Recently in *iPad App Reviews Category

To me, I feel the primary use of an iPad is content consumption and much that has been written about the iPad, even on this blog, has been related to this concept. However there is a lot to be said for using iPads as communication tools, interacting with others, just as computers have been for years. I thought a post discussing some tools and apps for interacting with others through the iPad would be helpful because there are many great uses.
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I should start by saying that when communicating with others online through Internet communication I use email through Google, online chat (text, audio, video) through Skype and occasionally Google Talk for those friends and family members that have yet to discover Skype or those who prefer to stay logged in to the online Google email system and find Gtalk easily available. I also maintain blogs when I want to provide information about myself or topics of interest to me to a broad audience to view as they please. I don't use Facebook, I don't Twitter, I don't use Myspace, I don't use AOL/AIM, Yahoo, MSN or any other available platform out there currently and it works for me. I like to keep things simple so to speak. But I do, however maintain MANY Google email accounts, and about 3 Skype accounts because I am a person who emphasizes and practices boundaries between personal, professional and everything in between. I appreciate the ability to control how my personal and professional selves are made available to others and maintained online as we enter a time of increasingly greater online relationships and interactions.

That beings said there are four or five applications (six if we count Blogpress which has already been reviewed here) that allow me to communicate and interact with others using the platforms described above.
*NOTE: I'm also an iPhone user so a lot of my communication is done through my iPhone (email, SMS/texts, and Skype especially). But I go back and forth with each device depending on the current need and ease of my desired function at that time.

IPad Email Application (free and pre-installed on the iPad)
For me, the iPad Apple Mail Application is one of the best tools for mobile communication out there, even ahead of the Mail application on the iPhone because of the larger keyboard in the iPad. Throw in the ability to setup Exchange email accounts to keep Email, Calendar and Contacts in sync, this is a home run app!
http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/mail.html

Read more about setting up Exchange Accounts on the U of M servers.




Google/Safari (free)Safari for iPad AppSo easy, so great, so self explanatory. Login, check email, write email, send email. On the iPad, the Google Mail application is just great! Bonus is the ease of integration with Google talk that just pops up in a second window. Winner of an app!

But, some might wonder why you would go to the online version when you can just use the built in Mail features. One reason- using an iPad that isn't yours, you wouldn't just setup a Google account in the other person's Mail application. Another, for someone like me, I use a lot of the Google Apps features in addition to mail such as Reader, Blogger, Google Talk, etc. And I also have MANY Google accounts. Online, you can get everything Google for that one account in one place.



Skype (free)Skype for iPad, iPhone, iPod TouchWhere do I begin with Skype? First, I should mention that Skype has yet to produce an iPad version on their iOS App. So how do you use it on the iPad? The cool thing about apps made for iPhones is that they can be viewed on the iPad in either native form (tiny screen size of the iPhone) or they can be blown up and stretched into iPad size. This is not the case for all iPad apps on iPhones though unless the app has been enabled for both platforms (denoted by a + sign next to the app in the Apple App Store.)



Skype on the iPad, well it is simply Skype as we know and love. Chat with other Skype contacts, use audio, text, your Skype credits work to call regular phones. It's Skype but on the iPad. AND, as of January 1, 2010 Skype video came to iOS!



For iPhone users this was huge especially those who are using 3GS model iPhones without the front facing camera and Facetime abilities. On the iPad this is neat for many reasons, though all of which, currently, can only center on the receiving of video on iPads. For instructors you could record your live lecture on your computer using Skype and send the feed to students on their iPads. I really enjoy Skype and features such as video on mobile platforms continue to take this app forward.

IM Chat Apps- IM+ vs imo.imIM+ iPad App imo.im App
Lastly, like me, many people manage multiple email, IM, and Skype Accounts. Mobile Platforms such as the iPad are doing a great job allowing us to integrate these multiple accounts into a single application. Two I have tried and like are
IM+ (free and paid Pro versions) and imo.im (free).
IM+ Pro screen grab



imo.im screen grab



Personally, I find imo.im to be better for the interface and account controls. In IM+ Pro, I can't seem to find a way to view my IM contacts on Glogle or Skype without making myself "available" for chat. In IMO there is the simple "view offline buddies" option. That might seem like a small feature but we all have this online "friends" that message us the second they see us pop up online. IMO allows me to have greater control. I need to spend more time with both to see which one I prefer. For now, Skype is my primary app for chats but the more people move to Google, the more Google Talk is being used.



- posted using Blogpress for iPad







This review is about Blogpress, an iOS app available on the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. This short review will be written and compiled entirely on the iPad to showcase the (hopeful) ease of blogging using the iPad and even highlight some potential drawbacks. I attempted a Blogpress review a few months ago and encountered serious issues with app crashes and minimalistic features which ended my pursuit of this app. But, six months later and blogging apps for mobile platforms are still so few and far between so I had no choice but to try Blogpress again (because using the iPad to blog, for me, would allow me to blog more knowing I can be so mobile and blog from ANYWHERE).

So, to start, the Blogpress interface. Below is an image taken from inside the app while writing a previous post. View more interactive Blogpress photos here: http://blogpress.coollittlethings.com/?p=screen






You can see it's pretty simple and straight forward. On the left hand side you see all your blog posts including those published and those still in draft form. You can also save posts at any point while writing either up to your blog server (we're connected to the U's Moveable Type blog system) or locally on the iPad allowing you to come back later and continue where you left off.

Inserting Photos and Videos
This is a challenge on the iPad if you're used to blogging on a computer because in Blogpress there is no ability to grab, drag or resize images with the click of your finger. The images you are viewing in this post have been created with the help of screen grabs that save the image into my iPad photo collection and to make edits such as rotating, resize, etc. I edit the images in Photoshop for iPad. Due to this, in find I use less photos because it is quite a laboring task.

HTML VS WYSIWYG
So, this might be the tipping point for some in their choice of using Blogpress on the iPad. There are currently only HTML functions available to edit text (I.e. Bold, underline, insert links, etc.)- photo below. And to add these functions you need to select the piece of text you want to emphasize. Using a mouse on a computer, we all do this often, on an iPad, yeah it is a bit tricky to grab just the right amount of words you want to bold or underline. But, once you get used to it, and use it sparingly it's quite easy.






Blog platforms compatible with Blogpress






Overall
With a $2.99 price tag and the ease of use, lack of crashes and easy integration with just about every blog platform around, I consider this a must buy if you're a blogger with an iPad. My guess is it will only get better. This entire post- time it took to write- approximately 30 min.n

Enjoy!

UPDATED: As of Jan. 2, 2011, GoodReader for the iPad is currently $2.99

A while ago we reviewed an app for the iPad called Dropbox to help you manage files stored in the Dropbox online space or "cloud" and access them on your iPad, iPhone, Mac and Desktop devices. Dropbox is a great platform to manage files you keep stored on Dropbox servers. Taking online storage a step further, there's an amazing application for the iPad that allows you to access a even greater range of files on the web including photos, video and web links in addition to providing annotation capabilities of text files, native file storage to your iPad, in addition to allowing you to upload files back to the different servers and platforms where your files are hosted. The app we're referring to is called GoodReader and it's just $1.99 from the Apple iTunes Store .

goodreader_icon.jpg

What file formats does GoodReader support?

  • MS Office - .doc, .ppt, .xls, .rtf, .and more
  • iWork '08/'09
  • .PDF files
  • HTML and Safari webarchives
  • Photos and images
  • Audio and Video!

What Web Servers does GoodReader support?

In addition to allowing you to access your files stored on DropBox, GoodReader provides access to the following online web storage servers:

  • IMAP and POP3 Email servers (allows you to have access to all your email attachments such as articles sent from colleagues or travel itineraries)
  • MobileMe iDisk
  • Google Docs
  • box.net
  • Any WebDAV server (including accessing the U of M's Netfiles web server in GoodReader)
  • Many others including FTP online storage!


GoodReader - Servers.png

How do I use GoodReader to manage my online files?

Once in GoodReader, you have so many options for managing files in terms of downloading files from your different online servers (photo below connecting to Dropbox)

Goodreader_Connect.jpg

And once downloaded you can move files into different folders using Copy and Move options in the Manage Files section. You can password protect files you have downloaded. You can E-Mail files to others, rename them to organize in your GoodReader database, you can also open files in other applications. For instance if you have .ppt files hosted in Dropbox or Google docs that you want to open in Keynote on the iPad you can do so as you please by clicking the ...Open in... button and selecting the application you want to open the file.

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How do I use GoodReader to annotate my files and documents?

New in version 3.0.2 is the ability to mark up, highlight and annotate your files in GoodReader. This option is best learned by opening up a document in GoodReader and playing around with the different annotation items. Many people, including myself have been previously doing these annotation functions using an additional software such as iAnnotate for the iPad. The challenge with iAnnotate is the files stay in iAnnotate. Having the ability to use GoodReader for annotation limits the need for additional software in addition to being able to upload your annotations back into your hosted file network and keep the annotated files alongside your other files.


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Download GoodReader for the iPad today to get started and learn more about this software!

instapaper_logo1.jpg

Do you ever scour the web consuming news, doing research, shopping, viewing videos and photos and after a while find that you have 10 tabs and 3 browser windows of links open? Are you often distracted by the advertisements, bright colors, pop up windows, and numerous clicks you need to make to get through a site like The New York Times or USA Today to find out what happened today in the world? Do you find yourself doing research online and emailing yourself links to journal articles, newsletters and web links so you can access your material at a later date when you need to write a paper? If your answer has been yes to any of these questions then Instapaper is a service you will love to add to your daily web surfing and content consumption.

For a quick overview of the basic operations of Instapaper Pro on the iPad check out this short video tutorial of Instapaper Pro's functionality: video link (courtesy of blip.tv)

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I've been using Instapaper Pro for the iPad and iPhone ($4.99) for about three months now and find it to be an indispensable piece of software that I use on an almost daily basis. On my iPad and iPhone I have a bookmark-let installed in Safari that allows me to bookmark any website I navigate to from news, to research, even cool coffee shops or vacation website that I'd like to visit and all these links drop into my online Instapaper account. In my RSS Reeder for the iPad (Reeder- $4.99) I have a "send to Instapaper link that I use to send articles I want to save for later viewing and don't have time to finish at that moment. Also, Instapaper provides an email address that allows you to email links to sites, digital newsletters and articles sent from friends as well. So rather than emailing myself links to sites and articles I want to save I just send them right into Instapaper. All of these links, videos and other online content are compiled online, stripped down to an easy to read format on mobile devices and synced into my Instapaper Pro iPad and iPhone applications to read later at my convenience. Lastly, it's really cool to be able to share these links with others. I can create a starred section on my Instapaper account which will allow others to subscribe to my favorite links, news, videos and photos. Want to try out the share feature and receive content related to iPads in Education? Add iPadnewsinEDU (or subscribe to the RSS Feed from Instapaper) to your list of folders and enjoy new content and news on this topic as we continue to add to this growing database of knowledge.

Links:

Instapaper Online: sign up for a free account

Instapaper free app for your iPhone?: Download Instapaper Free

Instapaper Pro (iPad)? Download Instapaper Pro for the iPad from the iPad store.

Do you feel like you already use a lot of productivity apps and unsure how Instapaper would be helpful in combination with them? Check out my Personal Reflection about the utility of using productivity apps in a combined way.

Adobe Photoshop Express for iPad (free app)

| 9 Comments

photoshop2.jpgAdobe has come out with Adobe Photoshop Express photo editing tool for iPad and it is free! First I want to tell you that this is not a full blown Photoshop you might have used on your computer but if you just want to do basic stuff to your photos like crop, straighten, rotate, flip, frame then this app is for you. Go get this app and play around with it. I still find new features after using it for a few weeks. This is a great app for editing photos before emailing them out to friends on an iPad.


Download Adobe Photoshop Express for iPad
photoshop1.jpg

Check out the video below. It's video review done by adoramaTV and it will go through what this app can do.


PCalc Lite Calculator for iPad (free app)

| 3 Comments

PCalc.pngSurprisingly enough, the iPad does not come with a calculator app installed by default and I'm sure there are times when we need to do a bit of adding and subtracting. But, thankfully, the App Store has a lot of them. Some of them are free but most cost anywhere from 99ยข to $25.


I've been using PCalc Lite Calculator which is free. It has very clean design and comes with the RPN mode and unit conversions. Most of my calculator use is just basic math, nothing too complicated so if you are looking for a scientific calculator that you might use in a math or statistics course then prepare to shed some cash but in the mean time give PCalc Lite Calculator a shot!

Download PCalc Lite Calculator for iPad

Wikipanion for iPad (free app)

The ultimate Wikipedia app for the iPad is what you need to know about this app. The cool thing about this app is the interaction you can have with each item. Those familiar with Wikipedia (hopefully that includes everyone) will love being able to search, and search, and search inside this app. Rather than read about it, just download it and search for something and you'll be hooked!

Download Wikipanion for iPad

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Evernote for the iPad (free app)

| 5 Comments

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First on the list of must free apps for the iPad is Evernote for the iPad. Evernote is a cloud based document storage tool that allows the capturing, organizing, storing and sharing of multiple file types including photos, videos, pdfs, text files, and audio memos, just to name a few. Items you store in Evernote can be sorted by tags, keywords and folder names and accessible on your iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, desktop computer (OSX and Win) and in the cloud to be accessible anywhere there's an internet connection. Find yourself offline? Upload and store any files and the next time you connect to the internet you're files will be synced. And on the iPad, this app just looks really cool with the grab and pinch, and slide touch functions.

Download app for iPad

As a student this has been a great app for when I'm doing research for papers and projects using my iPhone and iPad as a combo. On my iPhone I love being able to take photos of textbook pages from books I'm reading on the go or journal articles I pick up and save them into an Evernote file. I surf around on my iPad looking at news, reading journal articles, viewing videos, etc. and anything I find, I can copy and paste into Evernote. The best part is opening up my laptop at the end of the day when I'm home and having all this material from phone and iPod on my desktop application. Not to mention, I can share folders with others so we all can contribute to a folder of information and see what the other person has found. It rocks, it really does! And it's free!!


About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the *iPad App Reviews category.

Experiences with the iPad is the next category.

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