Med student + iPad2?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by triple-h, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. triple-h macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011

    I know this was posted before, but I'm concerned about the specifics here.

    I've done 1 year of med school, and I'm overwhelmed by the massive amounts of books, powerpoints, and paper that I have to deal with. I would like to be able to constantly read from the books and powerpoints, so I'm considering an iPad because my macbook 13" isn't serving that purpose very well. [portability and screen angle are a pain + it lags with chm files]

    Also, I'm still unsure if iPad2 can handle ebooks properly. For those of who you read CHMs/PDFs on iPad2, is it good enough? Does the glare cause a problem? Does it lag? Shows malformed text or images?
    I'm planning to read 3 to 5 hours a day from it, if not more. If reading from an iPad isn't any more comfortable than reading from a macbook, then it's not worth it.
    Oh, and how's the pptx file support?

    I was also wondering if it's worth it to get an iPad 2 by the end of this month or wait for iPad 3.

    It's quite confusing because I've never used an iPad/iPhone before. :confused: :confused: :confused:

    What do you think?
  2. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    It can't replace your notebook for creating content, reports etc.

    It's great for reading. I loaded up about 300 PDFs for an IEEE conference back in summer, lasted all day and then some, reading and taking notes and following along.

    It's very fast with PDF, text looks good, graphics and charts all looked great.

    Indoors, the glare isn't a big deal, shift around you can make it work. Outdoors, it is a pain.
    After my trip, when I got back, added the PowerSupport AG film, helps immensely.

    epub files do great. Dunno what a CHM is.
  3. triple-h thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011
    Thanks for feedback! Since I'm a student, I'll mostly have it lying flat on the table while I'm taking notes from ebooks. I was just concerned about glare in these situations. For example, I can't see anything off my phone screen in a situation like that.

    I take notes on paper, and I'm only using iPad for long periods of reading.

    If it did 1 day for you, then I guess I'll be happy with it, but I'm still concerned about CHM compatibility :(
  4. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Flat on table i find ergonomically poor, may be personal preference though, might work since youll be hunched over notepad anyway... Wow i dont miss school, that kind of posture would kill me.

    My preferred is sitting back, legs crossed and ipad balacned up on my quad, sets it angled right toward me.

    Runner up is smartcover folded back and propped at about 15deg angle.

    Goodreadee, goodnotes can take notes right on top of pdf files, but i just jotted down quick things in the notes app. No more than 2-4 lines per paper presentation. Mine were few though.

    Youll continue to use paper and pen for college class notes. Sorry, didnt mean to siggest youd be able to do class notes on it.

    I was sitting in about 7hrs worth of paper presentation, screen on and off, widi active but not using it, some cut the rope on breaks, would get back to hotel with 30-40% bart. Very amazing.
  5. triple-h thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011
    One more reason to get an iPad :)

    Thnx for help ^___^
  6. FloatingBones macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    I don't know about lagging chm files on the Mac. You might want to ask a question in the Mac Applications forum to see an efficient way to deal with them on the Mac.

    Goodreader gets very good marks for organizing/reading all sorts of files on the Mac. If you google on

    ipad goodreader chm

    you'll see about ways of using goodreader to store the CHM files but use other apps (like CHMate lite) to view them. So it sounds like you can hack CHM files.

    If I were in your situation, I'd figure out some sort of workflow to group your CHM files into PDF files. Or I'd politely ask your Professors to get with the program and distribute their handouts as PDF files. The great strength of PDF is that you can annotate the files -- take notes -- on your iPad.

    Fine in GoodReader.

    No idea. There is no estimate when an iPad 3 will be available. For your needs, the current product sounds just fine.

    Why don't you take your Mac with PDF files to an Apple Store and ask someone there to help you move them to one of their demo iPads. Grab a stool and see what it's like to read for 30 minutes or so. Ask them the questions you've asked here and any more that occur to you.

    The Apple Store has some 3rd party software on their demo machines, but I doubt if they have GoodReader. IMO, Apple's native PDF viewer (iBooks) is vastly inferior.

    You should also look at the note-taking apps that allow you to record audio and make time-synchronized notes on your iPad. You can emphasize the parts you want to hear again with the notes. Very cool!
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    grad student, not a med student.

    iannotate (great for being able to search every pdf loaded into the app) or goodreader, kindle, and ibooks

    evernote (amazing potential if you are willing to work with it), voodoopad, elements, simplenote, plaintext, notebooks

    notesplus, 7notes, or notetaker hd

    i use the ipad for just about everything nowadays. final formatting for articles, essays, or other publications gets done on the macbook pro, but that is a tiny percentage of my time.

    calibre (free) ought to be able to convert your chm files into the ebook format of your choice. personally, i do pretty much everything with pdf for compatibility. the ability to highlight and annotate, and then export that information (into evernote, for example), has radically changed how i take notes. it is a lot more fun now.

    i use a bookstand (bookgem) or my incase origami workstation to prop up the ipad for reading. there is glare, just as there is with most computer screens, but it has never bothered me. some people totally freak out about this stuff. so, it is something you may want to try out in an apple store.

    at any rate, i don't read anything (including books) flat on the table. what a horribly painful thought, especially for hours and hours each day.
  8. boy-better-know macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2010
    I am currently a student and use my iPad quite a lot for uni work. It handles pdfs really well and i have had no probs with e-books. However it will never replace a laptop or pen and paper in my oppinion. It is an aid not a replacement.
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I'm not disagreeing. I still use my computer. I still use pen and paper. But, I don't bring them to school most days (maybe once or twice a month). Things are going surprisingly well. A stylus and the right notetaking program make handwritten notes a breeze. A combination of Elements (iOS) and Scrivener (OSX) makes writing quite a bit more enjoyable as well.

    I used to be a big-time advocate of writing on the computer, reading on the ipad, and taking notes with pen and paper. However, thanks to some of the advice I have received here on the forums, I am using the iPad for a whole lot more. It isn't quite a replacement, but it is very, very close.
  10. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    According to rumors, iPad 3 won't appear on the market before June 2012. They've been developing the quad-core A6 processor for it which won't have been completed by then.

    Another rumor suspects they may launch the iPad 3 with the present A5 processor and upgrade it afterwards. One can never be sure what and when they'll deliver to the market. If I were you I'd rather get a second-hand iPad 2 instead of waiting for the 3.
  11. mcdspncr macrumors regular


    Jul 2, 2011
    I'm also a med student, and I highly recommend it for students like us who spend huge amounts of time reading. You NEED a case, laying it flat with no angle is useless. I use a stylus too, for notes (I use it flat for notes of course) and annotating textbooks.

    Goodreader is my file system. It the "Documents" folder of the iPad.

    iAnnotate is where I put all my PDF textbooks. It's the Photoshop of PDF annotation apps.

    If you have a lot of CHM files you might have some trouble. There are very few apps that support reading them and I can't vouch for their stability. I had a few, but as my primary reason for the iPad was textbook annotation, basically I needed all my textbooks to be PDF's. Its the only format that's easy to annotate on the iPad. I was able to get PDF copies of my CHM books so it hasn't been an issue for me. If you have a lot of CHM you might want to do some more research into the apps. If you don't care to highlight or write in them, there should be some basic read only apps. But I have yet to find a good way of converting CHM to PDF, so if you want to annotate them I think you might have a problem.

    Notetaker HD is very good for actually writing class notes. Unlike Penultimate (which I can't understand it's popularity) Notetaker allows you to write big, but converts your handwriting to normal paper size, and with the new update, there is excellent autoforwarding as you write and great palm rejection. UPAD is good to although the autoforwarding isn't as great yet.

    There are tons of world class medical apps. Its an amazing resource.

    The battery life! That's the single best feature for me. Ultra portable, and the battery lasts longer than my brain can focus. As far as I'm concerned, iPad is great for med students (especially ones who are familiar or already have digital/PDF textbooks).

    Also, for powerpoints, if you just want to just read them then drop them in Goodreader. For me, I always convert them to PDF's (Keynote or Powerpoint can do this) and put them into iAnnotate. I love to be able to highlight and write on my powerpoints. It's all about that "active" learning!
  12. triple-h thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011
    Wow, that's a lot of replies!

    I want to make it clear again that I don't really care for taking notes. I barely take notes with pen and paper anyway. I rely more on my voice recorder and typing, although the books contain everything I need.

    But the part about the "active learning" is intriguing me. I might change my mind after all :D

    So far I guess I'm not going to wait for an iPad 3 since the current one is apparently more than enough for my needs.

    I also don't like to annotate or highlight stuff at all, so I'll be fine with any app out there, as long as it works fast.

    I'll definitely refer to this post again once I buy the iPad. Thank you all!

    Oh, and I'm also downloading Calibre. Thanks for the tip!
  13. TuiSong macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2011
    Petone, New Zealand
    If the glossy screen bugs you, there are matte screen protector films out there. I put one on my ipad2 and it's great, I really like the feel of it under my fingers too
  14. triple-h thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011
    I'll consider getting one of these if I need them. Is there anything similar for macbooks?

    Thanks! :D
  15. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    My wife is in med school and constantly uses the iPad to do her work. She carries all her PDF's in GoodReader and asks me to convert her CHM's into PDF's for use in GoodReader. In regards to notes, she uses NoteShelf and a targus rubber tip stylus to take details down. For drawing and other quick scribbles, she uses Penultimate. (Yes, I introduced all this to her and now she is happier than ever).

    Can you use the iPad for 7-8 hrs a day (especially in 2nd year)? Yes. Once you get used to it, you will forget about paper. Another advantage is the DropBox sync feature in NoteShelf. This way, you can always have your notes synced and ready to view on w.e device you are on. I should mention that my wife's school is highly technology dependent so they, by default, make all their notes and lectures and recordings available in iPod (hence iPad) format. This makes life much easier for her (and me since I have less conversions to do from CHM).
  16. matt90036 macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2010
    finished 2nd year and i have to say that iPad was invaluable to prepare for step 1. Best thing you can do is load a bunch of books onto iAnnotate, have it index the books and do q-banks. when you don't understand something you can simply search within multiple books for a keyword - this was a true time saver for me. i was doing USMLE First Aid and it had e.coli in at least 30 different places, instead of flipping through each page you can simply search within the PDF.
    another app i would highly suggest is Medscape and Micromedex. Both offer offline database so you don't need active internet connection.
    good luck at school.
  17. epi117 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2010
    love good reader for managing my pdf's have over 500, on various work related issues (health department)

    Find my self using sound note allot, it allows me to go back and hear what was said at a specific part of the meting by clicking on any work.

    good luck.
  18. mcdspncr macrumors regular


    Jul 2, 2011
    Saberahal, if you don't mind me asking, what software are you using to convert CHM to PDF? And also were these multipage CHM's or just a single page?

    Triple-h, with regards to you're iPad 2 vs 3 dilemma, I'm sure you've seen all the rumors about a retina display for iPad 3. Although this would of course be a very nice feature for someone who read on their iPad a lot, but iPad 2's screen is still great for reading. Besides the screen, as far as accomplishing the task of being a "work" iPad, iPad 2 has all the power and features you need.

    I had a similar decision to make when I bought my iPad. I knew an iPad would be prefect for med school, and I also knew Apple really held out on the first generation, as they always do. I couldn't decide if I should just buy iPad 1, or wait another year for iPad 2 which of course would be so much better. I decided to go with the first generation because the benefit of getting an extra year of use from it was worth it for me. But maybe for you the retina display is worth waiting for? In hindsight iPad 1 is a little underpowered for some of my long textbooks, but for your classes I don't really foresee iPad 2 ever being too slow to handle what you'll be reading. I don't think textbooks are ever going to require a quad-core processor and 2 gigs of ram, so whether you go with iPad 2,3,4, or 5 you're still going to have plenty of power to get your work done. Anyways, good luck with your studies.
  19. FloatingBones macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    I am tremendously excited what you medical students and grad students in general are doing with your iPads. You guys are on the cutting edge of knowledge workers in education. Many will join your ranks in 2012.

    The CHM files sound like real losers for e-books on tablets. I can't tell from the discussion so far if these things are widespread in e-books or if they're just used for medical books. Readers need a way to access their book (or maybe a chapter) as a single document.

    Will Amazon's reader work in this market? I can't quite tell right now. It would seem they'd need a bigger version of their tablet for readers; perhaps that's in the works.
  20. triple-h thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011
    Yeah, step 1 is one of my biggest concerns. As mentioned earlier, the iPad2 seems capable enough to handle everything I need, so I wouldn't care much about the next iPad, since I'll lose a lot of time waiting for it.

    So how do you convert the CHMs to PDFs? Whenever I try to do it, the pages get messed up :(
  21. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    I use chmox to view the chm on my Mac. I then use cmd + p to print the entire chm into a PDF. Mac's have the "Open in preview" or "Save as PDF" built into the print command. Basically, on Win, you can use something like Nitro PDF to install the print driver and print your CHM to a PDF.
  22. triple-h thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2011
    That's the standard way of doing it on Mac, but it doesn't work always. I still don't know why, but CHMs that contain many pictures or mange tables always result in distorted PDFs upon conversion. Anyway, I'm guessing there should be some CHM readers in the app store.

    I still wonder why people still make CHM books. It was introduced by Microsoft and discontinued by Microsoft in 2002! It's really annoying how certain things don't make any sense at all!
  23. FloatingBones macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    For what it's worth, I asked a question why CHM files were still being used over on . ORA has connections with the publishing industry and puts on an annual conference on tech and publishing. As far as I can tell, the format seems to be obsolete. Hopefully, publishers will be responsive and drop these files for their e-books.
  24. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    It is useful in didactic, but you kind of have to work at it, converting and loading the lectures and stuff.

    I found it more helpful in clinical times due to only having to have to carry the iPad on a rotation. It was nice to carry around to have during the down times which come at random. Also was good during surgery to prep for the case you get blindly thrown into.

    I would recommend the 3G version version as it was rare to a place to have wifi, let alone open for you to use it. Since you can stop/start the plan anytime, it could work depending on the rotation.

    There are some good sites out there for textbooks too.
  25. LushMojo macrumors regular


    Oct 26, 2008
    Camden, Maine
    First year med student here as well. I've literally not touched paper or pen this year. Here's my setup:

    GoodNotes for annotating PDF files
    CHmate for reading the few textbooks I have in chm format
    Tegrity app for watching lectures I missed or need to see again
    Wacom Bamboo stylus for taking notes
    Several anatomy apps

    I pull down the PDF/slides the night before lecture, read through those and then take notes on them during lecture or Tegrity session. I then push the edited version to DropBox which then syncs it back to my iMac and 11" MacBook Air. I have the edited version everywhere I need it for review and study then.

    This system has worked flawlessly thus far. Being paperless has been awesome.

Share This Page