is the iPad a good fit for my needs - app recommendation

Discussion in 'iPad' started by maflynn, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #1
    I'm thinking of getting a new iPad if apple updates the line in the coming weeks, provided it will satisfy a need. My company provides funds to offset the cost of devices like this, and I think this will be a good use of those funds.

    At work, I use notebooks to jot down notes about various projects I'm working on, or server configurations etc. The problem with this, is that there's little organization. I have to page through the notebook to find a specific piece of information for a specific project. Using my computer for this, isn't feasible, since I'm not always at my desk when taking these notes. Using different notebooks may be option, but it quickly becomes unwieldy as I work on multiple projects at once.

    I also have documents, spreadsheets and PDFs that would be useful to have on a mobile device like the iPad. For instance, I have a spreadsheet of server configurations, i.e., ports, IP addresses and passwords, as I maintain 25+ servers.

    the iPad would work well for this AFAIK, but I'm at a loss to what apps that might be available to jot down notes, have some organization to them and then possibly sync them to the workstation as needed.

    Finally, since this will be my iPad (being used for personal and professionally), I'll be syncing it to my Mac at home, but the need to sync it to my windows workstation at the office is there as well. Is this feasible?


    Thanks in advance.
    Mike
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #2
    There are a number of note taking apps, some of which will allow for cloud syncing between devices

    I definitely would suggest the use of DropBox to have access to your documents everywhere on every computer, iPhone and iPad

    And GoodReader for organizing your documents and PDFs
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #3
    There are a **** ton of pdf readers and organizers available on the iPad. Not as many apps as you would find for say, note taking though. ;)

    I like Goodreader for the iPad for PDF reading and organization.
    I've been through a ton of note taking apps and for you, I'd recommend investing in two and see where you land. Note Taker HD and Penultimate. I have both and I think they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

    To me, I think the iPad would suit your needs so long as you're aware that there is no file system. You can email just about anything you create, but you must do it from the app, it's not as though you can craft an e-mail and then attach a document as you would on say an Android phone. (no flame wars, just a comparison of features or lack thereof)

    Finally, you likely will have issues syncing with your Mac at home and PC at work but frankly, I don't see why you'd need to. I rarely sync mine, it's more for backup purposes and it's done once a week at best. I use dropbox quite frequently if I need to upload something that I want on any one of my other machines, windows or PC.

    Edit: MacDawg beat me to it but let's revel in the fact that both of us beat GJ Studios! :D :p
     
  4. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #4

    "...At work, I use notebooks to jot down notes about various projects I'm working on, or server configurations etc. ..."


    That means you want to TYPE on whatever device you are using. The iPad's on screen "keyboard" is the worst input device that I have ever come across in my 30+ years that I've been using computers.

    The iPad might be a good enough device for VIEWing PDFs and other documents. However, it's a horrible device if you need to edit such PDFs or documents.

    Also, you might get the idea to install RDP, SSH and Telnet clients on the iPad to remote access your servers. Such software exists for iPads, and while it does almost everything that you would expect from such clients, using them on the iPad is an awful experience. Why? Because you either need to TYPE a lot (ssh, telnet) -- OR -- you want a real mouse for the terminal sessions.

    If you jailbreak the iPad and connect a BlueTooth mouse to it and also use Apple's keyboard, okay, MAYBE the iPad becomes useful for your purposes. However, for the same money you can get a real notebook which is a much more flexible and powerful device than the iToy.

    You can trust me on this: I also work as an admin at a Teleport and have a lot of devices in my care and was foolish enough to believe that the iPad would be a cool tool for me at work. It completely sucked at everything and after having spend a lot of money on software for it, I eventually returned it to Apple. Now I'm sitting on a couple of hundreds of dollars of iPad software for which Apple won't reimburse me and for which I have zero use. Which is just another reason for me to hate the entire iTunes AppStore system. Anyway.

    The iPad might have a couple of places in the IT ecosystem, but as a device for system administrators or writers, it is a total failure. But you can only discover this after actually having tried it under real world conditions for a couple of days - just reading reviews doesn't substitute first hand experience, and almost all of those reviews are only hyping the device as the best invention since sliced bread, while in the real world you never see anybody using an iPad "in the wild" (at least not for real work).
     
  5. 0007776 Suspended

    0007776

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    #5
    I know a lot of people say that the onscreen keyboard is bad, but I've been using it on my iPad and I don't have a problem typing on it. For the OP, There are a lot of good apps to choose from, most of the best ones have been mentioned, but try a few to see which you like. Also before you buy it try one out in the store to make sure you are fine with typing on the onscreen keyboard. I think it works fine, bt you want to be sure it will work for you before you buy it.
     
  6. KeithJenner macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    #6
    In fairness, quite a lot of people find the iPad keyboard quite useable for taking notes etc.

    Obviously it is nothing like as quick and easy as a hard keyboard, but once you get used to it, it can be used for this purpose, and the portability is a major plus.

    I won't go into the "real work" thing.
     
  7. maflynn, Jan 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011

    maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    I think that's fine as long as I can organize my information and have access to documents and spreadsheets and from the sounds of it, the iPad may be a good fit.

    That's what I thought, but using dropbox is an excellent advice that you and MacDawg suggested.

    Agreed - to a point ;). I can type faster then I can write, but I think when dealing with some note taking, it's probably a quicker and easier transition to open up a notebook and jot the stuff down then fire up the iPad and enter the information. I've played with the iPad's keyboard and to be honest, I don't share your opinion on how poor it is as an input device. In fact it appears from my using it, to be quite excellent. I've heard others complain about it, but I've also read how some love the keyboard. I guess I'm saying is its a personal preference thing.

    For my needs, that's all I want it for. I'm in the process of upgrading one of my PeopleSoft environments and I have one 118 page PDF that I'm working off, and I have a second 400 page document to deal with. Its not feasible to print off the second document and while I can have it on screen on my workstation, its easier to have on a secondary device so I can keep my work in front of me and the pdf for reviewing.

    That's on my shortlist but I didn't want to muddy the discussion too much as the primary role is for what I documented, the secondary role will be accessing the servers ;)

    I am researching this in a very focused manner, which is why I didn't mention RDP/Telnet. While I can return the iPad, you're correct on getting refunds for apps, but that criticism is a bit unfounded. For instance, if you opened and installed any OSX (or windows) commercial application, you'd be hard pressed to return it.

    agreed, I've held off on the iPad for a long time (nearly a year) to let the dust settle, I'm also taking my time to determine if its feasible. Yes, reviews, opinions are important to help craft a decision, but ultimately using it firsthand will dictate the success/failure of it fitting in. I think though you can read sift through the hype and see the truly valuable advice, like Jessica and MacDawgs.
     
  8. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #8
    Your entire post sounds like you've had a bad experience with iPads/Apple and now you are on a personal crusade to get the rest of the world to hate them as much as you do.
    Although I find using a pen & paper far superior for the actual taking of notes, what I have found is that the real benefit lies in the organisation of those notes after having taken them. This is actually what the OP was asking about. For the tasks the OP suggests - taking & organising notes, viewing PDF/spreadsheets - an iPad sounds ideal.
    I use an iPad to help me run my business. I find it very useful for "real work". Perhaps you are right and nobody else in the world does this except for me. In that case the rest of the world is really missing out.
     
  9. KeithJenner macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    #9
    The official definition of "real work" on MacRumours is what the poster themselves does. What others do doesn't count, so your point doesn't work I'm afraid.
     
  10. kdarling macrumors P6

    kdarling

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    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    #10
    Look into Evernote on the iPad if you're okay with using the onscreen keyboard.

    If you like jotting, then look at MS OneNote on a PC Tablet... so you can use a stylus to write and be recognized. OneNote is popular with medical students. (It also integrates with Word, mobile OneNote on WP7, and even special standalone pens that record handwriting in a paper notebook and sync back when docked.)
     
  11. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    I highly doubt that the next iPad will be arriving in next couple of weeks but only time will tell.
    There are some very good PDF apps out there which support most file formats (.doc, .docx, etc.) but render PDF the best. I have been a big fan of GoodReader since it came out however I am now addicted to PDF Expert for the iPad - I find it far better than GoodReader.
    From your post - the iPad seems to be of good use for someone like you. I'm sure you'll make the best out of it.
     
  12. DNAppleGold macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    #12
    Putting the vitriolic replies aside, it seems that you want to:

    1. Take notes on the fly
    2. Have a set of documents available to view on the fly in an easily readable searchable manner.
    3. An easy way to transfer docs to and from IPAD and your home/work computers.

    While you may need to take notes on a document, you have little need to use the Ipad for document creation and editing.

    If I have this correct, you are describing exactly what I use the Ipad for - and frankly I love it.

    1. Note taking. I never go to a meeting with paper anymore. There are several great note taking apps. I use "Noterize" because I can do synchronized recordings of meetings/notes, import a pfd into the notes and mock it up (e.g., one page of lined notes, followed by a pdf, followed by more notes). But there are plenty of others. Honestly, both my handwritten and typed notes are a mess, but at least I can always read the typed notes, each meeting is in its own unique document (as opposed to flipping through a notepad), and I can quickly export the notes so they are never lost. I will say, if you need to take very detailed, precise notes, the Ipad may not be for you.

    2. Documents at the ready. I have about 10 documents I always need handy. I just put them a dropbox folder on my work PC (copy/past or save as) and they magically appear on my Ipad (and Iphone, and home computer).

    3. Transfer from the Ipad to work/home computer. For me, the Ipad is not a storage device for business documents. I want a copy on my work or home computer quickly. There are many ways to do this (e-mail the docs to yourself, IWork syncs docs with Itunes or Mobile Me, many apps, such as Goodreader or Reddledocs, allow WiFi transfers). My favorite is Dropbox. Most apps allow you to send docs directly to Dropbox. When you do so, the doc will just be on all the computers you have a Dropbox at once (home, work, Iphone) without doing anything more. Note, IWorks doesn't play well with Dropbox and I now rarely use those apps.

    BTW, the total cost of the business apps I use regularly is under $20.
     

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