As we progress into an ever portable world I find myself spending less and less time at my desk in front of my workstation. This new found devotion to being out and about has required a bit of a rethink in how I do things and get things done in time without merely just not doing them.
Enter my iPad, it’s nothing new really I’ve had it since they were first released a couple of years ago and I’m still using the original, maybe in March I’ll update though truth be known I’d rather keep it and just get a new MacBook Air.
Anyway lets progress, what has changed is how I employ my iPad to greater benefit my time management. (I highly recommend you delete angry birds and bubble blast as well).
I have decided I would list here my concoction of apps for getting it done now I’ve lived with them for some time and have found the sweet spot and deleted all that other junk I didn’t need and was just serving as a distraction. I’ve also included some that really aren’t work related but I love and use all the same.
Keep in mind I work in IT Management… individual mileage may vary…
This is absolutely a must have, Dropbox ensures all my on the fly data is perfectly in sync between my iPad, iPhone, Workstation at home and in the office. It’s what binds it all together and makes it work. Dropbox is used by sooo many apps for cloud based data storage and you’d have to be a leper not to use it.
2. Notebooks for iPad
This right here is the bread and butter folks, every meeting I go to this app is the star. Create rich format notes, sketches or books quickly as the meeting happens. Lets you add photo’s, links, rich text formatting to your minutes or note taking. One of my favorite features it’s ability to tag all notes with the location and time stamps. When you are done it can be set to automatically push your notes to your dropbox account so when you get back to your desk they are already there for final editing or action.
Okay so it’s not really called iWork, really I’m taking about the three apps from Apple for productivity being Pages, Numbers and Keynote. These are pretty stock standard for creating and reviewing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Generally I do very little in the way of creation on the iPad however I love these tools for reviewing material sent to me and makes quick adjustments on the fly then sending them back.
4. Mail + Messages
I figured I should mention these two, even though they are standard app’s that comes with the iPad. They both rock my world, being able to send free txt messages to other iOS devices with Messages is simply awesome. It’s helpful that 98% of those I want to communicate with in this manner use iPhones but still it’s awesome. I don’t think there is any doubt how extremely important email is these days in the business world, it’s more important then the phone seriously. Mail allows me to be in constant contact with the business, weather it be staff, customers or suppliers. Communication is king in my world and with Mail no matter where I am or when I am doing it I can communicate effectively.
5. Desktop Connect
This is a wonderful tool for remote administration of your Microsoft Servers and Desktops. Supporting both RDP and VNC it allows me to connect to any workstation on our network and carry out support or administration tasks. Great over VPN next to the pool.
One of the iPads default failings by design is it’s lack of interoperability with other networks and file systems. It’s like having a Ferrari with a flat battery. Filebrowser breaks you free of those shackles and seamlessly gives you access to your data over the network with inbuilt viewers for various file types and the ability to then send those files to other apps like Pages or Numbers for easy editing or to email and print. This gives you the diversity that’s needed to preform a large number of productivity tasks out side the office.
Another remote support app, but a little different in that I use it to maintain systems outside my normal network boundaries. Could be staff at home, or just a machine in a unsecured location. The other feature I use a lot is the meeting function to hold conference calls with parties external to my business.
I think by now we all know what skype is and does, but for those that don’t it lets me turn my iPad it’s a giant phone by allowing me to make voice calls over any available data network. I generally don’t use it that often but some times you need people to hear the anger in your voice to get things done.
This app is a great time saver, and quite possibly the only redeeming feature of LinkedIn. I don’t know about you but when I go to meetings or conferences I always end up with a bazillion business cards that need to then be transcribed. This takes all the pain of that away. Simply take a photo of the business card with CardMunch and then wait for it to automatically transcribe the cards details and create an address book entry. It’s that simple. Works faithfully every time with very little error, think in 100 cards there might be 1 that needs an edit.
10. Kayak Mobile
Kayak is used to search for flights, accommodation, and hire cars as well as having the function to track your trips if you provide it your itinerary. This quickly speeds up how long to takes me to book my flight where I am going to stay and what hire car I am going to use for my trip. On the other side of the coin if I have to pick up someone from the airport and know their flight number it can track that too and tell me if it’s on schedule or if it’s been delayed.
So that’s my top 10 for getting it done, but there are some others that I think deserve mention just cause I like em and they have done enough to earn salvation and haven’t been relegated to deletion.
11. Google Search
Sure you can search in Safari or what ever browser takes your fancy, but I find doing it via the app far more effective and convenient, and it allows for voice searching whilst is kinda creepy is also mildly amusing. Really though the searching is just the surface, because this app directly connects you to all of your other Google services such as Docs, Google+, Earth, Translate, Maps, and Photo’s.
I’m almost embarrassed to add this to the list but I admit it I like twitter, it reminds me an ongoing series of Haiku. Besides Charlie Sheen has twitter and it’s all about the Winning! right? The reason I really like twitter is it lets me to connect to those people I find interesting but don’t really know, or really don’t want to know. It also lets me take a pot shot at those pollies every now and then whilst being kept informed about upcoming gigs by artists I like directly by that artist.
13. OPlayer HD
This is my VLC equivalent for the iPad and a great way to play movies and other video media on flights, in taxi’s or even in the bath just don’t drop it. Supports all major formats, divx, flv, mkv etc etc. Great for playing content from Urls, embedded on websites, SMB/CIF shares and FTP.
14. Garage Sale
This is a cut down version of the app on my Mac, but it’s still 100% functional. This is the tool I use to sell all my crap on ebay, comes with a stack of good looking templates and really takes the effort out of creating good effective ebay auctions. Highly recommend it if you are doing more then 2 sales a year on ebay.
Photo’s for me is the iPads biggest weakness, lets face it the stock functionality is shit and beyond useless. Photo-Sort goes along way to correct this weakness. I really don’t know what was going through Apples mind when they come up it but they were obviously lacking sleep. Using this app you can sanely get photo’s in and out of your photo library. Still not the best though in terms of functionality, in fact I’d still like it better, so while it’s lacking it’s better then it was… might look for others.
16. Word Press
I admit it I don’t update this blog as much as I should, but at least I can do it on the fly using the word press app on my iPad.
Best way to cheat at a trivia night 🙂 or just to look something up when your out an about. I actually like it as a history buff, I can see something when I am away and get a bit of info on what I am looking at. Also good for making you look smarter then you are at events.
18. Pocket Weather AU
As someone that likes to ride motorcycles a lot and does the odd bit of travel this is a must have. Not only will it give you the standard crap like the temperature and this weeks out look but my very favorite feature is that is gives me the radar. I can see exactly where that rain is coming from and where it’s going. There is a Global version of this software that is very handy as well if you happen to travel internationally.
Well that’s it folks, that about wraps up whats on my iPad and what I find useful to have at my finger tips when I am away from my desk. In terms of last mile connectivity the iPad really has no match in the market place despite what Google and Samsung would have you believe. Do yourself a favor avoid the knock offs and just get the iPad.