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Entries in iPad (36)

Saturday
May012010

Living with the iPad: One Month In

The six coveted spots. What's on your iPad dock?The iPad is not a perfect device. I noted some of its shortcomings in my initial reflections after having it for two days. Having said that, a month has now passed, and despite some of its flaws (and my hope and assumption that certain issues will improve), I can say that the iPad has become a fixed part of my routine. In fact, it is my primary mobile computer.

Not a laptop replacement (yet), but definitely better than a netbook.
A week or so after getting my iPad, a former student contacted me to ask whether or not he should get an iPad or a MacBook for school. He said that he would primarily be using it for email, surfing the internet and word processing. I had to ask him if he had a decent computer already since at this stage, the iPad is not an independent platform. He said that was the deal breaker and he would have to get a MacBook for now.

And that's the thing that a lot of people still don't understand: the iPad does not yet completely replace a personal computer. It's dependent upon a personal computer, in fact, right out of the box. The iPad is clearly designed for secondary purposes—for use on the go, and will end up replacing many, but not all, of the functions that might often be done on a laptop.

I bought a netbook last November. I wanted something smaller than my 15" MacBook Pro to take with me to meetings, to church, to the coffee shop, for use on the couch while watching television. The netbook itself was a nice little machine, especially after I upped its memory to 2 GB of RAM. But the netbook experience was not enjoyable. I tried it with both a Hackintosh version of OS X and Windows 7 Pro installed. Both actually ran fine on it. But the cramped keyboard and awkward size made it undesirable for me. As soon as Apple announced the iPad in January, I sold the netbook on eBay.

Just this week, I was in the library when I saw a student writing a term paper on a netbook. I noticed him typing with only half of his digits to accommodate the keyboard. I mentally shook my head. Really he needed a laptop, but I honestly think that even an iPad would have been better for the task.

The mobile writer's dream: the iPad and keyboard dock

I have no problem with the virtual keyboard on the iPad when using it in landscape mode. Even Kathy commented recently how fast I type on it. But when on a desk, I like to use Apple's keyboard dock. I love the minimalist feel of the iPad sitting at a vertical angle from the aluminum keyboard. It's fast, handy, and in my opinion a writer's portable dream device. So compact, so easy to carry. Write anywhere.

Perhaps a laptop replacement after all.
Since 1991, I've always had a desktop and laptop computer simultaneously. The desktop computer was kind of the "family computer"; the laptop was my computer "on the go."
Initially, a laptop was not capable of being a "main computer" due to limitations in hard drive sizes and processor power. While high end desktops are still technically more powerful than laptops, technology has finally caught the laptop up a good bit. The MacBook Pro I bought in late 2008 has a 7200 RPM 500 GB hard drive (not the original hard drive, but an upgrade) and a 2.8 GHz processor. When I bought it, I decided that I was going to make the laptop my main machine and let the aging PowerMac G5 demote to a secondary machine. I purposefully bought an high end MacBook Pro with the intention of keeping it five years—longer than any time I've kept a laptop in the past.

Maybe when I go to get a new computer in 2013, perhaps I will opt not to get a laptop. Perhaps for the same money, I could get a decent iMac and an iPad. Maybe really, I don't need a laptop anymore because of the iPad.

What the iPad Can Do.
See, here's the thing. When I originally ordered my iPad, my hopes were that it could do perhaps 50% to 2/3 of what I normally do with a laptop. I'd say that the reality is that it's closer to 90%. The iPad has clearly become my preferred mobile computer in only a month's time. If I can carry it and leave the MacBook Pro at home, I do. I carry the iPad to meetings, to church—really everywhere. Remember the days when a leather bound daytimer was always at your side (or maybe it still is)? That's what I do with my iPad. Even in places where I probably won't need it, I can let it tag along in my hand in case I need to look up something, add an event to a calendar, or even if I have a few minutes simply to read.

In fact, the other day, I was stuck in traffic. Really bad traffic. Cars weren't going anywhere. After a while, I shut off my engine, pulled out my iPad and simply began to read. Sure, I could have done that with a physical book, but with the iPad, I was carrying dozens of books with me—my own personal multivolume library.

What the iPad Can't Do.
I wrote a post about teaching on the iPad. It's great for that and allows me to walk into a classroom or Bible study at church without having to carry an entire bag of materials, books and my laptop as I've often done in the past. But there are limitations.

Most people who have used Keynote on the iPad complain about its lack of a true presenter screen. No preview, no notes, not even a mirror of what's on the projector. Okay, I assume all that's coming, but it's a pain for us early adopters. I don't like having to print out notes because that seems so very five years ago. Of course, when I occasionally teach a public speaking class, I tell my students that presentation slides should enhance one's presentation; it should not be one's presentation.

And while that's true, the other day in a writing class I wanted to use a Keynote file I'd prepared a while back that covers basic grammar rules. And contrary to the advice to my speaking class, this Keynote file was the presentation. I mean, this kind of lesson requires rules and examples to be displayed in front of the students. I can't simply talk about the rule and then show a few illustrations. In fact, in this Keynote file, there are no presenter notes. Everything is on the slide.

So to present that from the iPad to a projector meant that I would have had to have my back turned to the class for most of the presentation. A simple remote would have solved the problem, but for the moment, there are no remote control solutions for using Keynote on the iPad. I did end up using the Apple remote control which allowed me to walk around the class during our discussion over the slides on the screen. But I had to present it from my MacBook, not my Keynote. Clearly, this particular lesson was best suited from the laptop than the iPad. This is something that a few enhancements to the Keynote software on the iPad would fix.

Another issue related to teaching— I cannot use the iPad to evaluate essays written by students. I use Word's commenting system in my evaluation and scoring of student papers. iWork Pages does not have this functionality. And even though this is a version one program, I somehow doubt that Apple's iWork Team has commenting high on their list of features to add.

Further, the grading software I use, Gradekeeper, does not have an iPad version and probably will not get one in the future. The program's designer has publicly expressed his skepticism as to the iPad's potential as a mainstream device to be used by teachers (I highly disagree) as well as admitted to his lack of knowledge in Objective C, the iPad's primary programming language. This is too bad as I believe the iPad would be ideal for grade recording, and I really like Gradekeeper, having used it since the nineties. For teachers in traditional primary and secondary classrooms, I could easily see the iPad as a convenient device for walking up student rows, evaluating assignments.

Of course, I expect we'll eventually see gradebook software on the iPad. One app is already available, but it is very limited in scope. I'm very used to Gradekeeper's under-the-hood power and features such as emailed student progress reports that I've come to rely on. But as long as I'm having to grade papers on my MacBook Pro anyway, I suppose having my gradebook on the Mac as well is not too big of an issue for now.

A Game Changer? Ask My Wife.
Kathy got an iPad on the same day I did. It's been interesting to see her interact and even take to the iPad on an increasing scale. I say that because really, in the big scheme of things, she's much more practical than me on these kinds of things. I can often use technology just for the sake of technology. Just the other day, a friend commented to me that I was having to go through a number of extra steps (referring specifically to file transfers) just to be able to do some things on the iPad. While I do think there's a great payoff in the freedom to travel much lighter with the iPad in the scenarios I've described already, I also admit that sometimes I am guilty of using technology for technology's sake. In other words, I'm not always the most practical person when it comes to technology. Sometimes I use it simply because I like using it.

When the iPad was first announced, my initial intent was not to get one—at least not the first generation. As I've said in other posts, it was the presentation of the iWork suite that changed my mind. And that didn't happen overnight, but rather over the next few weeks as I pondered the iPad's potential as a both a teaching tool and a content creation device.

However, I did immediately suggest to Kathy that she ought to get one. Kathy is the Library Media/Textbooks Consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education (I simply call her Kentucky's Book Czar). Over the next half decade or so, I believe a lot of our schools will transition to digital textbooks. Although Kathy will undoubtedly not be in that position when that transition fully takes place, it's an issue that's continuously being brought to the table now. I felt she ought to be able to evaluate digital textbooks as they come along, so I suggested the iPad.

Well, Kathy's taken to the iPad in lots of ways besides books just as I have, but it's been very interesting to watch her—someone who's been a librarian for 18 years—essentially rethink the physical book paradigm.

First, for the last two weeks, rather than taking her two-inch-thick NLT Life Application Study Bible to church, Kathy simply takes her iPad. Honestly, her switch from a physical Bible to a digital one this quickly has surprised me. I'm going to set her up on OliveTree's BibleReader with the NLT Study Bible once the OliveTree app is released, but in the meantime, she's had no real problem using the YouVersion except for one instance in which she couldn't get wi-fi reception.

Second, last Sunday, we went to a Books-A-Million in Louisville so that I could look for a supplemental grammar book to recommend to my writing class. I carried my iPad in with me because I wanted to find a book that was available both in physical form as well as available electronically and wanted to be able to look up titles as needed. Since I was taking my iPad in, Kathy did, too. After a while of looking at books, I found her in a leather chair and sat down beside her. She looked at me, and waving her arm around the shelves of books we were sitting between said, "You know, with the iPad, it doesn't make sense anymore to me to invest in these kinds [i.e. physical] of books. They cost more money and they take up space."

Really, I was a bit shocked. Now, keep in mind, please, that she was speaking in regard to personal purchases and not someone representing Kentucky state government. But it's really an astounding comment from someone in her position if you think about it—someone who has been a librarian, managing physical books for almost two decades.

And I don't disagree with her sentiment. I make about $30/month from Amazon ads placed in some of my posts on this site when I'm reviewing a book. When I got my most recent redemption code from Amazon a few days ago, I spent the entire amount on digital books that I could read on my iPad in the Kindle app.

Yeah, I think the iPad is going to be a game changer. That's becoming more than just hype surrounding the device. In regard to books, I think I'd now be more incline to buy a book if it were available digitally than if it only came out in physical form. Of course, even physical books can be converted to digital books. I've already done this with a book, and I'll detail the steps in a future post.

Follow-up: finding the perfect iPad case.
A week or so ago, I blogged about my so-far-failed attempt to find the perfect case for the iPad. I really liked the portfolio-style case that Apple makes and had bought one with my iPad, but thought I'd like something similar perhaps with a pocket or two in the front cover and some kind of flap that lifted up to allow it to be used with the keyboard dock while still in the case. I wrote about my foolish attempt to mod my case to accommodate the keyboard dock.

Well, I've come to the conclusion that for right now, the best case for me is simply the original Apple case; although I'd like to eventually replace the one I've mangled :-(

But I decided that if I put the iPad in a case that had "stuff" in the front cover, I would be moving away from the thin, lightweight form factor that I currently have. Right now, I can fold the cover back and read the iPad in bed like a book. Why would I want to mess that up? As for fitting the keyboard dock, I've actually discovered that after taking the iPad out of the case numerous times, it gets much easier to slide in and out. So this may not be as much of a problem as I initially thought it was.

Full Disclosure.
I suppose with all this praise of the iPad, I should disclose here on This Lamp that Kathy and I now own a couple of shares of Apple stock (not much, but a start!). But that's not why I'm praising the iPad. We bought the stock because of how impressed we were with the device and how much potential and influence we believe it will have in the coming years.

Friday
Apr302010

First Look: Copying Greek Text from BibleReader to Pages on the iPad

From the very first day I had my iPad, I tried to find a way to copy original language biblical text from any applicable app to Pages for the iPad. I couldn't find any app on the iPad at the time that allowed me to do this, but had to resort to loading a document on my Mac with Greek text from Accordance and then transferring it to the iPad.

Therefore, I'm very thrilled to see how easy this is to do using Olive Tree's Bible Reader for the iPad (full review forthcoming). Copying text is quite easy. You touch the verse number and a dialogue box appears offering a number of options, including text copy. Selecting that allows you to specify one or more verses.

 

Then, in Pages, the text pastes perfectly just as I hoped it would:

I found that the Greek text could be moved around, but I could not compose in Greek. The text as shown above is in the Helvetica font (the default in Pages), but if someone wanted a more serifed look, it can be changed to Times New Roman with results that look similar to the text as originally displayed in BibleReader.

Unfortunately, my attempt to copy Hebrew text was unsuccessful. I could copy the text in BibleReader, but when I tried to paste in Pages, nothing came through except the verse reference. This isn't a flaw in either BibleReader or Pages, but relates to the iPad's current lack of a Hebrew keyboard.

Although I was able to transfer a document with Unicode Hebrew from my computer to the iPad when I tried a month ago, I found this text to be nearly unusable as it could not be easily manipulated. My hunch is that like on the iPhone, we may have to wait a year or two (or at least until the iPad goes on sale in Israel) before Hebrew is easy to work with in Pages.

Regardless, the ability to at least work with Greek text from BibleReader in a word processor moves the iPad one step closer to becoming a tool for serious academic work in biblical studies. I was also delighted to see that the text in BibleReader remains in the same place as it did when I switched to Pages. That means that even though there is no true multitasking on the iPad (this will change in the Fall), there is no real difficulty in going back and forth between the biblical text and a word processor.

 

Stay tuned. More to come...

Thursday
Apr222010

What I'd Like in a Case for My iPad

My case mod gone awry. Kathy says it's because I can't cut a straight line with scissors.I've got the Apple brand case for my iPad. Overall, I like the look and feel of it. What I don't like is the fact that I have to take the iPad out of the case to use it with the keyboard dock. So, I followed the guidelines for an iPad case mod, but my final results aren't very pretty. It looks like a craft project gone wrong. And Kathy says that for the time being, I have to live with the consequences of my actions—even if they're embarrassing.

Anyway... here's what I'd like in an actual case for my iPad. I've seen all of these elements individually, but nothing yet that has them all:


  • The portfolio style of the Apple case. I like the folding cover. Not only do I feel like I'm closing a book, but more importantly, I'm protecting the screen.

  • Easy access to the bottom port for use with the keyboard dock. This could be accommodated either by a little trap door that flips up on the case or by making it easy to remove the iPad from the case. The Apple iPad case is not easy to remove.

  • The ability to fold the case under for typing at an angle. For the times when I don't have my keyboard dock, I'd like to be able to fold the case underneath to put it at an angle just like the Apple case. But I'd want it to be more stable than the folding case from InCase.

  • Pockets in the cover. I've seen some portfolio cases with pockets in the cover. I'd like that for business cards and perhaps a notepad. But this also means an extra layer of protection against the screen of the iPad. I wouldn't want the paper fibers in business cards or a notepad scratching my screen over time.

So, does anyone know of a case like this? If so, please point me in the right direction.

Tuesday
Apr202010

Teaching with the iPad

I suppose I should mark April 19, 2010 on a calendar somewhere. Last night was the first time I've taught a college class exclusively from my iPad. I'll write more on this later, but right now I can easily say that everything went without a hitch. Using an iPad was inconvenient neither to me nor (as far as I could tell) to my students, although a number of them asked when they were going to get theirs.

Why would I want to do this? I want to do this because one of the ideals the iPad represents to me is extreme mobility. In the past, I've felt like a pack mule carrying my laptop bag and a loaded down book bag into class. However, last night, on this one device, I had the two textbooks we are using for the class, my faculty guide, lesson notes and Keynote slides for the projector. Although the iPad does not have across-the-board multitasking yet, the device is so quick that it was no problem going back and forth between apps.

This is not strictly the first time I've used the iPad for teaching as I've used it at church ever since April 4. But those are 30 minute sessions. Last night, I was teaching a four-hour writing class. That means preparing a good bit of content that connects with a variety of learning styles. The iPad turned out to be a great tool to have with me.

I used a program called GoodReader for my notes. GoodReader is a great program for storing completed documents. It can read PDF files, Word and Pages docs and a whole lot more. GoodReader will also create folders, so I had a folder prepared to contain the four or five documents I needed with me last night. Initially, I'd planned to use ReaddleDocs for this purpose as I liked its interface better, but in prepping for my class, I found it to be too slow on some of the larger documents (including a 190+ page book I'd scanned), and it tended to crash every now and then. GoodReader worked flawlessly and hasn't crashed on me yet. Moreover, I can leave GoodReader, launch Keynote, then come back, and GoodReader has my document right where I left it.

One of the textbooks we're using for the class is They Say/I Say by Gerald Graff, Kathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. A couple of weeks ago, I found a Kindle version of They Say/I Say which was identical to the print book except that it lacked the additional readings. So, I downloaded the Kindle version of the book to my iPad. Another differentiation from the print version is that there are no page numbers in the Kindle edition. So last Saturday, I spent some time using the Kindle app's notes feature to add page numbers not only  to the first page of every chapter in the book, but also with the specific exercises at the end of every chapter. Thus, when referring to an assignment for my students in the physical book, I could easily send them to the correct "page" in the Kindle app.

The second book, a Pearson customized collections of readings for the course, proved a bit more of a challenge because it was not available in digital form. I'm going to write a separate post later about this process, but basically, I used a document scanner and Adobe Acrobat to create a digital copy of this book. In Acrobat, I bookmarked chapter titles allowing me to go anywhere in the book very quickly. Also, I can search for any word or phrase in this textbook which is obviously something I could not do with the physical version. I accessed this book in GoodReader. It's 191 pages and I could jump from one end of the book to the other, or anywhere in between very quickly.


My "converted" textbook in GoodReader. After a few seconds, the interface you see on the top, bottom and left side of the screenshot will disappear allowing for fullscreen reading.

I carried my keyboard dock with me last night, too. I didn't really need it for use as a keyboard, but it's a handy way to keep the iPad upright without having to hold it. This was especially helpful in a class that lasts four hours. Those who criticize the iPad as not convenient as a creation content device have obviously not used it with the keyboard dock or a bluetooth keyboard. I spent all Saturday morning typing away on the iPad at a coffee shop, causing a number of patrons to conspicuously walk behind me to see exactly what I was doing. Thus, if you want to really travel light and get work done, I strongly encourage you to grab a keyboard for your iPad.

I used the VGA adapter to connect the keyboard dock to the classroom projector. As this was a writing class, I tend not to use presentation software that much for this subject. I only had a total of five slides in Keynote, none of which I used at the same time, but it proved to be no real issue to switch back and forth between my discussion notes and an occasional slide to illustrate a point. The lack of presentation notes in the iPad version of Keynote wasn't that much of an issue. However, in May when I teach an intro to philosophy class, I suppose I'll be forced to print out my notes, something I haven't had to do in years. My hopes are that in the next version of Keynote for the iPad, we'll get our presenter screen back.

I should also note that I kept a little notepad handy as I didn't think it would be practical to leave whatever iPad application I was in to make myself a note about something. But that's a habit I normally have anyway, although I often end up writing on scratch pieces of paper instead of having the foresight to actually bring a dedicated notepad.

So everything went well in this inaugural classroom use of my iPad. Truth be told, I had my MacBook Pro with me last night, too—just in case. But I really didn't have to use it except for one instance in which I needed to email a document to a couple of students. But that is certainly not something that the iPad is incapable of doing, too.

So, I guess next week, the MacBook Pro stays home—as opposed to simply hiding under the table.

 

 

Sunday
Apr182010

Review: Logos Bible Software for iPad v. 1.4

Series note: This post inaugurates a new series of Bible app reviews for the iPad. It's been nice to have similar programs on the iPhone and other mobile devices, but at least for me, these were always programs I used in a pinch if I didn't have access to regular computer-based Bible software. The iPad's larger screen, however, creates the potential for more serious use. My goals for these reviews is to evaluate each program on its own merits without extensive comparison to similar programs.

The release of the iPad has generated a lot of excitement for taking digital books to the "next level"—that is, a much more widespread acceptance among readers—avid or otherwise. Of course, electronic books are not anything new. Amazon's Kindle has been available for a couple of years, and going back nearly two decades, Bible-related software has offered many books in digital form. But in spite of these precedents, the digital book seems to have found a new life and publishers seem genuinely hopeful regarding the medium.

Most people know of the two major book reader apps for the iPad: Amazon's Kindle software and Apple's own iBooks. But for those who have an interest in biblical/theological works, Logos Bible Software for the iPad should definitely not be overlooked.


If you aren't already familiar, Logos offers the largest number of digital texts aimed at the religious market (pastors, academics, students and laypersons). Numbering somewhere around 10,000 texts, Logos is available on a number of platforms: Windows, Mac (in alpha form), iPhone/iPod Touch, and now the iPad. I should also mention http://library.logos.com which allows Logos customers to access a large portion of their personal library from any website, including browsers on various cellphones and mobile devices that do not yet have dedicated Logos apps.

Logos for the iPhone has been available since October, 2009. Logos for the iPad is essentially the same application, but adapted for the iPad's larger screen. Logos is able to deliver their customers' libraries of purchased resources which they have on their traditional computers straight to the iPad for no additional cost. Not all titles are available yet due to publishers' agreements and technical issues, but more are being added each week. Currently, I have 1,744 Logos titles in my copy of Logos 4 on my Mac. With Logos for the iPad, I can access any of 953 of these titles as of this writing. That's about 55% and Logos promises that number will continue to grow.

I'll say up front that while I use many of these titles for reference, I would never consider reading most of those books from beginning to end  on my Mac. The screen resolution is too low for extended reading without hurting my eyes, and, frankly, it's difficult to curl up with a laptop on the couch. Generally, I've always used them for reference until now.

The iPad is a different story. It's higher resolution screen and compact size makes it ideal for reading for long periods of time. Access to so many titles really excites me and makes Logos for the iPad my primary general reader for electronic books.

When Logos for the iPhone originally released, some criticized it for not allowing offline reading, requiring access to the internet for any use. A later update fixed this allowing titles to be downloaded to one's device on a title-by-title basis. The same functionality holds true for Logos for the iPad. I can keep some titles on my iPad, and download others as I need them. And really, this is the best way. On my Mac, titles automatically download, but I wouldn't want to fill up the limited space on my iPad with some titles that I might not need (or at least ever get to).

Although I can download any of my books that I choose for offline reading, Logos for the iPad often needs a connection to the internet for some things such as search which can cause problems at times. In fact, it can get downright frustrating receiving messages over and over that a particular feature needs an internet connection to work.

Overall, the application integrates fairly well with Logos 4 in that many settings which are applied in the Windows and Mac version translate to the iPad version in including Collections (user-created groups of titles), Favorites (preferred resources), and eventually user notes and highlighting.

As already mentioned, some titles are not yet available. The first significant "missing" title I came across was the Nestle-Aland 27th edition Greek New Testament. In Logos 4 for the Mac, I can type "NA27" in the Library window and this particular Greek New Testament appears. On the iPad app, though, when I typed "NA27," the Robinson-Pierpont 2005 Byzantine Textform appeared--which is decidedly NOT the Nestle-Aland text. I asked about this on Logos' forums and a helpful user pointed me to a title, The Swanson Greek New Testament Morphology which is a UBS text (identical to the NA27) but with different Greek morphological tagging. So this will work for a Greek NT text until the true NA27 is available.

Results when I searched for the Nestle-Aland 27th edition Greek New Testament. This is DECIDEDLY NOT the NA27!

I've also read on the forums some users' frustration with the fact that the NIV doesn't seem to be available yet on the iPad version of Logos. No doubt there are legal and contractual issues involved here, but it remains that not only is the NIV the most popular translation in the English-speaking world, but it is also available on other mobile platforms already. Oddly, if you type in "NIV" on the Library page, Logos pulls up Young's Literal Translation, I suppose because the NIV is referenced in the YLT's description page.

Compared to the Kindle iPad app and Apple's iBooks, Logos for the iPad is like an eReader on steroids, and I'll go into some of these details in a moment. However, I was surprised to discover that Logos does not have a functionality as basic as cut and paste. In fact, one of the first things I tried to do with my iPad once I had it set up two weeks ago was to copy and paste original language biblical texts (Greek & Hebrew) into the iWork Pages app. I was a bit surprised to discover that I couldn't select and copy text from Logos. This is more acceptable on the iPhone because I'm not going to do "real" work on a device that small. But with a fairly feature rich word processor like Pages on the iPad, there will be times that I will use my iPad for heavier use. In fact, I'm currently typing this review in Pages on the iPad using the keyboard dock for later transfer to WordPress.

As of this writing, Logos has not supplied any kind of user guide, instructions or tutorial videos specific to the iPad version, although to be fair, it's only a little over two weeks old. But there isn't even a whole lot of information on how to use the iPhone version either, even though it's been out over five months. The best source of information on using the iPhone and iPad versions of Logos is still the nine-minute overview video on the iPhone app's page at the Logos site. The user can apply applications gleaned from the iPhone version, most of which comes from the Logos blog and forums as well as one's own intuition. However, the interface is not always intuitive.

The Home screen for Logos on the iPad is not that different from the iPhone version with selections for reading the Bible through in a year, daily devotional titles (which seemingly cannot be changed), and Logos news (although somewhat limited). On the iPhone version, this fills the screen, but on the iPad, it doesn't seem to be a good use of screen space. I wonder if eventually, Logos for the iPad will mimic the newspaper look and feel of the homepage on the Windows and Mac versions. There's certainly enough screen space for this.

The Home ScreenOn the home screen, in addition to the content already mentioned, the user finds both a search box and a verse chooser at the top of the screen. A scripture reference can be entered into the search box which leads to a screen in one's preferred Bible (selected from the computer versions). The verse chooser achieves the same end results so these two methods for arriving at a scripture passage seem a bit redundant. This might not be the case if one could enter subjects or words into the search box, but when I tried to do this, I received an error message stating there was no biblical book by that name.

I also noticed that when arriving at a passage in the Bible, text was running off the side of the screen. According to comments in the user forums by Logos employees, this is a known bug that will be fixed in an upcoming release. In the meantime, the user can rectify the problem by turning the screen one ninety degree angle at a time until the text is displayed properly or possibly by changing the font size in settings.

An early bug in the first release of Logos for the iPad: text sometimes runs off the screenMoving along the icons at the bottom of the Home screen, the next is for the Library. Immediately upon selecting the library, the user is presented with a list of purchased titles. These are in order of title, and I could not determine any way to sort them by author. However, I could search for any known title in a search box at the top of the screen which recognized, title, author, accepted abbreviations, and evidently keywords found in the description of the work.

Some of the 953 titles available to me on the Library screenAttempting to simply peruse my titles proved to be a bit of a challenge. Each title presents the user with a thumbnail of the cover of the book, the title and author. If a title is one in which the user has chosen for offline reading, a little icon of an airplane overlays the thumbnail. The problem is that the program only lists 25 titles at a time. As I scrolled down the list, I encountered a short pause at the end of every 25 titles while the next 25 loaded. Thus, if you have an extensive library of titles, true browsing is not overly practical as it would take a very long time at the very least. This is a shame because I regularly come across titles in my Logos library which I didn't realize I had. Sometimes, I simply might want to "browse the shelves" and pick out something new (to me) to read. I don't see why an entire list of my books could not be downloaded into the program and then left for me to go through at any time. Why I should have to reload a list of titles every time I use the program? I would also like to see an option for listing the books in a more narrow height, perhaps with no thumbnail of the book or at least a smaller one.

A second tab on the top of the library window allows the user to see recently viewed titles. This is helpful because often I will often return to the same books again and again.

A blue arrow can be found to the right of every title. Tapping on this arrow brings up an information window about the book. The information is sometimes surprisingly detailed and aids the user in finding the right resource for the need of the moment. This is also the window in which a user can select a title to remain available when not connected to the internet.

The third icon brings up the Search screen. Here is where I could really stand to have a few more instructions that would at least alert me to the possibilities available on this screen. Under the basic search, one can enter any word or phrase which will yield a multitude of results. If quotation marks are put around a group of words, Logos searches for that exact phrase. I was pleased to see that many of the search options listed on the Logos wiki page worked just as expected in the iPad edition. I didn't try every single option, but I can say that every one I tried worked exactly as I would have expected.

The Search screen includes a list of previous searches. Note my attempts to create a direct Greek language search using "g:" as utilized by the desktop software. This didn't work on the iPad.I would have preferred that search results have a bit more detail. A search for "love" in my entire library resulted in hits that were listed in what was obviously subtitles of topics such as "Chapter 8," "The Chapter of Love," and "Homily X." I could select any of the hits to see the context of the result, but it would be very helpful to identify the full title of the resource so that I could eliminate sources that I didn't imagine would be helpful.

Instead of searching through the entire library, one can select from designated collections, Bibles, and recently viewed books. It doesn't look like it would be easy to quickly adjust this list of sources if one needed to search through a different title or group than what was listed.

If choosing a Bible search, one can search through "Top Bibles" (chosen on the Windows or Mac version) or recently viewed biblical titles.

The Search screen also lists recent searches which is helpful if one needs to revisit a previous search. Oddly, it even lists incorrect searches such as my many failed attempts to search directly for a Greek word in a Greek NT, a solution for which I've not received after putting it on the user forums days ago.

Sadly, search only works if the iPad is connected to wi-fi. Evidently all searches are actually being done on Logos' servers. Although wi-fi is nearly ubiquitous these days, this isn't always the case. Last Sunday, I was trying to show the capabilities of Logos for the iPad to the education minister at our church. No one could remember the password to the church's wi-fi and I couldn't perform the search. Of course, that was just for a demonstration. Imagine if I'd really needed it! For those who are holding out for a 3G version of the iPad, I suppose this won't be as much of an issue.

The "Read" icon leads you to a screen that lets you do just that—read your books. From what I can tell, it will always automatically open to the last book you've been reading, even to the same spot that you were last in. The text fills up the entire screen and page-to-page navigation is handled by tapping the right or left of the screen according to which way you want to go in the book.

The Hebrew Bible shown taking advantage of the full screen in the Reading viewSome Bibles have hyperlinked cross references and textual notes that can be revealed by tapping the link:



Tapping in the middle of the screen on non-hyperlinked text brings up an interface with search options at the top and a list of recently read books on a sideways scroller at the bottom. When using the search window at the top of the screen, only scripture references can be entered, not words, although I think it would be useful to be able to search for words and phrases within the text I'm reading without having to switch to the Search screen. When reading a non-biblical title, this still remains true. You can't search for a topic directly in the title you have on the screen. It will only take scripture references. I thought at first that this might search for these scripture references in the the book I was reading, but instead, it leaves the current title and switches to my default Bible text.

Tapping the middle of the Reading window brings up options and a navigational interfaceFor biblical texts, a verse chooser is also present in addition to the search window. Like on the home screen, this still feels a bit redundant, but perhaps it would be helpful if one weren't familiar with all books in a particular tradition's canon. For reading books, there is a Contents button that allows quick switching to chapters in the book.

In an original language text, I found that I could tap and hold a word and a popup would appear giving parsing information and a Strong's number. If using one of Logos' reverse interlinear texts, original language information is displayed for the English word. In either popup two buttons are available for a search on the selected word or a Bible Word Study, the latter of which is a section of the Logos app I'll cover in a moment.



Performing a word search from a text does not result in what I would expect. I was sent to the search screen, but because my last search was in "Top Bibles," my Greek search delivered no results. I could switch to a Greek New Testament, but why couldn't the program do this on its own in the first place? I would not expect a search for a Greek word to be found in an English text! Further, when searching for a Greek word in an actual Greek text, I could only get the Logos app to display hits of the original inflected form from the text I was reading.

I would prefer for the program to search for the root form resulting in every inflected instance. I absolutely could not figure out how to to make the search work in this manner no matter how much I tried. Nor could I figure out how to run a search in Greek or Hebrew straight from the search window itself (see my failed results in the search window screenshot earlier in this post). I had no choice but to start from an original language text and run a search from the selected word.  And then results were only built around the inflected form from which the search started. It seems that a good bit of work needs to be done in original language searches to make these kinds of searches of any benefit.

Further, I knew of no way to search for specific parts of speech in original language texts. This functionality may exist, but I couldn't find instructions for it anywhere.

When reading a biblical text, swiping my finger up created a popup allowing the following options: Passage Guide, Text Comparison, Search for Citations, Add to Favorites, and Share. In a non-biblical text, the popup offers Search for Citations, Add to Favorites, and Share. If selecting "Share," options are given for updating Twitter, Facebook or sending an email with a message such as this one: "I'm reading http://ref.ly/Ge2.10 with Logos iPhone Bible app." The reference was Gen 2:10 in the BHS (selected totally at random). As you can see, the text has not been updated yet to reflect the app's transfer to the iPad.

Swiping up on a biblical text results in the popup on the left. On other books, the popup on the right

Borrowing from the iPad's other eReader apps, I would offer two suggestions for Logos for the iPad. First, Apple's iBooks app offers the ability to turn down the screen brightness from inside the app. Granted, this can be done by leaving the Logos app and going to Preferences, but it's a convenient feature to be able to do so from within the reader itself. Second, I've found in the Kindle app that changing my page background to a light tan color with brown text (one of the Kindle presets on the iPad) makes for much easier reading on long stretches. Both of these are features that one app offers and the other doesn't, but adding them both to the Logos iPad app would be a great idea and make for easier reading.


The Passage Guide icon brings up the iPad equivalent of the Passage Guide in Logos 4. It doesn't do everything that the Windows and Mac versions do, but it does a lot. Evidently, though some of the features aren't quite fully in place. I'll illustrate with an example from Ex 20:1-17 (the Ten Commandments).

Passage Guide on the iPadI entered the reference into the Passage Guide and Logos for the iPad delivered a number of places where I could go for further study.

First, a number of my commentaries were listed. Clicking on a title takes me to that commentary and to the section on Exodus 20. Going back to the Passage Guide brings me back to where I was before, but it seems like the app is having to run the search again.

Underneath commentaries, a list of cross references displays with links allowing me to go to that passage in the Bible.

Following cross references are sections for Parallel Passages and Literary Typing. Unfortunately both of these categories are grayed out leading me to believe they are simply not implemented yet in the iPad version of Logos. I say that because content is available when running a Passage Guide search in the regular version of Logos 4. There are actually quite a few parallel passages for Ex 20, and I would expect to at least see Deut 5 listed. The regular version of Logos 4 also lists literary types for Ex 20 which the iPad version completely leaves out.

Categories for Biblical People, Places, and Things—a major feature of Logos 4—is missing in the iPad's implementation of the Passage Guide search. The Music category from Logos 4 is missing, but I could see sheet music thumbnails along with thumbnail images of pictures and graphical images in the Media Resources section. Unfortunately, in its current implementation, these images are useless because they cannot be enlarged, let alone copied and pasted into an app such as Pages or Keynote for the iPad.

The Topics section of the Passage Guide lists appropriate subjects from the biblical text as they are found in Nave's Topical Bible. Clicking on any subject creates a link to treatment in Nave's.

The final section of the Passage Guide is "Interesting Words." While not implementing a pretty word cloud as in Logos 4, a list of key words in the passage is provided, giving emphasis through larger text to words that occur more frequently. Tapping on any of these words creates a verse list with the keyword highlighted.

The Bible Word Study screen allows for both English and original language basic word studies, but information is too limited to be of great use. I could not figure out how to run a study on a Greek or Hebrew word unless I created from the reading pane. The Bible Word Study function makes use of circle graphs. Tapping on a section moves it out of the circle and verses related to that word appear underneath. Examining an original language word also provides links to lexicons. I feel it would be helpful to provide lexical information on this screen itself without having to switch to that source.




Bible Word Study on the iPad

The final primary section of the Logos iPad app is for Text Comparison. This demonstrates how different one translation is from another, also offering a percentage of difference. Differences in words are highlighted between the versions, and red-colored round superscript symbols are next to some of the words, but there's nothing to tell me what these symbols mean. Clicking on any part of the divergent verses merely takes me to the main reader screen showing the verse in its context. I'm not exactly certain how translations are chosen as the ESV shows up in my list and it's not in my priority list in the Logos 4 software. I could not figure out how to display differences between original language texts such as some of the various Greek New Testaments offered in my Logos resources, but this would certainly be interesting.

Text Compare

Selecting the "More" icon leads to Settings and an About screen. Settings is fairly limited allowing only an adjustment in basic font size. There's no way to change the font or the font color or the page background. Also, although I have red lettering turned off in the regular Logos 4 program on my Mac, these settings don't transfer to the iPad app. I think that red text on a backlit screen is not a great idea on any level if one plans to read for any long period of time.



Settings are fairly limited in Logos for the iPad

The settings screen also allows the user to add logins for FaceBook and Twitter for the options to share what is being studied.

The Logos iPad app is a good start, but it still needs some significant work. The strategy at Logos over the past few months has been to release software not quite feature complete and allow their customers to use it as its being developed. That's a perfectly valid strategy if the customer is willing to do this. Many would agree, for instance that having a limited iPad app right now is better than no iPad app at all. But some will certainly be frustrated by issues such as no copy and paste and a lack of access to personal notes or even the ability to create them on the iPad at all.

Right now, in my opinion, the greatest advantage of having Logos on the iPad is the ability to carry hundreds, even thousands of titles on a very portable device for reading anywhere. I have no doubt that version 2 of this program will look much different than this initial release. As the program improves, no doubt its usefulness as a serious Bible study tool—especially for integration with other programs—will increase, too. And an online user guide and/or in-depth video tutorials wouldn't hurt either :-)

This review was written entirely on the iPad with final editing on my MacBook Pro.

Monday
Apr122010

How to Successfully Import Video into Keynote for the iPad in 7 Easy Steps


First the how to, and then the commentary.


  1. Edit your video file on your Mac (sorry, but step 6 currently precludes Windows) and save it.

  2. Drag the saved video file into iTunes.

  3. Find the video file in the Movies section of your iTunes library and select it.

  4. With the movie file selected in iTunes, go to the Advanced menu and choose "Create iPad or AppleTV Version." You may get a message stating "One or more videos was not converted because they are already in the correct format." If that's the case, you're just that much ahead, but this provides a good way to verify that the video is iPad ready.

  5. Create or open a Keynote file on your Mac.

  6. Import the video into Keynote either via the Media Browser or by simply dragging the converted file from the Finder into iTunes.

  7. Transfer the Keynote file to your iPad by your preferred method, and open it in Keynote for viewing or further editing.


Update: Windows users, please see the comments for a workaround to #6 above.

Keynote was the tipping point for making me purchase an iPad. I use Keynote on my Mac every week, teaching college classes and teaching at church. I was taken with the idea of simply carrying my iPad into these settings rather than my normal carrier bag of laptop and books. Unfortunately, like a lot of people, my first experience with Keynote on the iPad was a bit disappointing.

One of the first things I tried to do was to import previous Keynote files I'd created and used on my Mac. I had one Keynote file with a ten minute clip not only crash Keynote on the iPad, but caused my iPad to completely reboot as well! My second attempt was a Keynote file that I use in a writing class that has four short video clips interspersed throughout the slides. Oddly, Keynote for the iPad stripped out three video clips leaving only one remaining. What was different about this fourth file that remained? I still don't actually know, but it doesn't matter.

So, I was a bit deflated. While I liked my iPad overall and was certain these "version 1" kinks would get worked out, I resigned myself to the fact that I might not be able to leave my laptop at home every time. Nevertheless, I posted a couple of questions about video formats and the iPad on Apple's support forums. I was surprised the next day to get an email from Apple's iWork Team asking if they could have a copy of the two files mentioned above. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I did discover how to successfully import video thanks to the instructions posted in one of the threads.

I've tested this out, and it works great. I was able to use video in my presentation at church yesterday as you can see in the image at the top of this post which shows Ben Kingsley as Moses. It was about a four and a half minute clip, and I can tell you that it played flawlessly with no flickers or blips, whatsoever. I even stretched it to the full dimensions of the slide without any noticeable degrade in quality. The video originated on a DVD (my personal copy!) that I ripped a few weeks ago for use in the study.

Now, there is another method floating around, but I don't recommend it. Theoretically, you ought to be able to follow the steps above but instead of importing the video into Keynote, you could drag it into iPhoto and then sync with your iPad (you have to check the box in your iTunes iPad settings allowing it to include videos from iPhoto). This method would be advantageous if, for example, you needed to prep a number of clips and place them on your iPad for later use. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well once you get them into Keynote on the iPad. I tried inserting the same clip shown above by importing it directly from iPad Keynote's media browser into a newly created file. When importing, Keynote compressed the video file. There was a noticeable degrade in quality, even without the video being stretched, on playback. Then Keynote crashed and my entire iPad rebooted. This is twice that Keynote has caused a system-wide crash on my iPad, and both were related to video!

Having said all that, however, if you follow the seven steps outline above, you should find success. It's worked well for me so far.

Monday
Apr052010

Two Days with the iPad: 41 Reflections, Discoveries, Critiques & Tips



No, I'm not going to write a formal review of the iPad. There are a thousand of those out there, and I doubt I could add anything relevant. After having spent the last couple of days with the device, though, I've discovered a number of interesting things in my poking around that I thought I'd share. These aren't in any particular order, but I'll try to keep similar items together.


  1. Yes, as everyone else says, the iPad is heavier than what one first expects. While some have criticized this aspect, I like it. The iPad feels solid.

  2. Those who still criticize the iPad for not having a widescreen display don't get it. It would be so awkward goofy to hold it and turn sideways if it were widescreen. Watching movies would benefit from a widescreen, but few other things. This is more akin to holding a book. I don't want a widescreen book.

  3. While the screen seems just the right size at the moment, I don't know if other sizes might be appreciated, too. A full 8.5 x 11" screen might be nice to use. I've heard rumors that Apple may offer different sized screens in the future.

  4. Immediately upon turning the iPad on for the first time, you will have to connect it to a computer to set it up. This is not an independent machine at all. While I think the iPad would be great for taking notes in a classroom setting, the university that announced a few days ago that all incoming freshman would get an iPad instead of a MacBook need to rethink that strategy. The students will have to have a computer, too. This situation may change in a few years, but right now, the iPad is not an independent platform.

  5. Those who criticize the iPad for not replacing a computer, don't understand it. The iPad is clearly intended to be a secondary machine. Of course, it's also criticized over this. "Why do I need another device to carry around?" That's not getting it either. I still remember the first time I saw an entire computer dedicated for use as a cash register. I thought that this was a waste as this computer could do so much more. An entire computer wasn't needed to simply function as a cash register in my opinion. Regardless of whether you agree with that (or even if I still agree with that), the reality is that often I take my MacBook Pro into situations in which a much lesser device would better suffice. I'm not getting rid of my MacBook Pro. I still need it for "heavy lifting," but there are many contexts in which all I need is something like the iPad. I am thinking of those times such as going to a faculty meeting or a deacons meeting at church in which I basically need to take a few notes and have access to my calendar. Yesterday, I took my iPad to church and taught our Bible study using Keynote for the iPad. It was a nice change of pace to not have to lug my entire laptop bag.

  6. For both Kathy and me, the first sync was excruciatingly long. We both opted to include our photos in iPhoto on the iPad. I have over 10,000 pictures, and she has over 6,000. iTunes has to "optimize" the photos for the iPad just as it does for the iPhone. Then, it still has to copy them. This took about two hours for each of us.

  7. When connected to WiFi, the iPad continues to receive mail—even beeps—just like the iPhone when turned off (or technically in sleep mode). That may seem like an obvious feature, but my computer doesn't do that. What's really weird is having my Mac running with my iPad and iPhone in the same room. Three beeps for every one email!

  8. Like I've always done with computers and my iPhone, I turned up the brightness to full capacity. I soon found this hurting my eyes. Really, all the average person will need is the brightness set to the middle position in preferences. Really.

  9. The interface animations are extremely fluid. Pick one up and slide from the first screen to the second. You'll see what I mean.

  10. Speaking of interface, I'm very impressed with the aesthetic detail of some of the iPad apps. I can't remember such attention to visual interface details on standard computers since...well...ever. To me applications like Contacts and Calendar look gorgeous. Not all agree. Paul Thurrott wrote yesterday, "Contacts is ridiculous. Apple needs to get over its desire to ape real world interfaces. That does not work." To each his own. I think it looks great. It has an old school charm, even down to the stitching in the center of the address book. Perhaps, this is why Paul prefers Windows :-)

  11. I love reading and respond to email on the iPad. It's not just a great interface, but also a very handy and comfortable form factor. However, I dislike not having a junk mail filter. I could easily see myself using the iPad for email more than my Mac, but I don't like the junk mail that gets through.

  12. Biggest complaint against Mail app on the iPad: no integrated inbox—not even an option for this. I thought Steve promised this a couple of weeks ago in an email? Hopefully that's coming.

  13. The virtual keyboards work great. In landscape mode, the keys are the size of a regular keyboard. In portrait mode, I'd equate my typing to that on some of the smaller netbooks I've tried. I've actually got the external keyboard dock on order and it should arrive this week. But I've found that I'm actually pretty fast in landscape mode. It's easily the size of a regular keyboard sans the numeric keypad. However, I keep trying to hit an apostrophe and end up hitting the return key. Actually, one really doesn't have to enter apostrophes at all as the interface will simply add them to common contractions and even some possessives. Like the iPhone, the apostrophe key is on a second keyboard layer. Yet the exclamation mark and question mark are included on the regular comma and period keys, respectively, by using the shift key. I understand having two separate keyboard layers (really three) on the iPhone, but with the larger keys on the iPad, I believe many of them could serve for two separate characters like most keyboards. That means adding an actual number row above the character rows.

  14. The iPad offers four different slide show modes: Cube, Dissolve, Ripple, Wipe and Origami. The last is easiest the most fascinating and fun to watch. Unfortunately, when I connected the iPad to a projector yesterday to show a shuffled rotation of over 1300 photos in our Bible Study group, I could only choose from the Dissolve transition. Clearly, that's the least interesting. I don't know why it would be limited to just this one.

  15. My biggest gripe about the iPad is the lack of an accessible file system. Each application has to hold its own files and you cannot create folders. Why would this be an issue? Well, for instance, I'd like to see if I could use the iPad in the classroom. For any given course I teach, I have multiple files: syllabus, gradebook, Keynote presentations, etc. It's convenient to keep them in one folder or a grouped nest of folders. The iPad simply doesn't work that way. Each file has to be transferred to its own program.

  16. One would think that the above issue could be overcome by placing folders in my MobileMe iDisk. And while the MobileMe iDisk can be accessed on the iPad via its iPhone app, I can't simply tap on a Keynote file and have it open in Keynote on the iPad. I have to transfer a Keynote file either through iTunes on my computer or email it. Why the iWork apps don't have access to my iDisk built in is beyond me.

  17. PDF documents create an interesting issue. Yes, if someone emails me a PDF file, I can view it in the Mail app, but there's no way for me to group a batch of separate PDF files. To me there ought to be some kind of application built in just for reading emails. Fortunately, I found an excellent app for 99¢ called GoodReader. It will connect to a MobileMe disk, email account, network server, Dropbox, Google Docs and more to retrieve documents and group them in the application. It works well and has a very intuitive interface.

  18. I spent quite a bit of time in the three iWork apps: Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Here's what's interesting. The iPad apps are not actually sharing a common file format with their counterparts on the Mac. It doesn't matter whether you have a Pages file or a MS Word file, both have to be imported to Pages on the iPad and then exported back out. I guess in the final analysis, it doesn't really matter, but I do find it very interesting.

  19. If you have iWork '08 or earlier, you're out of luck. iWork on the iPad won't read your files. You have to have iWork '09.

  20. Some things about the iWork apps are not intuitive at all. There's no menu system because the interface has been completely rethought for touch. But this can cause problems. How do you rename a file? How do you perform a "Save as" for a file. I had to go online for these answers. You have to rename a file in the "My Documents" section of your app by tapping on it. I don't think I could have figured that out on my own. If you want to do a "Save as," do it before you edit the file by choosing to duplicate the file.

  21. Interface conventions are not always consistent across the board, but some are. Double-tapping a word in programs like Safari, iBooks, and the iWork apps selects the word. The iWork apps allow you to triple-tap a word to select the entire paragraph, but this doesn't work in any of the other apps. You might want to do this in the other apps to copy text.

  22. Neither text nor graphics can be copied out of the iBooks app or the Kindle app.

  23. I bought the initial April 12, 2010 issue of Time Magazine released for the iPad. I like the interface in which each article can be read on one screen with vertical swipes while swiping horizontally to move to the next article. However, Time is extremely overpriced at $4.99 an issue. Last week, I updated our print subscription to Time for the entire year for $20. That's about 40¢ an issue. There's no way I'd choose digital over print at those prices.

  24. I'm astonished at the fact that Pages does not allow footnotes. Really. Or even endnotes. In fact, if you import in a document with footnotes or endnotes, it removes them—completely strips them out! There's an alert upon conversion to this regard, but frankly it's startling to me. I cannot even write a thank-you note without footnotes! I've seen text conversions between word processors on the computer in which footnotes might be converted to endnotes, but strip them out completely? If Apple wants the iPad to receive heavy use from students, let alone academics, Pages will have to include the ability to add footnotes. Either that, or another company has a chance to come along and create a much more robust word processor for the iPad.

  25. I've already noted that the iWork apps on the iPad are not truly sharing the same file format. That also means that like the footnotes that are stripped out, other things can be stripped out as well. First page headers and footers get deleted. An alert is offered if a particular font is not available. Keynote will accept some video formats in a presentation but not others. I'm not certain yet which ones work and which ones don't. As soon as you import a file, an alert is offered to tell you what will be missing. Needless to say, you need to fully check any imported files before rushing out the door to a context in which you'll need them.

  26. Some apps like the iWork and iBooks app do not reset when closed. I was initially worried about this based upon my experience with the iPhone in which many apps have to completely "restart." In iBooks, the page opens right where you left off. If you are working on a document in Pages, you can go read your email and then come back to pick up right where you left off.

  27. The most egregious missing feature in iWork for the iPad for me is presenter notes in Keynote. And it doesn't make sense because when connected to a projector, the iPad creates the equivalent of an extended desktop. It's not a plain mirror of what's on the iPad. So why not have a presenter's screen with notes like on the Mac version of Keynote? I haven't printed out notes in at least three years and to do so seems like such a step backwards and the antithesis of what the iPad is supposed to represent. I hope that a future revision will remedy a lack of presenter notes. .

  28. I've actually managed to completely crash the iPad once. I imported a particularly media-heavy Keynote file that I used on Sunday a few weeks ago, only to watch as Keynote crashed during the import process. Then the entire iPad rebooted. There's no warning if an app crashes; the iPad just goes out to the desktop. And if the iPad itself crashes, it simply reboots on its own.

  29. I was particularly interested to see how Pages (and Keynote) would handle biblical original languages texts. Since there is a Logos app on the iPad (no Accordance app yet and Olive Tree's iPad-specific BibleReader app has not made it to to the app store as of this writing), I thought I'd try copying text from the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Bible. After struggling a while to copy text, I realized that the Logos app doesn't allow for copying. A comment on their website forums says it's coming in a future revision. So, on my Mac I copied unicode texts of Genesis 1:1 from both the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Septuagint from Accordance into a Pages file and imported it into Pages on the iPad. Both texts showed up great, and the Hebrew text even read from right to left correctly except for bere’shit at the beginning of the Hebrew text. I could change the font size, but I could not edit text. I couldn't even place a cursor in the middle of the Hebrew text, and while I could do that in the Greek text, neither would allow me to edit in Hebrew or Greek. I have no idea how to switch to a unicode keyboard in the application for this level of editing.

  30. There is an updated WordPress app for the iPad. It's somewhat better than the iPhone version, but really with the larger screen, I don't know why one wouldn't want to simply use the WordPress admin site in Safari. I'll have to try this later and get back to you.

  31. iWork apps come with 43 fonts. From what I can tell, they're not system-wide for other apps to use, but I could be wrong.

  32. Pages and the other iWork apps don't convert straight quotation marks to "curly" quotation marks. A lack of such is so 1991. You can achieve them manually, however, by holding down the quotation mark key and selecting the symbol you want (do you have any idea how difficult it was to get that screenshot?).

  33. I would not want to do a lot of data entry in Numbers using the virtual keyboard. I updated our monthly budget for April using Numbers on the iPad based on last month's budget file. Although Numbers is smart enough to change the keyboard based upon what kind of data fill you're in, a spreadsheet is just a bit awkward. It would definitely be better with an external keyboard—one that had both a tab key and a numeric keypad, to boot.

  34. There are too many steps to change fonts and font sizes in Pages. I recognize the power of predetermined styles, but that doesn't mean I don't want to occasionally make minor changes to a selection of text that I don't need to create a style for. Right now, simply to change the font of a word (without using a predetermined style), here are the steps: (1) selection your text, (2) select the inspector, (3) scroll down past all the styles, (4) tap "Text Options," (5) tap "Font," (6) scroll through the fonts, and (7) tap the font you want. This should be easier.

  35. Ironically, iWork Pages on the iPad autosaves in spite of the fact that its Mac equivalent does not.

  36. As I mentioned,  took my iPad with me to church yesterday. It was a nice change of pace to simply carry my Bible and and the iPad in its case. It really looked and felt like I was carrying two books with me. This is again why I say that the form factor on the iPad is just right. So why did I need to carry a Bible if I have Bible apps on the iPad? I needed it because I planned to teach from Keynote on the iPad, so I needed a separate Bible. This is really not a big deal as I usually have my Bible, MacBook Pro and my laptop bag. I felt much lighter yesterday!

  37. While sitting in church as our pastor gave his message, I decided to use my iPad instead of my printed Bible to follow along. Lately they've been turning the lights too low during the message to actually see a Bible anyway. Although my pastor was teaching from the NLT, I decided to use Crossway's dedicated ESV iPad app. It opened to Genesis, and it took me a moment to figure out how to get to John 21 which was the text of the day. After I figured it out, I was delighted to see what a nice app for the iPad that the Crossway ESV app is. Certainly, it doesn't have all the frills of a larger suite of software like the offerings from Logos or Olive Tree, but it doesn't have the distractions either. At one point, I accidentally double-tapped some of the text only to see a window pop up showing the single verse, cross references, and a place to add my own notes. As an added bonus, text can be copied out of the ESV iPad app and pasted into other apps such as iWork Pages. I was very impressed by this app as having more depth and features that I originally realized. I know that some of you reading this are heavy ESV users, and I think that you would probably want to check out this app if you have an iPad.

  38. Also, toward the end of my pastor's message, I had an idea for an extra slide in my Keynote presentation which I was going to use in our Bible study that was to follow the service. It was so easy with my iPad already opened to simply add a new slide and the text I needed. Previously, opening my entire MacBook Pro would have seemed just a bit too conspicuous.

  39. Speaking of my Keynote presentation, I created the entire file with nine slides on the iPad. While it's very nice to be able to do that, and especially nice to do quick updates unnoticed, I imagine I will normally want to create them on my Mac. Like my mention of spreadsheets above, I believe that some things are still going to be easier and faster to do on a regular computer as opposed to a touch interface.

  40. On Saturday, when I tried logging into the Logos app (you have to log in to access the books that you own in the desktop software), I was initially confused by the process. There was a place for my user name and password and two buttons: one that read "Skip" and one that read "Sign Up." Well, I didn't want to do either. But I went ahead and entered my information and checked "Sign Up." That took me to a screen to create an account which is not what I wanted to do. After going back to the first login screen, I noted that the virtual keyboard had a "Go" button instead of the normal "Return." I've discovered that the iPad will often change types of keyboards based on what type of task the screen requires. So this time, I hit the Go button and—voila!—I was logged in. Although I tend to use Accordance primarily and Logos secondarily on my Mac, I can see very real potential for reading some of my Logos books from beginning to end on the iPad because of both the book-like form factor and the higher resolution screen that will be easier on the eyes. Although I have thousands of books on my Mac, I use them more for reference than straight reading because I find it difficult to read for long periods of time on the computer.

  41. Speaking of reading books, I tried out both the iBooks app and the Kindle iPad app. The Kindle app downloaded my four previously acquired Kindle books with no difficulty. Both are very straight forward, although the iBooks app has animated page turning. I don't know if this will get annoying or ignored in reading, say, a 300 page book. There should probably be a preference to keep the animation from occurring. Regardless, it seems to impress those to whom I've shown my iPad.

All in all, despite having some "version 1" gotchas, I'm very pleased with my iPad. Again, it's not made to replace anything, but can be a very nice secondary alternative. It has that "curl up on the couch" feel that a laptop or even a netbook does not have. I plan to carry it with me instead of my laptop to those places that don't require the extra computing power that a laptop or desktop computer offers. The iPad is my way to go "lite" and realistically, this may be for half or more of my normal computing needs.

When I bought my MacBook Pro in 2008, I purposefully spent extra money and bought a high end model that could be upgraded and would last me for a while. I even said at the time that this was my main computer and I wouldn't replace it for at least five years. I still plan to hold to that time frame, but in 2013 when I go to buy a new Mac, maybe I won't need a laptop after all. Maybe I can go to a less expensive iMac desktop Mac, knowing that the iPad of 2013 may very well be all I need for portable purposes.

Friday
Apr022010

Armed Guards & "Big" Problems for UPS. Will You Get Your iPad Tomorrow? Probably.

Security's been tight around hundreds of thousands of iPads sitting at Louisville's major international UPS hub. Earlier today I posted that a UPS employee I personally know told me that they were having "problems." Evidently the sheer number of iPads was overwhelming. My friend equated it with "Mother's Day."

Earlier this afternoon, a completely different UPS employee posted this on my FaceBook wall [which I've since removed]:

"I was so close to the iPads @ UPS last night it wasn't even funny.  they had them stored in the tunnel and armed guards were around them, along with customs, all night."


Then my original UPS "source" sent me a text message earlier this afternoon. Here is our ongoing conversation:

1:35 PM EST

UPS employee: "there are ipads as far as the eye can see."


2:01 PM EST

UPS employee: "you may not get it tomorrow. big problems"


3:24 PM EST

Me: "I hope you're kidding."

UPS employee: "nope. big issues"

Me: "you better get my ipad to me!" [kidding]

UPS employee: "man I am looking at thousands and thousands"

Me: "what's the problem?"

UPS employee: "long story...I'll email later...alot of stressed out peeps :-)"


5:24 PM EST

UPS employee: "it's like looking at the warehouse at the end of Raiders...boxes & boxes"


My friend got off work at 5:30 PM, so he called me. He said he's pretty far down the chain and doesn't have all the information, but he thinks some of them got processed but didn't get tracking numbers. He's pretty confident that individual customers who have tracking numbers beginning with "1Z..." will get them on time. He thinks most of the problems were with the ones going to the stores. However, he said that there was another crew coming in that was going to work all night, so no one should lose hope yet in regard to Saturday delivery. He said that everyone at UPS was taking this very seriously and bending over backwards to ensure delivery by April 3.

I also asked him about the security mentioned in the post from another employee on my FaceBook wall. He said they had armed Brinkley guards to make certain that none of the iPad shipments turned up missing. UPS takes such things very seriously.

For what it's worth, although my original Apple shipping notice said delivery by April 3, UPS tracking still has nothing under "Scheduled Delivery:

Nevertheless, after talking to my friend, I'm pretty confident regarding Saturday delivery. Heck, the UPS hub is only a half-hour's drive from my house. If they can't deliver here...

But you know what? In the big scheme of things, who cares whether it's a Saturday delivery or a Monday delivery? That won't even be remembered a month from now or even a week later for that matter. It's fun to look forward to a new gadget and the dynamics of delivering hundreds of thousands of them is kind of fascinating, but these aren't really life and death issues, are they?

If I have any kind of update to the delivery issue, I'll add it to this post.


UPDATE 4/3/2010: Although my tracking information never updated to say our iPads were on the truck for delivery, they both arrived right around noon today. Lots of fun playing. I'll update more later.

Friday
Apr022010

Overheard: A UPS Employee on the iPad Deliveries

I live in Simpsonville, Kentucky, one county over from Louisville, Kentucky, which is home to an international hub for UPS. Evidently, all iPads will stop in Louisville on their way from China to purchasers' homes and businesses. Anyone who has been trying to track their iPad shipment this week on the UPS website has seen their packages go from China to Louisville and then see the Louisville references disappear from the tracking detail. Although I've confirmed via a response from UPS contact email that my iPad will arrive on Saturday, I wouldn't know that simply from looking at my tracking information. There is nothing under the column of delivery date.

Moreover, it seems that iPad shipments may have been sitting in Louisville for a few days, but being held, presumably under instructions from Apple, until delivery on Saturday which is not a "normal" delivery day for UPS. Usually Saturday delivery costs extra, but Apple did not charge to ship iPads to customers, nor to have them delivered on Saturday.

Living so close to Louisville, I know a number of people who work for UPS. I was discussing the iPad shipments with a friend of mine who works in UPS management. Obviously, this was an "unofficial" off-the-cuff remark, but I thought he made an interesting appraisal of the whole situation:

"I know there was a problem with the way the packages were processed and there turned out to be far more [shipments] than UPS expected. It was like a Mothers Day week or something and caught everyone off guard."


Very interesting. But for those of us waiting on the delivery of our iPads tomorrow, I'm certain that we have nothing to be concerned about. This isn't UPS' first rodeo.

Thursday
Apr012010

Confirmed: No Presenter Notes in Keynote for the iPad

In Macworld's post "Hands on with the iPad: First Impressions," the statement is made:

"However, we were sad to discover that presenter notes are not supported by the Keynote app, so if you rely on those notes to guide your presentation, you will be disappointed by this initial version of Keynote."


I can only hope presenter notes will be added in a later version. The mere idea of printing out my notes seems like such a step backwards.