Thursday, February 24, 2011

iPad, Round 2

Well, my last post has been picked up by iPad Gear Talk, a tech blog

On to today's iPad update:

Downloaded Grocery IQ, a free app designed to simplify my grocery shopping experience. Yay! I am all for that.

It has coupons (of course, you have to manually print them), and the ability to make different shopping lists for many different stores, and you can then customize your list by aisle according to the layout of your store. But it also has what is apparently the #1 most desirable feature of all the available grocery list apps: the ability to e-mail your grocery list to anyone. ANYONE, people*.

So please leave your e-mail addys in the comment section, as I am going to start an e-mail mailing list for everyone who wants to know what I'm gettin' at the grocery store. Fascinating! So fascinating, in fact, that I also plan on starting a new blog: My Grocery Lists. I have already heard the the Woz plans to be my first follower!

So I made up my first grocery list on the iPad today, using Grocery IQ. Took 55 minutes. For 16 items. I am absolutely blown away by how much this feature has already eaten away at  improved my busy lifestyle. Do you have ANY idea how long it would have taken me to write 16 items on a Post-it note and shove it in my pocket? Maybe 55 seconds .... but that is not the point, people. I saved a twig, here. (How many trees does it take to make a Post-it, anyway?)

Now, when I go to the store tonight after work, I have to take in the iPad, open up the app, roam the aisles finding my items while rearranging the built-in app aisle set up to match the actual aisle set-up at my store, and then check off each item as I find it. I wonder how many screens that will involve, since putting 16 items on my list involved, on average, 6 screens per item. And I'm not counting (although I should) the additional screens needed because the same "finger-swooshing" movement that you use to scroll through the app's many grocery items, looking for the one you want to add to your e-list, causes inadvertent selection of some random item you touched as you were swooshing, adding it to your list, and requiring 5-6 more screens to delete the unwanted item, and start hunting for the wanted one again. Wow. Simple!!

Not so pleased with this. It isn't simpler, more convenient, faster - certainly not more efficient.

Maybe I could e-mail a scan of my post-it shopping list to someone at Apple, and they could so my grocery shopping. Now THAT is an app I would even pay for!

*I fully realize that my amazement at the popularity of this ability to e-mail grocery lists to anyone and everyone you know is probably directly proportional to the fact that I live in a one-person, 2 dog household. The only entity who would be remotely interested in doing my grocery shopping for me would be Bailey, and he would skip the toilet paper, and load up the cart with Cheese Doodles, popcorn, and ice cream.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The iPad vs. the Luddite

Not really - I'm not a Luddite. I am a gadget slut. I admit it. Love the electronic gadgetry.

But the economic downturn has really hit me hard, and I can't afford all the cool toys (or groceries) that I wish I could.

So I felt like an addict falling off the wagon when a friend showed up 10 days ago with her iPad - naturally, I'd heard of them, but I had never SEEN one, and she pushed a few buttons, and I knew I had to have one.

And so I bought one that night. And posted same to Facebook. Where everyone told me how much I would Loooooove it!

It arrived a week later (from China, of course!), and I started loading it with free apps, and playing around with it, and spent some more $ getting my home and work converted over to Wireless, because you can't really use an iPad unless you have Wi-Fi connectivity, and here's my dilemma:

Loving it? Not so much.

So far, its major usefulness for me is to stream instant movies from NetFlix at work. Which I can also do on my laptop, but my work laptop is NOT in an area where I can also work on jewelry creation, so it's nice to be able to stream movies over at my workbench.

Of course, I was already watching NetFlix DVDs there on my portable DVD player, so it's not like the iPad has changed the movie situation that much - but admittedly now I can watch some instant ones while waiting for the turn around on the hard copies, though NetFlix's choice of instant movies is highly limited, so this capability is really NOT a big deal.

There's a Kindle app. Nice, but I really splurged for Christmas and got myself a Kindle, so I already had one! Now I have 2.  $$$, buh-bye. 

There's a browser, and the iPad boots instantly, so that's nice, but I can browse on my laptop, and it is much easier to browse and type with a mouse and a real keypad, vs the iPad's keyboard and finger-swooshing.

Calendar. Yeah, there is one. But it is so much faster to write an appt in my Day-Runner than to open the iPad, turn it on, unlock the screen (WTF with THAT feature), open the app, and then navigate through all the screens just to enter your hair appointment on the correct day at the correct time. Hunh-uh.

Lists. I love me some To-Do lists. But creating them in the iPad is another labor and screen-intensive ordeal (seriously? my lists have to have tags?); and I can't see myself toting the iPad around the grocery store, and waking it up every time I need to check the grocery list.  So the Luddite in me would probably sit down in parking lot of the grocery store, and re-write my iPad grocery list onto a post-it note to shove in my pocket for a more user-friendly grocery-shopping experience. 1 step forward electronically, 2 steps back.

iPod. Have one, and I have a wonderful stereophonic iPod dock at the shop, so I already have all my tunes at my fingertips. I've moved all my tunes to the iPad, but can't see myself using the iPad to listen to music. If I were waiting at a doctor's office, I would have to have headphones - and at work and home I already have my music set up. Meh.

Games - not a big issue. If I have time to kill, I'll read on the Kindle app.

Part of the problem, IMO, is that I don't get out much. I'm at home, I'm at work. Have laptops both places. So maybe if I travelled more, or was hanging out @ Wi-Fi spots, I might find the iPad more useful.

My brother has been offering lots of advice, which I really appreciate. He's been incredibly patient, and is like a walking iPad Wiki. One of his suggestions was to put my jewelry photo portfolio onto the iPad, so I can show folks the high-res photos of my work anytime. And I am going to start transferring these (thousands of) photos tonight.

My brother also sent me a link to, to help me make more informed decisions before purchasing any non-free apps. But I was laughing hysterically after reading just one description of a recommended app - it was written in such tech-speak I literally could not comprehend what they were trying to say. So I basically need an app to translate this app's geek-speak to English!

The iTunes AppStore gives extremely limited info on the functionality/capability of the apps, and then, for most of the apps, there are customer-provided "reviews". But just as the grass is always greener on the other side, one person's peeve about an app is another user's favorite thing, so deciding which apps to choose just based on the info in the AppStore is electronic Russian Roulette.

I am not trying to be Debbie Downer about this. I desperately want to love my iPad. It is mine now, and we must do more than peacefully coexist!

So I'm curious to hear from you iPad lovers out there - what do YOU love about your iPad, and why? And what has turned out to be a waste of your time &/or money, app-wise?