Mac20Q Podcast 105 iPad First Impressions

Well I am besotted – after getting back from the cinema on the day that I got the ipad I had to leave the ipad behind while I saw the film Salt with Angeline Jolie – I started setting up the iPad as soon as I got back and was totally stuck into the job until 2am in the morning.
The iPad has been given a name – Brummie – it was my wife that suggested that and I thought why not – She had only just been commenting on my Birmingham accent so that is where that name came from.

I was choosing apps that were for the iPad specifically and trying a few out. Looking to see which Twitter client I would want to use – I have put Twitterific on there and TwitbirdPro, Twitter which used to be Tweetie
Not sure which one I prefer on the iPad yet – need to do some more playing.

Flipboard

I have put on Flipboard which has a novel approach to displaying info from FaceBook, Twitter and other places. Still finding out what I can put into it. Makes it look like a magazine or flashy newspaper – they refer to it as a magazine it on the flipboard.com site – not sure on how often the magazine pages are updated – suppose it depends on how often new FaceBook or twitter posts come in on the accounts that you hook up Flipboard to.
but it looks really nice, a great to way to read the information. I will have to go back to the Flipboard site to read up on what it can do and how to set it up.

TextExpander on the iPad

I wondered why Textexpander wasn’t working in Simple Note at first but then I discovered that I had to sync over the snippets from the iMac or the Mac Book first. That was OK except that they would not go over from the iMac as I had just upgraded the Textexpander software on there to the latest version. I got the dialogue box on the iMac asking for permission to sync – I clicked it then nothing came across. So I went to the MacBook and declined the update to TE and did the same thing but this time it worked – I was able to get all my snippets into the ipad. Handy that the it is kept in sync on the Macs by using dropbox. It would be great if the iPad used dropbox in a similar way. What Smile recommend is that you bring in the snippets via wifi and then have a separate group for snippets that you create on the iPad. for sending back to the desktop version of TE.

Address Book on the iPad

The next thing to deal with was the non appearance of the contacts in the address book. I started off by connecting the iPad to my wifes’ MacBook Pro and there are no contacts on there – then I wanted to connect it to my iMac – which I was going to have to do at some point if I want to use the iPad to test iPad apps that I will be writing. Part of the problem was that I was trying to see if I could do without mobile me
I can set up the email OK but syncing my contacts and calendar across all my devices is more difficult with out mobile me. I was also a little worried that I would lose all that I had set up already but I had to try it.

I made sure in iTunes that both machines were using the same iTunes account so there would be no mix ups there. So far so good I have not lost any data in my iTunes on either machine so far. I may have to be careful with what I tell the iPad to sync up with. Because each library is different. We have different tastes in music. Say no more. One of the things I have been worrying about is the fact that the 2 of us will be using the iPad computer and each wanting to have our data on there – how will we be able to keep things separate and still have full access to all our data. Perhaps Will we have to be diligent in the way the data is tagged when it is put on the iPad. Or will we just have to use each different applications for the various tasks – for example I could stick with Simple Note while she uses Noterize for her note taking.

DropBox on the iPad

The other thing will be drop box – can we run 2 accounts on there and the same goes for Evernote.

Disappointment with iPad Keynote

A disappointment with Keynote is the inability to have presenter notes visible while running a presentation. When we imported a presentation onto the iPad it stripped out the notes. The only way forward with that now will be to have those printed out on paper. Or use the MacBookPro for the presentations but then we got the iPad so that we wouldn’t have to carry the extra weight of the MBP. Seems that she doesn’t mind the notes being on paper although I was thinking of a solution where the notes could be on her iPod. that could be running a presentation or a prompt application like iPrompt that could be there as the reminder. So are we to hope for an update to Keynote so that the notes will be visible again for the presentations.
On the upside – Keynote does look great on the iPad and I suppose will look good off on a projector also.

Getting movies on the iPad

I encoded a couple of movies – both using MPEGStreamClip one is use the settings of h.264 as the starting point and the other I used mp4. With the Mp4 you can open a separate dialogue which lets you choose some presets for iTunes. The setting for the quality is 100% the sound should be 48 or 44.1 khz and you can uncheck the boxes for interlacing.

I was able to reduce the size of the file by limiting the data rate to 2mb and the quality of the picture doesn’t suffer enough to notice. If you have a movie that is for example 1280 by 720 then that is a good size to set it to – the Apple TV movies go to that size.

I did see some info that recommends changing the size to 576 on the height while leaving the width to 1280 – on a second pass after the first encoding – but I have to wonder if that is a good idea as you are then changing the aspect ratio. Will we be squashing the video down and making things look odd.
So I did some more hunting for info and from a very reliable source I see that the res should be set to 1024 by 576 for a 16 :9 ratio movie.

Again this was done on a second pass with the encoding. The second pass took ages too and the result was complete rubbish – I messed up somewhere. At least the film was watchable after the first pass anyway.

There are a mountain of settings that you can mess with so when you find a good one that works
you should get out your Skitch or whatever screen capture you use to capture the settings so that you can remember them for the next movie you want to encode. Or better still have a preset named ipad if your encoding software allows that.

Bento

I have put Bento on the iPad – I already had the iPhone version and paid out again to get the iPad version. So far I am totally under whelmed with it. Maybe I need to set up a data base on it and have it working on some real data to see more the nuts and bolts of how it works. Maybe I can set one up that will have some related data bases for my teacher wife. A table for the student data and then a table to hold the data of the marks for course work and another for attendance. I have another database application to try out also and I am wondering if I could set up a MysQL database and have access to it from the iPad. Bit more technical that – to the point of being nerdy.

Getting rid of Mobile Me

I was thinking about doing away with Mobile me and trying to use only Google –
They do have a contacts part of the google universe and there is the google calendar too. The impression I got during a bit of testing was that it was awkward to set up to have in sync across devices and some parts of it were just plain ugly – Looks like I have got accustomed to the Mac way of design and way of working. My Mobile me account was due to be renewed in about a weeks time and I was starting to sort things out so that I would not lose emails – once the account was finished. But now I am thinking that maybe I will let it run for another year at least.

AirVideo

As part of my chatting with twitter buddies , thanks to Sethran I got to the point of downloading an app I had heard good things about but not actually getting – AirVideo. You make your desktop Mac a server of your videos and you get to watch them streaming on to iPad or iPhone. I have tried it with a couple of movies and it works well. the video plays on the iPad nice and clear.

Evernote and other note taking software

I am using Evernote to write this piece and the difference is that I am writing it on the iPad. I like the predictive text And it makes up for the odd time I hit the wrong key.

Talking about writing text I have been trying out Noterize for taking notes and it allows you to use the fingers to longhand write and draw on the page as well as doing the typing of text.

Only trouble I had was when I shared it out to box.net the text didn’t show up at all. In fact. All that was there was a big fat empty white page. Not even the yellow lined paper as was there in Noterize. I will do some more research and checking.
I did however also export out to Google Docs and that worked well.

Connecting a USB microphone to the iPad

Today I asked on Twitter and facebook if anyone has had any success connecting a USB microphone to the iPad with the camera connector kit ? Michelle Cook Lopez was kind enough to tell me that she had done a review of using a mic with an ipad for the MacReviewcast not long ago for surfbits Tim Verpoerten. She suggested the iTalk Recorder from Griffin. I was thinking more in the lines of being able to hook up my Samson C03U condenser mic. but the ipad wasn’t having any of it declaring that the device wanted too much battery power. Michelle Cook Lopez from the The Portable Gamer and iCasual Report does reviews for the Macreview cast regularly usually about gaming – I will have to ask her if she would like to be on this show.

Gazmaz concurred when he told me that he had the same message with a mic but had been able to connect up a low powered Plantronics headset mic. Seems that Michelle was giving me information about the software for the ipad from griffin rather than a device with a similar name – they used to sell but now have discontinued – Also she told me that it is necessary to get your hands on the iTalkSync software to get around the size limits that comes with the ability to email recorded sound from the ipad. I had thought that the ipad could perhaps take over from the Zoom H2 recorder I have for the sound recording while out and about. but it seems not. I could still be better off using the Zoom H2 or taking out the MacBook – Which I have used in the past to do interviews out in the field using Amadeus Pro of course.

Caster for the iPad

Another App I have got is called Caster – for podcasting and it seems to do multi track editing
Looks like it is a work in progress and maybe I could use is an updated version. For now much better to edit in Amadeus pro on the Desktop mac.

I will come back with more information about how we are using the iPad in the next few episodes.

Posted in Mac20Q.

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