The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

Posts Tagged ‘apple

The FH iPad review

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I was really curious about the iPad and got my hands on one. It’s not mine. The company I work for bought one and it’s mine to play with for a while. But in a way I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first computer I ever used was an Apple IIe, purchased for me and my siblings by my dad. (Anybody else remember playing Choplifter?) The only computers I have bought for myself have all been Macs. This includes a Powerbook 520, Power Mac desktop, Titanium Powerbook, Aluminum Powerbook and 2 MacBook Pros. I’ve also owned several iPods and my current phone is an iPhone 3G. My brother thinks of me as an Apple zealot and for the most part he’s probably right.

That doesn’t me I’m one of those people who thinks Apple can do no wrong. I’ve had my share of issues with stuff over the years. The first Aluminum Powerbook I bought was a lemon. I thoroughly regretted not waiting for the next iteration. They did, however, replace it for me with a newer model so they more than made up for the problems. Anyway, you may want to take all that into account before reading any more of what I have to say.

The iPad seems to be positioned right smack in between the iPh0ne and any Mac laptop. It’s very slim, sleek and shiny. Overall I think it’s a pretty whizbang piece of technology, though in my honest opinion it seems to lack any killer app or functionality that would truly make it a gamechanger. Here are my impressions.


I found the iPad to be quite responsive overall. Anytime I touched something to open it, bang. It opened. Everything I tried to do happened very quickly. I don’t know what the processor speed was, but it was not lacking for anything that I tried. I wish the same was true for my iPhone 3G. A second or two of lag between pressing a button and the action then happening isn’t all that unusual at all.


If you’ve used an iPhone, you’ll be ready to start cruising around the world of the iPad in no time at all. There are the familiar icon screens that you can flick through sideways. There are also some icons fixed along the bottom for Safari, photos, email and iPod-like functionality. It’s very easy to find what you need and ‘touch’ it open.

You manage your iPad’s content through iTunes, just like an iPod or iPhone. Moving music, photos, apps and stuff is very easy to do.

You can also flip the iPad in any direction so you can use it in portrait or landscape mode. Unlike the iPhone, this works at any time in any app or at your home screen.

When you have to enter data, up comes the onscreen keyboard.

I could not for the life of my get the keyboard to work to my satisfaction by keeping my hands on the keys and typing. Using the one finger method proved to be most effective for me. That makes it fine for quick messages and the like but not so good if you ever want to type a longer email.


The model I played with was the lower cost machine. That means it connects via Wifi but not via 3G. The Wifi connection was really buggy. The signal strength was not very consistent. I also had to enter my wireless network password twelve times before it would connect. Prior to that it kept telling me my password was incorrect. Once connected I did find the speed of connection to be good. Web pages loaded quickly. I think for this machine to live up to its true potential, it needs the 3G or cellular internet connection.

Thereby comes one of the biggest rubs for me. I’m too cheap to pay for internet connection a third time. Currently I have to pay at home and also so connect with my iPhone. Money is an issue for me at this point of my life and I just can’t see myself shelling out one more time for a different device.


The glossy display is clearly capable of producing a very nice images. I loaded several movies onto it that I already had formatted to watch on my iPhone. They all looked great. Well, almost. The glossy screen is glossy to the point of distraction.

As you can see in the image above, there’s quite a bit of reflection. The room I was sitting in wasn’t all that bright yet I could always see a ghosted image of myself watching myself watch a movie. That was a bit disappointing. I’m not a big fan of glossy screens overall though so I came into this biased against it already.

The other issue is that since this is a touch screen, every little smudge and smear is all too visible. If I had to pause the movie for any reason, by the time I got it playing again I found myself wiping down the screen as much as possible. This is an issue with my iPhone as well but it’s more tolerable in that situation. With the iPad, any imperfection on the screen is very conspicuous even to the casual viewer.

But the image it produces are very crisp and clear. Type appears to be very sharp and readable.


There’s something about the size and shape of the iPad so that it never really felt comfortable in my hands. It’s sort of awkward to hold to the point that I’d definitely recommend using a protective case because it will surely slip out of my hands at some point if I was carrying it around regularly.

The same awkwardness holds true when I watched movies with it. I laid back on my couch and had to hold it with one hand to angle it to my liking. Watching movies, I just never got into a really comfortable position. In the end, I would have much preferred to watch it on my laptop where I could just lay down, set it on my belly and then angle the screen appropriately.

Random Extras

The iPad can be connected to a projector or video connection via an adapter. One thing worth noting is that it doesn’t send a constant video signal. It only sends a signal once you open certain apps, like the iPad version of Keynote. Otherwise, it doesn’t send any signal at all.

Since I only had the iPad for a few days, one thing I can’t comment on is the apps. I tried out plenty and thought they were very cool and worked really well. The ABC video player app was a particular favorite of mine. I was able to fire up a recent version of LOST and it worked great. I remember thinking when I got the iPhone that the apps were going the be the last thing I was going to be interested in. Boy was I wrong. I’d imagine the world of apps available for the iPad will have a similar addictive quality that they have for the iPhone.


I think the iPad is a very cool and sleek device. That being said, I really have no need for it. There are plenty of people who will love it. Who are those people? Anyone who spends a lot of time in airplanes or public transportation for extended periods of time will surely enjoy it. For me, I don’t do a whole lot of either one of those.

There are also a lot of people who use their computers almost exclusively to surf the web and check email. The iPad is a great option for them. It’s another quick and easy way to check your email or fly through some web pages. The key point for a person like me is that it’s another option. I can already just fire up my iPhone to quickly check email as opposed to my computer. I don’t need another option on top of another option. Plus my iPhone can check email everywhere thanks to its cellular network connection. The more fancy model of iPad could do the same but only with additional monthly internet access charges.

The iPad is a very cool device. Truth be told, if I was a person with a fair amount of disposable income I’d probably just buy one for the ‘cool new toy’ factor.

In the future, I could see the iPad really becoming more of a transformative device. In the world we live in right here and now, I don’t think the app or usage exists that makes such a quantum leap forward possible. I’m more than happy to stick with my iPhone and MacBook Pro.

In a few years, maybe the iPad will become a must have. Only time will tell…

Written by the bee dub

April 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

The Snow Leopard has landed

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The disc arrived very inconspicuously in the mail today. Installed and upgraded my computer to 10.6. More thoughts on the matter to follow.

Written by the bee dub

September 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm

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OS X Snow Leopard is coming

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I only wish anyone who reads this knew my friend Moe. He’s got a sound effect he makes that represents both the Miami Dolphins’ revolutionary Wildcat offensive formation AND Apple’s newest operating system: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Imagine a man making a sound effect meant to mock people who make sounds like a cat. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Anyway, despite my friend’s feline screeching, I’m really psyched to try out the new operating system. Apparently, this is an update where most of the changes are under the hood to take advantage of 64-bit technology, memory architecture and confusing stuff like that. Things like startups, shutdowns and the like are supposed to go a lot quicker. The finder is supposed to be more responsive and snappier. Quicktime’s interface and controls have been given an overhaul. I’m curious to see what it’s all about. I’ve been an early adopter for every one of Apple’s OS X upgrades from 10.2 on and I have to say that every one has been an impressive step forward. Some more so than others, but all have been positive developments.

Well I got a new MacBook Pro last week (more on that in a later post) and as a result I can get a Snow Leopard upgrade for just under $10. Even better, they’re shipping them out so I’m supposed to receive it the same day it’s available in stores: Friday. Pretty cool move on their part.

But I screwed up. The delivery address I put down is my office only we are shutting down early this Friday at 1 pm. Fed Ex rarely delivers non-express deliveries before 2 pm to our office and I found out it’s too late to change my shipping address. If I don’t get it I’ll be bummed because I’m motivated to put in the hours and manpower to get it done this weekend. I’ll hang around for a bit on Friday after most people leave and see if I get lucky.

Anyway, I’ll do a writeup about how that all goes. Hopefully it will all be smooth.

Written by the bee dub

August 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm

The Non-Functioning Hermit

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My computer went dead on Thursday and it really opened my eyes to the embarrasing fact that I’m completely lost without it.

I never intended for this to happen but I pretty much do everything with my computer now. The computer and the internet are the biggest enablers for hermit-like behavior. They really minimize any need to leave the house.

It’s really dulled my enthusiasm for a lot of things, including blogging. I don’t have the usual software I use to get my photos ready for the web or pretty much any other thing I like to do for that matter.

About a month ago I bought Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and have gotten completely hooked. My hands are almost shaking from not being able to play.

On top of all this, I’ve had huge problems arranging for a repair. All my previous repairs have gone without a hitch but this time, different story. Basically, Apple will overnight you a box that you then use to overnight it back to them. They usually receive it, repair it and then overnight it back to you all on the same day. So the whole process usually takes four business days. Only DHL apparently lost the box they sent me which has brought the whole process to a halt.

In fact, DHL has given me a different story every time I’ve called and though it seems like they’re trying, I’ve sort of lost faith in the situation. Basically it sounds like the label on the box that was sent to me came off and they found the label stuck to some random package but have no idea where the box is. This has added several days to my computer downtime.

Today I sent it in to a local Apple authorized repair center instead. Looks like they’ll be able to turn the thing around fairly quickly. Hope so. I really don’t feel like myself without my computer. Not exactly something I’m proud of, yet I’m big enough to admit it.

Written by the bee dub

October 27, 2008 at 7:16 pm

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