Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Judy, Dave, Tony and I are soon to be attending the ASCILITE2010 conference in Sydney and we are submitting the following Poster which outlines our research to date with the iPads.  We’ll be displaying it on Day 2 of the conference and you can check out the proceedings version here.

Click on the image below to see a larger version of the actual poster.

Fingers crossed! 🙂

 

I’ve been using the ipad for several months now and find it a great asset as a work tool.  I work as a graphic designer for Curtin University.  The most impressive aspects of the iPad is it’s portability, size, light weight and quick start up. It’s great to be able to take the ipad to meetings, show clients visuals of their requested work, gain instant feed back and discuss relating to the job at hand. I’m able to take a screen snap (screen capture) of the visual, place it in my ‘photos’, click and show, or email the visual to myself – open it up in email then show the client. The iPad is small enough to carry anywhere with ease yet large enough to use comfortably from a visual perspective.

A great feature of the iPad is the screen snap, just hold down the ‘HOME’ button and click the ‘OFF-ON’ button, the screen will turn white for a second so you’ll know the snap has been taken, it will then be stored in your ‘PHOTOS’ for instant access. This is fantastic for info you want to keep a visual  reference of whatever you are viewing on screen, especially for the graphic designer.

I can check work emails outside of work hours if needed or if working from home, use the Web for information or finding images for graphic work. The interface is clean and fresh, with large cute icons. It doesn’t take long to get use to the touch, tap, pinch and wipe controls even if you’re use to using a mouse or WACOM pen. I love the way you’re able to rotate the orientation of the screen, there are no controls allocated to this capability the orientation flips as you tilt or rotate the device giving you maximum screen access. The interface is high res even when zooming in on the screen; they look fantastic.

You’re able to choose your own background image just to add that personal touch to your iPad, when you get tired of looking at your last holiday snap just click and choose a new one.  My kids tend to go into my iPad when I’m not around and surprise me with some new Simpsons character or that holiday snap that you really should have deleted.

For those of you that can’t get through the day without a calender, the iPad presents you with easy day, week or month view. The keyboard is great to use, if you don’t have a problem with typing you’ll find it a breeze, even you two finger typers.

I find the charge life on the iPad quite high, about 1 to 2 days depending on use. Recharging can be done from a USB port on a mac. Sleep mode is great for saving the battery life and quicker than ‘turn-on/turn-off’ with each use.

The lack of folders make it difficult to organise apps in regard to house keeping, however this will all change in November as folders will be a new feature.

The more you use the iPad the more you’ll find!

For more hint, tips and trick on the iPad, you may want to check out these links:

http://gizmodo.com/5508399/10-essential-ipad-tips–tricks

http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/apple/75-really-useful-ipad-tips-and-tricks-688556

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/14529/the-complete-list-of-ipad-tips-tricks-and-tutorials/

Documents to Go

Posted: August 5, 2010 by cunninghamg in Productivity
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Standard Edition $AUD 12.99 Word, Excel viewing only
Premium Edition $AUD 17.99, email attachment stripping, cloud synchronization, PPT support

standard logo[Click here to download from iTunes] 11 Mb

premium logo[Click here to download from iTunes] 11 Mb

General comments and thoughts

One of the essential tools of any application repertoire on the iPad must be the core productivity apps found on any computer. It is amazing the Office suite, comprising Word ,Excel, Powerpoint has been replicated with a high degree of functionality.

It can be argued that the iPad is not the best environment to be comfortably productive in, however Docs to go goes a long way to bring the most crucial elements of word processing, presentation and spreadsheets. In addition to providing compatibility with common Office file formats, Docs to Go enables viewing of PDFs, SVGs, Gifs and many more. Viewing and basic editing are its main purpose.

I have to say that any application that runs on both the iPad and the iPhone is well worth a look and is likely to be great value for money. Documents to Go competes very well in this space with comparable productivity apps in the same category especially because a single purchase will port to both iPad and iPhone. In addition, the synchronisation options with cloud applications such as Google Docs, MobileMe and Dropbox are a definite plus for any student.

PDF Viewing

PDF document (Click to Enlarge)

Viewing an Excel document

Excel document (Click to Enlarge)

Uses in Higher Education

Documents to Go is ideal for any faculty member or student that has the need to be productive whilst un-chaining themselves from an office or being bound to campus computer labs. I would find that this application’s viewing capability alone will allow any person to go a long way achieving a paperless university experience either in lectures or tutorials or going to grinding faculty meetings! However, the lack of full application functionality does not lend itself to scribing one’s doctoral thesis on.

Overall ? – meets my needs for on the go viewing, editing and document tinkering.

I would certainly go for the Premium edition

Pros

  • Functions on iPad,iPhone,iPod Touch
  • Many basic functions of native applications are available, formatting etc.
  • A complete suite of productivity applications for any student or faculty member
  • Supports a comprehensive list of file types including .docx,.ppt, HTML etc
  • Supports local, desktop and cloud based storage options
  • Email support

Cons

  • Does not completely substitute for the real functionality of native applications
  • Basic edition implies that Powerpoint editing is possible (Icon gives you this impression)
  • Synchronization between iPad and iPhone is not possible
  • Pasting of images into documents not currently supported

Atomic Web

Price: FREE  (lite version) or $1.19 (Full screen browser w/desktop tabs & Ad block)

App size = 1.2 MB

[Click here to download LITE version from iTunes]
[Click here to download FULL version from iTunes]

Official App Description/Marketing spiel:

Atomic Web Browser is the most advanced and customizable full screen web browser to date. Experience desktop features including Adblock, Tabs, MultiTouch Gestures, user Agent Switcher, Passcode Lock, Facebook/Twitter integration, Save Page, and much more.

General comments and thoughts:

I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t do without tabbed browsing in a web browser.  I use tabs all the time and although the iPad’s inbuilt browser, Safari, is fast and easy to use… I’m not a huge fan of having to go back to a page of thumbnails where you have to select the page from a list. I miss being able to load up multiple tabs within the same web page.

This is the main reason why I splashed out (not that I’d really call $1.19 a huge expense!:)) and bought the full version of Atomic Web – the promise of tabbed browsing. And what a relief it is too. Using this browser to navigate web sites just seems FASTER in general, with the ability to load up tabs and switch between tabs being extremely quick (once your page has loaded).

When you are presented with a link on a page, you can click and hold and a contextual menu will appear where you can choose to open the link, open the link in a new tab or in a background tab.

Ease of Use:

First impressions of Atomic Web are great – the interface is clear and simple to use and you have the ability to view web pages in Full Screen mode. This essentially just gets rid of your tabs and your search and location bar, but it does give you an extra 5 cm’s of space on screen. Similar to viewing web pages using Safari, if you rotate the iPad, the interface will rotate, and you can double tap on an image of a column of text to zoom into it.

There is of course the usual bookmarking facilities, plus an inbuilt search bar which you can customise with your favourite search engines under Settings.

When viewing pages, you also have the ability to save web pages or share the URLs via Facebook or Twitter.

Atomic Web has also incorporated multi touch gesture support into the browser which is a useful feature (once you remember what each gesture does). The default settings are below however you can modify these to suit yourself.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Tabbed browsing (obviously). Plus if you open up multiple tabs at once, they load in the background.
  • Through the Settings you can set what browser you wish to use (Safari, MSIE,  Netscape, Firefox).  I’m not sure exactly how reliable this is but it could come in useful if you need to test on multiple browsers. You also have the ability to add your own custom search engines.
  • There is the function to launch the ‘last session, home page or last page viewed’, which is also very handy given I often find I’m searching the web and need to refer back to an email and switch apps half way through a task.  This means that if I open up an appointment reminder, in the middle of browsing a site, when I switch back to Atomic web, my last page viewed is still there.

Cons:

  • As with all web browsers on the iPad (or iPod), Flash elements do not display due to the fisticuffs between Apple and Adobe.
  • There is no ability to set Atomic as your default web browser.  If you click on a web link from within your email or another application, by default the iPad opens up Safari, which is a bit of a pain, but something I’ve learnt to live with.

Potential uses in Higher Education:

I think that this app is probably the one I use the most frequently (so far) on the iPad. As it is essentially just another web browser, I use it all the time to catch up on news, search for web sites, information and images while away from my desktop computer.

General web browsing appears to be a lot faster with this app than with Safari and the integration with social media allows quick and easy sharing of links and resources. You can opt to turn your images on and off which would also result in the faster download speed of pages.

All in all, a bargain app which I would highly recommend.

Projector!

Posted: July 27, 2010 by jacquiak in Collaboration, Communication, Productivity
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Projector for iPad

Projector!

Price: $5.99

App size = 4.3 MB

[Click here to download from iTunes]

Official App Description/Marketing spiel: “Finally! With this amazing app now you CAN project your ideas, documents and pictures to an external display (TV, LCD, Projector.  With a mirrored display, you will exactly know where you are while scrolling up and down the pages. Highlight important points of the document on the big screen using your iPad with the build-in laser pointer. ”

NOTE: The Apple VGA connector is also needed to project on external displays.

General comments and thoughts:

After purchasing the dock converter to VGA adapter from Apple for $39 I have to admit that I was disappointed when I found out that only SOME of the apps on the iPad would display on the big screen.  Although the YouTube app and some Videos will play directly through the VGA cable, and if you have the KeyNote app, this displays too – most other applications, including web browsers do not successfully display.

Big disappointment.

However this app is addressing the problem somewhat in its claims to be able to display the following file types:

  • Adobe PDF
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Excel
  • iWork Pages
  • iWord KeyNote
  • iWork Numbers
  • Text and RTF.

Ease of Use:

Once you’ve plugged in the VGA cable to your external monitor and opened up Projector app, you are first presented with a blank canvas where you are prompted to open up a file from your Document List.

Start screen of Projector!

This is where I first discovered that you can’t simply and easily browse for a file as such… you have to go to the file you wish to open first and then Open With > Projector.  A bit of a shame, but never mind.  Once you have located the file you wish to open, it automatically adds it to your Document list.

As you can see in the example above I imported a word doc, excel spreadsheet, PDF, PowerPoint file and an RTF. I figured I’d try as many as possible to see if they really COULD play all file types as per their claims!

So, you select the file you want to open from the Document List and a thumbnail preview of the file appears on the canvas.


In the top right hand corner are 3 Project Icons.

The first (Info icon) displays some basic help instructions.

The second (Image icon) allows you to change the background image.

The third (Play icon) is the most important icon, as this lets you move into presentation mode.

Once you select the Play icon your iPad screen will rotate and display your file at the top of the screen. Below this; 4 buttons will appear – left and right buttons to move back and forth through your file. A stop button to stop the presentation. And a switch button which lets you switch between display mode and a magic wand.

Although your iPad screen will look like the above, on the display you are connected too – only the top part (ie your file) will display on-screen.

Pros and Cons:

Although the app claims to be able to show images, I couldn’t find a way to import an image into the Document List.  Having said that, given you can simply display Photos using a VGA cable directly through the Photos app, this isn’t really a big deal anyway.

I also couldn’t get the magic wand tool to work properly (at least not as I was hoping it would work).  When in Presentation mode, if you use your finger to circle an area on the presentation, it doesn’t actually display this on the display screen you’re connected too.  Which makes the tool a little useless.  BUT maybe that was just the TV I was connected too… might have to test this further.

Potential uses in Higher Education:

As a presentation tool for use in a lecture theatre or classroom; the ability to open up this app and quickly display files from your iPad is potentially very useful. Most lecturers these days tend to store their PowerPoint slides or other class documents within their LMS or on a flash drive for convenience. Some take their laptop’s to class and plug them into the projectors.  So this iPad app provides another storage and display alternative, although I think the portability and convenience of a flash drive would still preferable.  Plus it would fit in your pocket 🙂

At the moment what’s missing is the ability to display web pages and to display ANY application installed on the iPad.  If these things are incorporated into the next version of the app (or another app) – it would improve its usability in leaps and bounds.   Mind you, given that Apple controls the approval of apps within iTunes and given their tendency to release a slick product, minus a few vital features (ie releasing the iPhone3G minus a video camera while including a video camera in the iPod nano) it is highly likely that in the future Apple will no doubt incorporate these additional features.  Fingers crossed anyway.

Yes. Yes it is.

BUT… now that the Centre for eLearning at our university (Curtin University) has invested in a number of iPads, our team is going to put them to the test.

Every Day. For 100 days.

To see if they really are going to be the next big thing (as Apple claims), or to see if they are simply an over sized iPod Touch (as others, possibly competitors, have declared 😉 ).

During the next 100 days, our team of 6 staff will update this blog regularly to share their thoughts and impressions and recommendations on the most useful apps that are currently out there. We will attempt to ONLY recommend apps that we think are worth installing and that we’d recommend to others.  Along with the pros and cons, ease of use, price and download size.

We’re also interested in finding out which apps YOU find you’re using the most. Feel free to leave your comment and a link and we’ll attempt to post a review if the app’s worth it.

Yours in anticipation,

Jacqui and the CeL team