Monday, July 25, 2011

The Why-Pad

Was it only 18 months ago that I blogged about my new Dell Inspiron laptop? Was it only April 2010 that Apple introduced the 1st iPad, and we're already on the 2nd version of it? Technology moves way too fast for me sometimes. And, yes, if you're wondering why I'm going on about this, it is because during all the weeks I was sick (note: I still cannot shake the coughing & congestion 6.5 weeks later), I ended the internal "should I?/shouldn't I?" battle in my head, succumbed to peer pressure, and I bought an iPad 2. Or, as I'm now fondly calling it, my Why-Pad. "Why?" you may ask? I'll tell you why. It's because I'm still trying to figure out why the heck I actually bought the darn thing!

Don't get me wrong. It's actually quite sleek and fun. The picture above more-or-less shows you what I now own. It's white with the blue foldable cover. Mind you, I still haven't figured out how to fold the cover like you see in the picture--everytime I do it, the thing collapses on itself. And while I'm at it, why doesn't Apple sell handi-wipes to clean the screen? They sell every other imaginable attachment gizmo for it, but they provide no easy cleaning mechanism. Within the first couple of hours of playing with it, I had so many streaks and smudges on the screen, a forensic scientist could have taken fingerprints without needing that black powder. But I'm digressing, because I did say it was sleek and fun, and it really is. The technology of using your fingertips to tap and move things is ingenious (why didn't Douglas Engelbart invent this instead of the mouse, which has now given us all carpal tunnel syndrome?). OK, so if you're wondering why with this touch-screen action I'm acting like I've never heard of the iPhone before, it's simply because I don't own an iPhone and iDon'tWantOne. The screen on those things is just too small for me to appreciate what you're trying to look at, and first and foremost I just want my cell phone to make phone calls, not turn into a vocal GPS so Majel Barrett can tell me how to get to Starbucks (come you really want people to know you're lost while walking?).

The iPad syncs with iTunes on my laptop (I have an iPod Shuffle), and I've now got a wide selection of digital photos on the iPad too (the slide show options make for some enjoyable viewing). My favorite app so far is Google Earth, although it freaked me out how it was able to find me in my apartment via satellite. And then of course there's iBooks. Now, I've been resisting the e-book revolution for a while, but I figured I might as well give it a shot with this thing, so I am reading my first e-book now. It's some pretty heavy-duty stuff: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911). I know that seems hokey, but there is a reason for this. Ages ago when I worked at FAU, we all got Jornadas (pseudo-Palm Pilots), and one of the free e-books that came with it was The Secret Garden, but I only read half of it, so I felt it was important to reconnect to that past experience for my first iPad e-book. So far reading it has been an interesting experience, but since I'm also reading Agatha Christie's Passenger to Frankfurt (1970) in paperback, I have to confess that even though the e-book has some cool features like zooming, an instant dictionary, and font customization, I still find myself drawn to the analog book.

So all in all, what do I think of my Why-Pad? I think it's a cool gadget, and I'm slowly getting into it. It'll be handy when traveling, and I'm sure over time I'll make more use of it. I don't have wireless Internet at home yet, so admittedly that is limiting my explorations. And every time I've tried to bring it to one of the 5 Starbucks within a 15-minute walk to my apartment to use their free Wi-Fi, there's never a seat available...because everyone else in there is playing with their Why-Pads and laptops! I guess I just may have to go to a Library to use it properly...where, curiously, I will be surrounded by paper books...


Ann said...

The email & calendar Interfaces are quite elegant compared to alternatives. They will also let you aggregate several from different platforms: outlook, google, etc.

If you haven't Flipboard app....again...completely elegant aggregator for social media +

Do you use dropbox? There's an app for that too...very useful for taking documents ton meetings,etc.

I bought mine in May. LOVE IT. (can you tell?). Ha.ha.

bklynbiblio said...

Thanks, Ann! I'll look into these.

Cheryl said...

Your Why-Pad needs more apps! May I suggest WeatherPro, Upad and Pulse.

bklynbiblio said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I knew you might have a few suggestions for me.