Working on MY iPad: 25 Reasons why the iPad is my main machine.

For some reason, when I mention that the iPad is my main machine, people get amazed and think that it is impossible. For me is one of those incredible things, honestly one of the best machines I had ever own and the interaction between the screen and what I am doing is a great combination, more than once when I sit in front of a computer (generally my MacBook, that it is in abandoned state and generally without battery) I found myself touching the screen where I wish the cursor show up by my command. Here are 25 reasons why, the iPad has transform itself into my main machine.

1.- Portability: My iPad is 1.33 lbs vs my MacBook is 5 lbs. (It is true that a MacBook Air is only 2.38lbs, that it is a little over a pound more than the iPad)

2.- The ability to use Skype and FaceTime: Even when most of the time I use the iPhone as my tool to make Skype and FaceTime calls, it is amazing that the iPad allow you to do this. When you are talking the mobility and the ability that the iPad had to show things it is worth his weight in gold. (that even it is not much weight, the price of gold it is pretty high, so it is a lot)

3.- How everything is synced with my iPhone between iCloud and DropBox: The eternal dilemma of where is the file. Honestly between iCloud and DropBox I had not consider this in a while, I have get used to depend on both services, that in a way I am sure it is a bad idea.

4.- Automatic Backups: Mi iPad made an Automatic Backup every time you pug her in (in my case once a day) but even if that may not be a lot, it is way more than what the average people do. In many cases there is a constant backup, specially on those documents inside certain applications.

5.- The availability of multiple browsers: I had said before that in order to reduce the waste of time online, you should use more than one browser. One for work, one for play. (In my case it is Safari and Google Chrome), having this available in the iPad is amazing.

6.- An easy to use platform to blog: I use WordPress (that had improve over the years incredibly from an useless application to something really useful and in combination with Blogsy, specially when you want to work with images. You can manipulate images on WordPress, but I think Blogsy do a better job.

7.- A battery that last almost all day: Sometime in the past I had a battery that was three or four pounds so my HP Tablet PC could last all day. The eight pounds of the machine plus the four of the battery made it for a heavy companion. The iPad give me that and more in less than pound and a half.

8.- The best machine to write without distractions: Part of my responsibilities is to write, I value hugely the ability to have less distractions. The iPad make a great job with this, one of the best I had experienced in any other device, being a multi-functional device capable of almost anything.

9.- Guided Assistance: I had mention this many times, at least here and here. Guided Assistance is allow me to limit the access that a certain application had to the iPad forcing you to stay on one application until you put a password. Even it seems a little thing, the need to put the password it is enough to bring me back to focus and get back to the task I had in hands. This is one of those magic things the iPad does.

10.- Omnifocus: I am aware that Omnifocus 2 is coming… but in the mean time Omnifocus for iPad, is a beautiful application, and even that I use in the day to day more the iPhone application, I love to sit and think, plan and organize everything on the iPad.

11.- Apple Notes App: Thanks to the easy that it is to search notes and the fact that the notes sync between the iPad and the iPhone, this application had basically all my lists and ideas. Honestly it is one for those applications that had more content that I am conscious.

12.- The ability to type in the screen: I had learn to type on the screen of the iPad and I can do between 40 and 45 word per minute there. I had used an application called TapTyping to learn how to in the iPad screen. The investment of $4.99 had paid plenty of times over.

13.- An External Keyboard: Even that I can type faster on the keyboard, I am not as fast as I am in the keyboard, so if I am going to be writing for a long period I use the Bluetooth keyboard. These days I am using a Logitech KB810 that allow me to connect up to three devices to it. (and it is lighted)

14.- The ability to read books and magazines: I understand that in general both things you can do it in a Laptop. I don’t care. It is not the same. I love to read and be able to have with me thousand of books and magazines allow me to use productively my time regardless of where I am.

15.- Videos: The size of the iPad screen is great to watch videos on YouTube, Vimeo and TedTaks. Also I can move around. The size is perfect for a personal experience.

16.- Pages, Numbers and Keynote: Most people that I know use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the 90% of their working hours. (If we don’t count Outlook or the corporate email and when they are effectively working, otherwise they are using the browser.) Regardless, most people, don’t use any complex functions in any of this applications. Until recently my only complaint with Numbers was that you could not use Track Changes, but in the last update that changed and now it is possible.Aside of that, I can do anything else on those apps.

17.- Use the camera as an Scanner: Need to scan a document? My iPad is my scanner. From there I can send it via email or archive it directly on Evernote. Honestly this function help living paperless a reality.

18.- Evernote: Evernote is my digital file. Once a document it is scanned (or received by email) if I need to kept a copy goes to Evernote directly, where the next time I can search for it without any problems and use it in seconds. That in my opinion it is the value of Evernote.

19.- GoodReads: This is another application that help me significantly with my paperless life. This is the best application I had found to manage PDFs, the things you can do are incredible (like notes, write on them, for exaple) it is simply incredible.

20.- MyFax: Once in a while I need to send a fax. This application allow me to send a fax to anywhere directly from my iPad, where I have access to 90% of my documents. I even remember how hard this was to do in a computer.

21.- Access to the bank and stock market: Mi iPad allow me to access mi bank accounts without any limitation, move money around, pay bills and more. Also, allow me to access our investments on the stock market and the application iChartlistPro allow me to see tendencies, graphs and more of the stock Market.

22.- RSS Reader: I only read RSS on the iPad on an application called Mr.Reader. The experience is incredible, to the point that I simply don’t even try on other devices, at least until the developers create a version for the iPhone.

23.- Instapaper: Instapaper is where I read anything from the web. I love it on a font called “Dyslexie” even when I don’t suffer from Dislexia for some reason my vision don’t get tired and I can read faster. For some reason, Instapaper is how I read on the web, even when it is something I am going to read right now, I do it there.

24.- DualMailT: I continue waiting for someone to developed an application like this but powerful. DualMailT basically allow you to have to text editors side by side. It is great, you can work on half the screen and put the outline on the other half. This application it is a recent acquisition, but it is one of those things that was on my wish list since the first day I work on the iPad. My dream is this application, but with access to DropBox and iCloud and also that allow me work with black background.

25.- One Application at the time: Even that I mention this last, it is one of my favorite things on the iPad. I get distracted easily, so a device that force me to have one application at the time, it is a blessing. (This in combination of the lack of Command-Tab, help me work much better)

This are 25 reasons for which my iPad is my main machine. I use the MacBook, for example when I need to format a book in Scrivener or convert them in ePub or MOBI. But aside of these necessities… I can’t think on anything else. Other than that the MacBook is on a shelf, without battery.

Working on MY iPad: Cursor Dual Editor for iPad

I have been asking for an application like this for years. Finally a developer is kind enough to build it. I am not familiar with Shigeto Takagi, but finally someone design an app that you can work with two documents on the iPad at the same time.

In my wish list, continue that I can open those documents from Dropbox and iCloud, that I have word count, can choose to use one screen only and dark interface for long writing. That will make the application my day to day application. I will delete the others, immediately.

In the mean time at least I can use this on those occasions that I want to have two texts, or the outline on one side and the text I am writing on the other.

The application works only on plain text that it is perfect and allow you to email the content when you finish.

This may seem as simple stuff, but it is a great tools for writers and more. This has come to be one of my favorite applications to take notes, I love that I can naturally split my notes, for example write on the write my notes and on the left my actions.

I wish more developers follow Shigeto Takagi steps and work into this dual concept, since they are things that really this dual screen is an incredible advantage.

I wish I could get the ads from the bottom, I will happily pay for a premium product, and wish that instead of Free I would had been able to pay the developer.

In the mean time, download it and give it a ride.

iPad Version (Free)
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“>iPhone Version ($1.99)

Working on MY iPAD: New Keyboard: Logitech K810

20130108-101754.jpg Last december I decided to replace the Apple Bluetooth keyboard that I have been using since I got my original iPad. The reason was the Logitech K810.

I had been jelaous of the Mac Book Air iluminated keyboard for a while. I sit in my office at 4:30 A.M. and having light on the keyboard is really cool. Aside of that, it does 2 more things that really make a killing on the Apple keyboard.

First it has an ON-OFF switch. I know you can turn the Apple keyboard off, but it had turn on in the bag more than what I am willing to admit. This one has an actual switch, works fantastic.

Second allow you to use the same keyboard with up to three devices, and do fast switch between them. As my iPad is my main machine, my iPhone aside. I can now use the keyboard in one or the other, hiting F1 and F2. The switch is fast, and incredible convinient.

Those where the three reasons to get this keyboard, Lighted Keyboard, an ON-OFF Switch and the ability to use it in more than one device.

Working on MY iPad: Using Guide Access on the iPad or iPhone as Focus Tool

With the introduction of iOS 6 Apple add a feature to their iPads and iPhones that had been an incredible aid to me. It's called Guide Access and most people ignore their existence and power.

Apple defines this feature for people with vision, hearing, learning, and mobility disabilities, but honestly, people that need more focus can use this app to their advantage. Basically you can limit your iOS device to one app and as a bonus, you can disable the Home button and Siri. In other words unless I type a password, there is no iOS access for me. That it is a great idea!

First you need to go to Settings, then click in General, then Accessibility and finally click Guide Access. (That it is cleverly classified as Learning)

After you activate you just set a passcode, open the application you are going to work on (Byword most of the time for me) and hit the Home button 3 times.

You will then be able to disable touch, hardware buttons and/or motion. I don't mess with any of those, I just need Guide Access to keep me long enough in Byword to get into the writer mood. Then press Start and begin the writing work.

Every time that my distracted brain try to exit, I get a reminder that “Guide Access” is enable. If you hit the Home Button three times, you will be prompt to enter the passcode you set before, but all those actions are more than enough to stop me from distracting and force myself back to task.

Do I need to use this feature for write every day? No, but I used much more than what I am going to admit in writing. It is the beginning of the writing session what it is hard for me, a soon as I get into the words, I can stay… but those first ten to fifteen minutes are a challenge many days.

For the people that like numbers, output had been increased in more than 30% since I begin using this trick. This wouldn't stop me for go to other applications, but will help me to stay in focus. In productivity most of the time, if works for a two year old, will work for ourselves.

Working on MY iPad: Carry all your reference, papers and everything else too in Evernote

We all have carried more paper than what we actually need to carry. We all had hold paper in our lives for longer that we need. Even the best people at processing paper, keep some stuff that honestly could be put in other formats, so you don't need anymore to carry it.

When I discover that most people had enough with a copy or even an email version of most documents, I decided to find a different way of carrying all that information. I need it a way to file those documents, and carrying in them with me, without carrying a piece of paper. That will provide me easy access, but no bulk or weight. The Answer: Evernote.

We where traveling recently to a close city and my wife lost one of her contacts. We drove to a LensCrafters to get a new pair. In order to help her they need to see their prescription. She got hers on a different store, and I knew they will be able to call, and get the information. Instead of that, I just search on my Evernote, and voila, show to the person helping us, he ask for an email to attach to the file and 15 minutes later we where back into out trip. All that because I have get in the habit of scan papers that come our way that I think I may need (even some that I hope I will never need)

Evernote had the advantage of the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) that make find documents really easy, even if your abilities of filing are poor. The camera of the iPad and the iPhone are good enough to get a quality image that Evernote can apply their OCR so it can be perfectly useful.

The problem like anything is that if you just dump stuff instead of being something useful you have the risk to convert it in something that it is going to be useless again. So in my opinion you need some kind of methodology in order to survive.

This the the current formula that I have. It is far from perfect, but it works great for me and saves me hours and more importantly it is simple enough I think.

My Current Folders:
Tax Receipts (Current Year): My accountant don't require originals, so I take pictures of receipt that will be relevant and just forward by email when the Tax time arrives.
Wife: This is things that are related to my wife. Eyes Prescriptions, insurance cards, and many more stuff.
Daughter: same as the wife, b-day invitations, doctor and medicine instructions while current and stuff that it is related to her.
Personal: same as my wife and my daughter, stuff that will be relevant.
Business: stuff that it is reference to my business.
Guarantees and Service Agreements
Current Projects: I have a folder per current relevant project
Old reference file: Since Evernote doesn't limit me (for now) I don't delete anything from there, I am sure eventually I will, but until now, there had been no need.

As you can see there is a not so clear distinction of how to do with short term storage and long term.

As of today my long term strategy is simple (or more like a Swiss cheese) until Evernote doesn't ask my to delete items everything will be there. It's not perfect, but it is one of those things that until keep working I will not be thinking on improving it.

Regarding the short term strategy, that it is a little bit more complex. Tax receipts, Daughter, Wife, my personal files, business, guarantees and current projects, are in their file, after they become obsolete, I just simply move to the “Old Reference File”. Usually at the beginning of the new year, you will see two folders for Taxes, because as you may imagine I begin accumulating tax stuff around the first of the year, when I may or may not finish with last year returns.

The system is simple, if I ever need the originals, I can go into my file system and look for it. It is something so unusual, that the evernote file cabinet do almost everything I need and more.

Working on MY iPad: “Word” & “Excel” & Microsoft Mistake

Without a doubt one of the most repeated tasks in a worker day goes around, create “Word” documents and “Excel” spreadsheets. I believe that aside from email, working on an spreadsheet or a word processor is probably where most people spend their time in front their computer at work.

For years Microsoft Corporation convince us that the only way to accomplish that task, was using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. That was the only way to actually accomplish work. Came the iPad on the market and to this day Microsoft had decided not to release those two applications for the iPad, in some way, that it is sad. (and even saddest, they release a light -not full feature- version for their own Tablet, the Microsoft Surface)

That it is what I am calling Microsoft mistake. Before the iPad, a lot of people was convinced that in order to do a letter you need Microsoft Word, and in order to do an spreadsheet you need Microsoft Excel. That was a fact for a lot of people, that was the status quo. If Microsoft would had release a “light” version of Word and Excel with the iPad, for $150 most iPad users would had bought it; but they didn’t and the people began looking for the alternatives. If Microsoft would release today a “Light” version, most people will not buy it. Hence the big mistake, after Bill Gates convinced people that the only way to write a document or do an spreadsheet was using Microsoft products, Steve Ballmer teaches people that they can accomplish the same without buying Microsoft products. Sad without a doubt.

Well since we learned that we didn't need Microsoft products to do spreadsheets and word documents, we get into the need to jump into the Apple App Store to find a Word Processor and a Spreadsheet application. Since the idea of this post is how I work, I will mention the three applications that I use. I am sure there are better ones, with more or less features. This fit my needs well enough, and therefore I have been using them without the need to change them. In my case are Office2 HD, Apple Pages and Apple Numbers.

Let me begin with Office2HD. I got this application with one objective on hand. This was the first application that allow me to work with tack changes on a document in the iPad. When you are working on agreements, or editing books, there is nothing better that be able to work on documents that you can use the “track changes” feature. This was the first application to my knowledge that was able to do this, and I use it when I need to work in this kind of documents. Another cool feature of this software is the ability to access and save directly in DropBox, that allow and facilitate the exchange of documents.

Pages: This is Apple solution to Word Processing. My use of word processing is light, even that I am writing constantly, I never write on pages, I write my books, articles, posts and more on plain text, because reduce the number of distractions and therefore I can work better. Again for the use I have of word, receiving .DOC or .DOCX is not a problem. Editing text, formatting, adding images, all can be done in the iPad without any problem, fast and easy.

Numbers: let me begin saying that if you need to use Macros, this is not your software. If you don’t know what a Macro is, this application will do plenty. I use to run complex macros on spreadsheets that without a doubt would had limit my use of spreadsheets on the iPad, but this days I think I am limited to calculations and graphs. For those things, Numbers had more than enough power, I can run formulas, create graphs and more on a simple and friendly application.

I don’t remember when was the last time that I was forced to pull the laptop in order to work with a Word Processor file or an Spreadsheet, the reality is that this three applications do the job for me, even in some cases more than what I need.

Working on MY iPad: Typing, Keyboard and more.

No doubt that typing per se, it is one of those things that are complex, it is simple to hit the keyboard, but touch typing is complex. We tend to avoid learn to touch type, but regardless we are using the keyboard all the time. On my book “25 Tips for Productivity” I spend a chapter explaining how, learning to type was key to gain over two hours of free time per week.

When I got my iPad, I also got an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, and took me a while to find the perfect accessory for it. It was a keyboard case called 'Origami' from Incase. This one works as a cover for the Keyboard as well as a stand for the iPad. Those had been a been a good combination for long typing.

I had use this case, and travel with it, since have two important purposes, one it work as stand and second avoid that the keyboard turn on when in the bag. This had happened to me before I got the case, and was really frustrating to get to work and discover that you have no battery. (Both times I had extra batteries on the Bag.) I have been able to touch type for some time, so having a keyboard was key for me to use the iPad for certain things, therefore was a no brainer for me to get the keyboard.

It took me a while to understand that typing on the keyboard but be deficient on the screen was not in my own benefit. It wasn't allowing me to be as productive as I could be. After a friend recommend me an iPad app called TapTyping I began learning. I remember the first time I try it. I did 15 words per minute. I almost cry. But I had practice, and I can type today around 60 on the screen of the iPad. One of the things that I like about this app, is that you can have different profiles, so you can do a Keyboard Profile and a Screen Profile and improve both. Also other people in your household can also create their profile and learn to type. The application provide you with a Beginner, Intermediate, Advance as well as Extra Credits levels and Statistics for you to track you progress. It is a really complete application.

In my expirence, learning to type can save so much time. People tend to convince themselves that they don't need it. I did it too for a really long time. I even avoid to learn how to type effectively in the iPad screen even when it was my main machine. We tend to beleive that the time we will spend lerning will not pay back, therefore we avoid working on it. Honestly, if we stop trying to convince ourselves and working on learning to properly type we will discover a couple of hours per week, every week. Can you imagine that?

Working on MY iPad, because I don’t know how you work on yours: Introduction

20121029-062739.jpg When Apple release iOS 5.0 something changed on the kind of things you could do on the iPad. It was on that moment that it changed from being used forty to sixty percent of the time to eighty to ninety percent of the time. In other words, it convert itself into my main machine. Behind were the PCs and MacBooks and since then I have no interest in going back. The idea of this series of posts, is once a week talk about something I do on the iPad. Somethings I had to learn, some tricks so I don’t use the MacBook or the PC, others they simply work better on the iPad.

I decided to call this series: “Working on MY iPad, because I don’t know how you work on yours:” for a simple reason. There are many people out there, that when you mention that the iPad is your main machine, Immediately they consider it impossible, and try to convinced you why you need a PC or a MacBook. This series is dedicated to my work, to what I do daily and week over week. There are going to be moments in witch I will explain why use the MacBook or PC where simply was necessary.

Again, the idea is simple, my iPad represent ninety percent of my working hours, but there is a ten percent that happen on the PC or MacBook, I am not sure if it is possible to use the iPad for those, but I have not spend the time to found out, so it happen there.

The applications that you will see, and the ones I will talk about are the ones that I use daily or constantly. In general I try to keep my iPhone as well as the iPad without excess of applications.

I got my first iPad on launch day. It was a 32GB iPad. Recently replaced for an iPad2 of 16GB. The reason I mention this, is because a good friend once he finish reading my book “25 Tips for Productivity” told me that in my list of “Things I don’t need” I had the iPad2. When I wrote the chapter of that book, my iPad1 was in perfect working conditions. When the screen crash I was in need of a new iPad. There was a really good deal for my current iPad so I got that one instead of a newer one. I though that if the iPad1 was enough for my needs, most likely the iPad2 will be too, without any problems.

Maybe it is important to understand who I am, to understand how I use the iPad. I am first and foremost a father. That means that my daughter play with my iPad once in a while. It also means that you will see mention of applications that are appropriate for her. I am a writer. As I publish this post, I had publish two novels in English, “The Writer” and “Putsch” and one Productivity book, “25 Tips for Productivity“. In november the spanish version of “The Writer” and “25 Tips for Productivity” will go for sale. I also have a little productivity book that will come out before the year ends in English and Spanish, as well as a series of interesting projects for 2013. I also, work as an investor in the Stock Market as well as in the real state market, therefore they will be mention of things I used for that purpose. Finally I am a consultant in Productivity, Sales and Marketing. (I was a Sales Manager for Latin America, Canada and the US for over eight years.) In 2013 maybe we will also add Public Speaker. Seems like destiny is providing interesting prospects on that matter. As you can see, I can do my job from anywhere, I work at home by choice. This has his own set of challenges, but without a doubt is wonderful.

My work begin at 4:00AM, at that time I had coffee and get ready. From 4:30AM to 7:30AM are my first three hours of work. At 7:30AM I get my daughter ready to go to school. After I return, the second part of my working hours begin, until 12:00PM. The third part begins between 1:00PM and 2:00PM and ends around 4:00PM. At that time we go to Ballet, Gymnastics, Spanish and Swimming Lessons. At night I read for pleasure.

I think this explain a little who I am and what I do. Like I said, the idea of this Series is explain how I work on my iPad. I hope to obtain comments on how to do it even better, ideas, software and more.

The idea is to publish it on Wednesday, once a week. The reason that this post is on Tuesday is to introduce the series and not give the readers a week to the first one.

Until then, I will be working on MY iPad.