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

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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #7

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #7Earlier on today, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate on an IBM internal webcast, and face to face event (For those folks who could make it over live in the US), around the topic of Apple and how its various products (Macbook and MacBook Pro, iPhone & iPad) are continuing to penetrate the enterprise world, specially, IBM’s, as more and more of my fellow colleagues begin to experiment and play around with these devices to see whether they could be up to the job in helping them be as productive, if not more!, as with other gadgets they may have been using in the past, over the course of the years. The event was several hours long and rather interesting as well as enlightening. It gave us all an opportunity to see how these Apple products could certainly help knowledge workers become more efficient, and although I can’t share any of the materials shown during the event externally, I can certainly tell you that they all corroborated something I have known myself for the last 3 years already… and counting … Apple products *are*, eventually, more than ready for the enterprise! Even, the iPad!

Yes, that’s right, we talked about MacBooks and MacBook Pros, about the iPhone and its various perks, specially for the mobile workforce, and, of course, about the iPad and how the latter is also helping shape the way we compute through a new mobile experience. So I thought it would be a good opportunity, once again, to drop by over here and continue further with that series of blog posts on My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week that I have been collecting through Twitter initially as #elsuapps and share a couple of other interesting links that I have bumped into, since the last blog post, which seem to claim, rather strongly, how the iPad itself is here to stay not only as a superb consumer driven product, but also as a business one.

If not, check out the really insightful blog post put together by Krishnan Subramanian over at CloudAve under the title “iPad in Enterprise: IT Folks Can Have One Too” where Krishnan references further a good number of additional links that state not only how business people, but also IT related folks, are turning towards the iPad and liking what they are seeing. So if you can combine both workforces to talk the same language (i.e. “I want an iPad!”) there is  great chance that exposure and willingness to have would be rather phenomenal and probably unstoppable. His article surely is a worth while read to figure out what other businesses out there are doing in this space.

Then, head over to this other article by Dan Frommer at Business Insider or this other one from Gary Goldman where you will be able to read further on plenty more insights on how the iPad is taking by storm other kinds of business. Yes, indeed, it looks like it is unstoppable! But it gets better! If the corporate world is looking out there very closely how such device is having such a huge impact for the mobile workforce (For the most part), it looks like Education is following up quite nicely…

Check out this wonderful and very enlightening blog post put together by my good friend Victor Ruiz, under the title “El iPad y la educación” (Article in Spanish, by the way), where he comes to share some really good tips on how the iPad can influence education overall, as well as a good number of worth while reading references on how different institutions and organisations are starting to pay attention to this rather innovative way / method of delivering education and training. It surely is another worth while read, and I am certain I would have an opportunity to bring forward a good number of other relevant links related to how the iPad itself will be coming along to a school system near you any time soon! Perhaps at a later time as well, I will take the opportunity of how I feel myself about such device disrupting the way we not only learn about new things, but we actively interact with them all! Stay tuned!

For now though, it’s that part of the blog entry where I will be spending a few minutes covering My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week and this time around for Week #7. We have gone a long way already, but the mechanics of how this section works has remained pretty much the same. Untouched. You know, I will be listing 4 different iPad apps of the week that I continue to make regular use of, and a 5th one, which is usually the iPad Game of the Week. Short descriptions, rather to the point, with their corresponding URL links, and where I just share the one or two key features I like the most, or the one or two reasons that keep dragging me back and forth into each and everyone of those applications. Hopefully, you will find them helpful as well as time goes by. Thus without much further ado, here we go with this week’s picks:

  • FlickStackr: I have been playing with a good number of Flickr related iPad apps and so far I have found two of them that I really enjoy quite a bit. The first one is FlickStackr. And the reason why I like it the most, so far, is because it allows me to not only view Flickr pictures in a wide variety of options, but it also allows me to upload pictures I have stored in the iPad in a breeze and through quite an amazing user experience with every single level of detail considered! Yes, if you are using Flickr, a must-have!
  • BlogShelf: In the past, I have mentioned a couple of iPad apps related to RSS feed reading from Web sites and blogs, with perhaps Reeder, Newsrack and River of News as my favourite ones so far. Yet, I have got a special place for a good number of blogs that I consider special, because I keep coming back to them on a rather regular basis; they are my daily reads, the ones where I take a bit of extra time to digest their content, because over the course of the years I have grown to trust the people behind them as well as meet most of them in real life and somehow having a special place like BlogShelf helps me keep treasuring such a treat when reading their blogs. It’s just like having your own library of essential reading through blogs. I tell you, quit an experience, if you are looking for that unique space that those essential reads of yours would deserve.
  • BeejiveIM with Push: I have been testing as well a good number of different Instant Messaging clients for the iPad and to be honest with you, if I would have to single out only one of them that you would need to look into it, that would be BeejiveIM. It’s a superb iPad app that not only does the job right, i.e. allowing you to keep up with the multiple IM protocols available out there, but also doing a beautiful job at it. It’s almost like you don’t feel you are using IM after all. And for someone who relies so much on it IM to get your job done throughout the day, this is certainly one of those essential must-have iPad apps that you won’t be able to skip for much longer. Go and grab it today!
  • VLC Media Player: What can I say about VLC that folks out there may not know already, regardless of the operating system they may use. VLC is my favourite media player on the Mac, and on Windows, and now on the iPad, too! It’s a wonderful experience to be able to have an application that will allow you to play any kind of media file without a single glitch and providing a very similar experience than what you would get on a Mac, for instance. But better. This time around on the iPad. Now, there are plenty of things I could say about this app, but I am actually going to point you folks to a recent blog post by Victor Ruiz, once again, who wrote a rather interesting overview of how it actually works and how you can set it up. Article is in Spanish, but you would be able to see how straight forward it is and how well it actually works. Another must-have app, for certain!

  • Trism: And, finally, the iPad Game of the Week. Actually, this is a special one to me, more than anything else because it is not really just for iPads, but also for the iPhone; in fact, it was one of the very very first games I got for my iPhone and I cannot tell the amount of hours I have spent playing some wonderful games in there getting the most out of some of the native concepts behind such devices. If you loved it on the iPhone, there is a great chance that you will like it as well on the iPad. The experience is just as engaging and the challenge, just as tough! Which is ideal, because it is one of the games I play the most when I am off to a long business trip! Endless hours of good fun! No doubt!

Ok, folks, that was it for this week! Another round of My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week for you to have a look and perhaps give it a try to one or two of them. I am hoping you will find them just as useful as I do myself. The truth is that I am finding this series of blog posts rather interesting, because one revealing thought from this series is the fact that I am starting to sort my iPad apps per week on my iPad and somehow that’s given me an opportunity to manage better how I get to find them time and time again, without having to resort to the super nifty search option. It also kind of reminds me of the good number of apps I still have got to share with you all, but that would be the subject for another blog post in its due time … Enjoy them!


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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #6

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #6As I continue further on with this series of blog posts on the My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, which is based on my Daily #iPad App series under Twitter’s #elsuapps, I cannot help but keep thinking about the interesting posts I keep bumping into that surely reflect some more on how the iPad itself is helping shape and change drastically the computing landscape for good for us all. Specially, our new mobile computing capabilities. Earlier on this week I bumped into a couple of those articles that I thought I would share over here, as an additional and rather relevant reading for my Top 5 Picks of Week #6, which is where we are at the moment. Could you eventually go on a working vacation just with your iPad? … Apparently yes!

That’s what Walt Mossberg writes on a rather interesting and delightful read under the heading “An American in Paris Says Au Revoir to His Laptop” where he tells beautifully the story of a recent trip he did to Paris where he relied entirely on his iPad (And a couple of other mobile devices), with no computer, with the end result that he actually managed to get by throughout it with some really good results. Worth while a ready, for sure! Even more so, if you would be interested in some of the recommendations he makes on iPad Apps he used during the trip.

Another interesting read is that one posted by Shane Richmond under the thought provoking title “Apple’s iPad is the future of computing“, which puts together a rather balanced overview of the pros and cons of using an iPad as your preferred mobile computing device and which comes to a rather accurate conclusion that matches what my experience has been like, ever since I bought one a couple of months back:

“[…] The iPad means you no longer need a computer in your living room or in your bag when you go out for the day. Put the desktop in the spare room. Leave the laptop at the office. The iPad belongs on the sofa with you.

Another good read, indeed! But now that we are done with sharing across those rather helpful articles, I guess it’s that time again where I will spend a few minutes sharing with you folks what my Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week for week #6 would be, so you would have a chance to play with a number of them and perhaps make use of them extensively like I am at the moment. As usual, the general rule is that I will share the name of the app, the link to it in iTunes, and a one liner, or two, description of why I am liking that application and why I got it installed in the first place. Thus without much further ado, here we go:

  • iAnnotate PDF: Without any doubt, this is the one single iPad App that handles all of those .PDF files I bump into (Whitepapers, eBooks, Proposals, Articles and whatever other kinds of publications) and which I would want to take notes of, highlight paragraphs, etc. etc. as I go along to reference them back and forth for future blog posts or cross-references. If you are into .PDF reading, this is an essential must-have application!
  • Atomic Web Browser: If you are not into browsing the Web with the native Safari browser, Atomic Web Browser is probably one of the best alternatives available out there! I do *heart* the tab browsing capabilities and how extensive it is in general, although perhaps a tad slower than the Safari browser itself, but if you don’t really case about losing an extra second here and there, and would want to try a new surfing experience, this is the iPad app you may eventually need to try out. I think you would like it.
  • 1Password for iPad: This is one of those applications that I love quite a bit, since I am using it on my own Mac, my iPhone and my iPad. It helps me keep my sanity with regards to the several dozens of passwords I need to manage every single day! If you have to go through that same situation 1Password is probably all you would ever need. At least, it is for me.
  • NASA App: As usual, and every so often, I enjoy sharing over here recommendations to iPad apps that may fall a little bit outside of the working environment we are used to and enter perhaps more the fun and educational aspects of helping us learn something new. Well, in this case, for this week, that privilege is reserved to NASA’s own iPad app, which, if you are interested in the outer space and what’s happening around their various projects, it would be another one you would need to go for. The overall user experience is rather amazing and incredibly immersive! I usually “get lost” while trying to navigate and marvel myself about everything that gets shared across. So be prepared to be WOWed!

  • Azkend HD: And, finally, like every week as well, the iPad Game of the Week.This time around coming to you from the same makers of Sparkle HD; just as good! If you are into some amazing graphics, lovely oriental music, and a long journey with quite an adventure ahead of you, Azkend HD is the game for you… For sure!

And that’s it, folks, for this time around. Hope you will enjoy any of these iPad apps and don’t forget there will be more blog posts coming along for this series, since I keep bumping into some really interesting, innovative and creative iPad apps that one cannot resist but get one’s hands with each and everyone of them! Stay tuned … and till next time!

(Oh, and don’t forget to share your favourites, in the comments, that you would want to recommend to us, so that we can have a look and share them across in upcoming blog posts! That would be very much appreciated!)

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

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #5 For a good number of months, there have been plenty of really good blog posts shared out there with lots of really helpful insights and entertaining reviews of what the iPad has got to offer, not only from a pro-sumer perspective, but also from a professional one, as a powerful knowledge (Web) worker productivity tool. One of my favourite reviews was that one shared, just recently, by Jason Hiner (TechRepublic Editor in Chief) over at ZDNet under the title “The truth about iPad: It’s only good for two things“. If you haven’t read it just yet, and you are thinking about purchasing an iPad any time soon, I would encourage you all to have a look and read through it. It would be worth while your time AND the investment!

I will tell you though that the title of the blog post may well be a little bit misleading and perhaps half way through a tongue-in-cheek one as well, because, instead of developing further his thoughts on what Jason doesn’t like about the iPad itself, it turns out to be quite the opposite! Quite a nice review of what are the main key strong points of using one extensively. He comes up to conclude that the iPad is only good for two things: #1. Reading & Viewing and #2. Multi-touch Interaction.

Now, I am not going to say much more about it, other than to suggest you head over there and read through it, because his overall experience comes very close to the one I have been experiencing myself with my own iPad from day one and, like him, I doubt I would be giving up on it any time soon! Quite the contrary. Like him, it is slowly, but steadily shifting and changing, dramatically, the way I compute, not only at work (Specially, when I am travelling… No more backaches!!), but also around my own personal life. Go and read it through and you will see what I mean…

Oh, by the way, check out the couple of links he shares as well on his blog post as they are rather insightful and would provide you with plenty more background. But, specially, check out the blog post he put together on the Top 20 iPad Apps that would surely help you improve that overall user experience with some really good suggestions. I am currently going through some of his Top Picks… Once again, I tell you, it will be worth it, if you would want to find over there plenty more golden nuggets to check out and investigate further.

So, after pointing folks to those articles put together by Jason, you may be wondering what I am missing the most out of the iPad’s current user experience at the moment, right? Well, something that, apparently, is coming up pretty soon and which I know is keeping a bunch of us drooling all over the place: multitasking, as announced and mentioned all over the place, coming on the iOS 4.2 upgrade, as Engadget blogged about already not long ago, and which is already in a stable beta, although I decided not to get my hands on it and wait for the GA release. Just a few more weeks, it seems …

Why am I so keen about the multitasking capabilities coming along to the iPad? Well, as most of you folks out there know already, I am not too crazy about multitasking myself in the first place, but I can see how this device could make use of such capabilities to enhance our very own productivity and make us a bit more efficient as we keep interacting with a couple of iPad apps at the same time, so I’m looking forward to see how that would work out eventually. Engadget’s article contains a link to a short video clip you can have a look into to find out why most of us are starting to be even more excited…

And with that excitement, I am now moving along to share with you folks My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week for Week #5, which, I am sure, is what you have been waiting for since you have started reading this blog post, right? 😀 Not to worry, here we go! Again the same guidelines as before: 4 of my favourite iPad apps and a 5th one, which is the iPad game of the week. Very short descriptions about each and everyone of them with their corresponding links, so you can have a look into each and everyone of them right away, and a single one liner, or two, describing why I think each of those apps is worth it. Thus without much further ado, here we go:

  • Simplenote: While I do realise that this iPad app may sound a bit too simplistic it’s actually a rather nice one. A basic, simple interface to a notepad like kind of functionality where you aren’t going to be interrupted by fancy graphics, or complex menu bars, or far too many menu options. Just start a new note and start typing away! Perfect for taking a few notes on the fly! Woohoo! No fuss, no hassle, just touch once and start typing! I have found out though that, perhaps, the best experience for this application comes up if you have got the iPad Keyboard Dock and type through that interface itself. Just the same speeds as from your computer, but using the iPad carrying it out wherever you may be going… Priceless! (Yes, it is free, too!)
  • Corkulous: This is one of those really curious and amazingly crafted iPad apps that would basically take you back to your school days with those cork-like bulletin boards we have all gotten so used to where we can put together our sticky notes, pins, etc. etc. Rather inspiring to see how you can get your work and to-dos organised in a very user friendly way: one we have gotten to know for decades!

  • Wikihood Plus for iPad: This is one of those really nice and nifty iPad apps that would be ideal for those road warriors out there whenever they go and visit a new city, or one where they have been already a few times, but who would want to find out plenty more about the places where they are travelling to, what they can do, what kind of interesting sightings they may well have to check out, and whatever other different tips you can think of while you are on the road. Believe me, if you travel a lot, this is one of those essential apps to have. For sure!

  • Fotopedia Heritage: One of the main reasons why I do really like the iPad, from day 1 when I bought it a couple of months ago, was because of its huge potential for helping improve, rather tremendously, already existing and new educational and learning experiences. Fotopedia Heritage is one of them. If you are into photography, as well as this planet Earth we all live in, this is one of those apps you just can’t miss! Hours and hours of really good entertainment are awaiting you. You would get to appreciate the large iPad screen share once you start playing around more with this app. No doubt!

  • Scrabble for iPad: And, finally, the game of the week; one of my all time favourites; one of the first games I played (The good old Scrabble board game, I mean), when I was a youngster after having decided already that one day I would want to become an English teacher. Better practicing ground that what Scrabble can offer you couldn’t find it anywhere else probably. So when I first saw it coming to the iPad I just couldn’t help but going for it! And loving it ever since! Not only because it allows me to keep busy learning new English words day in day out, but also because it is helping me get some “additional” training to polish and improve my skills in order to try to beat all of those good folks who went ahead and decided to play a game or two with yours truly using Words with Friends, one of my all time favourite games as well, as I have mentioned on a previous blog entry! Not such a bad strategy after all, eh? hehe

Well, and that was it for me for this time around, folks! Hope you have enjoyed the various links shared throughout this blog post, as well as those Top 5 Picks on iPad apps I’m totally digging out at the moment. There will be plenty more to come, but that would be the subject for another upcoming article or the next one from this series … Remember, if you would want to get the Daily #iPad App you would just need to syndicate the following Twitter feed: #elsuapps, which is the one I’m currently using. If not, stay tuned for more to come over here!

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