Part 7 - Simplifications and Annoyances - iPad as my main computer

As I mentioned in my last post about the "fun" aspect of the iPad, it's been a month since I really started using the iPad for most of my computer-related tasks and I've gotten some great feedback from all of you reading my blog and my tweets and shares. Now it's time to share the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about working on the iPad and how I've managed to simplify my work even more.

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My Dropbox setup

As I mentioned in my post about clouds, on of the main storage options for me on the iPad is still Dropbox and I use it like this:

I have a main Dropbox account where I store all of my data and I access it mainly through the Dropbox app and Good Reader.

I set up a secondary Dropbox account that shares all of its folders with my main account and I use this account for most of the apps on my iPad. I just don't trust all the apps to have access to my main Dropbox account and all of my files. Only the files located on the secondary account.

What annoys me: Dropbox app on the iPad doesn't actually "sync" with the iPad. I mean, if you "star" some files, they'll be offline but you can't "star" folders to have really a seamless offline storage on the iPad. There is a 2-year old thread on the Dropbox forums about it and they still haven't done it. Seriously? I have a 64GB iPad and cannot sync the 5GB of Dropbox files to it? Why not?

My Evernote setup

Because of what I mentioned earlier, I use Evernote as my main cloud storage now. It has "offline notebooks" and syncs them beautifully. I'm now emailing lots of stuff to Evernote (more than I used to) as I prefer to store the info there and have it offline on my iPad whenever I want. The legendary search and OCR of Evernote works great, too and their iPhone apps (together with Food and Hello apps) help me get more stuff to Evernote and let me have the information at my fingertips at all times.

Side-note: Nozbe syncs with Evernote and we're working on a tighter sync with them to make sure I can make any of my notes "actionable" and "sharable" with others. Can't wait for that to happen.

What annoys me: Their iPad app has gotten a lot better over the years and I love it... but "processing" notes is not ideal. I cannot easily "move" my notes from my "inbox" notebook to their corresponding notebooks - need to edit the note first and then change notebook. This can be done a lot better (and the Mac app is better for it). Hope they'll improve it on the iPad.

Nebulous for writing

I got rid of Simplenote. It was cool when it lasted but when writing a note in Simplenote it got "accidentally" deleted when I was typing it (due to issues with their sync) I decided not to trust it anymore. Now I just use Nebulous for all of my writing. It works seamlessly with Dropbox and has great searching capabilities. I wish it synced with Evernote, too. Dropping Simplenote let me focus on Evernote and Dropbox as my main clouds now.

I simplified my blog posting routine: Now I write all my blog posts in Nebulous where they are saved in Dropbox automagically. The app has a "full screen" view, spell check and preview of the Markdown code which I use for typing. I send my blog posts directly from this app to my blog. Sweet :-)

What annoys me: Not much, lack of Evernote sync and "focus" mode of AI Writer. Other than that, it's great.

Other apps I frequently use:

Textastic for coding - I don't do much coding these days but when I do, this app does the trick. Very cool indeed. Works fast, is very stable. Nice.

Clipboard History - it's not ideal, it crashes at times and I need to switch to it to save stuff from clipboard (I wish it copied everything I copy to clipboard in the background but I don't think iOS allows for this). I just wish iOS had a full clipboard history built in.

TextExpander - I use built in keyboard shortcuts in iOS but for longer text snippets I use TextExpander. Many apps work with it, including Nebulous and AI Writer.

A note on keyboard shortcuts

Many folks asked me about it. iPad is not a PC. It's a touch interface and one can argue if the lack of keyboard shortcuts is a problem or not. I just don't like keyboard anymore. Yes, I love it for typing (just like I typed this blog post) but I don't use it all that much when I use the iPad. I prefer to use the iPad alone, type short things on the on-screen keyboard and just use my fingers to navigate and move around. Keyboard is an "additional thingy" to the iPad, it's not an integral part of it. Some of you might not like it. I love it and I think that this is the future of personal computing. That's also the reason why I went with the Zagg Flex Keyboard instead of any "cover with keyboard" - I don't want a "netbook" - I want an iPad.

Next up: Office, Browsing and Social Media

In my next posts I'll focus on these aspects of my "computing" life and why iPad excels in these and why I love working on it even more... stay tuned.

How did you simplify your iPad life? Which apps help you simplify your workflows?

Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 (ipad,ipadonly)

Corby Stephens
Aug 29, 2012 01:20
Hey Michael. I found something in Nebulous that might be an iOS beta/6 capability, I'm not sure. I can make a document in Nebulous. When I tap the button to "Send to" I have an "Open with" option. When tap than, Evernote is one of the options. When I select Evernote, a new new is created and that Nebulous file is attached to the note. So while it doesn't make the body of the document the body of the note, I do have the document in Evernote. FWIW.