The best thing is reading, taking as many books as I like (or as I have in the Kindle and iBooks apps), and being able to read, highlight, and take short notes without getting anything out of my bag except the iPad is fantastic. On the train back from London to Cambridge I moved around between three books I am reading and thinking about, took some notes, and never had to reach into my bag after I sat down. Without the iPad I would have only had one book with me.
I have also talked to people while traveling, they are interested in the device, and they want to start a conversation. I suppose as more and more people have them this effect will stop, but right now it is a good way to meet people.
In SFO, waiting for my delayed flight to London, I met a young girl (maybe 6?) from India. She was flying home with her grandparents, although the first thing she told me was that she would miss her school in Sunnyvale, and she hoped to come back soon. She wanted to know what I was doing with the iPad. She was not impressed by reading books on it, or even with the games (I only have solitaire and Angry Birds). But then she found Brushes, the painting program, and she was off and running. She painted, and erased, for about 20 minutes. She loved it, and the only thing I had to show her was how to change the color.
So, why don't I leave my laptop at home? Two things, writing and photos. I do have the keyboard, and if I want to write anything longer than a paragraph I certainly use it (I am using it for this blog post). But I find myself wishing for my more powerful organizing and writing tool on my laptop, particularly Scrivner. I think, in time, I would find ways around this, if I need to.
The issue of photos, however, might be more difficult to deal with in the long term. I take a lot of photos on my travels. I put some of them up on my travels blog (http://ask pang.type pad.com/heather). But managing the photos is already a big job, and I don't really want to put them on the iPad, and then import them into iPhoto, and then organize them when I get home. I think the apps for this will get better, but right now it seems like plenty of extra steps in what is already a bit of a process.
I also find, although I think good use of MobleMe would fix this, that I have information, contacts, bookmarks, writing, on my laptop that I don't have yet on my iPad. I will have to be more intentional in my information organization and storage before I am able to leave my laptop at home for long.
- Heather Pang
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