E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

Tools and Gadgets

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!

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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #3

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #3It’s that time of the week where, once more, here I am, dropping by on this blog to share with you folks my next round of My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week. This time around for Week #3. I know, and do realise fully, that I am running a little bit late on this series, since when I got it started with this initiative, over in Twitter with #elsuapps, a good number of weeks have already passed by. So don’t be surprised if for the next couple of weeks you eventually seem more than one blog entry on this very same topic. That way we can catch up faster with the ones that I am currently sharing across on a daily basis. And that way walk hand in hand with those I keep sharing through Twitter itself.

At the same time, and while I get to share those Top 5 iPad Apps, I thought it would be rather interesting to share, at least, one other relevant link to show how powerful the iPad may well be as well as a business tool (We already how how empowering it is from a personal productivity perspective, right? ;-)). In short, I think it would also be interesting to comment further on an relevant link I may bump into so that we can make this blog entries a bit more insightful than just sharing the apps.

No, don’t worry! I’m still planning to keep these posts on the short side of things; so instead of a fully commentary on an article, it will probably be just a pointer for you to head over to what I think would be a worth while reading. And if I bump into multiple links, I may include them all as well. Why not, right? Thus let’s go!

Here is the first interesting reading coming from CIO under the heading My iPad Enterprise Rollout: 5 Surprises, where you will be able to find out some more how Florida State College’s CIO Rob Rennie is facing the deployment of 1,000 iPads (Having gotten started with an initial rollout of 350 units). Quite an interesting read where you will find golden nuggets like this one:

“Now decisions at meetings are made quickly thanks to the iPad, he says.

In the past, no one fired up laptops at meetings in a conference room because it made the executive look disengaged. When a topic came up that required facts to make a decision, such as the difference in cost for an allocated requisition and an unallocated one, the vice president of HR would have to research it later. Thus the topic would be tabled for the next meeting

Yes, I know! It’s, indeed, coming along nicely, folks! Anyway, like I said, let’s get down to business and go ahead with My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #3:

  • MindMeister for iPad: Like I have been mentioning a couple of times already, I do really like mindmapping tools in general and if they are on the iPad, all the better! I could talk about them for ageas! But here we go with another one of my favourites that I have used quite a few times already. In the past I have utilised MindMeister on the Web itself, but ever since it came out for the iPad I only go there to give my mindmaps the last finishing touches. The rest happens inside the iPad app. Remember the mindmap I put together to describe my experiences with “A World Without Email“, that I blogged about it over here a few days back? Well, I created over 95% of it on the iPad in idle moments here and there and in a matter of minutes! And, of course, its synchronising back to the server is just priceless! Taking your mindmaps wherever you go, even when you may not have the iPad with you!
  • Things for iPad: I have tried out a whole bunch of To-Do, Getting Things Done, Executing Action Items apps and Things is probably my favourite. Superb user interface and really nice experience, AND fast!, to add to-dos! Wish I was that quick myself for closing them off accordingly!
  • Appstream for iPad: Ever from the very first moment that this app came out I just fell in love with it! Despite the initial repetitive crashes, and the odd one that still happens every now and then, since they released the latest version, it’s one of those essential apps everyone should have. What does it do? It allows you to navigate, through a really cool and engaging user interface, and find other iPad apps that you may be interested in! Really nice! In fact, some of these weekly picks come from apps I have found there!
  • Instapaper: If you are one of those folks who travels on a more or less regular basis or who happens not to have a rather fast or reliable Internet connection where you may well be, Instapaper is probably as good as it gets! What does it do? It allows you to take entire Web sites offline, so you can read them when you are not connected! Ideal for when you are on the plane, or if you have a wi-fi only iPad and there is no wi-fi around wherever you may be going.
  • Sparkle HD: And, finally, the iPad Game of the week! If you have been playing, Luxor or Peggle on the iPhone you more or less will be capable of picking it up rather quick; but at the same time you will love it just as much as with the other, too! Oh, and both the music and the graphics, I am sure, they would remind you perhaps one or two of your favourite movies by an amazingly talented director.

And, that’s it, folks, for this week! Like I said, I am running a little bit behind from the time I started sharing some of these top picks in Twitter, so don’t be surprised if you see another upcoming blog post sooner rather than later. Stay tuned! 🙂

Oh, and if you have got some Top iPad Apps of the Week, feel free to share them with us over here, in the comments, and I will cover them in future blog posts as well with due credit, of course. As usual. Thanks for dropping by and till the next one!

 

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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!

 

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My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad

Screen shot of Apple iPad in use Late last week you would remember how I put together a blog post where I started collecting a number of the Daily #iPad Apps that I keep sharing across over in Twitter, for those folks who may be potentially interested. Also as a good reference for myself, i.e. as part of my own personal knowledge sharing experience, so that I can keep going back and forth over time and see what I may have shared and what not, just in case I may need it for a future reference. Then, my good friend Barry Leiba mentioned, in the comments, how he would be “interested in reading more about specifically HOW the iPad fundamentally changes your online interactions and experience“. Thus I thought I would go ahead today and put together a blog entry where I could share with folks my top 10 reasons why the iPad has changed my computing habits and overall Internet experience for good with no looking back!

It’s going to be a rather interesting experiment, where I am sure I’m going to fall short on words on what it actually means for me, specially when not paying much attention to the tools and applications themselves, but more how I interact with the device. I know that some of those reasons will also surprise a bunch of folks out there who may have a perceived different persona of me than who I actually am, but I think that overall, it will help set the stage as to why I have finally fallen for the iPad as perhaps one of my last mobile devices I will own for a good while. A long one, actually.

Thus without much ado, here are My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought a 3G 64GB iPad, back while I was in Boston, in June, attending the Enterprise 2.0 conference event (Yes, I couldn’t buy one over here in Spain after having visited 18 shops!). You could see how desperate I was starting to become, right? 😉 hehe Here we go then:

  1. My wrists are more grateful than ever before: Yes, that’s right! I spend a whole lot less time in front of my Mac, which means that I can still have access to all of the tools I need directly from my iPad as well; that way I’m no longer restricted to be sitting in front of the computer to get the job done. The iPad enables me to incorporate a mobility aspect I didn’t have before: speed! Speed to “boot up” the device and get a response right away!; and, instead of punching keystrokes I’m now touching and flipping the screen! And both of my wrists have noticed the improvements over time in the last few weeks…
  2. I have become a much more patient person: Specially, while waiting on queues to get other stuff done! There is nothing out there that would freak me out more than having to wait for a long while queueing up to get stuff done! Going to the doctor, the dentist, doing the shopping, getting some other paperwork done, waiting for friends to show up (They usually turn up late! hehe), etc. etc. are interesting activities I am now enjoying again by opening my iPad and spending those idle moments being connected with the world or whatever else. Then when ready, I close it and move on. Time that it takes me to do that? One gentle push of my forefinger. Done! Gone!
  3. I have started to enjoy travelling once again: Whether it’s travelling on public transport or by car; whether it is for business or pleasure, I’m starting to enjoy it again quite a bit! Waiting in queues to check in, picking up my luggage, going the hotel back and forth, and all of those lengthier periods of waiting time while on business trips are now a thing of the past. They disappear as soon as I turn on the iPad. It also helps me travel light, very very light! To the point where future conferences I may be attending it’ll be the only device I’ll take with me, while the Mac stays at home. This time around my back will also be grateful, since I don’t have to carry the Mac, the extra batteries, the cabling, the rucksack, the multiple devices to keep me connected and charged, etc. etc.

    But here is the most important reason why I starting to enjoy travelling again with the iPad: having that constant feeling that I’m consistently connected (Through wi-fi or 3G); that I can get a grasp of things around me happening on the Web, both external AND internal (Since I’m also hooked up with a VPN connection to the IBM network, even to access my calendar and my mail! Ha! Remember? I still get a few of those! hehe), without having to suffer from being constantly disconnected. And, above all, the superb extended battery life it gives me. With the Mac I get 2.5 hours, if I am lucky. With the iPad over 13 hours! So imagine that on a transatlantic flight to the US and what it will mean altogether! Now, I have got my own personal entertainment device to keep me distracted while I am on a business or personal trip without that urging need to find power or a network connection. It’s just all there in a single device!

  4. My brain has now got an extended memory: Available at my fingerprints. At all times! I am sure that most folks who have got iPads may have noticed this as well. Imagine the scenario, you are at a conference event, or having a coffee with your colleagues, or your family, or friends, and all of a sudden there is a conversation going on on a topic you read about just recently, but can’t remember where, that you would want to reference and bring up! You know it’s there, in your iPad. So what do you do? You naturally open it up, search for what you were looking for, you find it, you display it and everyone goes WOW! There it is! Don’t have to kill my eyesight to eventually see it, they all say! It’s nicely available on a large screen I can enjoy without going crazy. 

    And from there you realise how helpful such an-initially-thought-out-clunky device, becomes an essential part of you AND the conversations you are having. That was one of my key ah-ha! moments while I was at the #e2conf conference in Boston, having drinks at the pub with my good friends Rick LaddGreg Lloyd and Mary Abraham making use of a couple of iPads to enrich the conversation into amazing levels that otherwise our brains would have probably fallen a bit short altogether! Why neglect it, when it is there, right? Oh, and, boy, when playing games on such device with your friends, or just exchanging recommendations on what games to play, do you get to realise what you have been missing all along about bonding with friends and colleagues, while lazing around on a couch, or the terrace, at the bar, while out and about? That’s what happened on the Friday afternoon after the conference was done. Goodness! Idle time? No, thanks! Not anymore!

  5. I’m a better gamer: Remember that TED Talk I have blogged about a couple of times from Jane McGonigal on the power of games to solve today’s problems? Well, the iPad has helped me, tremendously!, enjoy a new gaming experience. Before I wasn’t very keen, at all, to sit in front of the computer or the TV, for that matter, and play games after the good amount of hours I use to spend in front of the computer. The first thing I always think about is to relax, move away from the home office and unwind. Well, such device as the iPad is perfect for that! And that’s basically why I’m hooked up to a number of games I play on a regular basis, with work colleagues and friends, as it helps me build stronger and trustworthier personal (business) relationships.

    And, for instance, when you are stuck on a plane for 5 to 9 hours, like it happens some times to me, while I am travelling, there is nothing better than playing a game or two, after watching a movie, reading some e-books, listening to some music while doing some feed reading, etc. etc. and still have battery power to last the entire trip and be able to tell it!

  6. Work / Life are finally much more integrated: Similar to what I have mentioned above already, with this device I feel I’m no longer constrained to be sitting in front of the computer at all times. Having access to both work and personally related applications allows you to experience that sense of freedom you usually don’t get from a computer itself, because you feel you are attached to it, when it should be rather the opposite altogether. That’s what the iPad does to you. 

    Work does no longer happen alone while you are in front of your computer. It happens wherever you go and whenever you may want, which basically frees you up to decide how you would want to integrate both parts of your life: work and personal. In-distinctively and purposely. The iPad re-introduces the concept of having fun, while at work, which, if you would recall from a recent blog post I put together, is a rather interesting aspect, considering how we get to spend more than one third of our lives working alone, don’t you think?

  7. After all, I am not a techie!: In fact, this may well surprise you quite a bit!, I have always hated computers, no matter what! I just basically want a device that allows me to stay connected (with people) and get the job done! Forget the fuss about fixing technical issues because the computer decided to stop! Or whatever else. I just basically want to have a mobile device I can start with a single punch of a button and off we go! I can’t care less whether it does or it doesn’t do all of the stuff it promises to do. For my basic computing and interconnected needs and wants I just want to have something that works. And the iPad does it beautifully!

    Now, time it took me to learn how to operate it? The 5 minutes before I eventually bought it, while I was in the US. I didn’t need much more training, education on getting the most out of that computing device. Now, can you imagine that for the day to day computer applications we use on a regular basis? Don’t you think that’s what computers should be like altogether in the first place? I think they should! We shouldn’t have to worry about technical issues we just can’t even understand in the first place. They are all alien to us. Always will be.

  8. Yes, eventually, it’s all about the apps!: Now, the fact that I’m not a techie does not necessarily mean that I won’t enjoy the full capabilities of exploring what I can do with such mobile device. Yes, to me, it’s also all about the apps! About extending that computing experience with additional plugins, i.e. extensions, to several of the tasks I would want to do: share pictures, participate in social networks, read my favourite books, find out more about delicious recipes I can use, check the weather forecast, find places I should check out and visit, read more books, see the stars, look up quickly that word / concept you just learned about, record audio memos so you don’t forget, etc. etc. They are all there! Readily available to be found and used to just fit whatever purpose, any purpose. You decide… And this matters, you may be asking? Well, I think it does, because when was the last time you decided your own working computing environment with no limits?
  9. I feel like the Internet is now in my own hands!: Yes, indeed, that’s what most of the applications available out there would do, including the opportunity to surf the Web at your leisure. It’s that kind of power that I find unparalleled. When I first started reading some iPad reviews one of the interesting comments that stuck around with me was that sense of owning the Web while you were holding the device and navigating through your favourite Web sites. Well, today, after I have done that for a few weeks, I can surely vouch it will give you, eventually, that kind of feeling, to the point where you sense your Web experience has become so unique and personal that no-one else would be able to relate to it. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but you have to sit on your couch, hold your iPad in your arms, start surfing the Web and you will see what I mean … Pretty amazing!
  10. And, last, but not least, and funny enough, I’m now capable of producing more content than ever before!: Who would have thought about that, right? Yes, I know, I know, you may be wondering about how is that possible, when for most folks it feels quite the opposite, right? Well, thanks to the iPad I get exposed to so much more content and, therefore, I read more! Which means I get plenty more ideas to then sit down myself and produce some more new content, trying to add my two cents into those conversations that otherwise would have passed by un-noticed, because I didn’t read them in the first place! 

    It’s pretty amazing! 30 minutes in the morning using the iPad to consume content you didn’t get exposed to just yet, and, before you know it, you are already working on that draft blog post from that idea that just came to you, while reading that interesting piece! That’s how most of my blogging is coming about nowadays. And, best part of it all is that I can do that whenever I would want to, and wherever I would want to, whether I’m in front of the computer, or, in this case, rather not!

 

And, that, to me, folks, are the main reasons why I enjoy the overall magic behind the iPad experience. The reasons why I still consider it one of my best investments to improve my overall computing experience. Now, I bet you may be wondering whether it would replace my Mac altogether over time. Well, the answer is going to be a big “No!”; I will still spend a large chunk of time sitting in front of it. What I can certainly tell you though is that if I didn’t have to work with computers as a knowledge Web worker it would probably replace it altogether. Yet, that’s not going to happen any time soon, I guess. I still need to have the power of my Mac to allow me to do those tasks that rely on rather heavy computing resources; however, for those other idle activities I get exposed to on a daily basis that I would want to do, the Pad will do.

Yes, the iPad will do just fine!

So, what are your top reasons why you got your hands on an iPad and can’t get rid of it? While you think about them and share them perhaps in your own blog, or over here as a comment, check out this beautiful and delightfully touching true story shared by my good friend Rick on something that perhaps would not have happened without an iPad getting involved altogether along the way … 🙂

 

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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #1

Agile 2010, Aug 2010 - 46A couple of days ago, in another blog post, I mentioned how, just recently, I, finally, managed to get my hands on an iPad. This time around the 3G 64GB model, which I have been hunting down for a while now. Right from the moment I saw it, I knew that device would change completely the way I would interact not only with the Web and various social networking sites I use on a regular basis, but also with a good bunch of different applications. So, with that spirit, I thought, why not share those favourite applications across, as perhaps other folks may be able to benefit from them just as much as I am doing myself. After all, there are just so many out there that it wouldn’t hurt the odd recommendation, don’t you think? Well, this is the purpose of this blog post: i.e. to share those recommentations. My favourite #elsuapps!

Actually, this is not something new! Back when I first got my 3G iPhone I used to share across in Twitter, on a daily basis, my favourite iPhone app under #elsuapps! Now, since we all know how wonderful (NOT!!) the Twitter Search engine is, since you can no longer track those recommendations, I thought this time around I would do a bit more of curation on such job and keep track of things slightly better. So now, I am, indeed, still sharing the Daily #iPad App, but instead of relying on the Twitter search, I actually subscribe to its own feed and have got those suggestions available in my feed reader.

So I thought what a better way of sharing those recommended iPad apps than using my own blog over here to store them on a weekly basis and open up, from today, a weekly series of blog posts where I will be talking, very briefly, about those various applications I have been enjoying on my iPad for a while now. No, I am not going to share them all in one single post. What I will do from today onwards is every week create a blog entry where I will be sharing my Top 5 iPad Apps of the week, based on those recommendations I may have made during the course of the week with the Daily #iPad App. That way, if you miss them, you can still find them over here. For good. Not like Twitter would do though, where if you would want to come back in time, it would not allow you to.

Now, the plan is to make this series of blog posts really straightforward and to the point; with single one liners as to why I’d like to recommend each and everyone of those iPad apps. For the moment, I don’t plan to put together full reviews of those applications, since there are, probably, tons of them available out there already. This is just one way for me to share with you folks some quick pointers on applications I think you should have a look into, based on my own experience with them. And see how it goes from there…

Also, you would notice how from those Top 5 Apps of the Week that I will be sharing, 4 of them are regular apps that help me do a bunch of things and the last one is the one I usually share on Fridays, and, as you may be able to imagine, that app is going to be a game. Because if there is anything that the iPad is also really good at is to provide us with plenty of stunning gaming experiences altogether that would keep you entertained for hours and hours making those long queues for doing stuff almost non-existent. Thus it wouldn’t harm getting to know what interesting games there are out there!

Ok, that’s it, folks! Without much further ado, here you have got the first blog entry of the series of “My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week“. Hope you enjoy them, just as much as I do! Let’s go! Let’s get started!

  • Osfoora HD: Without any doubt, in my opinion, the best Twitter client for iPad by far available out there! I love it just as much as I do Nambu on the Mac or Twitter for iPhone. A must have!
  • Reeder for iPad: If you are looking for an impressive RSS feed reader, fully packed with features and nicely integrated with Google Reader, this one is all your need! Another must have!
  • Dropbox for iPad: If you are one of those folks who lives on the cloud with a huge need to move files around between computers and mobile devices
  • iThoughts HD: For those folks who may be looking for a rather nice mindmap application for the iPad, you may be lucky! There are lots and lots of choices out there. iThoughts HD is one of my favourites and the one I use on a rather regular basis. There are a couple of others, but will be talking about them at a later time…
  • Osmos: And, finally, the Game of the Week; in this case the one that surely has me hooked up to a unique experience of how involving a game can be from the very first moment that I bumped into it a few weeks back! Highly recommended! (If you would want to see what it is like, check out this YouTube video clip about it and you will see what I mean)

And, that’s it, folks! My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week that I have grown to enjoy quite a bit over the course of time and that I couldn’t live without at the moment. Hopefully, some of them will tick with you as well … Now the great thing about putting these recommendations over here in this blog is that you also have a good opportunity to share back in the comments those iPad apps you feel would be worth while sharing across with us, so that eventually, before we all know it, we may end up with an essential index of must-have-iPad-apps we couldn’t live without.

So, what are your top 5 favourite apps of the week? Go ahead and share them across in the comments! And, of course, thanks for doing that!

Have a good one everyone!

 

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MacBook Pro – The Down to Earth Experience

Gran Canaria - In the SpringOnce again, I keep struggling with being connected while travelling on business trips. I guess very little has changed in the last few years … Specially, if it is abroad, outside of the reach from my 3G card(s) which would only work in Spain and for which I wouldn’t want to expose them to massively expensive roaming costs. So, as you can imagine, it’s been a few days, since my last blog post, because, as most of you know already, I just got back, over the weekend, from another one of those biz trips. This time around to Germany. This time around to talk about Enterprise 2.0 and social software adoption, community building, something called Knowledge Management 2.0” and, of course, living “A World Without Email“. I am now back to the office, business as usual, therefore resuming my regular blogging activities…

Now, over the course of the next few blog posts, I will be sharing plenty of insights on the outcome of those various workshops I did with this particular customer, more than anything because most of the conversations we had over the course of three days were just wonderful and worth while sharing across! I do hope as well that I may be capable of sharing some of the slideware and recordings that we managed to put together during the course of those couple of days… But for now I thought I would share with you folks something that, before leaving for Germany, made me remember why, despite the years gone by, I still hate computers. Any computer, no matter what the operating system…

But first, let me share with you over here one of those hilarious YouTube videos that one gets to bump into every so often and which, I am sure, you can relate to quite a bit, specially, if, in this case, you are one of those people who uses a computer, regardless of the operating system and are not too sure about whether it would make a difference one way or another… I should probably share it across as one of those Friday Fun activities, but, to be honest, I have been having one of those days today, on a Monday, and I could surely do with a good laugh or two! So here it comes …

And this is where most of you folks out there would relate to it. If you have watched the video already, my story relates to about minute 1:05 of the short video clip… Last week Wednesday, as I was about to make my way to Germany for that business trip I mentioned above, I experienced something, for the first time in three years, that surely brought me some not so good memories. Yes, indeed, for the first time ever, my nearly two year old MacBook Pro (Second one I have had so far, after the first one year experience with an older model …) decided to let me down and go with one of those kernel panic crashes that surely provoked quite a scare on yours truly!

Yes, I found out about 2 hours before leaving for the airport that my MacBook Pro crashed, for whatever the reason (Wish all computers would be a whole lot more helpful at throwing back at your really weird error messages!) forcing me to go through a hard, cold restart fearing for the worst! Unfortunately, it was far too late to fire up Time Machine to save a last backup before leaving. Fortunately, I could restart the Mac and hope for the best. This time around, it seems to have worked. I was on the road for the following few days, and the problem didn’t come back! Phew!

Too close, indeed! To the point where I think I may have nailed it down to what may have appeared to have been the problem (A specific software application I had to uninstall and re-install again). Thus, over the weekend, I decided to take things further and, at least, have a more recent backup through Time Machine, so, if worse comes to worse, I would only lose a couple of days or so or work.

To be honest with you, I am not too worried, since I have now got that safe copy (If you can ever say so!) of the critical data I would want to keep further, since most of the other stuff is already backed up anyway, with all of those other applications in the cloud I keep using on a daily basis. I think the main issues though are the various different things I learned from that overall rather stressful experience, which I think would worry me over time if things continue to behave like that with those kernel panics. Specially, these:

  • No matter how cool and efficient / effective Macs are, they will also fail eventually! In this case, I’m just waiting for mine to die off a slow and painful death after two short years of somewhat intensive work. I bet it will have its time a week after the two year guarantee expires (In a couple of months from now… And, if you don’t believe me, watch this space … I can feel it!)
  • You can never tire of having a more recent backup of your critical data! Indeed, over the course of the weekend, I realised I did my last backup copy over six months ago! So when I booted up my Time Capsule I had over 60GB of data waiting for me to be backed up! So guess what Time Machine did for the last 24 hours … Yes, 24 hours non stop!! (Yes, happy to now have that one safe copy a bit more up to date…)
  • I must move all remaining critical data from my Mac into the cloud! Yes, I know and fully realise that most of my critical data, both work and personal related, are already up in the cloud, but not entirely. So scares like this one would surely help me get moving with a couple of new experiments I have been toying for the last few weeks, but which never found their place. Well, maybe this experience will help me make the jump … (Don’t worry, I will be blogging about them shortly, too!)
  • Need to start relying more and more on the iPad as my backup machine! More than anything else, because, after all, it’s not really a computer and, as such, it may not fail as badly as computers in general do! Who knows! I was on the brink on relying on it entirely altogether and travel light. But, eventually, I didn’t. I guess for my next one I’ll give it a go all the way to see if I can finally say good-bye to rely so much on standard computing power. And perhaps make it all last for a little bit longer! I have already managed to do with my 3G iPhone, so this could well work out! What do you think?
  • And, finally, computers, ALL computers, for that matter, will always suck! Whether it’s a software failure, or a hardware one (where the hard disk fails miserably, or the fans run out, or whatever else!) I have, at long last, realised that all computers will eventually fail to meet your demands and, as a result of that, make you lose critical information along the way. Even Macs! Even though it may have taken me three years to realise such potential failure I’m glad it’s happened when I could still recover, so I can prepare better for the next time, because you never know, right?, whenever you would have to experience another hard, cold restart. MacBook Pros are not invincible, unbreakable or … perfect!

It took me three years to bump into such conclusion, where one acknowledges that Macs are just as erratic and problematic to provide you that unique computing experience as all other computers out there. Yes, it may have taken me three years, but somehow I am sensing that very shortly I’ll be experiencing it again. Hopefully, this time around I will be slightly better prepared … Fingers crossed the damage would be minimal!

Oh, in case you are wondering whether I’m contemplating a potential switch from Mac to Windows or Linux, despite the hiccup(s), the answer would be the same one: once a Mac, always a Mac! There’s no way back! It is just that from now onwards, my everlasting idealistic Mac computing experience would be a bit more down to earth. Where it should have always been, after all … Because, sooner or later, without remedy, it will break. Like it did last week Wednesday… Time to wake up into reality!

 

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