Sunday, February 2, 2014


When Steve Jobs in a stroke of genius presented his iPhone in 2007 I was fascinated. My mobile phone contract with Deutsche Telekom was coming to an end and so I grasped the opportunity. Steve introduced the iPad in 2010 and although my computer activities up to then were centered around Windows PCs I went for it .

I operate a desktop PC but never owned a netbook. The reason is that my out-of-house activities are limited to entering texts that I extract in libraries and archives using small and ultra portable machines in the past. Editing, formatting, or integrating the typed-in information into my blogs and web pages I do on my desktop PC. This practice has not changed over the past years except that I replaced the sometimes cumbersome small machines with an iPad mini. The lightweight eight inch tablet I not only use for texting but for reading ebooks and for communication when traveling. In addition to the WiFi-connection the mini carries a SIM-card connecting to the UMTS-net of T-Mobile in case of need. During transport the display is protected by a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard transforming when detached the tablet into a mini netbook. You can leave the keyboard permanently on for the Bluetooth connection falls asleep when not used hence does not drain its built-in battery. The connection awakes when you hit a key.

At home I use a ten inch WiFi-only iPad mainly for checking e-mail, surfing, and texting. As mentioned before, I switch on my PC only for editing web pages, blogging, and photo shopping. Loyal readers of my blogs know all this but they have possibly been waiting for an update on my use of iDevices.

Both my iPads show the same home screen. From left to right:

For managing my appointments, tasks and contacts I adore more and more the now fully matured Pocket Informant. In using iOS calendars only all my devices (Desktop PC, iPad air, iPad mini and iPhone 5) perfectly synchronize the data in iCloud. There are no longer any "lost" appointments, forgotten tasks or double entries for people.

ContactsXL allows the user to group contacts according to countries, cities, position, firms etc. This feature I find particularly useful when looking for misspellings in my data.

Apples built-in mail client lacks functionality and elegance. Until a few days ago I used Molto on my iPads instead but then CloudMagic released their iPhone mail client for the iPad and I jumped on it. Molto on the other hand is more elegant on the iPhone, so I keep the mail client there. Reading of mails on various devices causes problems when using pop mail server accounts. Eventually the Deutsche Telekom offered a protected imap server replacing their outdated pop mail service. In using imap mails are not only deleted on one iDevice but they are deleted on the server too. So you will not see them again when downloading mail on another iDevice. Group mails are still a problem on iOS, so I send those from my desktop.

Wikipedia is an icon produced with iHomeIcon, an app that allows the user to program specific actions. In this case touching the icon will directly open my Wikipedia watchlist.

Facebook has become interesting for me when I adhered to a couple of German-American Internet portals. In addition the Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF) program communicates information on cultural events to its students via Facebook.

The next row starts with three browsers. Built-in Safari is a must with most apps addressing the browser by default. A few apps, however, allow me to switch to my favorite Chrome. Coast is a strange construct. On its splash screen it offers programmable tiles so that I placed frequently used web pages for direct access onto them.

Next come my two news readers Flipboard and NewsFlash that I programmed with my most important news sources.

The third row starts with my favorite data base application PhatNotes. Although it is still an iPhone app I adhere to it as being a comprehensive platform on the PC and the iDevices.

Meteogram and WeatherProHD were conceived for the iPad. Meteogram is still my favorite but WeatherProHD dares a prevision of the weather for a fortnight (two weeks).

Quickoffice now has become a Google app. It allows me edit the source files of my Internet pages on my iPads. The MS Word formatting is maintained although I learned it the hard way that the copying of links does not work.

Nothing to add for Nebulous, my one and only just text-typing application displaying one row of programmable touch keys at the bottom of the screen including fast cut, copy, and past.

I tried a couple of alarm clock apps but eventually came back to the built-in Uhr (clock).

Utilities groups speed testers (with Deutsche Telekom I now clock frequently 30 MB/s although I pay for up to 50), unit converters, and other useful stuff.

Sport1 allows me to even follow the US baseball season.

PCalc is still my favorite and frequently used RPN-calculator.

Google gives me direct access to queries on the Internet.

The permanent last row of icons starts with Fotos. I now carry around picture galleries on all my iDevices of the most memorable events from 2000 (the advent of digital photography) to 2013.

Evernote contains all my collected snippets of odd and sometimes useful information. I am still struggling getting some order into the stuff.

Status Board is a programmable app displaying your recent e-mails, upcoming events from your personal calendar, local weather, time, date, and information of selected news channels. This is an ideal app for a quick look of what is up.

No comments for App Store and Einstellungen (Settings).

Launch is a most recent addition. Conceived for the iPhone with its limited number of icons on the home screen Launch recently became available for the iPad. When the icon is touched a whole new home screen opens. In edit mode you not only can place apps and their icons in the well known grid structure but you may program often used actions as well, e.g., send frequently e-mails to a person and create an icon with his/her photo. I am still learning the multiple possibilities of Launch.


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  2. I'm i-mazed! I enjoyed your FB post on Phubbing and have used it in different situations and also as a plural. I wonder if there is an e-etiquette book on proper use of e-devices in different situations? I really was late getting on board with electronic photos and didn't get my first one until 2003, boy have I learned a lot since then! Thanks for keeping us updated and moving us forward as we become e-educated!