Tablets

Apple iPad, Day 16: Setting Up My iPad Workstation

For sound, I had four options. I could just let the sound play from the iPad itself. I can let the sound play over the built-in monitor speakers through the HDMI cable. I can connect my desktop speakers to the audio jack on the iPad. Or, I can connect to my Bluetooth speaker. I chose the Bluetooth--it has better sound quality than the iPad or my monitor, and it is less cumbersome than having to deal with another wire connecting to the iPad.

My Logitech Bluetooth speaker works great for playing music and such from my iPad 2.
As I said earlier, my notebook is tucked away out of sight when I use it in this configuration. However, the iOS interface calls for a slightly different solution. Monitor and keyboard aside, I still have to actually tap the apps on the iPad to open them up and navigate between apps.

Instead of hiding the iPad under my desk, I set it up to the right of my keyboard as a sort of pseudo Magic Trackpad. I can view the display on the monitor, but use the iPad itself to open apps, pinch, zoom, etc.

Thanks to my efforts on Day 14, I can print wirelessly from the iPad to my Epson Artisan 710 printer. I can also place photos or documents on the Artisan 710 and scan them wirelessly to my iPad. Not too shabby.

Let's recap. My iPad is sitting on my desk acting as a sort of "desktop"/ trackpad. It is plugged in to power so I don't have to even care about battery life. I have a full-size monitor, and a full-size keyboard so I can work more efficiently. I have decent speakers to listen to music or video clips. I have a printer and a scanner.

As we covered on Day 15 when delving into working with files, I have my Box.net account that covers my file storage needs. I have to also mention Files Connect, though. A reader commented on Day 15 to clue me in to this app, and it is awesome.

Files Connect lets me connect to my 1TB Iomega drive that is connected to my wireless router. I can also see all of the PCs on my network and access any shared drives on those, and it connects with Facebook, Google Docs, Box.net, and other sources so it is like a one-stop-shopping file access and management solution for the iPad. I am still exploring all it can do, but so far I am more than a little impressed.

It cost me $39 for the Apple Digital AV Adapter, $69 for the Apple wireless keyboard, and $7.99 for the Files Connect app, but in the end I have a setup that provides essentially the same functionality I am used to with my notebook. The multitasking between apps is still rough, though, and I really miss being able to put more than one application on the screen side by side.

If I need a webcam for a video conference or something, I guess I would have to just pick up the iPad and use the front-facing camera. When I am ready to take my show on the road, though, I just disconnect the 30-pin connector, put the iPad 2 into the Logitech Keyboard Case, and I am out the door.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Ubuntu Linux

Day 15: Working With Files on the iPad

Day 17: The Wonder That Is AirPlay

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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