Friday, May 28, 2010

The Screen

The beautiful thing about the iPad is its screen. The screen is the wow factor: oooh, pretty!

But the nasty-yuk thing about the iPad is also its screen: 'wow' quickly turns to 'ew.' (see this Wall Street Journal story for more).

I still think it was a strange cheap-out for Apple not to include a chamois with the iPad. The iPhone comes with one -- even a pair of glasses from LensCrafters comes with one!

On a related note: Tried baking scones with a recipe from a cookbook on my iPad. Great recipe, but having to refer to the ipad for it didn't work so well. The recipe didn't fit on one screen, so I had to touch the screen to move through the recipe -- and the screen would dim periodically, so I had to touch the screen if I wanted to glance at the recipe again. Ugh. My iPad screen was not pretty by the time the scones went into the oven.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Verizon & Connection Issue

The iPad connects to wireless networks out in public (library, school, medical centers, park, etc.). The iPad connects to wireless networks in people who use Comcast as their ISP.

But the iPad wouldn't connect to my home wireless. This has been driving me batty. I've tried different tricks, and I've tried just TRYING over and over again (sometimes the 333rd time's the charm).

I called Verizon tech support today. After the obligatory penance of going through automated service menus, I got to tech support. He put me on hold. Came back and said he was sorry, but he couldn't help me, because while Verizon is aware that there's an issue with the iPad being able to connect to wireless networks run on Verizon service, it does not yet have a solution or any kind of tech support instructions for how to address it.

He suggested I call Apple. I said I wasn't sure that would help, since the iPad itself seemed to be working just fine and could connect to everything EXCEPT Verizon. If the problem is Verizon, how can Apple fix it?

He acknowledged that was a good question -- and that it must be frustrating not to be able to get service I'm paying for. He put his supervisor, Eli, on. Eli was also very apologetic, but, bottom line, he doesn't know what to do, either.

According to Eli, the issue was registered with Verizon tech support on April 6th. They've been trying to work with Apple since then to figure out what the issue is and how to fix it. He has no estimate for how long it would take to get to a solution, but promised to call once they had one.

I asked if it would be days or weeks, noting that if they'd been working on this for a month and didn't even have an estimate on how long it would take to solve it that things didn't look good. He said the lack of a solution was 'not acceptable' and he hoped it would be a matter of days. (What else can he say?)

At this point, both Verizon and Apple probably should -- to be fair -- tell anyone who wants to sign up for Verizon Internet service or who wants to buy an iPad that the two won't work together. If you want an iPad, you'll need a non-Verizon ISP at home. If you want Verizon ISP, don't put the money into an iPad if you want one for home use.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Applause where applause is due: the iPad is a very good video provider.

I was at a lecture this week and missed "Glee," so I bought the episode on iTunes & stored it on the iPad (where it can be found under Videos, not iTunes, just in case you're new to the whole i-world).

Watching "Glee" on the iPad is pretty wonderful, though maybe not as great as watching it on television -- what's missed is the shared experience, I guess. But I like knowing I've got the Madonna episode as a Glee-fix when needed!

I downloaded some yoga videos, too, and here the iPad beats the iPhone or the television. The screen is big enough to be able to see the instructor (an issue with the iPhone), and the device is so small that it can be moved from the bedroom dresser to floor to wherever you want to do tree pose or corpse pose or downward dog or....

Still no connection at home, though. I did connect to the UMPC guest wifi, so connection IS possible!

Monday, April 19, 2010



If I weren't already an iPhone fan, I'd be swearing off iAnythings forever. It's been one hitch after another with the iPad.

I should have called Verizon and tackled the connection issue in case they know some trick for getting their router to work with the iPad when the iPad's being recalcitrant, but I didn't have the energy.

I'd uploaded a movie directly onto the iPad, but then it wasn't there (because, I guess, it was on iTunes -- I don't understand that). So synced that up today except that I got about 50 error messages during the process: "The iPad cannot be synced. An unknown error occured [13014]." I just hit the 'apply' button to sync it again. And again. And again. And again.

Honest to God, can't tell you how many times.

Finally, the movie was on the iPad. It's a ghost icon: no name, no image. But if you click the ghost icon on the iPad screen, the movie does start to play.

I've turned off the iPad. I think we need a break from each other.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

iPad Apps

While I'm figuring out the home wifi connection issue, I'm downloading (uploading?) apps when I'm on a strong WiFi network. Interacting with the iPad's the way to move forward. iPhone apps will work on the iPad, but it's goofy -- just a little iPhone app in the middle of the larger iPad screen.

Step 1: Delete the iPhone apps that got loaded on to the iPad when I synched through iTunes. Resolve to (try to) not synch through desktop-iTunes anymore.

Result : (a) I've got about one screen full of iPhone apps that I'm going to keep around to see if I use them on the iPad. (b) I've got a screen (not full) of what I'm considering either reference or 'reserve' iPad apps: these are things like Settings, Contacts, iTunes, App Store, Maps, as well as Epicurious and Adobe Ideas and Connect (apps I haven't used yet so don't know if I'll keep them or if they'll be useful enough to move to page one). and (c) Padma's Home Screen (first one) has 20 apps that I think I'll tend to use most frequently: calendar, notes, NYT Editor's Choice, This Day, BBC News, Weather Channel, NPR, YouTube, MaxJournal, Words HD, Virtuouso, Bible, Dictionary, USA Today, Netflix, ABC Player, iMajJohng, IBooks, TweetDeck, and Brushes.

The bottom row of the screens all hold Safari, Mail, Photos, and iPod.

Step 2: Add apps. (See list above for the first round.) Reaction/quick review of apps will be posted in the comments on this post.

BIG FAIL: OK, to my mind, there's a big obvious gap here. Did you notice it? No Facebook app for iPad. I can get TweetDeck and access Twitter, but not Facebook. WTF? Colleges are making iPads the default technology for their students and Apple doesn't have a Facebook app? Is that an Apple fail or a Facebook fail?

Step 3: Add books. (See comments on this post for more on that.)

Step 4: Play.

WiFi Connection at Home and Outside

Still not working. We tried opening the wifi at home last night so it wasn't password protected anymore, and the iPad could still 'see' the network but wouldn't connect to it.


I did take 'Padma' out for lunch today. It's a pretty day, so I sat outside the Frick Fine Arts buildling. The 'reception' there wasn't strong (mostly one ring/bar), but Padma held on to the Pitt wifi connection there. I didn't have to find a new one or relog in or anything. So good for her!

But I will be happier once I can use this at home.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Further Aggravation

I love computers. I'm not afraid of computers. I kinda miss unix, but I loooove Apple products. My iPhone is the Best Gadget Ever.

But the iPad and I are not clicking. I took it home last night*, but couldn't get it connected to my wifi at home. It found the network, but kept giving me 'wrong password' error message when I tried to connect. Grrrr. I tried all kinds of different ways to write my password, thinking I'd forgotten a capital letter or had misspelled/mistyped. No dice. So maybe this is just me being an idiot about my password -- I'll find out tonight, when my son comes over with his iPhone and tries to connect to the network.

* I walked home, so the iPad was in an interoffice envelope and then inside my messenger bag. This worked out fine. It's not heavy, so lugging it in a messenger bag is not a big deal, and the interoffice envelope actually makes a very good case!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Apps: Here is the Love?

Most of my iPhone apps (I have too many) transferred over to the iPad when I synched the iPad through iTunes.

Most of my iPhone apps (I have too many to say this as a blanket statement) are usable on the iPad, but they're simply little apps on a bigger screen. That is, rather than a story from the New York Times filling the iPhone screen, the story is iPhone size on the iPad screen, with lots of black screen around it. Not attractive. I can zoom out that image so that it fills the iPad screen (there's a sizer in the lower right corner of the iPad screen), but then it's like reading something with drugstore reading glasses of the wrong magnification.

So playing with iPhone apps on the iPad is not the way to iPad love. Time to download iPad-specific apps.

First question: can I get rid of the iPhone apps on my iPad without getting rid of these apps altogether? That is, how do I keep them synched from iTunes:iPhone but not iTunes:iPad?

I'll delete some from the iPad and see what happens. (Side note: love the instructions that came up on the iPad screen initially re how to arrange icons: "To rearrange icons, touch and hold any icon until it starts to wiggle"! Love the 'wiggle.'

Second question: what apps are worth having on the iPad?

I got iBooks yesterday, and Winnie the Pooh is already on the shelf, and it's beautiful. I was tickled to read Winnie the Pooh to myself on the iPad. I heart Winnie the Pooh. (But am I going to read WtP from my iPad to a child snugged in bed or on my lap? Probably not -- though I can see where if I could get said child situated in bed then it would be easier to read this in the darkened room than reading a traditional book in a darkened room. But the iPad is heavier and harder than a book, and if you put your finger in the wrong spot the page turns willynilly!)

I've downloaded Middlemarch for meatier reading, and a free sample of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day to see how recipes look on this screen. It is rreealllly smart of the Apple folks to show all the empty library shelves in the iBooks app: I want to fill them all!

I'll get the NYTimes Editors Choice app and NPR and a few others and try them out. And I'll shop the iPad app store to see if something jumps out as particularly fun for this size of a gadget.

I suspect some of my iPhone attachment and its related fun factor is based on the kick of having so much power/potential within the little framework of the iPhone.

LATER: OK, this is a very difficult relationship.

I wanted to include a photo here of me holding Padma, with Pooh on the screen. Took the photo with my iPhone and emailed it to myself, opened that email on the iPad, saved the image to the iPad (there's a little loopy arrow in the right corner of the Exchange mail message that lets you choose reply/forward/save image: I selected 'save image' and it saved to the Photos 'app,' which, yes, took me a few tries to figure out where it was going).

OK, so now I have a photo on my iPad, I've got Blogger open on my iPad (through Safari), and I try to add this image. But the "Add an image from your computer" instruction doesn't give me the open dialogue box to select an image from the iPad. There's a 'Choose File' button, but pushing that (since there is no open box to find the files through) just leads to creating more "Choose File" button. They're procreating like rabbits. I have to stop pushing that button; it's getting me nowhere.

So no fun yet, no love yet, still working on this.

Day 2: Still Not Feeling It

Asked for tech support for the whole Exchange-email thing, and got it (go, CSSD tech support!!!). The trick is to use kit AT mail-dot-pitt-dot-edu instead of plain old kit AT pitt-dot-edu.

So now I can do work email on Padma, as well as yahoo/gmail.

But you know what? I probably won't.

I don't like that when you hit the Mail icon, you immediately go into an Inbox. I want to go to the Accounts page, as I do on the iPhone, and THEN choose which mail inbox I want to access. Maybe I can configure this in some way, but right now I have to back out of whatever Inbox I was in to get to the Accounts page and then move to the inbox I WANT to be in.

And I don't like that the Inbox is there in all its glory for anyone to see. Not that I have big secrets in my email, but I'm used to my email popping up on my desktop screen (which is in front of me, not the world) or my iPhone (which may be in front of the world but is small enough that no one could casually read it). It's not so much the 'secret' thing but the private/seemly thing. Flashing my email on the iPad screen in public = flashing my panties. No big secret that I wear panties, but who really wants to see them? And yet how can you not look?

It's a weird violation of social niceties.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 1 Immediate Wants

I want to be able to access my work email on this. Need to call the help desk.

I want a case I'm pretty sure. This surprises me. I don't want/use a case or anythign with my iPhone, but I can't figure out how I'm going to carry 'Padma' around. It seems vulnerable without a 'lid' and is too big for my pocket/purse. (OK, it would fit in my purse, but then it would just get scratched up by all the other stuff that lives in my purse.) Will I get used to carrying it around like a hot book and not worry about the screen cracking? But I'm already shopping for a case (and finding no glowing user reviews, which is interesting. Maybe it's intentionally designed to be non-case-friendly -- but why? To reinforce that we shouldn't baby it, just treat it like a big iPhone?)

I want to figure out why it isn't charging when it's connected to the desktop. Is it the connection or just that the charge is full?

I want to be able to configure the wallpaper. Doesn't seem to be an option. There's a set of wallpapers to choose from, but I don't see the option to use your own photo as the wallpaper. I'll explore -- maybe I just dont' see it.


OK, not having fun right now. I tried to set up my email accounts (work + yahoo). After realizing I needed to connect to a WiFi network before I'd make any progress, setting up the yahoo account was easy-peasy.

The Exchange email? Not so much.

In fact, I'm pretty frustrated. It seems to want a server address, and suggests So I gave it Nope. Just Nope.

Searched the Tech Support site, didn't see anything that looked like a server address you'd fill in on an iPhone/iPad.

How did I do this with the iPhone? Maybe Jordan did it for me?

Grrr. Well, I need to take a break.


OK, lied. Noticed (on desktop) that Apple had sent me a little note thanking me for being an iPad user. Unplugged the iPad from the desktop. Pushed the App Store icon and was immediately asked if I wanted to get the free iBooks app. Sure!

It knows my account username for iTunes, I plug in the password, the iTunes app is downloaded/uploaded. Whee!

FWIW: this app shows up on the second screen. If you weren't used to iGadgets, you might not realize that the first screen (the 'home screen') is still there.

But now, really, I have to stop. Time for an iBreak.

"Welcome to Your New iPad"

Once the iPad finds iTunes, this welcome message comes up on iTunes (that is, on the desktop and not the iPad):

Let's Get Started:

1. Register Your iPad
2. Set up Your iTunes Store Account.


But you know I really just want to play.

But here we go: registering the iPad. Scanning the agreement quickly (does anyone actually read this?): looks like I can only have one iPad (?!?) and I need a youtube account (lots of youtube stuff here: why?).

Do I have an Apple ID? I don't think so. Click.

Fill in basic info (name/address, occ, age range). Write down the serial number, like I always do, on a sticky note destined to get lost within the week.

More agreements to read/agree to, re use of ITunes Store.

Oh, oops. Maybe I do have an Apple ID, since I do already shop at the iTunes Store.

Hmm. OK, when I filled in my Apple ID, it told me I already had an account, so hit Cancel and log in with my account. I hit cancel. Now I choose whether or not to "set up as a new iPad" or "restore from the backup of Kit's iPhone."

Decisions, decisions.

Did I mention that I really just want to play? This is taking too long.

OK, let's try "restore from the backup," even though this IS a new iPad. It tells me some of the setting aren't compatible with the iPad, which is fine by me, so I hit 'continue,' and on we go. Estimated time clicks up from 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 minutes and then back down to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.... OK, I get it. It's going to take a little while to "restore iPad from backup."

Do your thing, iTunes.


I'm in love.

That didn't take long.

But seriously. The box opens easily. And then there it is. The 'device.' Right now it's sitting on my desk right next to my iPhone and I want to take a picture (baby and mama), but my camera is my iPhone, so that won't work.

Unpacking the iPad (ick, hate the name) box is just like unpacking the iPhone box. There's not much here, and it's all clean-white and simple. Device (in antiseptic cling plastic); discretely packaged cheat sheet, information guide, and stickers; cable*; plug*.

No screencleaning cloth? Hmmm. They must assume you've got one already or that you won't use one anyway.

I would not normally read the information guide, and I won't do it this time, either, but -- as per usual -- will scan the first column in case there's some huge and non-intuitive no-no that's printed in huge block letters.

OK, nope. No huge block letters.

Plugging this puppy into my work machine..... It shows me -- visually -- that it's connecting to iTunes, or wanting to, but nothing's happening. Hmmm. Maybe because I used my own cable and not the one that came in the box?

Trying again, with its own cable.


OMG. It's gorgeous.

[Note: if you're not an iPhone user, would you know to push the little indent to make your screen alive? I can't remember if I had to learn to do that.)

*There are probably technical/correct names for these things, but the objects themselves are a nonthreatening cord and electrical plug, and their use is obvious.

The Box

Oooh. The box is teeny.

And I'm a little afraid to open it.