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

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

Gran Canaria - Playa del Inglés Beach


It’s been nearly 6 years since the last time I have put together an entry over here in this blog, where I was recommending some of my favourite Productivity & Social Apps for iOS, in order to get work done more effectively, that I keep using on a regular basis, even to today. Since I am about to embark on resuming that series of articles, once more, as I mentioned on the recent write-up about my initial user experience with my iPad Pro, I am very aware that some things may have changed so much I doubt those blog posts from back in the day would relate much to this upcoming series. And perhaps that’s good news on its own, we shall see… 

As a starting point, I’m no longer a salaried employee, but a freelancer, which will change perspectives a fair bit in terms of defining both my needs and wants as an independent mobile knowledge (Web) worker. I have also transitioned into becoming a digital nomad versus being attached to a single work location (usually, my home office), as I was till not long ago, and, most importantly, the devices and Apps I use nowadays have upgraded themselves to such level of perfection that my very own user habits are no longer the same. You will see what I mean shortly, but, for now, let me just say I’m really excited to resume the ‘My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week’ series. Are we ready? I surely am. 

But before I get started with this series of blog posts I should also state that I’ll be blogging about my favourite iOS Apps that would be suitable for either my iPhone or my iPad Pro, or both! And, at the same time, I will include a single one liner, or two, as to why I have got them installed in the first place and why I use them on a more or less regular basis, at least, multiple times per week, if not daily. That way you folks may well be able to get a good glimpse of what my daily productivity and social collaboration activities are like. Of course, I will also be looking forward to hearing about your suggestions and recommendations on Apps I should check out in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to take your advice on board, take them for a spin and report back on what my user experience has been. I am certain that’s going to be one of my favourite follow-up activities from this series. So let’s get busy! 

  • IBM Connections: There are a number of different Apps in the realm of Enterprise Social Networking Tools that I use on a more or less frequent basis. Of course, I will be adding them accordingly over the course of time into this series, but, so far, the one that overtakes every single one of them, and, by a long stretch, is the IBM Connections App, as I have mentioned in another blog entry, since it’s the main ESN tool I use with my clients at the moment, both to work together in various different initiatives as well as to provide support as an independent adviser on Social Business and Digital Transformation.

    What I like the most about the App is that, with it, I can get done about 95% of my client work inside the App itself without having to go through a desktop Web browser and in terms of ESN Apps it’s probably as good as it gets. Oh, yes, I am using a whole bunch of them at the moment and time and time again I keep resorting back to my desktop browser, which I guess doesn’t help much if you want to continue using the iOS Apps themselves. So a big plus for this App on its own, as it continues to allow me to work & be mobile, regardless of where I am and, as a mobile knowledge (Web) worker myself, that’s not only a good thing, but an imperative. It does the job beautifully

  • Slack: Over the course of time I will have a proper chance to share some additional insights about how I make use of Slack for my day to day work activities, but for today suffice to say that in terms of using a team collaboration tool for both synchronous / asynchronous messaging and communications where you get the exact same user experience whether you are using the desktop app, or a browser or the iOS App, Slack is as good as it gets. Its user interface is just superb, where you hardly need to have any kind of enablement done before you can make extensive use of it.

    However, my favourite features that I can also experience through the iOS app are both the outstanding searching capability and the different various integrations with other apps and services allowing me not having to go elsewhere to get my work done. It gets done in context, right there, in the conversation(s). You should, definitely, look no further if you would want to enable and facilitate small teams to work together in a very effective manner on a single project where plenty of great fun is an integral part of how people communicate with one another. 

  • Tweetbot v4: Over the course of nearly a decade I have used tons of different Twitter Apps either on the desktop or via mobile devices and ever since I discovered Tweetbot I haven’t walk back to anything else ever since. I’m currently using v4 of Tweetbot both on my MacBook Air, as well as my iPad and iPhone and I would probably be able to state it’s the best Twitter client out there and by a long stretch. Yes, it may sound as if it is a bit too pricey, since it’s not free, but if you are really interested in Twitter and making the most out of it, it’s totally worth the investment.

    What I like the most though? Well, the fact that due to the very own Twitter API restrictions plenty of the new distracting features and capabilities from Twitter are not available, which means that Twitter remains for me a rather powerful social networking tool vs. just another media tool. I suspect the moment Tweetbot gets terminated or is no longer available that would probably be the time where I’d question, really hard, whether I’d want to spend more time in Twitter at all. That’s how much I heart this iOS App. Without it I would have probably walked away from Twitter a long time ago … 

  • Instagram [ iPhone Only ]: One of the many activities I have taken up just recently, as I became a freelancer, and which I’m quite fond of at the moment, is that one of photoblogging, where almost every single day I share a snap shot of something I may have experienced or witnessed, or something that may have piqued my interest whether it’s back at home in Gran Canaria, or while I’m on the road, on a business trip, vacation, etc. etc. And my favourite photoblogging app at the moment is Instagram, although I should probably add that this is due to a very specific capability Instagram has that other apps just don’t have: the filters.

    If it weren’t for the gorgeous filters, I would have probably abandoned the app a long time ago, more than anything else, because it just keeps destroying the overall user experience itself introducing silly algorithms and capabilities that just don’t work, or trying to copycat other social tools just because it thinks it can, instead of focusing on what it does best: photoblogging! My mantra using that app has always been, even to this day, the following one: ‘An experience not captured is an experience not lived!

  • Flickr: And, finally, I had to share across what has been, perhaps, one of the oldest iOS apps I have been using so far. Pretty much like Instagram, I still make use of Flickr on a regular basis as it powers each and everyone of the blog posts I shared over here with the daily picture, but also because when I’m interested in photoblogging a snap shot out there without filters I always resort to Flickr.

    I have now been using this social networking tool for over 11 years and, to date, it’s still one of my favourites, even to search for images I can reuse with CC licenses for some of my presentations, to the point where I can see how my days of Instagram use may be numbered, as it keeps insisting on killing itself by adding some silly capabilities no-one needs, yet, I can see myself making use of Flickr year after year to no end, even if it is just to enjoy and treasure the good old Web 2.0 spirit.

    Oh, and do you know what I love the most about the Flickr app? Well, using it on my iPad Pro, specially, the ‘Explore’ capability. On a 12.9-inch screen with some pretty amazing colours and incredible resolution it’s just like having the real thing: a photograph in your hands, just like in the good old days! Pure delight! Highly recommended, in case you may not have experienced it just yet. 

And that’s it for now! I don’t want to extend myself any more than what I have already to give you a glimpse of some of the reasons as to why I have chosen this initial set of iOS Apps for the series of blog entires on my Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week – Week #N’. Hope you folks may have enjoyed reading through the blog post itself, just as much as I do making extensive use of these iOS apps and, as always, I shall be looking forward to your comments below and further suggestions about other apps you think I should consider that may be worth while using regularly to help improve my over all user experience as a mobile knowledge (Web) worker. So, which app(s) are your favourite ones so far? Oh, and, most importantly, why? 

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2016 – The Year I Went Mobile Only with My iPad Pro

iPad Pro - My new main computing device 😎 #mobilefirst

In a recent blog entry I referenced an article Euan Semple published a few days back under the heading ‘Being at work’, which I can strongly recommend re-reading through it, if you haven’t just yet. There were a number of different themes that caught my attention back then and I thought that, perhaps, for today’s article, I’d focus on one of them I didn’t mention the last time around. This one, to quote: ‘Ten years later, having experienced over that time the joy and increased effectiveness of being a freelancer in charge of my own productivity, […]’, although I would have added as well the following tidbit: ‘and computing environment’. Because that’s what freelancers do, right? Always looking for that final productivity hack within their own computing environment that may well take one’s own effectiveness into the next level. Well, I think I may have found my own: The iPad Pro.

According to coconutBattery, my MacBook Air is 1733 days old, even thought it’s still in perfect working order, except for a couple of keyboard keys I can no longer read, as they are too worn out, and a battery half way through its capacity. It still works. Perfectly. It’s been my old time favourite computing device to get work done, even when I was a salaried employee at IBM. What I love the most about this machine is the fact that despite all of the heavy computing and business traveling I have done with it over the years, it still works flawlessly. And I hope it continues to be like that for many moons to come (knocking on wood, as I write these few words down…). 

However, a few months back I came to terms with the fact I might need to update my own computing environment for when the MacBook Air is no longer there. And, at the time, I had to question whether I was ready to go mobile only or still rely on a laptop. I was really keen on confirming whether 2016 was the year of mobile or whether it was just another frustrating experience like the one I blogged about nearly 5 years ago. Mind you, for the kind of work I do, you can imagine I don’t require a very powerful machine. So perhaps I was ready to make the jump into #mobilefirst.

Indeed, I was and still am! Back in February this year I decided to jump the shark and purchased an iPad Pro, the 12.9-inch one, with the whole intention of making it my main computing environment for my daily work and take it for a spin to see how things would work out eventually. I could always back out of it and carry on with my MacBook Air till it would break apart and get another laptop, but so far, I can tell you all I am loving it! Next to my iPhone 6S Plus, it’s perhaps the best purchase I have ever done. 

I just didn’t buy the iPad Pro alone, by the way. From my user experience with other iPad models in the recent past, I knew I’d need to buy the Smart Keyboard, so I did purchase one. And I also quite fancied getting my hands on the Apple Pencil to see how much creative I could get writing again on a screen. So I got one, too! And, eventually, my new computing environment, that you can see on the above snap shot, was born.

Back in 2011 I put together a blog post under the title ‘My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad 2’ and, while re-reading through it, I found it rather amazing to see how little my own needs and wants for a computing device have changed over the course of the years. Yes, iPads have gotten incredibly better in terms of specs and what not, but, if you look into those reasons I shared back then, they were down more to my own behaviours, habits and work practices than anything else. And in 5 years, very few different things have changed, apparently, even though I have moved from being a salaried employee at a large IT corporation like IBM to becoming my own CIO looking after my own productivity and computing environments. 

Now, I am not going to go through all of the various different reasons again explaining how the iPad Pro fairs in comparison with the iPad 2, more than anything else, because, like I said, those very same reasons would still stand, and very accurately, for the iPad Pro itself as well. Instead, I will just list them all over here and go ahead and add another 5 more reasons as to why I truly heart such brilliant mobile computing device. So, the initial round of reasons were as follows: Speed, Quality, Design, Cameras, Games, Friends, Price, Early Adopter, The Apps, Mobility. Go ahead and read through the blog post itself from back then for a short explanation for each reason, if you’d want to read some more about them. For now, let’s go and dive into the 5 new reasons…

  • The Speakers: The audio on the iPad Pro is just simply stunning! I spend a good chunk of the day watching or listening to rich media, whether it’s podcasts, vodcasts, presentations, speeches, talks, interviews, news items, TV & films, etc. etc. you name it, and the quality of the sound coming out from my iPad Pro is like no other! Even my good old MacBook Air can’t even come close to such level of quality when I am doing, for instance, video / audio conferencing with tools like Skype. And if you are into listening to music, while you work, because, you know, amongst several other things, it helps you concentrate better and work more effectively, using Spotify on the iPad Pro is just a treat to the ears! 
  • The Screen: I never thought I would be saying, or writing, this, but size does matter and in a computing device, no matter what they tell you, the bigger, the better. I realised about that when I went from the iPhone 5S into the iPhone 6S Plus and have never walked back ever since. The rest are just toys! That’s why I went for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch versus the 9.7-inch. It just makes you feel like you are working with a laptop (if you have a keyboard with it, of course), which means it’s a whole lot easier adjusting your own computing habits to the iPad even when you know it’s not a laptop anymore. It would not be the first time, nor the second, or even the third time that when I am, occasionally, still using the MacBook Air, without realising, at a certain given point in time, I start touching the screen and go silly when I realised it doesn’t do anything. Of course, it doesn’t, it’s a laptop! Grrr See? That’s how bad the iPad Pro has already shifted my own habits using computers. Still, having such a large screen makes me feel I’m cheating a little bit thinking I’m not using a tablet, but my own laptop, after all heh
  • The Apps: Oh, yes, it’s always been about the Apps. And now that I have got a bigger screen, the apps are all that matters. With the recently introduced multitasking capabilities, ‘Split View’ is a must-have. It makes all the difference in terms of how you interact and get the most out of your iPad Pro. It’s by far, one of my all time favourite capabilities from iOS. And if you have used it yourself, you will know, exactly, what I mean. Either way, it’s all about the Apps. It’s the main reason why I keep using iOS over the last few years and why I haven’t moved elsewhere. Remember when I used to write ‘Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #N’? Well, I am hoping to bring that back, sharing with everyone what are some of my preferred and favourite iOS Apps I use on a regular basis on my iPad, specially, nowadays with the emphasis of being a freelancer and having defined already, pretty much, my own computing environment with them all in a single page or two. So, stay tuned for more blog posts to come along where I’ll write down short reviews of those Apps and why I use them on both my iPad Pro and my iPhone. 
  • The Smart Keyboard: Yes, it’s a keyboard. Actually, to be more accurate, it’s a keyboard for the iPad Pro, but, boy, do I enjoy writing along with that keyboard?!?! I love the touch and feel, I love the speed my fingers pick up as I type along coming pretty close to what I can do on my MacBook Air. I love how I can dispose of the keyboard as I may see fit and get another one. That’s just portability taken to the extreme and I quite like it! It’s as flexible as it can get! Oh, and it’s seamless. Hit a keystroke and off you go! Ideal for when you are on the road, traveling, and need to jot down something quick while your phone just run out of battery. But, again, what I enjoy the most about it is the touch and feel of the keys making it sound much more natural, less mechanical, or metallic, than the typical laptop keyboard. It’s as if you are typing on the skin! Unreal!
  • The Apple Pencil: Finally, there is the Apple Pencil. Now, I was very skeptical about this gadget initially, because I wasn’t totally convinced it was something I’d make extensive use of. After all, I’m not a designer, I can’t draw, nor paint, properly, and all along I much prefer to do my note taking through Apps rather than writing. It’s how they stuck in my memory. But, at one point, I thought, why not? Buy it and take it for a spin and see how it would work, if at all. Well, so far, I’m enjoying it! Perhaps not for the main use cases most people are thinking about (drawing, sketching, designing, etc.), but so far it’s become an extended part of my hand, just like a regular pencil, or pen, for when I am browsing Web sites, checking different media tools (for text, photos, audio, video, etc), typing along, etc. etc. It just feels almost natural. One of my favourite use cases for it at the moment, for instance, is for mindmapping. And another one for sketching, doodling and learning how to draw, specially, after watching this stunning video clip on the topic (It claims everyone, yes, everyone, including you!, can draw no matter what). The end result is that I never thought I’d be making use of the Apple Pencil and now I just can’t go anywhere without it and my iPad Pro. 

Now, I realise this may well be a too simplistic blog post on its own to confirm whether you may be enticed to purchase an iPad Pro yourself, or not, but I am seeing this article as an opportunity to put together a series of entries around how I make the most out of my own computing environment, as a freelancer and digital nomad, to perhaps suggest and share further along with you all how it works for me and to demonstrate whether going mobile only with both my iPad Pro and iPhone does eventually make me more effective in the work I do than when I was using a computer / a laptop. So if you’d have any burning questions out there that you would want me to answer sooner rather than later, or share my feedback on, drop me a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I possibly can, while I get to work on the different blog posts from this series as time goes by.

Finally, one question to open up the floor, if you wouldn’t have to do tons of heavy computing tasks for your day to day job, that would require you to use a powerful desktop or laptop, would you move into mobile only and rely on an iPad Pro? If so, if you have already done it, what’s been your user experience so far? Is 2016, at long last, the year of mobile computing

Something, 12.9-inch large, tells me it may well be … What do you think?

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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! 🙂

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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #8

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the WeekOn my welcome back post from a few days ago, after a long hiatus of not having blogged much over here in this blog in the last few weeks, I mentioned how I was still planning on keeping things going with that series of blog posts I started a while ago on My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, and which I have picked up as well back again on Twitter under the Daily #iPad App recommendations for #elsuapps. Well, I am happy to announce that series of entries is back and here we go with the edition for week #8! Read on… !

Now, there are a couple of new things I have thought about after all of that time not blogging away on this topic; the first one is another blog post (My good friend, and fellow IBM colleague, Bill Chamberlin keeps asking me about it … hehe) where I plan to detail what having, and making extensive use of, an iPad has meant for me in the last few months, to the point, where it’s replaced, altogether!, my regular mobile computing habits with my MacBook Pro and nowadays I just travel with my iPad! The recent iOS upgrade to 4.2 has meant, for me, a whole new bunch of enhanced productivity gains that TCGeeks describes thoroughly quite nicely and in that upcoming entry I am hoping to reflect why I heart my iPad more than any other mobile device I may have ever owned. Stay tuned … will be coming up shortly!

As usual, and as part of this blog series of posts, I keep sharing a bunch of articles that keep demonstrating how the business keeps showing a growing interest for the iPad within the Enterprise, not just from the perspective of every CIO and top level executive to own their have their own iPads, but also from the perspective where even analysts are starting to place their bets on how the iPad will transform the way we do business as well. Perhaps one of the most interesting articles that I have read on this very same topic as of late is that one from David Carr, over at InformationWeek, under the title “iPads Hit The Enterprise“.

In that rather interesting article, you would be able to read about how plenty of business are already making use of iPads for their day to day tasks and activities and getting plenty of good results; never mind the user acceptance and wider adoption by the knowledge workers themselves; I mean, who wouldn’t want to have an iPad as your main tool at work, instead of that relatively old, clunky, frustrating desktop PC you’ve been using for years and years, right? Like I said, a rather good and insightful read for those folks who may still be wondering whether the iPad has got a space within the corporate world or not. My short, sweet and straightforward answer to that question: yes, it does! And big time!!

Ok, after having shared all of those rather interesting and insightful links, let’s move on with the list of recommended iPad Apps for week #8; as usual, it’s a list of 5 iPad apps that I keep using myself on a regular basis, and out of the 5 of them one is the iPad Game of the Week, just for those spare moments where one could use a bit of fun and entertainment, while other things are happening in between, like waiting in queues, or while travelling, etc. etc. Like with all of the various different blog posts I have put together on this series, I keep aiming at keeping the description of the Apps rather short and focused, hoping to spark an idea or two as to why I use those as opposed to others. Thus, without much further ado, here is the list for this time around… Hope folks would enjoy them, just as much as I do, and, remember, if you would want to share your favourite picks, go ahead and add them in the comments section and I would be more than happy to share them across in upcoming articles with due credit. So, let’s go!

  • Flipboard: If you are a news junky, or if you would want to consume both news items as well as information resources shared through some of the major social networking sites (Like Facebook, Twitter and top blogs from multiple areas) in a rather new, innovative and rather creative way, Flipboard is probably as good as it gets. Even better when it’s considered by most folks one of the best RSS and Syndication technologies for 2010 or when you bump into a superb blog post that details how you can consume your Google Reader feeds directly from Flipboard itself. Absolutely fantastic and the latest version they have released is a *huge* improvement from previous versions as well… A must have! 
  • AppShopper: This is, perhaps, one of my all time favourite iPad apps (Works pretty nicely as well on the iPhone!!) from all along! It is one of those rather nifty and powerful iPad / iPhone apps that would allow you to find, AND strike, the best deals of some of the most popular Apps or those that have got, for a limited amount of time, juicy sales discounts with rather high %s. They say that buying Apps can become very expensive; well, with AppShopper, that’s no longer the case! Most of the recommendations I keep making over here of paid Apps I got them through real bargains in AppShopper. It’s an essential, must-have app for everyone! Believe me, once you get this app, your wallet will be grateful. At least, mine is 🙂
  • Wi-Fi Finder: This is one of those iPad apps that becomes incredibly helpful and rather powerful for those road warriors out there, constantly in the move with business / casual travelling, where they are always on the lookout for free wi-fi hot stops they could hook up their devices and get connected back again. Well, Wi-Fi Finder makes that job a whole lot easier by looking for you for those Wi-Fi spots and share them across with you. It even has got an offline capability where it downloads a database to your iPad and it searches for them even when you are disconnected. Like I said, ideal for those folks travelling out there!
  • Emerald Observatory for iPad: As much as I love this particular iPad App, I must confess that I didn’t make regular use of it till the recent upgrade to iOS 4.2 introduced the wonderful concept of multitasking … on the iPad! Yay! From there onwards it’s one of the applications that I have got running in the background constantly to give me a glimpse of all of those bits and pieces of information that one wants to keep handy, but can never find the application that does it nicely. Well, Observatory does it and beautifully! 

  • 7 Wonders HD: And, finally, like I have mentioned above, the iPad Game of the Week; I have got a few of them, but since I am planning on sharing just one per blog post, I will continue to do so with this one as well; so for week #8 the game of the week would be 7 Wonders HD; one of those games whose storyline may sound a bit simplistic, but that, as you get immersed in it, you just cannot escape its addiction till you are done with it; it will keep you going for hours and hours without end trying to reach for that final stage where complexity takes a new meaning… And when you get there, you will see what I mean … hehe

And that’s it, folks, for today! The series of blog posts on “My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week” is back with this 8th edition and I am hoping you would enjoy it, just as much as I did putting it together! Oh, oh, and before I forget, there are some more good news coming up to the this blog as well, when very soon I will open up another series of blog entries, pretty much along the same lines as this one, but instead of iPad Apps, I will be talking, and sharing my favourite picks!, about iPhone Apps, now that I have finally re-acquainted myself with some of the wonderful apps I keep using on my iPhone 4, which brings me back into having a rather decent smartphone. So stay tuned for those coming up as well shortly!

… If you can’t wait, you can already have a glimpse of some of them at the usual place: #elsuapps in Twitter. Lots of good fun coming up!


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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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