Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance

Travelling can be fun. It can also be fraught with trouble and misshaps, especially when you depend on technology to keep your life and work moving while on the road.

My work is all on line. So communication and work tools (phone, iPad, laptop) are essential. Two days into this road trip to Colorado I dropped my iPhone on a cement slab while trying to take a picture of a Clive Bundy supporter’s pickup at a rest stop in Nevada.


The screen was shattered. While the phone still worked, I knew it could easily deteriorate with dust or water getting in through the cracks. So, using my phone I made an appt. at an Apple store outside Salt Lake City. It got resolved ($280 later) and we were back on the road pretty much on schedule.

Today, I did an OS update on my MacBook Pro. I downloaded the update through the App Store and set the thing to reboot while I went out for a run. When I returned, the thing wouldn’t boot. So, it’s back to another Apple Store this afternooon.



Update: After several tries I got both my IPhone and IPad working with the new iOS. It appears I was a victim of Apple’s popularity and lack of planning. Their servers were overloaded with people trying to download the new system.

Just because I’m sitting in front of my computer I think it’s good idea to get iOS 5 THE MOMENT it’s released. Dumb. As. A. Brick. Which is what my iPhone is now.

I cannot restore from backup. I cannot upgrade. Apparently the servers are overloaded. So, I am not alone. I am with Stupid.

Here’s hoping they get this sorted out soon. I need to make a phone call.

Some Favorite Things on My IPad

I’ve been working on a review list of favorite IPad apps for a while now, but never finishing it. Maybe I will one day, but I thought I’d take a slightly different approach with this post. I use my IPad a lot for work and recreation and the stuff in between like listening to or watching tech podcasts. I use my IPhone in a similar way, but for most of those things except listening to podcasts while on the go the IPad is a much more pleasurable experience. So, in general I love to use my IPad for as many things as I can.

But my three favorite things are for reading books and magazines, cooking, and consuming and sharing news feeds.

I find I am reading more, and more diverse material now than I did before the IPad. I love downloading samples of books and  when I find one I like I can buy it and keep reading no matter what time of day or night. As a result I am paying more attention to book reviews and recommendations, searching out great reading material. Unfortunately, some books I hear about are not available in E-book format. When I find one that I would like but it’s not available I always click the button to tell the publisher my desires on the Kindle store.

IPad ScreenNow that Wired and the New Yorker have IPad versions that are available free to subscribers, I find myself reading more of those magazines as well. And since I can download back issues I feel fine recycling those  stacks of old magazines.  I do keep the current issue around until the next one comes out just for those special moments when paper works better than pixels. I’ll let you imagine what those moments might be.

I use both the IBooks and Kindle apps. I like the IBook store interface better, but the IBook store doesn’t have as many titles as the Kindle store. I use a few of the other book apps from time to time as well. But those two I use daily. I haven’t bought a paper book or magazine in many months. There is nothing on my bedside table now until I put my IPad there. I don’t need the bedside lamp when I wake up in the middle of the night and need to read myself back to sleep. Sweet!

I love to cook. And I’m pretty good within a narrow range. I have lots of cookbooks, but I don’t often use them to learn new dishes. I’m not sure why. But I have a whole section of cooking apps and magazines on my IPad which I use a lot. They look beautiful, they are easy to navigate and search and the recipes are often quite delicious.

My favorite one so far is the Epicurious app which is glorious to look at and has good solid content. The reviews and comments by people who have tried the recipes are often very helpful. I also really like Food & Wine magazine and have started to explore All Recipes pro which has some really nice tools on top of the recipes.

News Feeds
While this activity is related to “reading” it’s often more like skipping lightly over the raging river of news and only occasionally taking a dip in a quiet pool. I use Feedler on the IPad to interface with Google Reader to skim hundreds of articles, blog posts and news items on a wide variety of topics from art and literature to programming and gadgets. There is just too much stuff and most if it is easily rejected. But some is worth saving for later and those articles I send to Instapaper for archiving. I heard Leo Laporte say on TWIT that he does the same thing but he never goes to Instapaper to read the articles. I actually do, in the cracks of time.

But I also like to discover things shared by others on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. I use a few apps for this but my favorite are Flipboard and Zite. Both of these apps create attractive magazine like interfaces for new feeds, Twitter feeds, Facebook status updates and so on. Zite can be personalized even further by ‘liking’ certain articles. It will then try to present more of similar type articles.  I also like the ability in Zite to create Sections to group feeds by topic. All of the readers offer great tools for reading, saving and sharing new information on Twitter and Facebook. I always find great stuff to share when I sit down a skim over the river of news.

Of course, I have a lot of other favorite apps and things I do with the IPad. But these are things I find myself doing most often with the greatest pleasure.  I’d love to hear what others’ favorite things and apps for the IPad are. Please share in the comments!