Incidents and Accidents, Hints and Allegations

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iPad, uPad, we allPad...never mind
dresser, Montano, 2006
 Bad jokes aside, the fact is that I do in fact now have an iPad, thanks to David Dunham. He got one early, and then wanted to upgrade from the wi-fi-only configuration to one with 3G, and mentioned this to me, and now I'm buying his first one on the installment plan.

This is a really amazing device. It...well, it doesn't exactly feel like a "computer", in a lot of ways. A lot of that is that it's a single piece of hardware - nothing stands up or protrudes, except the docking cable when it's connected to the desktop machine. There are a few buttons around the edge, but nearly everything happens on the screen itself, which fills the front. (It does collect fingerprints, but a daily application of Windex and a paper towel cure that just fine.) So when I lie it on a flat surface it really lies flat, in a way that a laptop does not, and when I hold it in my hands, one lift gets the entire unit, because there's nothing else.

I was skeptical that 7x10 inches of display would work well for things like gaming books, but it turns out that the slight reduction in size is in practice not a problem at all. And the design of the iOS interface makes it so that when you're looking at something on screen, you're really, really looking at it, with much less interference at any margin. When David's app DiceBook goes up for sale, I'll review it with some screenshots to illustrate, since it's my favorite of the options I've tried for PDF viewing. (And it's the only PDF viewer I'm aware of with a built-in dice roller, which is pretty neat.) And for anything more straightforwardly text-ish, options like iBooks work just great. I've been importing my library from Baen Books, Fictionwise, and the like, and so much loving the big comfortable display. 

I will go through what I'm doing with it in future posts. Right now I just waned to share my happiness and enthusiasm.

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My iPad has become my primary home computer, and my walkaround office computer. (Granted, I rarely do heavy text processing at home.)

The idea of Windex makes me anxious; a t-shirt works fine, at least until a hot sweaty afternoon (sorry, TMI).

I really, really like how the OS just gets out of your way, and makes the entire device into what you're trying to do. "Chromeless" is a term that didn't make much sense to me until I experienced it; now, toolbars and menus and scroll bars (and all of that stuff) irks me on my desktop.

The device gets used differently than a laptop. I find myself handing it over to people much more readily (look at this picture, or this web site). Some people have found themselves a little anxious about this, with private/trade-secret info elsewhere on the iPad, but it hasn't stopped them from doing it.

It's a little heavy to hold unsupported for long periods of time, but the battery life and strategic propping makes up for this.

I prefer using the iPad over my Mac laptop, for most tasks, as much as I prefer using my Mac over a Windows machine.

I can recommend a few apps if you're interested, but this comment is already too long.

Please do feel free to recommend some. :)

Instapaper is far and away my favorite iPad app. You install a bookmarklet in your browser (iPad and desktop), and hit it when you find an article to read later. Instapaper syncs them to your iPad, stripped of (most) formatting and graphics, for relaxed, distraction-free reading. It usually does a good job of stitching together multipage articles.

Simplenote does what it says. Plus it syncs notes to a server (silently, in the background), so you can access them on your desktop via a web app. No fancy graphics, just text.


Those are the ones I use most often. Others I appreciate include the IMDB app, Adobe Ideas for sketching, and miscellaneous games that I rarely play as much as I expect to.

I've been happy with Instapaper for a long time. I use TaskPaper for my note taking since I like the hierarchical formatting options. But Simplenote is nifty, yes.


At some point, maybe draw out the ways that it's not just a bigger iPod. I had a quick look at one in a shop and it seemed very familiar.

Several people (myself included) have had the same interaction with it:

(first five minutes) "Wow, this is a huge iPhone(/iPod Touch)!"
(second five minutes) "Huh, it's just a big iPhone."
(after that) "Oh, it's just a big iPhone, but that totally changes what you can do with it."

Well, it is in a lot of ways. But it's faster, and the bigger screen means that it can do things the iPod can't, like display a full printed page at once. I will have more to say in the future, and plan to illustrate it with screenshots.

Gaming books are one of my primary planned use cases for my inevitable purchase. Thanks for the insight.

Well, that kinda cinches my thoughts on getting one soonish, rather than laterish...


(I wonder if I could convince the guy at work who got a couple - one for him, one for his spousal-unit - to part with his 64gb one on an installment plan, so he can upgrade to a 3g model... :-)

I keep trying to maintain my healthy skepticism about the critter but accounts like this are gradually eroding it. Lookin' forward to the full tabletop-session-on-iPad report. :)

I have one of these interesting things because I couldn't get an iPad for anything less than 3x the recommended retail price; I refuse to pay gouge-happy greedmongers such a ridiculous overprice.

The e-paper works very well for reading pdfs, but rolling dice would have to happen in the Android window ;)

I currently have it set with the LCD on the left and the e-paper on the right -- for some reason that feels "better" than the other way.

It currently lacks the ability to connect to mobile cellular, but that may come in a while. It might also incite me to actually try writing an android app or two for the larger screen. It's as much a departure from the regular android phone-sized world as the iPad is from the iPhone, but with the secondary e-paper screen making it a very intriguing thing.

If you haven't seen it yet, I suspect you will find the app Air Video to be useful for you: streaming video from one of your computers to your iPad, without need to sync or faff around with iTunes-compatible formats.

I'm already accustomed to throwing stuff at Handbrake, but will check it out, thanks.

The iPad is now my primary tool for D&D and for the supers game I am currently running. Dicenomicon is unfriendly and crash prone at times, so thanks for letting me know about Dicebook!

Happy to. :) It won't have all the dice options I can conceive of - the nWoD setup wouldn't work, for starters. But at launch it will do all of D&D's stuff, and Fudge dice, and a bunch of others. And it's also by far the most pleasant of the PDF readers I've looked at; I still have GoodReader around but I don't think I've used it all lately.

I like GoodReader for its sheer flexibility and richness of features, such as the ability to zoom way into any given PDF until three or four perfectly-rendered letters fill the screen. And for its 99-cent price.

In light of that, I was a bit skeptical of what you said about DiceBook, until the author happened to offer me a free review copy to review for TeleRead. And after fiddling around with it a little, I have to agree that in terms of a simple day-to-day PDF-reading solution, it is a lot simpler (and perhaps a bit quicker) than GoodReader.

I am SO jealous Bruce. I will love to hear more about your adventures with the Pad of I.

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