Monday, April 5, 2010

My First 24 Hours with my iPad

9:30 AM
My honey, Robert, and I arrived at the Best Buy in Pleasant Hill.  There were approximately 10 men already waiting in front of the store.  After about 5 minutes, a Best Buy representative came out to hand out tickets.  Their iPad inventory had just arrived at 9:00am without accessories -- cuttin’ it close!  We took the 16GB ticket.  I’d decided we would get the base model because we only plan to use it at home for internet browsing, YouTube watching, and reading the news (we let our NY Times and Oprah subscriptions lapse in anticipation of using the iPad to read them).

For the first 15-20 minutes standing in line I was the only female…but soon there were a few more of us.  For one older woman who kept her head lowered the entire time, it was the first time she has ever gotten up early to buy a new toy on launch day.  She was so excited, but she wouldn’t look up because it was also the first time she had ever in her life left the house without make up on. LOL!!

10:00 AM
Just before the doors opened there were 20-25 people in the iPad line.  A few of us noticed their were about 10 other people waiting for the store to open that were not in the iPad line.  Why?  What would you get up early to buy first thing in the morning from Best Buy that wasn’t an iPad ;)  Things that make Apple fans go hmmmm……

The Best Buy representatives sent us directly to customer service line to purchase our iPad.  They told us they had plenty of inventory for everyone one to get one so a few hesitators went to the display to play with it before handing over their credit card; not us we went straight to the cashier.  The best part was we saved our Best Buy coupons and got our iPad at a significant discount!  Yeah!

10:30 AM
In the car we opened up the package, turned it on and the connect to iTunes icon was displayed on the screen L  Hungry, we went to breakfast first and showed off the box.  It was great even little kids who spotted the box started yelling “iPad, iPad!”

11:45 AM
I ran upstairs to the my iMac, connected the iPad, and went through the setup.  The best part “An iPad has been previously synced to this computer” message.  Not!  I did a quick google and found TheAppleBlog had already documented the entire setup process with screen shots (Thanks!) and they had gotten the same screen.  So, I selected "Setup new iPad." and moved on to naming it.  Robert suggested "MaxiPad", I said, "No.", yet it is probably the only pad I want people to know I'm wearing...ewww!! LOL!!  We settled on "GoGadgetGurl's iPad".

Setup took ~20 minutes.  It probably would have taken only 5-10 minutes if I had chosen not to put 191 photos the iPad had to optimize for viewing.  Also all my apps were automatically sync’d all to the iPad.  When I saw all my apps on the iPad it struck me how personal my iPhone is to me.  There are apps like iPeriod that I removed because I don’t want that info on a coffee table device (TMI!!!)!

The rest of the setup, network connection, email, and MobileMe was as easy as it is on the iPhone.

12:15 PM
iPhone apps run on the iPad but they launch in iPhone display size.  There’s a convenient “2x” button in the lower right corner that increases the size of the app to fit the iPad screen.  The resolution is pretty good and the pixelation is minimal, and it doesn’t it look stretched.  We discovered this looking for the highly publicized NY Times iPad app.  It isn’t called "nytimes".  I don’t understand why yet (if you know, let me know?), but the NY Times iPad app is called “NYT Editor’s Choice”   I had to do a couple of searches on iTunes Store before it showed up.  I also wasn’t able to find the hyped Zinio for iPad app, but my iPhone version works fine.

1:30 PM
I finally let my honey play with it.  He goes directly to the NY Times app and declares “Print is truly dead now.  The iPad in landscape is the same size as the paper folded in half!”   He reads 3-4 newspapers a day!

I leave him be to read his email, and then he decides he should finally accept the 3 Facebook invitations (including mine) that I swear are at least 6 months old.  So, he post the photo I took of him at Best Buy to his 3 Facebook friends…he’s getting there slowly.

I leave him to do his thing…send emails, watch You Tube videos, house hunt, etc.  All the things he  used to do on his iPhone.

3:30 PM
I find the iPad laying on the coffee table so I take it back and download “Pages” for $9.99.  I want to write a quick document and my laptop is too cumbersome to lugged around the house ;)

Pages is completely differently than the desktop version which makes it a slight challenge to use.  My review of Pages for the iPad is probably a blog post all it’s own.  After I figured out how to get a blank document, typing with the onscreen keyboard was easier than I expected it to be.  I was pecking the soft keys more than typing, but I wrote two quick documents.  There isn't a “Save” menu option, but an “Export” menu option with three format choices “Pages”, “.doc”, and “PDF”.  I can also email the document in one of these three formats.

5:00 PM
Robert plays with it some more and downloads the BBC news app.  Nice news app, it has video for every news article. 

6:00-10:00 PM
We stop to have dinner and watch a movie, not on the iPad.  It isn’t going to replace our 52-inch flat screen.

10:00 PM
Robert does his night time reading on it before going to sleep.  We charge it next to the bed.

6:00 AM
I wake up, feed the dog, and Robert reminded me to call our neighbor to see if he was going to Easter service with us.  This is when I realized I had no idea where my iPhone was!  No worries, I grabbed the cordless phone and the iPad to get the phone number.  After the phone call, I peruse the BBC news apps, install the NPR news app and stream KQED radio while I get dressed for Easter service.  Robert and I considered taking it to church with us, but decided not to J

Happy iPadding to everyone,

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oprah's Favorite New Gadget

I love Oprah! When Oprah loves something she’s passionate about it and tells anyone who will listen to her.

Last week I was working from home, my usual Thursday routine. I had the TV on in the background (yes I work with the TV on). At 4pm, after watching Ellen DeGeneres dance at the beginning of her show, I changed to The Oprah Show. It was a great show about the documentary Food Inc., and at the end there was a special Amazon offer. I went to in search of the offer, I couldn’t find it, which turned out to be a blessing because what I did find was truly wonderful - Oprah’s favorite new gadget from Amazon, the Amazon Kindle. There’s a great article, "Oprah's Favorite New Gadget",
about all the reasons Oprah loves the Amazon Kindle. My favorite part is Oprah had Jeff Bezos, the Founder and CEO of Amazon, give a Kindle tutorial on her show to her entire studio audience and a group of moms in San Diego. It was fabulous! Doesn’t everyone call the
CEO when they want to know how to use their new gadget?! Check out the article and the video tutorial here, "Take Jeff Bezos Amazon Kindle Class".

I have only one piece of constructive criticism about the tutorial: it would have been better if there was a close up camera shot on the Kindle while Jeff Bezos was demonstrating how to use the features so the audience in the studio and at home could see what he was doing on the device. It appeared some of the audience was having a hard time following along, I think that would have helped them. Of course, this critique is more for the producers than Oprah or Jeff.

Finally, seeing all those women learn how to use the Kindle gave me a thrill as GoGadgetGurl!™, because there was an entire audience of women discussing how to use their new gadget together (yes Oprah gave everyone in the audience a Kindle).

I started this blog to encourage more conversations about our gadgets with each other. I believe the more we share our enthusiasm for - or frustration with - the tech in our lives it empowers us to participate more fully as savvy consumers in the design, development, and production of the next tech gadgets. Hope I don’t sound to preachy…

Knowledge - the ultimate fashion accessory!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Music Magic!?

So, about a month ago I told you about how I was shocked to find out that Shazam is now charging for tags. Ouch! Well after some searching, I discovered that they have a new version of the app for a one time fee of $4.99 that will give you unlimited tags. I can live with that!

Now some of you are probably wondering why I’m making all the fuss – what’s Shazam, and why do I care so much? So, the quick answer: it’s like Google for songs…truly music magic! Shazam “tags” a song you are listening to and tells you who the artist is, the name of the song, and if applicable, the album on which it's released. Now you probably want to know what “tagging” is and how Shazam does it!

First, tagging. In Shazam, tagging is the process for creating a unique identifier for a song. Shazam has a proprietary method for creating these unique identifiers, called tags.

Next, how Shazam does it. They have a database of millions of songs they have already tagged. By taking a 15-20 second recording (they say they really only need 5 seconds) of the song you’re listening to they can create a tag and match it to a song in their database. Impressive? It gets better.

The first version of Shazam was free. It had to be free because if it wasn’t, I would not have bought it. I wouldn’t have believed it could be so accurate if I hadn’t experienced using it first. I got so addicted to it! I was constantly showing it off every time someone asked me, “Hey CJ, what’s your favorite app?” I used it on multiple genres of music: R&B, hip hop, jazz, country, rock, house, etc. - and in multiple listening environments. The most amazing experience was when it accurately tagged the background music playing in a busy TGI Friday’s!

Since I’ve made 2010 the year I adhere to a spending plan (some of you might call this a budget, yet that feels to restrictive so I call it my spending. This has helped a lot!), the idea of a few bucks going on a credit card or coming out of my checking account every month sets off an alarm. If I was going to be asked to pay Shazam $3.99/mo, I’m immediately wandering what app is next? These little incremental charges will add up and potentially become a significant monthly expense. Glad, this isn’t happening yet.

So, I’m willing to pay for Shazam because it works and I love it! And for all you non-iPhone users that have versions for Nokia, Blackberry, and Android.

Knowledge the ultimate fashion accessory,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interview Series: My Gurls and their gadgets!

Since I’m always talking about me, I decided to find out from my friends and inspirational women (of course, some of my friends are inspirational women ;) how their personal gadgets and technology has enhanced their careers, relationships, and passions.
So, first up is a conversation with one of my best friends, Joanne, a high school math teacher and entrepreneur. It’s amazing to me, but some of my friends don’t think of themselves as “gadget gurls”. Yet I see them using tech gadgets and other technology in multiple areas of their lives. So, you’ll see in the questions I posed it took a little coaxing with Joanne but her passion for her tech gadgets came alive….

GGG: Why do you like your Mac Book? Has it changed how you watch TV? ;)
Jo: I love my MACBOOK! I watch my dvd/movies on it as well as catch up on my Ugly Betty if I miss an episode.

GGG: How does it make your life easier or better?
Jo: has made my life much easier! I no longer have to save a file as a particular type and then attach. I can just upload, choose types for downloading, and send a link. I also like iPhoto for its accessibility and user friendliness. Everything on MAC acts, behaves, and responds so intuitively!

GGG: Do you use technology in the classroom? How does it affect the educational experience? Does it enhance it?
Jo: I use Geometer's Sketchpad, TI-84 Graphing Calculators, Fathom Dynamic Data Software, and CAHSEE PREP software. I use the two listed every class session. I also use an LCD projector to display and guide my students through the investigations we’re doing. If I find somewhere where I've already written how technology enhances my curriculum, I'll send it to you. It's not a short answer and I'm sure I have it written up somewhere for a grant.

GGG: Do you have any ideas on how you would like to use technology in the classroom? Either things you have seen or ideas you have but have yet to see implemented?
Jo: YES YES YES.... will send response later.... also a long one.

GGG: Switching gears... I know you and your parents video chat sometimes, how or why did you start? Has it caught on with other family members and/or friends?
Jo: I started because of the renovations on our house.... wanted to share them with my mom and dad. My cousin started too because of the same reason... I encouraged her to iChat me in to show me the house.... she's anti-computer for the most part but now loves it. Although, now she wants to do it with me all the time and I don't have that kinda time. I also don't see a need for iChat as opposed to chatting on the phone with her, unless she literally has something to show me.

GGG: I know you're a huge fan of soccer :) And you often watch your nephews games on the Internet. Tell me more about that experience?
Jo: CRAP!!!! Just recently I found out that lots of the games I want to see are offered through an online streaming site (actually, there are lots of them) that you can pay a small fee (like $40/year) but the U.S. is blocked out from access!!!!! Other countries, no problem. What Crap!!!! I do use to view some of the games, including my nephew's games, and I used the remote access option to set it up so my mom and dad could use my password and watch on their mac at home (there's some flash plug in something or other that had to be loaded on the computer first and my mom couldn't get it to work so i just did remote access and gave her my password). I'm also pissed that sometimes I can't watch on my computer for the same reason... something about a plug in that I couldn't figure out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Anyone know a good Subscription Aggregator?

I just discovered Shaazam is now charging a monthly fee to tag over 5 times a month! If all my apps are going to start charging me a fee I'm going to need a payment aggregator to manage all these little subscriptions...hmm...I wonder if anyone has done that? Gotta go get my search on....