Monday, April 12, 2010

The pain of the early adopter

I took the iPad on a trip down to New York this weekend, and it was an interesting adventure. I took the bus down, and interestingly Bolt has wi-fi on board. I connected up without incident [this is what is known as foreshadowing – Ed] and managed to surf the web as we zoomed down I-95. We watched a movie on it, and it worked very well.

I used the NPR app to listen to some of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but of course, without muti-tasking, I was kind of stuck not being able to do something else at the same time. I ended up switching to the iPhone version of the app, and using that to listen while doing other things on the iPad. Can't wait for 4.0

There was no tray table so it had to be held or rested on knees. It’s not that heavy/uncomfortable to hold. A couple of hours is no problem, but maybe hours of holding it would become painful.

One other thing; fingerprints! In bright light, you really notice the fingerprints, and spend a lot of time wiping down the screen!

At New York our hotel offered Wi-Fi. Except that this time, when I connected, a terms and conditions window appeared – with no Accept button. And I couldn’t get past it. I have no idea if they are using Flash or Java to do the Accept button, but whatever it was, it didn’t work for the iPad.

Fortunately, I was only there for one evening.

We did watch another movie that evening, with the screen leaning against a pillow and using the internal speakers. It worked well for two people.

I really like the small size/weight of the thing. It didn’t fill the backpack the way a laptop would.

I also spent a lot of time actually reading(!) a book on the iPad. This is - I think - the first electronic book I’ve really read on an electronic device. I’m probably wrong, but if I ever read a book before on a computer, it was a long time ago! it's actually not a bad way to read; though in the evening I had turned the brightness way down, and did notice a slight un-evenness in illumination. It was not enough to detract from reading, but it was noticeable.

I found that – depending on sitting position – I sometimes held it vertically, and sometimes horizontally. In the somewhat cramped space of the bus, it was just easier to hold the device horizontally.

On the way back there was one more blow; the bus also had an accept-terms screen, and it ALSO didn’t let me accept it. So no wi-fi on the trip home.

But then I had my iPhone, so it wasn’t really a problem.

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