Apple Everywhere

iPad on Campus: Semester One of the Tablet Era

- 2010.09.28 - Tip Jar

Lots of things have changed over the summer. My student newspaper got itself an awesome pair of new laptops - 15" Core i5 MacBook Pros. I got myself a nifty PowerBook 180. My brother got a netbook - on which he promptly installed Ubuntu (hey, I couldn't turn him to Mac, but he's really liking Ubuntu).

And my school made itself a teensy bit more iPad-friendly.

Oh yeah, a bunch of computer companies promised to release tablets capable of killing the iPad. Yeah, let me know how that works out for you, guys.

Anyway, it's great to be back at DMACC, and I'm really pleased with the way the iPad rebounded from that weird home button malfunction. It still does it from time to time, but rather than becoming more common, it's actually fading away. Temperature sensitivity? Pressure sensitivity? Arrogance sensitivity? Who knows!

This semester marks the first time my iPad has entered the academic world at full steam, equipped with a slew of apps ready to take on homework and the establishment (and, by that, I mean the local IT department). With iOS 4.2 coming out in November, I'm sure I'll see some major advances in how I can use my iPad, but even now, things are a lot different than last spring.

eTextbooks

Utilizing CourseSmart (don't get the name mixed up - they don't like it, trust me) as my digital textbook store, I managed to save a ton - and some money. The original version of eTextbooks for iPad was less than appealing for many people, but I decided to take the road less traveled by, and that, as the saying goes, has made all the difference. I saved roughly 50% of my potential textbook price, giving me $300 extra cash to spend on gas and car repairs. And snow tires - I'm not going another winter without them.

eTextbooks has greatly improved since the release of v2, and then some after v2.1 and v2.2. The first update really helped it look and work a lot nicer, which was my major concern. People had initially complained about the quality of the page images, but v2 solved that. Versions 2.1 and 2.2 were incremental upgrades, adding pinch and zoom (one day I predicted to one of my professors that there would be an update allowing this - that night, v2.1 was released with pinch and zoom), landscape page turning, and allowing for the deletion of notes.

All in all, it's been great, and I am really looking forward to iOS 4.2 so I can quickly flip from my textbooks to Pages to email and so on.

iWork Smarter, Not Harder

Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! That was my response to the latest version of iWork for iPad.

While I loved Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, only Pages allowed me to export Microsoft Office format files - and none of them could import and export files to my iDisk. With the latest update (1.2), all that changed. Now, I can export my files into the cloud and pull them back in for some editing. Also, if I ever have to do a PowerPoint presentation, I'm set - Keynote has me covered with its ability to export PowerPoint files.

With this update, iDisk has finally become the iPad's missing file system, and I can't wait to see further iDisk integration with photos, iPod, and other apps.

Needless to say, this update has done away with my dependency on the Pismo PowerBook, which has now gone on to a better place - my sister. Ashley has been using it much more than she used my old clamshell iBook. The clamshell, in turn, was transferred to my brother, Cavin, who likes it much more than the PowerBook 180, which has come back around to me.

Funny how these things work.

TeamViewer

My never-ending quest to find the perfect remote access app has almost drawn to a close. With the introduction of TeamViewer HD for iPad (free, and there is also a Pro version), I've been remote access crazy lately, installing the Windows and Mac servers on almost all of our home computers - plus a few DMACC iMacs.

One Windows computer, driving the auditorium projection and sound system, got TeamViewer'd to assist one of my professors. He had been walking back and forth from the front of the auditorium to the back, where the PC was connected to the projector, in order to change tracks and videos. Now he's got TeamViewer on his laptop and can control the PC from the front of the auditorium, which is much more convenient.

TeamViewer, unlike a lot of other remote desktop software, requires no additional setup to access computers across the Internet. I can access any one of the computers I installed TeamViewer on at DMACC from home, and vice-versa, effortlessly. All of them are listed as my "partners" and can be accessed with a single click, provided they're online at the time (TeamViewer monitors the status of my "partners", showing when they're online and off). LEM

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Austin Leeds is a Mac and iPad user - and a college student in Iowa.

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