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First day with iPad

I am writing this on my iPad.

It is a bit clumsy. Part of that is unfamilarity, part of it is software, part is just the nature of the beast.

I started with the included notes app with a Bluetooth keyboard. When I'm done writing, I can easily copy the text and (using iSSH for iPad) connect to my server, call up vi and paste in the text. I can email this to myself. I can even print it by pasting it into a free Printershare utility.

Obviously, I can do 90 percent of my daily work with this alone. I have ssh, vnc and Remote Desktop. I can email, browse, listen to podcasts, watch movies, read books. or some things, the iPad is the preferable platform. For others, it isn't.

An external keyboard helps. I bought Apple's wireless keyboard because most of my iPad use will not be sitting at a desk. The on-screen keyboard is very usable for many tasks, but it can be very clumsy and annoying for others.

For example, consider arrow keys. You don't need them for browsing web pages, but they sure come in handy when editing text. The iPad on-screen keyboard has no arrow keys.

However, software comes into play also. Within Notes, the arrow keys on an external keyboard are functional. Within the iSSH app I bought, they are not - it uses a on-screen control for arrows, escape, control, tab and other keys. While vi is usable without arrow keys, Bash history recall is really not, so while the iSSH app is usable, it isn't ideal.

That's reality for many of the iPad apps I have tried so far - whether free or not, usability is less than ideal. Part of that may be because of the normally lower price point for these apps - developers may not wish to invest a great deal of work for a low priced app. It may be a matter of developer learning curve too - obviously if Notes can use the arrow keys on an external keyboard, so could iSSH - they may just not have thought of it!

I expect that we'll see great improvement in usability and interface design. It's not easy - I've been thinking about a few possible apps myself: making use of the unique features of this device is challenging. However, I think it will come.

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© Anthony Lawrence

Sun May 2 20:48:34 2010: 8495   GilcioMartins


Dear Lawrence,

despite the Ipad's usability as everybody is talking about, I want to share a comment: A friend of mine who attend the Last Blackberry conference in Orlando, told me that almost everyone at that conference had an iPad with them (for news, notes, emailing, etc). He and a friend, looking for in severals apple store to find one and all of them was sold out.
So, despite all the pros X cons this product rocks likes no other.



Sun May 2 22:57:39 2010: 8497   TonyLawrence


Yes, absolutely - I would much rather take this than a laptop or netbook.

Mon May 3 03:31:39 2010: 8498   Dean


iSSH can't use the BT keyboard's meta keys due to limitations present in the current API. See this post for a discussion on the issue: (link)

Mon May 3 10:33:59 2010: 8501   TonyLawrence


So we'll chalk that one up to "Apple's fault".

I hope it is fixed soon, but I can live with it as it is. I CAN do everything I need to do; it just takes a little longer -:)

Tue May 4 11:06:41 2010: 8508   TonyLawrence


I just noticed that Simplenote recognizes arrow kets, so it's not just Apple apps.

Tue May 4 11:09:58 2010: 8509   TonyLawrence


(Though again, that probably just uses a big text edit field, which is something iSSH can't very well do).

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