Stylus for my iPads

This week I decided to bite the bullet and buy a stylus for my iPad. I’ve been trying out some of the free drawing and note taking apps of late and trying to write with my finger is really not that great of an experience. My handwriting is already not the best so when I try and just write with my finger my terrible writing becomes unintelligible chicken scratch that I can’t even decipher and I’m the person that wrote it.

Like any good tech geek looking to go digital, I did some homework on the subject. A lot of people were using Boxwave or some other pen that was pretty popular whose name eludes me at the moment. The reviews weren’t that bad but I did not know the brand and they said that the pens failed after a few weeks of use. I decided to go with the Targus pen since I’m familiar with the brand (My back pack is a made by Targus) and it got some pretty decent reviews on Amazon. The price was also pretty good since it was only $13. I won’t be getting my pen until next week but I’m hoping that I can start using my iPad for written notes instead of using my portfolio from my old job. The best part is that I found a super awesome note taking app based on a recommendation of a friend of mine which will have future functionality to sync with Evernote.

I’ll give an update once I have it and have tested it for a few days.

Update: the other popular stylus is called the pogo sketch I think.

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Evernote is awesome for work

Traditionally I have been a OneNote kind of person when it comes to taking notes for my work related stuff.  It was nice that I could draw things (which I rarely did), put notes anywhere on the page (which I did a lot), and they were all neatly organized in notebooks.  The only problem with this system is that I had to pop open my computer if I needed to read something while I was on the go.  Since I started my new job back in February, I’ve started to use Evernote for my work note taking application.  I’ve used it for personal stuff in the past but I’ve since moved that stuff to Springpad because I normally just need to remember things that I need to buy and Springpad has a better interface for that sort of thing.  I’ll miss the text searching in images but I normally use both at once.  Anyway, I digress yet again.  I’ve been using Evernote for my work notes for just meetings that I attend where I need to remember something but I don’t necessarily need to publish meeting minutes to anyone.  I don’t use notebooks anymore but I do use tags and the ability to search my tags and for text is pretty helpful.  I’m trying to not create too many tags for work though so it doesn’t overtake my personal stuff.

Where I’ve found Evernote to be most helpful is by using two computers at once or when I am on calls and not near my computer, I have my Evernote app handy on my work cell phone so I can peck out some notes on the go.  I have Evernote installed on all my devices where Evernote has an app available and I’ve used it more than once on two computers at the same time since it just made things easier for me so I wouldn’t have to switch windows all the time.  I’m fast approaching having more work notes than personal notes and I see that increasing as soon as I get my stylus for my iPad2.  There is an application called Notes+ that I’ve been eying for the past week or so, my friend uses it with his iPad and the one feature that they’re supposed to come out with will be Evernote syncing.  There are other iPad apps that do Evernote syncing but Notes+ is the closest app that I can find to OneNote for the iPad.  There is a OneNote app for iPhone but it looks like crap on iPad so I won’t be using that.

I’m going to continue to utilize Evernote for work, especially because I can encrypt my notes if I need to.  There really isn’t a lot of stuff that would be sensitive that I’m writing in those note books since I’m in IT Consulting and note Management Consulting.  Now if I could only see my notes when I’m on the plane with a FREE account, that would be totally awesome.

IPPUDO is awesome

IPPUDO by jvwong96
IPPUDO, a photo by jvwong96 on Flickr.

I’m testing out Flickr using my iPad using Safari only instead of trying to use an app to see how well this will work. As part of my test I’m using this picture I took at a place called IPPUDO which is an awesome ramen place in NYC.I had some of the best ramen I have ever tasted at that place, now I just have to try and compare it with ramen that is actually from Japan. I’ll head over there one day but I have to wait for a year or two so that I can get up some vacation time saved up. That’s it for my test post, time to see if this worked or not!

Using Flickr for WordPress

I’ve been using Flickr on and off for a while.  I have yet to find a photo sharing site that I really like thats free but I think that my problem is that I’ve been trying to find a site that will do everything I want when I should be using multiple sites for different purposes.  I came to this realization just today I think and I have a way that I can utilize flickr more and more.  The problem that I had with Flickr is that it only had my last 200 photos available for me to view.  The rest are still out there but I just have to do some digging to get to my photos.  For that reason I stopped using Flickr, I wanted to have access to my photo’s all the time online.  I’ve sort of given up on that and I don’t want my stuff to all be on the cloud anyway.

What I have found is that Flickr is going to be perfect for using with WordPress.  I didn’t know they had tight integration with WordPress until I decided to try it again today.  What I noticed is that I take pics and then I want to use them but WordPress also has a limit on what I upload but in terms of storage, not the number of pictures.  Since Flickr doesn’t really have limits on storage, just what you can view I think its the perfect service for bloggers that don’t need to use pics over and over again for their posts but just kind of for single use posts.  I know that in all of my blogging I haven’t had to re-use any pictures and I’ve been doing this for almost 6 years now.

The challenge now is being able to use Flickr in conjunction with my iPad, if there was something like that it would be super powerful for people like me.  I could upload pics online to Flickr then put them in a post on WordPress.  Maybe thats something I’m going to suggest to the Flickr team for their next iOS app update.

Rock A Bye Baby Albums

P1010523 by jvwong96
P1010523, a photo by jvwong96 on Flickr.

Ha what better way to get your baby to go to sleep than having her listen to some of her parents favorite bands. Claire and I picked these up online after we heard about it through the internet. They were offering a special of buy 2 get 1 free. The problem that we had was picking the albums to get since there were a lot of bands that we liked.We eventually settled on getting Guns N Roses, Nirvana, and Green Day. Our reasoning is that we knew most of the songs on these three albums more than any of the others that were being offered. I haven’t listened to them yet but I know that Claire is listening to the Nirvana one. I’m hoping I won’t catch her napping this afternoon to baby’s music. Although that would be kind of amusing overall. I like how these sound since there are samples online so if you’re a rock fan and want your baby to be one too, these might be great to get for your little boy or girl.

WordPress for iPad is much improved

Tonight I upgraded my version of WordPress for iPad/iPhone and I have to say that thy have finally been able to fix some of the crashing problems that I’ve had in the past that have prevented me from blogging on my iDevices. I used to try and blog while on the road using the WordPress app before but the constant crashing was a hinderance which is probably why I haven’t hit my blogging goal of 100 posts a year in a while.

There is a new photo taking option which is pretty neat and I want to try it out. I have a free account so I probably won’t make heavy use of the feature since there is a cap on space for free accounts. There is also a new feature to see the stats of the blog which is nice. Not that many people read my blog so I’m not that interested in that feature. What I would like to see is some functionality similar to Pages where you can move around the pictures on the page so it wraps around the text no matter where you put the picture. I want to also be able to use links to pictures like I can for the regular WordPress site. That would make it awesome for free bloggers like me.

I’ll be waiting for the next iteration of the app and I hope they start adding more functionality so it mirrors the functions of the web version. Maybe now I’ll start blogging more now that there is increased stability. The only other factor that will affect me is inspiration. I’ve felt inspired for the past day or so but who knows how long this will last

Do I still need a computer?

I’ve been asking myself if I still need a computer after getting an iPad over a year ago. I spend quite a bit of time doing things on my iPad and now my iPad 2, but I don’t think that my computer is going away anytime soon because the are so many other things that I can still do on the computer that I can’t do on my iPad. I’m hoping that will change over time, it would be great to only have to use something like my iPad for work instead of lugging around my laptop everywhere.

Here are my major tasks that I use a computer for that I cant use my iPad for currently.

1. File management is major for me. I have tons of files everywhere on my desktop. I keep them all organized and everything on my desktop but I need a lot of storage to ensure all of my data is safe. I store common things like movies, pictures, and music but then I have more sensitive stuff like financial data and a backup for all of my emails on Outlook. I also need the ability to find files and just select the files and have an app open rather than opening an app then trying to use the file.

2. Office Applications are definitely needed for me. I have the ability to create basic things like word, excel, and PowerPoint but I need the more advanced features like creating pivot tables or creating Visio diagrams. Actually Visio would be one of the most important apps that I utilize with my job. If I had that, it would go a long way in moving from a laptop to my tablet

3. Storage is very important. Right now I’m limited to the amount of storage that the tablet has. There are some new storage devices that can work over wifi which is helpful so I can grab files that don’t reside on the iPad but this is new technology so I’m not too sure about using it. Cloud Computing is getting a lot of attention lately but it’s not as secure as I would like and I want offline access to my stuff like I do now. I also know that I’m going to need a lot more data space in the future once my baby is born to hold all the pictures and videos that I’m going to take.

I guess I’ve answered my question, I will definitely need a computer for the foreseeable future unless something really cool comes out that will untether me from the desktop. Now the question is, do you go Mac or PC? I’m personally a PC guy but that’s because that’s what I grew up on and what I use for work. I’m using a lot of iOS devices though so I’m starting to give Macs another look although my problem with Mac is still the unavailability of some of the software that I use on a PC. I like the integration between the Apple products but it might be a long time before I can justify the purchase of major technology for the home beyond getting new iPhones. For now I’m going to struggle on with my Windows 7 desktop and enjoy my 23″ monitor with Bose sound. I give it another 10 years before I might be able to remove the desktop from my home but by that time I might just have a home server to take it’s place.