- Google search for iPad. Love the hands-free voice search feature. Beyond search, this app also provides a portal to all of my Google App services. One negative is that the Google Search app does not afford easy switching between Google accounts.
- Safe Gmail for the iPad. This app provides for easy switching between multiple Google accounts. A real frustration reducer.
- Gmail for the iPad. If/when Google enables quick account switching, this will be my go-to app for email. On the margin, the archieve and trash icons are too close together. It is too easy to trash a message by mistake.
- MobileRSS for the iPad. I keep hoping that Google will publish a reader app that is as convenient as the Google Reader for Android. Until that happens, MobileRSS, is my go to feed reading app. MobileRSS integrates seamlessly with my Google Reader account. It also makes sharing posts via Twitter , email, Facebook, etc. a simple two-tap process.
- Safari. Safari is an OK browser. The recent addition of Chrome-like tabs is a mixed blessing. The tabs use precious screen real estate. I rather liked Safari's previous "view all open windows" navigation scheme.
- WSJ for the iPad. Because of this app, I now prefer to read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad, rather than the dead trees version. Dow Jones is to be commended for this!
- DrudgeReport for the iPad. What can I say?
- Facebook for iPad. This app is better than accessing FB via Safari, but that's not saying much.
- Twitter for the iPad. As with the FB app, the Twitter iPad app beats accessing Twitter via Safari. However it's annoying and confusing to use. Why, for example, is the compose new tweet button located at the bottom left of the window?
- WeatherBug for the iPad. My favorite weather app.
- Google Maps. Gmaps on the iPad is just as useful as it is on the Android platform. Endless fun.
- Google Earth. Ditto. Fun to pinch to zoom and swipe to relocate the earth.
- Netflix. Gotta have it.
- Kindle for the iPad. Essential for accessing and reading our household library of Kindle books.
- Kno Textbooks. Useful for organizing technical reports and other documents in PDF format.
- Email. The iPad makes for an OK email device. Editing typos remains more difficult than with an Android device. Android provides a convenient way to locate an insertion point. iOS does not. The lack of SWYPE for iOS makes text entry more tedious than necessary.
- Reading books and technical reports.
- Reading blogs and news sources.
- Messages (New with iOS 5. I have now clue what it does).
- Videos. Never used it.
- iTunes. Ditto.
- Photo Booth. Huh?
- Photos. Why?
- Music. How different from iTunes?
- Face Time. Google + hangouts and Skype are better.
- Mail. Awkward.
- Calendar. Apple FINALLY added the ability to use swipe gestures to change months, etc. Generally awkward to use.
See my companion post Useful iPad Apps.
Please hold as we route your chat to an Adobe Representative.
Welcome to Adobe.com! My name is Robin. May I assist you with your selection today?
Robin: Hi, How are you doing today?
rob: i'm seeking a chart that compares the various 'suites'
Robin: I'll be glad to help you with that.
Robin: For me to assist you better, can you tell me what kind of tasks would you like the software to help you accomplish?
rob: i have 'cs3 design premium' installed now. curious how the various bundles compare.
Robin: I'm afraid, just to clarify, when did you installed 'CS3 Design Premium'?
rob: don't know an exact date. it's been a while.
rob: the website used to have a link to a chart that compared the contents of the various bundles. it was very useful. i'd like to find it again.
Robin: I'm sorry, you're using older version of the software, Adobe released new version of the software CS5.5.
rob: my question is about cs5.5
rob: is this a turing test fail?
Robin: Let me explain you clearly.
Robin: Rob, CS5.5 Design Premium includes Dreamweaver CS5.5 for web site designing, Photoshop CS5 Extended which will help you in editing photos in more advance way, Illustrator CS5 to create images for printed productions and logos, InDesign helps you to designs and publishes documents for print , Acrobat X Pro to edit, create, manage and convert PDF file and all Flash related software.
rob: please point me to a chart that compares the different CS5.5 suite offerings.
Robin: Please give me moment.
Robin: Please click here
Robin: Did you get the link?
rob: yes, thank you. that is exactly what I was seeking.
Robin: Lets go ahead and placed the order, okay.
Robin: Rob, are we still connected?
Robin: I haven't heard from you in a while. Would you like to continue chatting?
Robin: I'm sorry, we have not heard from you. We're happy to help. However, if you do not respond soon, this chat session gets terminated automatically.
rob: all purchases must go through our purchasing office
Robin: I can understand you're concern, is there any thing else?
rob: and all vendors must be able to articulate the significance of the number 42 in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide the the Galaxy.
Robin: Thank you for visiting Adobe.com today! Please come back online if you need any assistance. We will be happy to help.
Robin: We'd like to hear your comments. Please click on the 'Close' button in the upper right corner and take a moment to complete a short survey. Thank you! Have a Nice Day!
The convoluted grammar, and the repeated failure to respond appropriately to my specific questions, leads me to wonder: Does Adobe have a strategy of actively discouraging people from learning about and purchasing their products? As I've used Adobe products for more than 20 years, this is very disappointing.
- Purchase ease: Amazon.com provides an excellent shopping experience.
- Safe keeping: Amazon.com stores my ebooks so I always know where to find them.
- Ubiquity: I can read Kindle format books on every digital device I own: my laptop, my netbook, my iPad, my desktop machine, my Droid X Android phone.
- Future proof. I have confidence Amazon will make it possible for me to read my Kindle books on any device I may own in the future.
- Device independent. I can read my eTextbooks on every device I own today or may own in the future; I'm not locked to reading the eTextbook on a specific device.
- Platform independent. I can read my eTextbooks using any OS platform.
- A consistent reading experience across devices and platforms. I want a similar reading experience and suite of reading tools (e.g., search, highlighting, etc.) now matter the device or platform on which I read an eTexbook.
- No connection required. Affords the ability to use materials when not connected to the internet. Yes, internet connectivity is near universal, but it is not universal. I want to know that I can read my eTextbooks anytime anywhere I happen to be and have a device available.
Oh, well, as the service dude explaind, the "secondary hood release" dongle needed to be replaced. He interestingly explained that it was worn. That's more than hilarious for a variety of reasons. Hint: as far as I can tell, it was missing altogether. Guess who last did work on the car? But I digress.
This morning, I found a pool of oil under the Passat, Dark, dirty oil. Huh? Again? Yeah, this has happened before. And has only happened after an Ed Schmidt oil change. One time, rather than remove the aerodynamics improving belly pan that covers the oil plug, the crack Ed Schmidt mechanic emptied the oil into the belly pan. Naturally, I'm wondering: did they do that again?
Just after discovering the oil puddle in the garage, a Customer Satisfaction Survey from Ed Schmidt landed in my email. So, I launched the survey. All I wanted to do was query about the oil puddle. The genius that designed the VERY LONG survey configured it such that a respondent must answer every single question in order to submit the survey. All I wanted to do was submit a question. Nope, can't do.
Ah, ha! Instead I'll reply to the survey invitation email. An email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org should get my question to a living breathing Ed Schmidt employee. Right?
Nope. Email sent in reply to the customer satisfaction survey generates this response:
Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists:
The recipient's e-mail address was not found in the recipient's e-mail system. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.
Amy, Ed Schmidt's Internet Manager, called me a short while later. She promised to have the service manager call me and asked that I forward to her the customer satisfaction survey invite email with the bouncy return address. I did.
Jeff, the SM, called a short while later, and "Sir'd" me a lot. Jeff says, "sir" in a way that implies an effort to put one in his/her proper place (not to be confused with the respectful "sir!" as voiced by military personnel). "Sir, I can't know for certain with out examining the car, but it could be, what we cal a 'messy oil change.' Sometimes the guys fumble the oil filter when removing it and oil gets spilled in nooks and crannies in the engine. You would need to bring the car in, sir, for us to examine it and make sure everything is OK."
So, this is a problem that happens so frequently that Jeff has a name for it? Not a good sign. This is the fourth time a simple oil change has required a repeat trip to Ed Schmidt to have post-service service performed on the car. If I've experienced problems subsequent to oil changes at Ed Schmidt this often, it suggests major gaps in their quality control. Rather than name the error, how about instituting processes aimed at eliminating the occurrence of the error?
Kindle DX addresses the viewability concerns with its larger screen (9.7" vs 6" diagonal). At a current price of $379, the DX almost has me adopting a second Kindle. Almost. But is it a compelling value proposition for higher ed students? I don't think so. At $199, maybe.
Key is whether work flow (research or studying, for students) is most efficient with special purpose devices (such as the Kindle reader) or with multi purpose devices (such as the iPad). Or does it matter? The Kindle platform's support for highlighting of passages and insertion of comments/notes yields a powerful research/study tool that I find easier to use than my conventional practice of having a PDF open on one monitor and a Google Docs doc open on a second to capture my notes. Ultimately, the Kindle not about the Kindle Reader hardware but about the Kindle Platform.
The ubiquity of the Kindle Platform is the key strength of the Kindle solution relative to a conventional dead tree book. A conventional book exists in one point in the time space continuum. A book can be in my backpack, in my home office, or at my campus office, for example. A physical book can't be all three places simultaneously. There is nothing more frustrating than getting home only to realize that a book I need is at my campus office (50 miles away). A Kindle book is always available to me. Even when I don't have my Kindle reading device with me. Amazon is about to launch Kindle for the Web which means my books will never be further away than the closest web browser. No special app required.
Kno, The Kno -- billed as a "tablet textbook" -- is a large (14" diagonal) tablet computer available in single- or hinged dual-screen versions (to resemble a book). The Kno's USP is that it operationalizes how students study: read, take notes, highlight text, watch videos, read web based content, etc. The Kno is a locked down proprietary platform (built on Linux) that supports three proprietary apps: Reader, Notes, and Browser. The reader app is for viewing digital textbooks. The notes app is for taking notes. The browser is for accessing the web.
Kno's business model is based on two primary revenue streams: hardware sales and sales through their textbook store. Adoption of the Kno implies double lock-in: One is locked in to purchasing textbooks through a single source: the Kno textbook store. The second lock-in is that textbooks purchased for the Kno can only be viewed on the Kno. It is a closed system. The Kno duplicates one of the biggest hassles of dead-tree books: if you don't have your Kno with you, you don't have access to your books. Or your notes. Oops.
Kindle for the Web exposes a major flaw in the Kno's business model. Kindle for the Web suggests that users already have a key for unlocking Kno's proprietary bookstore. There goes that revenue stream.
single screen limited function 16GB Kno, priced at $599, is more expensive than the very versatile 16GB Apple iPad (with a smaller 9.7" screen). And you can read all of your Kindle books (as well as books from other vendors) on the iPad. How's that value proposition, Kno?
As a faculty member, I cannot, in good conscious, lock my students into a restricted purpose limited function device. Apple and an increasing cast of others offer tablet devices. Apple's system has attributes amenable to enterprise management. If Kno has a competitive advantage (and it is unclear whether they do), it is in their claim that they understand better than anyone how folks study. Kno should shift from bundling hardware and software. I think that Kno should channel what they have learned about student study habits into note taking apps for the iOS and Android platforms. Such an approach would leverage the source of Kno's competitive advantage.