When I picked up the original Galaxy Tab on deep discount I stopped using my iPad because the Tab is significantly lighter, smaller, and more convenient for general mobile use.

But a few days ago I re-charged the iPad, bought a book from the iBook store -- something I've not done previously, on the grounds of not wanting to be locked in to using only Apple devices to read, but this was acceptably cheap and disposable -- and yeah, the purchase experience is about as smooth as you would expect from Apple.

Having had the two for a fair while now -- the iPad for about ten months, the Tab for three -- I have a few conclusions:

  1. The iPad is a nicer overall tablet experience. The hardware is slicker, the battery lasts longer, and many applications are explicitly supporting the larger display. iPhone apps work acceptably, too.
  2. The Tab is a much better portable. It'll fit in a large-ish coat pocket with no trouble, and it's the sort of thing you can pull out while waiting at a tram stop to check email or do a little reading, much as you might with a mobile phone.
  3. Android 2.x works okay on a 7" display, and all the apps I've tried have been fine, but very few are really intended to run on such a large screen. This will presumably get better with 3.x and 4.x.
  4. Comparing what's currently available, even Android 2.2 is a more natural multi-tasking platform than iOS 4.3. This will likely change once iOS 5 is released, though Android does allow rather more background functionality if you want or need it.

Removing the iPad from the leather case I bought for it, it stops looking like a clunky old beast and goes back to the "wow, this is a really nice bit of kit!" category.
My conclusion after a month of traveling, plus a couple of weeks at home, is that the iPad makes for a fine e-reader, better suited to my specific needs -- particularly around lighting -- than the Kindle or any of the other e-ink readers I've used.

I don't much like that there's still no single consistent standard for e-books and e-book DRM, but at least using the iPad I can get at content provided by pretty much any of the stores even if it does mean remembering which store sold which book.

Of the e-book readers available on the platform, my preference is for the Kindle app. I know iBooks is prettier, but it again comes down to my specific needs: the Kindle app works in landscape without going to a dual-page view, and I find it easier to hold the iPad in two hands in landscape.

The iPad also makes for a really neat email device. I've been using it for work email when I'm at home (I only have the WiFi model) and while there are some things for which I still need to do the VPN+RDC dance (Nagios goes batshit, need to do a massive batch-delete) it is in general more than sufficient for keeping an eye on things and responding to short queries.

My Android phone -- a HTC Desire -- chewed through battery running CyanogenMod 6.0 at an unreasonable rate, such that on some days it came close to running out and generally wound up with under 50% left almost every day. I had assumed this was because AT&T sucks and it was having to work the radio harder, but it's been just as bad since getting home.

So I've "downgraded" back to the stock 2.1 plus Sense and will see how that goes. My one big gripe with this remains: the PIN-unlock screen uses whatever keyboard you have set as default for text entry, which is really not very efficient for entering a numeric PIN. Here's hoping they fixed that in the 2.2 update due to roll out soon.

On the bright side having Clockwork Recovery installed means I can screw around with firmware with impunity, always knowing I can roll back at any time.

Civilization V runs acceptably under Parallels 6 on the top-end Macbook Pro. I've only poked at the demo from Steam running under XP SP3, and at that not for more than about half an hour, but not only does it run, it seems to run okay. But Parallels eats the system horribly so I won't be doing that. I shall instead wait for the inevitable Mac port some time in 2012.
Having had the iPad for a couple of weeks, I'm finding it makes for a reasonable ereader. It's a bit heavy, so to use it comfortably I need to sit back, put a cushion on my lap, and then place the iPad on the cushion in the "landscape" position. But it allows me to read under almost any lighting circumstance, which is a big improvement over the Kindle.

Bought a Macbook Pro this weekend. Initial impression -- having not touched an Apple laptop since the Powerbook G4 -- is pretty good, very nicely designed/built bit of kit, though they really should've smoothed the front edge a little for comfort's sake.

I hadn't expected to find the trackpad particularly usable. It's a last-resort option on my old Dell. But the larger area plus the multitouch makes it genuinely useful. And using a laptop with the full OS X accessibility thing is a delight compared to doing the rough equivalent on Windows.

So I'm pretty happy with it so far. Haven't bothered trying to game -- I'm pretty sure I'll be wanting an external display/keyboard/mouse for that -- but for the general productivitiy/webby stuff it works remarkably well for me.

My one small gripe is that I can't move my data over from the Dell via wireless where I'm staying, as it's just too slow and flaky. Shall see about snarfing a short bit of cat5 from the office on Tuesday.
Looks like I can answer my own question from the previous post, i.e., how would iBooks on the iPad handle an ePub file with stupidly small fonts and wide margins?

The answer being "just fine, thanks!".

Nabbed an iPad on the way home from work today. Just the 16GB WiFi model. Primarily for use as a liseuse, though we'll see how other use-cases work out. For my specific needs it so far works well, it's heavier than the Kindle (of course), but because it's also larger and I need to hold it fairly close to my face to see without the fonts completely maxed out holding it in both hands doesn't appear to be much of a problem for me.

Removed DRM from the book I tried on the Kobo last night, synced it over to iBooks, and blammo it just works as I'd want. This will likely encourage me to pick up some books I'd been wanting but had only been able to get in ePub due to wacky regional restrictions.


Abort, Rephrase, Ignore?

October 2011

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