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Why Can't I Work From Just My iPad, Anyway?

Posted by Carter Dotson on August 24th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

I want to just work from my iPad. I'm sick of desktops, laptops, and netbooks. The iPad is lightweight, has great battery life, and I don't have to take it out of my bag when I'm flying. Most of the work that I do is writing, covering iOS and Android, so it seems appropriate to primarily do this work from mobile devices, right? That's what I want, but there's still just so many shortcomings that keep it from being a regular reality.

What I find is that for basic tasks, the iPad is great. I like the focus that the iPad's limitation of running a single app on screen at a time provides, especially for writing. I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard, and while it's not full-size, the benefits I get from being forced to focus on what I'm writing is a huge benefit. As well, with the customer support job I work with that uses Zendesk, I discovered that it's actually quite easy to do it efficiently through Safari and the Zendesk mobile app. I didn't feel like I was any less productive in working from the iPad than I do when I work from my Mac in this case. But it's the exception to the rule.

The problems always come in when I have to work with files. For example, when I have to upload images to WordPress, it does not go well. Until iOS 6 hits with the ability to upload images from the browser, I have to upload through the app, which requires that images be placed in the body of text, not in the galleries that are below posts. Adding images to an article from the iPad is problematic as well, as the menu doesn't display properly unless I'm in portrait.

Thankfully, things are a little better outside of WordPress. An app like GoodReader for iPad helps when trying to work with files and performing basic tasks like unzipping archives or just saving photos to the Camera Roll, but it feels like a workaround to a real solution, and it's ultimately more time-consuming. Android is better-equipped to deal with files, but it's still a clunkier experience than working from just a computer.

Now, what about remote computing apps? These either require having a computer set up and running somewhere, like with LogMeIn, or using something like OnLive Desktop, which requires a good enough low-latency wifi connection, which can be hard to get while mobile. Clear's mobile WiMax hotspot worked well enough for me on a recent trip to Chicago, but most publicly-available wifi spots struggled with it. This isn't even considering the key problem with all remote computing apps: the touch screen is not a mouse, and trying to use it as one is awkward.

Really, that's the problem with the iPad as a work device. It may be a post-PC device, but work is still caught in a PC state of mind. I am at a point where I can do most of my work if absolutely necessary from my iPad, especially writing and answering emails. But I still hit a bottleneck where it's woefully inefficient. Until the necessary services adapt to the needs of tablet users like myself, I will still have to fight through that bottleneck.

OnLive Desktop Plus Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Carter Dotson on February 27th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SOMEWHAT LIVE
OnLive Desktop Plus allows users to access a cloud-based version of Windows 7 directly from their iPad.
Read The Full Review »

Five For Friday: Week of January 20

Posted by Jennifer Allen on January 20th, 2012

Another Friday, another week drawing to a close and that means one very important part of the day: the Five For Friday! Here's our roundup of five of the best apps and games that have been released on the App Store in the past 7 days.

iTunes U

Lauded as a great way of providing education right to an iOS device, iTunes U gives access to complete courses from many leading universities and other schools. More than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books and other resources are accessible from within this app with the ability to browse collections from institutions such as Stanford, Yale, Oxford and the New York Public Library. Notes and highlighting functionality makes everything easy to review through this informative app.


We've all seen puzzle games that involve colored blocks falling from the top of the screen, in need of arranging to clear them. We've all seen games that provide a similar experience but with letters and words needing to be created. How about a game that combines both? Puzzlejuice is exactly that, making for a very potent mix of fun and brainteasing.

Timelapse Video Recorder

Ideal for those with a creative eye, Timelapse Video Recorder enables users to create time lapse videos quickly and simply. One tap of the screen records the video with similarly easy to use buttons available for adjusting video length and speed up relevant sections. It's smooth and set to produce some great results, all at 60 frames per seconds for maximum smoothness.

OnLive Desktop

Harnessing the power of cloud computing with remote PC desktop utilization is how OnLive explains this app and that's pretty much exactly it. OnLive Desktop enables iPad users to view, edit and create documents using Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint all through this form of PC virtualization. Users can easily transfer files between the app and other devices and the experience is lag-free and simple to use.

Smash Cops

Fun should always be had on the weekend and Smash Cops should supply bucketloads of it. Reminiscient of classic game, Chase HQ, Smash Cops is all about taking out runaway felons in races spread over 20 missions and 4 different mini games. Fast and furious, Smash Cops will be great for Burnout and Need For Speed fans.