Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Officially Addicted to My iPad

My cell phone only makes phone calls and I rarely even turn it on, so it's only taken a few short months to become totally iPad addicted. The advantages of an iPad over a 'smartphone,' are many for those of us who now require reading glasses. The pinch-zoom feature is worth the price all by itself. It's a bit heavy to carry around everywhere. I'm still never without it even though it sometimes stays in my car if I'm shopping. If the iPhone ever becomes available on Verizon, I would seriously consider it. In my area, non-Verizon phones are out of service in most of the places that top my list of  “places I don’t want to be without a phone.” Although I would probably have to increase the magnification of my reading glasses, I do like the idea of being able to sync all the info on my iPad with a smaller, more portable device. I’ve been consciously trying to lighten my handbag load lately.

Although I've done my share of copywriting over the years, I’m an artist and I never imagined that article writing (for myself and others,) research, website updating and Internet communication would become dominant activities of my day. I now have seven email addresses, dozens of login names, passwords, keys and pin numbers. Keeping track and on top of these things was beginning to make me want to turn everything off and go live in the woods . . . just for a minute or two, I love my toys.

I started out adding apps slowly; Kindle, Netflix, NYTimes, Slate, Dropbox, a few games, more news feeds and some reference apps. Research the reference apps unless they are free; often, it's better to download the actual book to iBooks or Kindle. Many of these apps may be too simplified in their content. The AP Stylebook is one example. If you are constantly on the run, the AP app on your iPhone may come in handy, but for the same price you can subscribe to the internet service directly through AP. If you feel the need to analyze this article to determine whether I’ve actually referred to AP today, I’ll save you the trouble, no. 

As of today, there are 93 apps on my iPad. I will admit that I enjoy some mindless ‘Angry Birds’ launching and some challenging ‘Words with Friends’, so a third of them are games and puzzles. Thanks to the recent system update they are all in folders, which frees up screen space for the apps I use frequently. I have to blame AppAdvice for all the games. It’s a great source for almost-daily lists of ‘apps on sale’ (or free) for a short time. Why doesn’t the App Store have a reduced-price or sale category?

A Bluetooth keyboard was a welcome Christmas gift. I do some writing on my iPad, but I’m an old-school typist; first learned in high school when it was called typing, not keyboarding. You can’t ‘type’ on a virtual keyboard. According to Wikipedia, “Touch typing is typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys.” For those of you who don’t type, (two-thumb texting does not count,) there are two huge advantages: speed, and the ability to just concentrate on what you are saying without the interruption of looking down to find a key. I’m still adjusting to the new keyboard. I have noticed the iPad goes wonky after I turn off the keyboard. The touch-screen does not respond as it should. Restoring it to normal requires entering the settings, turning off Bluetooth, and shutting down the iPad. On restart, the iPad is fine, but these few more steps are inconvenient.

I haven’t discovered any joys of creating art on the iPad. I’m sure there are some to be found, I’m not there yet. I am organized. Well, no, I’m not exactly organized, but all my info is. My emails are all linked together, photos and images I need most often are in Dropbox, passwords and pins are all in one place and easily accessible. The most important and newly added app is ‘Find My iPhone.’ No one plans on losing their iPhone, iPad or all that information; but it is reassuring to know how to instantly wipe the info should the device go AWOL; which is something one cannot do with a wallet or notebook.

The App Store is an affiliate.

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