Tips, tricks, and apps for ALM iPad users

Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

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

Save It for Later

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Even if you have a 3G model iPad (I don’t), there are times where you can’t or won’t connect to the Internet. My iPhone, for instance, goes dead in the middle of New York Harbor, and flight attendants would treat me a little less delicately than they handled Arianna Huffington when she refused to shut down her BlackBerry while taxiing for takeoff. And you might want to just save stuff to read later, for the sake of it.

Download InstaPaper. It installs a “save for later” bookmark on your browser. Go to an article you want to save, tap save, and you’ve got it to read later. Just make sure, and open the app to make it load into the app. If you don’t, you’ll have the disappearing reading material problem I described in the book-reader apps post.



Written by almipad

February 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Apps, Productivity

Book readers—Go Native, or go with Amazon?

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I’m agnostic, actually. I use both. They’re both roughly equivalent, once you’ve got a book (with a caveat or two) and they both work reasonably well. But both have quirks, and some people have a problem reading a book on a backlit screen, instead of the E Ink of a dedicated Amazon Kindle. I don’t.

That said, it’s easier to buy books from Apple’s iBook store. Fire up the app, hit the button up top for the store, find what you want, and it downloads. You’re good to go, perfect for that long flight to GC West in San Francisco.

But, uh-oh, I tapped Keith Richard’s Life, it appears for a fleeting second, and then it’s gone. What happened? I have no Internet connection on the runway, and I shouldn’t have this iPad switched on right now anyway. Looks like I’ll be stuck reading the in-flight magazine. For six hours.

This has happened to me twice. Luckily, when I got connected to the Net, I was able to reload my books. It didn’t happen again—with that book. But it did with another one. I have an e-mail out to Apple; I’ll update when I get a response.

There are fewer quirks with the Kindle app—big selection, easy synching across all sorts of devices—PCs, Macs, BlackBerries, iPhones/Pods, iPads. So if you’re on page 254, you’ll be at the same spot if you open up the book elsewhere. It works like that on iBooks, too, but the app runs on fewer platforms.

Buying is more of a kludge, though. When you want to buy, the app switches you to the built-in Safari browser, and you have to go through the usual Amazon buying process. Not that big a deal, really, and the bigger selection makes up for this.

Minuses? Not much—less eye candy, instead of flicking pages, like you would do in real life, you shove them. More as I see them…

Written by almipad

February 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Apps, Book readers