentioned, and blogged about, not too long ago. It’s like playing Scrabble, but with friends, so it gives you an opportunity to chill out in between activities, on a break at work, while you are travelling, while on vacation, etc. etc. and be just one short message away from those friends who may have hit that magic word that will get you in trouble. In a good way, obviously… And all of that in a matter of a couple of minutes. Here and there. Ideal for those idle times while you are waiting for things to happen 

    (Feel free to reach out over there, if you would want to play a game or two, because I guess you already know what my handle over there will be, right? ;-))

And that’s it, folks! That’s My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week for Week #2. Hope you have enjoyed the post and stay tuned for next week’s where I will be sharing the next round!

Have a good one everyone!

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 votes
Read More »