iPad only: a week with no other technology (except a cellphone!)

So my last article was about how useful the iPad was as an academic tool, but I decided it was all pretty abstract, so I thought that a real test of the iPad’s usefulness would be to go a week without using a normal computer and just using the iPad to accomplish all the tasks I needed to do. I’m starting today, and in fact I am writing this blog entry on my iPad, with the nice, free WordPress app for iPad. I’ll chronicle my week and see where the iPad shines and where it falls short. I will say that there are no classes this week, so in some ways this test will be less representative of a normal work week, but there’s still plenty to do to test the iPad.

Sunday, December 11:
Not much to report today. I mainly used the iPad to answer email questions using the mail app, make appointments using the iPad calendar app, and check the web. I didn’t feel the need or the desire to open my laptop.

Monday, December 12:
Checked my email and my appointments at breakfast this morning on the iPad, no problem. I needed to get something from my network drive, so I decided to try out an FTP app, which I had to buy for $10. The app, called FTP on the Go Pro, is a pretty full featured FTP program. It lets you view all sorts of files, images, videos, documents, etc. right in the app, and even let’s you edit certain file types in the app as well. I was able to view and edit a php file on my website and repost it very easily, so I’m happy with that app. I also bumped into Sasha Prokhorov in the hallway earlier. He wanted to schedule an appointment, so I pulled out the iPad, used Calendar to schedule the appointment, emailed him a reminder, and then pulled up the website that he wanted to talk about before he could even get his physical appointment book out of his backpack. We checked out the website on my iPad and we’re ready to go for our meeting on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 12:
The trouble starts. I was not able to print a decent copy of a paper I needed to share because the iPad is only completely compatible with a few iPad friendly printers, and I don’t have one of those. I ended up using a fairly poor app called ePrint, which ends up making any print job you want to send into a tiny, cramped printer file which at least somehow gets printed, but the quality is not good. Anyway, I dealt with it. Everything else is going fine. Love the portability and not having to worry about plugging in or battery life.

Wednesday, December 13:
So, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll tootsie pop? Well, that’s the same number of days it took for me to bail on my iPad only for a week project. Trying to go over a Google Map-based web project we’re working on was just beyond frustrating. Hovering over map points was supposed to provide different information than clicking on those same map points, and I couldn’t manage to hover instead of click. After about 15 minutes of accomplishing nothing, I decided to give up the project. So, no, I was not able to use the iPad all by itself for an entire week of work, even when classes were out.

Thursday, December 14 – Saturday, December 16:
Back to my normal computing habits. iPad for quick jaunts away from the mother ship, MacBook Pro for everything else. Oh well. Someday this will work, but not yet.

About Mike Blum

Mike is the Academic Technologist for the Humanities at the College