Tips, tricks, and apps for ALM iPad users

I’m (Semi-) Back. And Please, Update

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Hello all. I’m on deadline, have a zillion projects up in the air. But I updated my iPad (version 1) to iOS5. And I’m glad I did.

I’ll write a longer post later about the refinements, etc. But I just wanted to flag this–the newsstand app. It gathers your subscribed publications into, well, a newsstand. You can go to the apps’ settings, and if you’ve got a sub, not a copy-by-copy purchase deal, you can tell the app to update automatically.

What happiness. The old New Yorker app used to make me download the latest copy, and it would freeze halfway through more often than not. Now a fresh issue comes in all by itself.

Even better, so does the Times. So I can leave the print copy for my puzzle-addicted wife to finish up when she gets back from teaching schoolkids. And I can carry a full-color, all singing and dancing Times every day on the iPad. One less thing to pack every day, too.


Written by almipad

October 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Back soon

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Hello everyone. It’s been a hectic month–I was on vacation, now I’m on a magazine deadline. iPadmania will be back with new posts after Labor Day.

Written by almipad

August 31, 2011 at 9:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Ain’t Misbehavin’—Not!

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Sorry for the double negative.

But last week, while trying to read the latest issue of the New Yorker on the iPad, the app repeatedly crashed. So did the Gourmet Live app (is this a Condé Nast conspiracy?). Aric called me over, said he was having trouble reading the New Yorker, too.

So, what to do? I did what I usually do when an app misbehaves–I force-quit it. How? Go to your home screen, then double-click the home button. You’ll see all your apps that are currently running at the bottom. Then put your finger on and hold the icon of the offending app. The icons will start to wiggle, and will show an “x” in the corner. Hit the “x” of the bad app, and you’ve force-quit. That usually forces it to play nice.

But it didn’t, in both cases.

If this happens, it’s time for drastic measures. Well, first do this–turn the iPad off, then turn it on. See if it still happens. If it does, trash the app, and reload. How? Place your finger on the app’s icon and hold, and you’ll see the vibrating thing again. Hit the “x” that appears. You’ll get a message saying doing that will trash the app and all its data. Be brave, do it. After you’ve thrown it overboard, go to the App Store and download it again. If it’s a pay app, you won’t have to pay again, Apple keeps track of such stuff and gives you the download. You’ll have to reload issues, but the time spent doing that is a small price for having a working app again.


UPDATE: I tried downloading the latest issue of the New Yorker, a week after deleting the app and reloading an issue. Guess what? It crashes again. Not good, CN.

Written by almipad

June 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Condé Nast Listened to Me

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Well, not just to me, but a bunch of others, too. The New Yorker app finally has 1-a subscription feature, and (what I like) 2-allows print subscribers to log in for free.

CN came under a lot of criticism when the New Yorker iPad app first came out. Even if you were a print subscriber, you had to pony up to see the iPad version of the same issue that comes in the mail. For us non-Manhattanites, they arrived mid-week, after the buzz had died down. It was irritating to see a new issue on the newsstand — well, the few that still exist — and then wait a couple days or more to get my own copy.

The New Yorker and its corporate masters had their reasons–Apple didn’t offer a system-based subscription method until recent (I forgot the exact date), and when it did, it graciously offered to “share” revenue. A lot of publishers first said no thanks, but they’re starting to come around. It’s hard to ignore potential sales, not to mention access to credit card and other subscriber data.

The app is pretty simple to use. I haven’t explored the bonus features, like extra video, cartoons, etc. (Leave a comment if you have, and let us know what you think.) Download it, pay for a sub, or register/log in if you’re got an existing print sub. You’ll get a menu of the current issue and some previous ones. Download–it’s actually pretty fast, better than a lot of other magazine iPad ports.

Once in an issue, you can zap around, either by calling up the contents, or scrolling through the issue.

In other words, fairly standard fare, but now I’ll be less likely to be carrying around old, unread issues in my bag. Just megabytes full of stuff on my iPad, until I remember to archive it.

Written by almipad

May 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

Posted in Apps, Magazines

TIME OFF: An Antidote to NCIS, All the Time

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I’m married to a charming, accomplished woman, who manages to balance a strenuous, full-time job with a fair amount of community activity and, because she works closer to home, keeping our lives going. But she’s got this weird personality quirk: She ignores popular culture until something strikes her fancy. And then it becomes an obsession. Big-time.

So it is with NCIS. Please, someone, take it off the air. Or at least, take reruns off the air. My wife is obsessed. She likes to relax at night by channel surfing, and there seems to be a problem with that series of shows. (I confess I don’t know how many there are; I’m trying to shield myself.) It’s as though the “channel” button on the remote gets sticky and won’t let us see anything else. I vaguely remember NYC’s resident curmudgeon Fran Leibowitz saying something to the effect that her idea of a perfect day is to lie on the couch watching back-to-back episodes of  Law and Order. (Presumably, Leibowitz would get off the couch every now and then to guest-star as a judge.)

She ain’t got nothing on my better half.

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, Time-Warner Cable supplied an antidote in the form of an iPad app. Subscribers with a wi fi connection get to connect to their service, anywhere in the house, and watch high-def TV shows. After a rocky start–I had to create yet another login, and there were initial hiccups, the app worked flawlessly. Channels are limited, but T-W promises more soon (though show producers and channels are reportedly not amused, and are threatening to sue). There’s a neat transparency effect, as the channels show up on the left, and you flick your finger up and down to select the show you want–they’re in real-time, showing the same time as they would on your TV.

Did I use this for work, and check out all the cable news channels online? Uh, no. I need my downtime, too, so I surfed over to HGTV to check out House Hunters International, for episode showing a couple buying a house in my maternal grandparents’ town in Sicily, now a chic beach resort, and the episode of Jersey Shore that I missed. (Please, someone tell Sammi and Ron to just shut the [bleep] up.)

Written by almipad

March 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Apps, Entertainment, Media

Walt Beats Me to It

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The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg does a terrific job of explaining how to do things to actual, nongeek humans. This week’s column is worth a read. He explains how to use the iPad to do some of the things you do on a “real” computer—word processing, reading PDFs, moving files to a Mac or PC, that kind of thing. The column and a demo video are online, in front of the pay wall, here. Thanks, Walt!

Written by almipad

March 17, 2011 at 11:26 am

Posted in Productivity

Typing and Other Annoyances

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I was in Toronto for a couple of days on a sales trip (pretty good one at that). Before leaving, I called my hotel, a not-so-hot one—there was a huge mining convention in town with 20,000 attendees—and the desk clerk assured me they had wi-fi for every room.

It didn’t work.

Each room did have an ethernet cable, which did me no good, because I took my iPad. In the course of my wanderings, I was tempted very briefly to buy a router (hey, are those expense-able? I mean, you do get reimbursed for pay-Internet reception, right?), but I decided I wasn’t going to be spending that much time there anyway.

There was a Second Cup cafe down the street, which is sort of like Starbucks, with better coffee. And, thank the Internet gods, free wi-fi. A login prompt came up, telling me that the hotspot was for “Rogers wireless customers with the iPhone 3GS, I agreed to the conditions (what, no curling or hockey jokes?), and I was in. I called up this blog page, logged in and tried to post. And….hmmm, no go. I started to type, but I couldn’t see what I was typing. Is it something to do with the Safari version on the iPad? I don’t know; stay tuned for further experimenting.

I was going to post something on typing, which many find vexing on the device. I don’t, I’ve had an iPhone for over three years, so I’m used to how it works. My advice: trust the autocorrect, 80 percent of the time. I use a modified touch-typing style, fewer fingers than I’m using now on a regular Mac keyboard, but more than two fingers. By the way, have y’all figured out accents? Hold the letter key down until you see the letter with various alternatives. Slide to the one you want and release.

Some people, however, want a physical keyboard. I’ve seen two recently. First off is the Apple one–check out their online store here. On that page, you’ll see the regular wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard and the somewhat clumsy dock.

One of our colleagues has been carrying his iPad around with this dashing setup. Brookstone sells it, and it’s a portfolio (in three colors) that contains a Bluetooth keyboard. You open the case, the iPad can sit up at a comfortable angle, and it looks for all the world like a neat little laptop.

Written by almipad

March 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm