Posts tagged ‘iPad’

August 9, 2010

The Future of the Book

I don’t know about you (how could I, I don’t even know who you are!) but I spend a fair amount of time wondering where books are headed.  I am a musician first and often think that the publishing industry is heading down a similar path to the recording industry.  I hope so.  What I like about the path that the recording industry has been forced down is that people are more in charge of determining what is quality in art rather than executives.  Personal taste and an ear for simply good music trumps the need to make money.  What is also happening, with major advances in technology, is that anyone can be a musician.  Not everyone can be a good musician, but anyone with the inclination to fire up GarageBand or a digital recording device can make music at some level.  This takes us back 150 year to the day when every home had a piano and if you wanted to listen to music you, or a friend, had to play it.  This gives the world a growing population of informed listeners.  To be involved in making music, gives you an appreciation of what you are listening to at a much deeper level.

How does this work with the publishing industry?  It has always been easy to write.  We all write, every day.  Shopping lists, class notes, email messages.  But we don’t write creatively with the intent to share our writing.  With blogging, wikis, collaborative ebook writing and emerging self-publishing services, anyone can write to share.  The more you write, the more you appreciate what you read.  Again, we have a growing population of informed readers deciding what is good quality writing.

We are also aided by technology in terms of how we read and write.  We are in closer touch with a vast number of writers via the internet.  We can collaborate with other writers and readers through any number of wikis and services like LibraryThing and GoodReads.  And it is all getting infinitely more portable with the proliferation of ebook readers, netbooks and the iPad.

Another bunch of people who think a lot about the future of books hang out at The Institute for the Future of the Book.  Check their website out to find out where they think this is all going.  In particular, check out this post about the iPad being more of a book than a computer.  Makes a lot of sense to me!

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July 6, 2010

iPad – the sequel

So, I’m loving the iPad. I’ve discovered what a great note-taking tool it is. I attended four days of classes in New York and used the iPad and Evernote as my main notepad. I love that I can sync my notes across two computers and my iPhone!

The big thing that I’ve been getting my head around is the video output from the iPad. As a teacher, the iPad could be extremely useful presentation tool. I have been given a VGA adapter to play with to figure out how the damn thing works. For someone who has become quite used to the ease of Apple’s history of plug and play, this was more of a challenge.

The first issue is that Apple doesn’t make it easy to find out that you can’t simply plug the iPad into a projector and BAM! everything on your screen is now projected. That’s the way it works on my MacBook, why not on the iPad? If you download the manual through iBook, you will find a paragraph that explains that only certain applications can project or can be viewed via a monitor. I found more thorough information at iLounge in a review from June 18th.

The short story is this: Keynote, YouTube, and Photo fully support display through the VGA connector. The Video app also displays video assuming that it is not copy-protected. That is, my copy of “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” plays beautifully on my iPad until I connect it to a projector. The projector is somehow an unauthorized device to play my purchased material through!!!!

Another issue is that if you want amplified audio for your presentations, you have to output your audio through the headphone jack. Depending on how you set up to make your presentation, you could have cables running everywhere!

The good news in all of this for me, is called Expedition. Designed as a 99 cent web browser with VGA functionality, it can open other types of files to be projected. I also use Documents to Go. When you click on the info button on any document in Documents to Go, you have the option of opening the document in other programs, including Expedition. You will loose some of your fancy transitions in your PowerPoint presentation, but you can scroll though the slides and user the built in laser pointer (also available in Keynote) to draw your audience’s eye to the important bits.

The good news is that, according to iLounge, the code to implement VGA output is pretty simple and easily added by developers. Hopefully, as the native iPad app list grows, more software will include this function. Perhaps Apple will include it in OS4 for the iPad!