Thursday, April 15, 2010

I bought a great new reading device ...

it's called the PortaBook ("as seen on TV!") made (designed) by an Italian company, LeggiComodo (translation: "more convenient"). You can see it here: PortaBookLaptop "the multifunctional book and laptop stand". Be sure to watch the demo video. Basically, the PortaBook is a clever plastic easel, sized for laptop computers, and books.

After using the iPad for a few days, I knew that I needed a case, like the Apple case, that would allow the tablet to stand up. It is just too heavy to hold in your hands for long periods, and when reading at the lunch table, your hands are occupied. So I went to Best Buy and bought the case. I then went next door to the OfficeMax to get some filing supplies and asked about a book holder ("like for a cookbook"). They showed me the PortaBook (for $9.99, not $19.99 as sold online!).

The Apple iPad Case is nice for viewing video, some reading, and for typing, especially on the go. If you buy an iPad, you will need the case! It also protects the tablet, though of course it makes it even heavier.

The PortaBook not only holds the iPad at several viewing angles, but also works well for magazines (the paper kind -- which I still read at lunch, too), and as a portable note table or clipboard. So until everything goes electronic, it does the job for both book and e-book.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Impressions (as remembered)

So what do (did) I think of the iPad on first use? Number one: it's fast! Things happen quickly and smoothly. No. 2: It's pretty! The big screen is very good looking and crisp. There is the problem of glare in the wrong light or angle, however. No. 3: It's heavy! The 1.5 pounds sounds light, and it is for just carrying around, but when you hold it in one hand to read or tap, it wears your hand out! It works best when sitting down and braced on your legs or a table or tilted on a box of Kleenex. The thing needs a stand for extended use. And it should have a variable angle to avoid glare.

One big concern: the lack of a keyboard, except an on-screen keyboard, is not a problem after all. Contrary to the iPhone, because the iPad is big enough, typing on glass is ok. The auto correct feature is generally fine, but very annoying when it changes my e-mail domain from to all the time! I wouldn't want to write a novel, but for filling in userid and password, light e-mail replies, and other short work, it is fine. In fact, it is probably better than thumb typing on a small keyboard.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Standing on line for iPad

This post is being typed on my new iPad. At least to start... The Safari browser doesn't seem to support composing in Blogger!! Except in edit HTML mode -- very inconvenient And very slow. So, back at my computer, I can actually compose a post.

Saturday, April 3rd was an incredibly busy day.

I got up early to watch the Big Match of the English Premier League (soccer) Manchester United v Chelsea (of London), which was the "noon-time" game in England -- meaning 7:45 am here. This was the battle for 1st place in the best soccer league in the world. Important if you're a fan of "the beautiful game", otherwise a puzzlement.

Right after the game, we (me, my wife, my daughter, and her fiance) headed off to Grand Rapids to get the new iPad. We arrived at the Woodland Mall at about 11:10 and headed for the Apple Store (near the center of the mall, it turns out). After identifying myself by name as a "reserved" customer, we (just the guys -- the gals went dress shopping!) got in the short line (about 5 folks ahead of us). The nearby "purchases" line was only about 10 people long, to be fair. The store had opened at 9 am, so the main rush was over. After a 5 minute wait on line we were ushered into the store, handed off to a sales person and shown a demo iPad to play with.

After some fiddling around and a few questions I decided to pull the trigger -- but only after a visit to see the case choices and find out about return policy). Unfortunately, there were no cases available to look at as demos, only in packages! All the "demo" units were in use in a class taking place in the back room! Our sales helper (temp for the day) didn't know the return policy, so took us to the "Genius Bar". The "Genius" knew that the return policy was the same as for iPods: 14 days and 10% restocking fee. But not the same as iPhone, which is 30 days; no fee. The reasoning is the iPhone has data service, which needs to be tested where you live. I speculated that the 3G iPad, therefore, would have a 30-day policy. The Genius didn't know. After waffling over an alternate case, I pulled the trigger and bought my 16GB iPad for almost 529 bucks, including sales tax.

Out of the store and down the Mall to open it and try it out! We found some comfortable chairs, did an "unboxing", and were confronted with "Sync with iTunes"! You can't use it until it has be "authorized"! A nearby compatriot complained of the same problem. He'd expected to use it right away, but now had to wait to go home to hook to his computer. I, not wanting to wait for hours, went right back to the Apple store. They said, "No problem, we'll just activate it right here, right now!". Which they did. Temp help had inadequate training apparently.

Back at the comfy chairs, the fun began! Got to play for a half hour or so until lunch time, and the drive home, and grocery shopping, and watching the Final Four! Not much time to try out a new device. But I will post about early impressions soon. Somehow, I think I won't be returning it and eating the $50 "rental" fee as I did with the original iPhone.