Sunday, October 2, 2011

Buying the iPad 2: I did it!

My colleague Dave read my previous post lamenting the inability to directly download and edit photos on the iPad. He told me about some existing workarounds.  Consequently, I now have my own iPad with an adaptor for my camera connection ($29!) and PS Express, a free photo editing ap from Adobe.  

Once again I tested the iPad on a trip, my mini-vacation to visit  Portland friends LeeAnn and Ellen.  Here's the scoop.

Photos:  Not wanting to take any goofy photos this time around, I didn't use the iPad's Photo Booth or camera.  Used my little Canon PowerShot and the iPad adaptor to download.   Worked perfectly. 

PS Express relies on hand/finger coordination as you activate most of the functions by tapping across the screen.  I found myself homesick for the finer gradations of change in iPhoto, my former on-the-road photo editor.  

Reading:  Finished Ulysses on the plane flight home;  I love reading, highlighting, bookmarking on the iPad.  (Got some funny results when I used the iPad reader's dictionary on Joyce's words!)

Also downloaded other free titles for my bookgroup, including Heart of Darkness and Women in Love.  Makes comparison a snap.   Interesting that when I got home, I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in hard copy even though I had it on the iPad as well. 

Fun in Portland and Dundee Hills  A trip highlight was joining the crowd to see ten thousand-plus Vaux's Swifts spiral into the tall chimney at Chapman School.  Breathtaking!  Particularly when a young Peregrine falcon swooped repeatedly through the vortex to pick out some dessert.

Red Soil from the Lange Estate Vinyards
LeeAnn and I did a day trip to the red volcanic soil wineries of Dundee Hills to sample Pinot Noir and olive oil at  Red Ridge Farms, Lange Estate, Domaine Serene, and others.  My favorite Pinot:  Sokol Blosser 2008.  

Lange Estate Grapes & Red Soil

Our server at Domaine Serene told us all about the Ice Age Floods which had a profound affect on soils and topography of the Colombia basin and Willamette Valley.  Floodwaters hundreds of feet deep deposited huge "erratics" around the Valley.  Would you think I am too weird if I tell you I'm joining the IAFI?

Red Ridge Farms
 The friendliest folks were at Red Ridge Farms where the garden paths were lined with hazelnut shells.   We were also treated extremely well by the maitre d' at Farm to Fork where we were looking for directions and received free latte and coffee. 

Olives, Red Ridge Farms

Red Ridge is also the home of olive groves.   Not a mediterranean climate and my best wishes to them!

Portland was hot and sunny on Friday so a visit to the Japanese Garden was wonderfully cooling.  I had a great trip, using my iPad for reading, searching for winery and restaurant locations,  learning more about Ice Age Floods & Vaux's swifts, and for viewing my photos.  Thank you for your company along the way! 

Portland, Japanese Garden

Monday, August 1, 2011

Testing the IPad 2: Part Two of Two

Am about to return my loaner IPad after trying it out while on vacation.  To continue my review, I tested watching a purchased episode of Bones.

6.  Bones:  No problems here, maybe because I don't have a TV, let alone a bigscreen, at home.  Sat outside in my friends' sweet shady garden and enjoyed one of my favorite episodes.  Also tested a streaming PBS episode of Antiques Roadshow:  worked just fine.   

7.  Photos:  For traveling I like to download each day's photos and then play around with them in IPhoto or PS while I relax in the evening.  No option for this on my loaner IPad.  Had to open a DropBox account and transfer via a laptop or desktop.   For a few photos, this is OK but not for my usual 100+ daily output.  Do I want to carry both the IPad and a laptop?
I did like using the IPad to take photos out the airplane window, particularly of Crater Lake, but in the end, the shots were not worth keeping.  Something fun to chat about with my seatmate, that's all.

8.  Convenience of keypad, weight, battery life: Of these three criteria, battery life is best at the advertised ten hours.  The keypad is bigger than the one on my IPhone, of course,  but the IPad's weight makes keyboarding awkward at times.  As a matter of fact, I haven't yet figured out how to comfortably hold the IPad for reading, typing, or viewing video while reclining on the sofa.  Just too heavy for my carpal tunnel-impaired wrists.  Thus no prolonged writing or editing, e.g. blogging.  On the other hand, it slipped nicely into my purse for easy portability. 

9.  WiFi:  No problem experienced on this trip except for having to enter some people's impossibly long key code with letters, numbers, capitals, lower case, etc.  Ugh!

10.  Book Group:  Brought Ulysses to my book group meeting where now the electronic users outnumber the "real" books.  Was able to quickly find, via the search function, passages referred to during discussion.  Great advantage over paper, especially since everyone had a different edition.  

The Decision. Remember that I was testing for fun applications and for travel.  Verdict:  No IPad for me right now.  The lack of photo software and ability to download directly from camera is a major disadvantage for traveling or home.  I had fun and now I can advise students on IPad usage for searching peer-reviewed articles and writing papers.

But how can I live without this:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Testing the IPad 2: Part One of Two

I'm on vacation, visiting old friends in Vancouver, and I'm lucky to have a loaner IPad 2 with me.  Have been considering buying one for fun applications like Starman2110, NYTimes, books, and movies.

1.  Books:  am reading a public domain copy of Ulysses and so far it's fine.  This book goes along something like a dream anyway and the hypnotic page-turning flick is a perfect complement.  I am highlighting passages for my bookgroup discussion and using the larger font size for reading anywhere.  Also purchased Frommer's Vancouver which has NO GRAPHICAL information: no photos nor maps!  This is my first ebook purchase and now I am wiser.  Did read it on the plane; easy to use and this is where I learned that highlighting is better than bookmarking because the highlighting menu gives a snippet of the surrounding text while the bookmark menu gives just page numbers.

2.  Photos:  am experimenting with DropBox.  Some of yesterday's photos of the UBC Museum of Anthropology, such as this dogfish by Haida artist Bill Reid, are now sharable between my MacBook and the IPad.  It was simple but I wouldn't keep a large photo archive in DropBox, just shots I want to share with friends.

3.  Camera: Front and back cameras with some fun add-ons like "light tunnel", as in my new portrait.

4.  Starman2110:  British mysteries downloaded to YouTube in 14 minute segments; I have previously gone through Midsomer Murders, Hercule Poirot, and New Tricks.  Access to Starman directly through his YT site is not as easy on the IPad as on the Mac: layout compressed and funky.  Viewing Starman straight through YT gives a bit better layout.  Video display quality for this non-TV gal is good and sound is fine with and w/o headphones.

5.  NYTimesCrossword ap funkier than one for MacBook, doable when traveling, not for at home. Straight web-based NYTimes daily & Sunday is OK, IPad NYT ap much better, hurray!

Other tests and considerations: Bones, Big Night, blogging, keypad, weight, battery life.  More later, plus The Decision.  Thank you for your company!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In This New Year

Over a year has passed since I posted about Lodi and in that year, my mom, Eleanor Henrietta Peterson passed away.  She died of Alzheimer's disease on August 31, 2010 at age 96.  This is the photo she chose for her obit, looking quite librarian-like with those glasses on a chain.  I loved my mom and am finally addressing my grief in a support group for people who have lost parents.  Thank goodness for the wonderful folks at Pathways Hospice for sponsoring these groups!   

Check out the LibGuide for Alzheimer's disease to find information for caregivers, students, and researchers.  I created it as one way of working through my grief. 

Cheers to you, kind readers, and raise a glass to your loved ones, where ever they might be!