Is it really just a little more than a month ago that I took the plunge and purchased an iPad? (Click Here to see my original blog.) I really find this hard to believe because I can’t remember life without the little rascal…
Seriously, I wouldn’t have believed just how useful this little scamp has proved to be both for business (taking notes, sending quick emails, checking facts…) and for personal use. The battery up-time of 10 hours on a single charge has proved to be more than adequate for home use, and I also love the fact that the iPad is “instant on” (the iPad is based on solid-state memory – there’s no hard disk drive; also I got one of the smart covers, which activates the iPad as soon as you open the cover).
Of particular interest is the cornucopia of apps that are available for the iPad (just click the App Store icon on your iPad and you will be up-and-running in a few seconds). Most of the ones I’ve downloaded are free – the rest typically cost only around a dollar or a couple of dollars. Thus far, the most expensive app I’ve purchased (NLog Pro as discussed below) cost $14.99 and it was well worth the price. Anyway, I thought I would share some of the apps I’ve found with you…
Note that you will need a NetFlix account for this app to be of any use. I think such an account currently costs $7.99 a month to stream as many movies and TV programs as you wish. The thing is that if you already have an account at home (which I do – we stream movies and suchlike through our Wii), then you can use this same account on your iPad.
Compass HD ($0.99)
This isn’t a particularly amazing app. All it does is to turn your entire iPad screen into a compass. This isn’t a tremendous amount of use at home (although having said this, I have to add that I have personally enjoyed playing with it). However I have a feeling it will come in very handy one day (watch this space).
ArtRage ($0.99 to $6.99)
The reason for the range of prices is that this depends whether or not they are having one of their sales. As I pen these words, they are having a $0.99 sale until 28 July. This is a really clever image-creation application with a simple, easy-to-use interface designed specifically for the iPAD’s touch screen. ArtRage lets you create images that look like watercolors, oils, and ink pens – the results can be astounding if you are skillful enough (which sadly I am not :-)
Fluid Monkey (Free)
This really doesn’t do anything useful per se – but it does help you relax. By dragging one or more fingers across the screen you trigger swirls of moving colors in what looks like liquid – once you’ve set a swirl running you can select a different color and start mixing things up. As one reviewer said “What a beautiful app – I bet my blood pressure went down in the few minutes I played with it.”
The Weather Channel (Free)
My 16-year-old son Joseph turned me on to this. In addition to your local weather forecast for the next few days, you can also see dynamic radar and cloud images showing the past few hours or the projections for the next few hours. Using the touch screen interface you can zoom in to see your very local area and – thus far – the predictions have proved to be surprisingly accurate. You can also stream the live TV program and the app will ping you with weather alerts is you ask it to.
Google Earth (Free)
What can I say? I LOVE this app. When I’m watching a TV program and some country or city is mentioned with which I’m not familiar, I whip out my iPad and access Google Earth. Just the other day, for example, on the HGTV program International House Hunters a couple said they wanted to move to Uruguay. My having iPad access to Google Earth and the Wikipedia means I have a wealth of information at my fingertips that dramatically improves my TV viewing experiance.
Digital Geiger Counter ($1.99)
On the one hand this is relatively
expensive considering that it’s just a bit of fun – especially when you compare it to something like the Notes Plus app as discussed below. On the other hand I have had a lot of fun with it, so I guess the price is fair enough. Basically this app (which is really an iPhone app that will run on your iPad) makes the display look like a digital Geiger Counter. The trick is that you can increase or decrease the count rate (with accompanying clicking sounds) by surreptitiously moving your thumb on the screen. This allows you to, for example, convince your 16-year old son that he must have stood in something radioactive because his sneakers make the count rate zoom up (not that I would do anything like this, of course).
Notes Plus ($0.99)
Even if I'm being kind, I have to say that the iPad’s built-in Notes app is rudimentary at best. So for only $0.99, the Notes Plus app is an incredible bargain. In addition to typing your notes, this little beauty also supports handwriting (with a stylus or zoom in and use your finger) and voice recording. It also allows you to mix in simple sketches (for which it boasts automatic shape detection for things like lines and circles and triangles).
GoSkyWatch Planetarium ($3.99)
Frankly I find this app to be amazing. All you have to do is hold your iPad up to the night sky as though you were looking through a window. The iPad screen displays the same stars you see in the sky, but with annotations for the planets, stars, constellations, and much, much more. It also provides you with a wealth of information on whatever you are currently looking at when you tap the “Info” icon with your finger.
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