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iPad News

I suppose this post may have limited interest, but I just want to comment on four improvements the last ten days have brought to my iPad life.

1. OmniOutliner for iPad. Two Thursdays ago, The Omni Group brought its indispensable OmniOutliner program to the iPad. OmniOutliner for iPad was originally due to come out last summer. Those of us whose lives depend on OmniOutliner and who use iPads have been desperately waiting for months. There are workarounds, like converting outlines on the Mac to opml format, then using some other program, such as Carbon Fin, to upload the outline to their server and then pull it down to one’s iPad or iPhone. Doing this means sacrificing a lot of OmniOutliner’s formatting options, but it works for simple outlines. Now there’s no longer a need for these workarounds. Hooray!

I have to confess, though, that I haven’t yet integrated OmniOutliner for iPad into (what I’ve learned to call) my workflow. I love having it. I’m just not using it much. Part of the problem is that although there’s no need to change the format of an outline, one still has to upload it somewhere, to one’s iDisk account for instance, then import it into OmniOutliner for iPad. This is an impediment.

2. The New Yorker. The iPad implementation of The New Yorker was supposed to be well done, a sign of things to come, both for other Condé Nast magazines and for magazines in general. But I wasn’t going to pay $6 to find out. I mean, I already subscribe to the print edition, I can read it online in a browser, so why pay again for the iPad version? The broader issue was the Apple Store’s lack of a magazine subscription option, so that one had to buy each issue of the New Yorker for the iPad separately. That changed last week. I awoke Monday morning to news from The New Yorker that iPad subscriptions were now available, and that moreover print subscribers were eligible to get iPad subscriptions for free. I downloaded the New Yorker iPad app, opened it up, and signed up immediately. This was a bit cumbersome. One needs to enter one’s address, the subscription number off a magazine label, and one’s online login name and password. Then, once eligibility was verified, I had to log in again using the login name and password. I didn’t realize at first that this last step was needed, so I was confused about why I couldn’t download any issues. But once I figured that out, I downloaded the still-current issue.

In the past, I wasn’t too thrilled about the online availability on a Monday morning of the New Yorker issue dated the following Monday, the print version of which typically wouldn’t arrive until Thursday or Friday. What was annoying was that by mid-morning on Mondays, I’d be reading on various blogs about some article or another, and I could either find it on my computer and read it on the big screen — not my idea of how to enjoy The New Yorker — or wait until later in the week, ignoring all the online discussion of the article in the meantime. Well, now I can just download the latest issue Monday morning and start reading on my iPad, a much more pleasant experience than reading at my computer. And sure enough, last week there was an article that made a lot of news, Jane Mayer’s piece on Obama’s war against whistleblowers. I could read it right away.

As it turns out, I decided to wait on reading Mayer’s article until the print issue came. And then when it did, I went ahead and read the article on my iPad, which made no sense at all.

I should add that being able to download and read new New Yorker issues on Monday mornings is a mixed blessing. it kind of gets in the way of getting on with the week.

3. OmniFocus for iPad. When it comes to workflow, OmniFocus is the center of my life. I won’t try to explain why. See my post on The Toad from almost a year ago to learn why. Suffice to say that all the facets of my life are organized on it. And what really makes it work is how the data syncs across all platforms — my iMac at home, my iMac at school, my MacBook Air, my iPhone, and my iPad. I always know what I need to be doing, wherever I am.

And last week The Omni Group brought us a major update to OmniFocus for iPad, for free. It has some wonderful new features. Organizing my life was never more fun. Indeed, the real danger of OmniFocus is that you fall in love with organizing life rather than living it. But that’s a problem I had long before OmniFocus showed up.

4. iPad 2. To top off an exciting week of iPad developments, last Thursday morning Gail and I received our new iPad 2s. (We’ve passed our iPads on to the kids.) I got mine synced and ready to go right away. I chose the white one. Gail got a traditional black one. Has this changed our lives? Well, I have to admit, not much. Yet. They are noticeably thinner and lighter. They have built-in cameras. But for the most part, I do with the new one what I did with the old one. It’s still a little too large to hold comfortably in one hand when I’m lying in bed, which I mention only because this means I still prefer reading books on my Kindle.

Okay, that’s the news.

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Categories: Life, Magazines, Technology
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