An Apple iPad ~2 Month Later Review & Update

Ipad2

Here is a follow-up update to my one week review of the Apple iPad.

Overall, I am still extremely happy with the device.  It has become my primary personal device when I'm at home eliminating my Microsoft Windows 7 TabletPC I was using before the iPad.  I have also travelled with the iPad twice since the initial purchase, and I have found it a great device for reading material (books, PDFs, magazines, saved offline web content, etc) and for consuming videos (podcasts, TV shows, and movies).  Taking the iPad on travel vice the personal TabletPC has also meant that I had over 6 pounds less in my backpack than normal.  This made travel much more enjoyable.

NY Times' BOB TEDESCHI recently did a review on his impression of travelling with the iPad.  The only thing I found different from Bob article is that TSA at both San Diego (SAN) and Washington Dulles (IAD) wanted the iPad in a seperate container to scan vice stored in my backpack.

Things that continue to make this device enjoyable:

  • Excellent form-factor, screen, and battery life
  • Internal speaker is well suited for casual listening
  • Consumption of media when and where I want to is ideal
  • Applications customized for the iPad are compelling

The one thing I did have to figure out was how to seemlessly as possible listen to "new" news and video podcasts directly on the iPad without having to do a regular desktop sync.  I tried using Safari and Google Reader to manage the feeds but playing MP3s in Safari has proven to be buggy for me.  Safari would play them for a while but then become unstable and quit, especially for large shows over 15 minutes long.  I then moved those specific news and video podcasts to my desktop iTunes to get the subscriptions loaded on the iPad.  Once loaded you can then play them from the iPod application.  But if you want new podcasts you need to click "Get More Episodes ..." which then launches the iTunes application.  You then need to click on the Free icon for the newer podcast items you want to download directly.  The Free icon then changes to Get Episode which when you click on that icon will download.  You then need to application context switch back to the iPod application to play the new content.  It works but definitely not seamlessly.  But the benefit of using Apple's iPad and iTunes applications on the iPad is that you can listen to content and launch other applications.

The biggest negative continues to be lack of multi-processing. Switching between applications is fast but swapping context is mentally challenging.  Plus, I'd love to be able to run Pandora in the background and then go about whatever else I'd like to do.

Ipad-apps1 

My top ten most used 3rd-party iPad apps seem to be:

  1. TweetDeck (Twitter app)
  2. Kindle (eBook reader)
  3. iThoughtsHD (MindMap tool)
  4. Evernote (online notes and reference library)
  5. Toodledo (projects and tasks management)
  6. Goodreader (PDF reader)
  7. The Weather Channel MAX+ (check the weather)
  8. Dropbox (online, multi-computer file storage)
  9. Atomic Web (multi-tab browser)
  10. QuickVoice (audio recorder)

Ipad-apps2 

Next on the list is to consider trying out some of the remote access solutions to see how well you can run a Mac or PC from the iPad.  If you have a favorite then please let me know.


Mini-Tech Review: Apple iPod Touch 3.0 Features

Ipods

I recently upgraded my Apple iPod Touch to version 3.0.  Here are the features that I have found the most useful:

  • Landscape keyboard and landscape views on more applications
  • Cut, copy, and paste text
  • Spotlight searches throughout the iPod Touch
  • Automatic Wi-Fi connections
  • Safari improvements
  • Sync Notes (not Lotus Notes but Mac OS X notes)
  • Improved Mail client
  • Calendar new features like CalDAV support

And these are the ones that I may get some more use out of once I get some more usage:

  • Download media over Wi-Fi from the iTunes Store
  • Support for Bluetooth stereo headphones
  • Peer-to-peer gaming (waiting on games that enable this feature)
  • Parental controls
  • iTunes account creation
  • New languages
  • Data/Notification push (waiting on some tools that use this feature)
  • 3rd Party Game connections (none announced yet?!?)
  • Shake to shuffle
  • Voice Memos

All in all a solid update IMHO and worth the $10.


Some Music Podcast Recommendations - Interviews, Blues, Rock, Classical, Electronic

I have a pretty wide set of musical tastes that includes more than just the Jersey Boys, and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

There were recently several interesting music related podcasts from San Diego's KPBS These Days:

When I'm in the mood for the blues I always turn to The Roadhouse podcast.

When I'm in the mood for classical music, I find WGBH Classical Performance Podcast to be great.  I also find the classical feed on CBC Radio 2 to be a nice streaming option.

The Magnatune "great pianist" podcast is very good if you want something 'lite' playing in the background.

The Alternative Classix Podcast is a well produced and researched 80s 'new wave' radio show you will not be disappointed with.

For those that like electronica and/or techno ... I highly recommend:

If you want something more mellow but still pretty electronic then check out the Ultima Thule Ambient Music podcast.

I also enjoy the Coverville podcast and the Rock'N'Roll Geek podcast.


Conference Update - GTD Roadmap, New Media, MT Communications, Office 2.0

I was recently able to attend a David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) Roadmap seminar during one of my regular trips to Washington DC. 

It was a fabulous one-day conference. 

As someone who has been practicing some form of GTD since 2004, it was great to finally get to learn from David Allen in-person.  The Roadmap material was, frankly, excellent for someone in my situation who tries to practice GTD on a daily basis and is maturing in the model.  For instance for me, my Runway is pretty well managed, as is my Horizon's of focus above 20,000 feet. But I do struggle with Projects (10,000 feet) and consistent Weekly Reviews.  This year (2008) could be considered the year of getting a handle on both Projects & Weekly Reviews. After this seminar, I definitely think I have some good best practices to move forward with.

There are three other conferences that have my attention right now:

I will be at the upcoming New Media Expo (NME) 2008 speaking on "Getting Started With Audio Editing - Hands-on With Audacity." More information about my Audacity related resources over at AztecMedia.net/Audacity.  Christy is going to go with me this year, and we hope to get some Jersey Boys Las Vegas interviews completed for the Jersey Boys Podcast. And yes, we will be seeing the show again while we are there. ;-)

I am also planning  to attend the Manager-Tools.com Effective Communications conference in San Antonio, TX on September 9-10, 2008.  This should be a great conference and if you are a manager, you should really consider attending.  Or at the very least, go over to Manager-Tools.com Getting Started page and get started.

The other conference that is on my radar but I don't think I'm going to be able to attend is Ismael Ghalimi's Office 2.0 Conference.  David Allen is going to be giving the keynote which is great, but the line-up of other speakers is impressive, and the content seems right up my alley.  If you are interested in attending, you can save $100 off the conference fee by using this link that Ismael gave me.  For those who are GTD Connect members, David recently interviewed Ismael for the In Conversation podcast.  It is a very good podcast that examines what Ismael is up to with regards to Office 2.0, and gets deep into the personal GTD systems Ismael is deploying.  He is definitely an impressive 'cloud/virtual systems' guy.

 


MP2 Preview Feature Missing in Mac OS X Leopard

I recently updated my Mac Book Pro to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.  The upgrade process was pretty seamless and I only had a few initial performance issues that seemed to go away with time.

I did notice one missing feature this morning while doing some audio troubleshooting on a just eBay purchased Telos-One with Paul Figgiani and Victor Cajiao that the Leopard's Finder no longer allows you to preview MP2 files in the Columns view or in the new Quick Look feature.

This feature was in Mac OS X 10.4, and I am perplexed on why it would go away. 

For podcasters and other audio engineering folks MP2 are used a great deal in collaborative post production.

If anyone knows a work around or a way to enable the lost feature, please let me know.


Multi-Topic Update: San Diego Fires, Jersey Boys, Technology

The last week or so has been extremely crazy and busy. 

First up the San Diego Wild Fires (aka FireStorm 2007) have been all consuming, and I'm happy to report that my immediate & extended family, friends, and co-workers in the San Diego area have been spared major hardships.  But our hearts go out to those who lost love ones or their homes.  The fire fighters and public safety folks have been outstanding and they deserve a ton of credit & praise.  Thanks!

The weirdest thing about the fires, was that during the whole time it was going on, Christy and I have been in Jersey Boys heaven.  They have released a new Jersey Boys Book, Frankie Valli has an excellent new album out called "Romancing the 60's", the touring cast is in San Diego, and we traveled to New York City (NYC) / New Jersey (NJ) on Sat. 10/20 returning Tue. 10/23 for the Fan Tribute and to interview Tommy DeVito. And did we mention we've seen the musical three times in six days: Fri. 10/19 (Opening Night in San Diego), Sun. 10/21 (Broadway), and Wed. 10/24 (Cast Talk Back in San Diego).  Yes ... we are crazy.

Lastly a quick update on some technology stuff.  Things are still going on over at TechNewsRadio but a little slower than I'd like.  My fellow FriendsInTech members have put together another new Halloween special called "It's The Great Server Chuck and Kreg."

Other quick tech mentions:

I recently upgraded from a Cingular 8125 to an AT&T Tilt and I'm really loving the new phone with high speed 3G/UMTS/HSDPA connectivity plus Windows Mobile 6 and integrated GPS.  The camera is also a big improvement, as is the keyboard/button interfaces.

A couple of weeks ago I did upgrade my 8-GB 2nd Gen Apple iPod Nano to an 8-GB 3rd Gen Apple iPod NanoI have some unboxing pictures posted to Google.  I like the video option a great deal. I used it to watch dozens of video podcasts recently on the trip back to NYC/NJ.  I have also been using it a lot at home sitting in bed or by my computer using a DIY  Lego stand.

I have also picked up a copy of Apple's new OS X via Amazon.  I hope it gets here soon so I can rebuild my old G4 iBook for Christy and finally get her off of Windows XP and spare her the horror of Vista.


New Media Expo 2007 - Getting Started With Audacity Session

I will be at the New Media Expo 2007 this weekend (Sept. 27-30).  I am giving a presentation on 'Getting Started With Audacity' in the Podcaster 101 track:

Session 8 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm
Ballroom B
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2007
http://www.newmediaexpo.com/saturday2007.htm#Audacity

If folks are bringing their laptops to the session, then it is highly recommend that the come with Audacity pre-loaded ... http://audacity.sourceforge.net. I also have upload some demo audio files in zip format that I will be using if folks are interested in working hands-on with the same material: http://www.newmediaexpo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1634.

If you'd like to meet-up at the Expo please drop me an email or post a message to me on Twitter.


Recommended Podcasts To Listen To Via Google Reader

I have created a "Recommended Podcasts from sholden.typepad.com" site and RSS feed based on my research from my last post on this topic.

podcast, comment, recommend, podcasting, rss, technewsradio, google, readerIt seems to work pretty well for my workflow and it helps to be able to get links back to the individual podcast so I can put them into TechNewsRadio recommendation podcasts.

Only thing missing is a good comment option for myself on why I liked the podcast.  I'd really like to be able to add that as an option.


Investigating Options For Commenting On Specific Podcast Episodes

I have been wanting to come up with a quick way to comment on specific podcasts that I've been listening to.  In a recent brainstorming session with a friend we considered that maybe Apple iTunes was keeping the RSS referral post link in the meta data of the iTunes music library XML. 

Unfortunately after digging into the XML file and looking at what iTunes exposes to AppleScript, it doesn't appear to work.

Maybe I should output the podcast OPML file I have from iTunes, and use something like Google Reader to manage my options for specific podcast episode commenting. Thoughts?!?


Podcast Recommendation - Interview With New Media Author Philip Meza

Chris Gondek over at the Invisible Hand Podcast had a great interview with Philip Meza the author of the book "Coming Attractions: Hollywood, High Tech, and the Future of Entertainment" that is definitely worth a listen.

The one great thing in the podcast was that Chris let Philip outline some key recommendations that companies and organizations should be doing to excel in this new media world.